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“A Summer's Awakening” — Episode 1

by Barbara H. Callihan

Embracing my equestrian dreams

Over the past 50 years I’ve had the privilege of working with 100s of clients in Southern Nevada, from age 3 to 60, to help them realize their equestrian dreams. These dreams took many diverse forms: from pleasure to competitive to seminars; from hunter jumper to western; from trail riding to trail obstacles; and from speed events, to team penning, to endurance races. Along the way I have had the joy of sharing some incredible experiences with so many dedicated, talented, passionate horse persons. Together we experienced the highs of success, the lows of failure and setbacks, and the extraordinary challenges that accompany developing equestrian success and personal victories.

In 2000, after selling my ranch in Las Vegas, I moved to Pahrump and followed my own dream to build a new equestrian center in a brand-new community, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Over the next sixteen years I development enduring and sustaining business relationships and friendships with local businesses, clients, and friends. From the ground up, project by project over time, with the expertise and hard work of many local businesses, I built Happy Hoof Beats Equestrian Center on land that has been in my family for more than 40 years. I am so thankful for the support, care, and compassion of the Pahrump community and for all the individual angels who have contributed to my professional and personal success.

In 2012 I realized another dream when I launched a series of successful cavalletti clinics. In 2015 those clinics transformed into Equestrian Coaching Edge™, a new paradigm in equestrian group instruction covering a dozen equestrian and horsemanship themes. Since 2012 more than 40 individuals have reached for their equestrian dreams and participated in more than 20 different sessions, making them successful beyond my wildest dreams. I had no idea there was a such demand for group instruction in the Southern Nevada and Pahrump Valley, and it was so satisfying to watch each and every participant and auditor experience breakthroughs in their equestrian journey.

Recently, I have felt an inner fire of curiosity and excitement of the unknown building inside me and a renewed focus on my own personal equestrian dreams. With more years behind me than in front of me, I’m deeply aware that every day I have on this fragile planet is a gift, and that time stands still for no one. I have recognized that there are still items to check off my own personal bucket list. While I still have the physical and mental strength I want to be able to choose to experience the adventures of the unknown, challenge myself to learn, test myself to achieve, and master things that I have yet to comprehend. It is time for the coach to become the student and to push myself through unchallenged limits.

This process of choosing what’s next for me has been a deeply personal and has awakened a deep spiritual awareness and ignited a desire to experience physical healing and the rejuvenation of my spirit. At my core I am a horsewomen and any spiritual awakening undoubtedly includes experiencing my own personal horse journey at a higher level. As many of you know, I have had great success with Chunky Monkey competitively. That success is possible because of the close bond that we have developed. Because of this bond I now have a horse that affords me the possibility to continue on my personal equestrian journey with confidence and joy.

So, I’m excited to announce that my new adventures have already begun and I am excited to be able to share them with you. It’s just been until now that I have been able to put the right words down to share with you what lays ahead for me, for Happy Hoof Beats, and ultimately for many of you who are my clients, associates, and friends. Over the next six months I have planned several equestrian adventures. In between each trip, I will return to Pahrump for several weeks and will schedule lessons. I will continue to be in communication via email and Facebook, keeping everyone updated on all my exciting experiences.

For the time being I have suspended Equestrian Coaching Edge program. Over the next six months I will collect feedback and suggestions, and begin to craft curriculum for 2017. In the early winter of 2016 I will announce the schedule for 2017 and launch sign ups.

My first adventure began last week as Chunky Monkey and I left Vegas on our way to Silver Creek, Washington, where we will participate in programs offered by Mark Bolender. Mark is a well-known expert in Extreme Trail, Mountain Trail, and Competitive Trail Horse challenges. He is a three-time National Grand Champion and has designed Mountain Trail and Extreme Trail courses across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Chunky and I will participate in two three-day seminars, take private lessons, and complete a two-day judge’s training course to become a carded judge in this exciting discipline. To wrap up our experience, Chunky and I will compete in our first IMTCA Mountain Trail Challenge—so very exciting!

On our way to Silver Creek we’ve stopped in the Portland Oregon area for a few days to visit family and friends, and to relax and rejuvenate ourselves. We leave for Silver Creek tomorrow.

As I embrace this new adventure it’s impossible to truly know what lays ahead. I do believe that the fire and excitement that builds inside me represents the beginning of the rest of my life here on ‘earth school.’ Now more than ever I am committed to living in the now moment, being aware of the many daily miracles, maintaining an attitude of gratitude, and allowing myself to be guided. I have faith that I have the ability to enjoy, celebrate, share, and embrace life as each moment unfolds for me.

I feel it’s important for me to acknowledge the spiritual essences that currently influence me. I believe there is a higher power that is present in my life that guides me and provides insight through my thoughts, feelings, experiences, through the people who show up in my life. I have a deep gratitude for each and every person who touches my life in meaningful ways, allowing me to reflect on my behavior, beliefs, and actions so that I can continue to evolve to be a better coach, trainer, colleague, friend, community member, and family member. Without you, I would not be who I am today.

I am literally holding my breath to see who will be added to my list of life teachers and how they will impact my journey.

Special thanks to Team HHB—Karen Vowell, Maja Hinkle, Jamie Murphy, and Michael Trumble—who are staying at Happy Hoof Beats and taking care of my equestrian facility while I follow my dreams. Without their unwavering support and presence this would not be possible.

Barbara H. Callihan

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