My delightful guest journalist, Milly M, has contributed the following observations:
"Working and growing up with horses has taught me a lot over the years, learning about creating and forming relationships, responsibility and how we view ourselves as individuals. Having and being around horses teaches you many things, but many of us forget that they also bring us a huge amount of physical and emotional benefits too. It gives us purpose, teaches us patience and gives us something to be passionate about – the list goes on! Sometimes I think it’s good to reflect on what horses bring to our lives and why they make us happy. This infographic shows many of the health benefits that horses can bring us."
Back in February 2019, I was honoured and delighted to receive a request from a startup non-profit organisation called LOVE GROWS LOVE.
They asked if they could use my poem, "The Horse Is Not Here", because they thought it captured the essence of the “Power Tools For Living” program.
Of course I was happy to give them my blessing. I also greatly appreciated their courtesy in asking for permission and their professionalism in acknowledging my authorship of the poem.
And I love the image they have paired with it on Facebook! Hope you do too:
Their mission is to engage horses to help participants gain a deeper understanding of faith-based values, therefore improving their quality of life. EAL (Equine Assisted Learning) is an experiential approach to growth and learning in collaboration with horses which can be very powerful for participants from all walks of life.
Check out the Love Grows Love Animal Assisted Learning page on Facebook if you would like to learn more about their work.
I'm sure you've heard inspirational messages, such as: "All you need is X seconds of insane bravery" or "You're just one deal away from financial freedom" or "You can be anything you want to be".
Then you look around and notice that it doesn't seem to be happening for the majority of people. But some people, yes, those people, they seem to have nailed it! So what's the big secret of those who ARE leading amazing lives?
First of all, the big secret is that it's not a secret. Nor is it about several seconds of terror, or finding one cracking deal or visualising yourself into the saddle of the next Charlotte Dujardin (insert the equestrian activity and role model of your choice). Here's more bad news - it's not about being "discovered". As the saying goes, it can take years to become an overnight success (and that's a huge clue, right there)!
So what IS it about? My theory has been extensively tested on humans! Doing the hard yards myself (including living through divorce, debt, devastation and destruction of various kinds), as well as working with literally thousands of people in many different roles, has given me certain insights into why so many of us remain stuck.
Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn, but the big breakthrough remains elusive for many. Have you ever noticed that most people live a repeating series of MYs (Mediocre Years)? Groundhog Day was bad enough, but Groundhog Year?! I'm going to share with you how you can break the cycle.
Okay, here's the answer. It's not in the Moment or the Deal or the Dream. It's in the Plan and the Habits and the Action. I know it works because I have been stuck myself and I have shaken loose and moved on by doing these three things:
It's simple as 1 2 3, but it's not easy. And maybe because it's so simple, most people simply don't do it! Instead, most people hope things will change as if by magic. It's like wishing you could win the lottery without even buying a ticket! Most people don't even analyse why things stay the same. As Margaret J. Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
IF YOU DO IT, however, things WILL change. You will leave MYs behind and begin to have EYs (Exceptional Years). Put enough EYs in a row and one day you will notice that you have an EL (Extraordinary Life).
Just like the best time to plant a shade tree was 50 years ago and the second best time is now, you can start today.
Here's what to do, if you are motivated to move from MY to EY to EL. Are you ready? Grab a pen and paper! Begin by getting very clear on where you want to be in five years - I mean super clear.
Describe your desired future circumstances in great detail, including some hard data (where are you living, what are you doing, with whom, what is your passive/active income, how much is in your cash reserve etc.). Write it out in the present tense (eg, "It is December 2023. I am ... , I do ... , I have... , I am so glad that I planned this and took the steps required to make it happen!").
Now we reverse-engineer that precise description by creating goals for 2019 that are focussed on getting you to where you want to be in five years. Beside the goals, write down the actions that will progress you towards achieving your five-year outcome. Done that? Beginning with January 2019, take the goals for the year and break them into goals for each month, and, as you get closer to the time and can plan with greater granularity, include goals and action items for each week, each day. Repeat month by month. Around this time next year, review your progress, adjust and repeat the planning and goal setting process. And so on, every year.
Is this what most people do? Absolutely not, so don't be like most people.
Is it what successful people do? Yes it is. (They also maintain a degree of balance. Read this article on How To Get Horse-Life Balance for some tips.)
So I want you to take action. Do it, and let me know how you go. Get yourself a cheerleader if you lack confidence, or a coach if you need someone to help you to plan and keep you accountable.
Festive Blessings To You And Your Horses, And Best Wishes For An Outstanding New Year!
PS: Pop over to my "Hoof Picks" page to download a free 2019 Horse Calendar to help you make your dreams a reality!
By Joanne Verikios, Author, Speaker, Mentor
Here in Australia it's nearly the end of the financial year (30 June) and EOFY sales and hype are in full swing everywhere.
It reminds me that, during all the years I ran the Highborn Warmblood Stud, one of my most important team members never set foot on the property and never touched a horse. Who was he? He was (and still is) my accountant.
Every year I would have a meeting with him and also provide him with updated records about the business of the stud. These included horses purchased, horses sold, natural increase (ie, foals born) and, sadly, sometimes, losses through death or euthanasia. Other records included feed, veterinary, farrier and dentist bills, vehicle running expenses, pumps, generators and other equipment, fencing repairs and the like. I was buying hay by the semi-trailer load and oats by the tonne, so the expenses were significant. I kept track of every cent and dollar that went out and came in and I was grateful for the income tax refunds I received.
The reason I was able to claim tax deductions was because I was recognised by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as running a legitimate horse-related business. The government provides incentives to business people and wants those who qualify to take advantage of legitimate deductions - it's a beautiful thing. I was also registered as a primary producer, which provided some concessions such as cheaper vehicle registration.
If you run a legitimate business - as distinct from an expensive hobby - I hope the 40 possible deductions and depreciations in my handy reference document will help you to reap a bigger tax return (to fund your horsey passion, of course!). You will need records, receipts or bank statements as proof of your expenditure.
Disclaimer: I do not hold a financial services licence and these brief notes do not constitute taxation or financial advice. You are responsible for consulting with your own professional taxation advisors about specific tax circumstances for yourself and your business. Please verify all information with your own accountant in the context of your own circumstances.
Every business is different, so the deductions you may claim will be different as well. Ask your accountant about whether you may be able to claim any or all or a proportion of the possible tax deductions I have listed for you. He or she may be able to suggest others - bonus!
Click here to download Tax Deductions For Horse Businesses.
What are you going to do differently in the new financial year?
Three weeks ago I shared an image on my Instagram account which was automatically posted to Facebook.
It was an inspirational poster that I created on the background of a horse's glossy shoulder. The text, which was almost but not quite a poem and almost but not quite a prayer, reads as follows:
The Horse is not here
to reward your ego
to compete with you
to punish you
to control you
The Horse responds to
who you are
how you feel
what you think
what you do
The Horse is here
to enable you to learn
how to be a better You
- and that is a blessing.
The message that went with it read simply, "Sometimes people think because they "own" a horse, the horse is supposed to be an ornament or an ego booster. When things don't go the way they want, they see the horse as doing it on purpose. Not so. The horse is a gift, a blessing, one of the best pathways to personal development I know for those who recognise it as their super power. This little poster expresses some of my thoughts on the issue." ⠀
So, no big deal, I thought. Another day, another original meme, right? Wrong!!
To put things in perspective, on a good day, the organic reach for most of my social media posts is between a few and a few hundred people, with a couple of shares and a bit of engagement if I'm lucky. Not this post! "The Horse is not here" quickly shot to reach of over 10,000. Then it kept climbing, in leaps and bounds: 40,000, 80,000, 100,000. I was so amazed I kept taking screen shots of its progress.
At time of writing this article, the post's reach is 122,757 with over 1600 shares. Furthermore, that is 100% organic reach.
From a very early age I have been able to tune in to what horses and ponies were thinking and what they were likely to do next.