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2016 Clydesdale Superbowl Commercial

Every year we have a little fun here at Dreamwinds and amp up our efforts to make Jimmy famous!   As a huge fan of the Budweiser Clydesdales, I anxiously await the release of their annual Superbowl video so when Jimmy joined our Dreamwinds team 3 years ago, we decided he needed to have his own claim to fame!

This year, we had the distinct pleasure of working with Richard Yagutilov ofYougottalove.com World Class Video & Photography.   He really outdid himself for us..it is no small feat working with animals and hoping they will follow the script!  Hope you enjoy our 2016 Clydesdale Superbowl Commercial!

If you like it, please share!   We would love to see Jimmy’s video tour the world!

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A Tail of Hope…

I have always believed animals have so much to teach us.  It’s why I chose the profession I’m in of course.  But I am still sometimes amazed at how it can transpire.   This week was no exception and this is a little off the beaten path for a Dreamwinds post to be honest.  But I’m compelled to write about it because it has had such an impact on my entire week.   It’s about a dog…

For those who don’t know, in addition to my horse “addiction”, I also have a profound love for Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs).   They are extremely intelligent, like little furry humans…only possibly smarter. 🙂   I do a lot of business through social media, but I also connect with friends and occasionally feed my Sheltie obsession through a FB page called Sheltie Owners.   It is a group of about 10K people who share my love for the breed and pepper my newsfeed with beautiful photos and stories of their gorgeous pups.   There is one particular member, Kathy, who would share the antics of her sable sheltie, Agnus Ann every day…sometimes twice a day.  She had a deep love and connection with Agnus Ann and you couldn’t help but stop to read about their adventures and smile.

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This week, I saw the post from Kathy sharing that Agnus Ann had been struck by a car and killed instantly while she walked her on a leash.  Group members share their losses daily on this page and the group shares their grief.  This was nothing new.  But when I read this post, I’ll admit I actually cried.   I cried for the loss of a beautiful dog with a big personality and I cried for the incredible pain that I could only imagine Kathy must be experiencing.   And I was taken aback by this to be honest.   I’ve always been a bit of a softy, but here I was heartbroken over a dog and an owner whom I had never met.

What happened next was nothing short of extraordinary…my newsfeed lit up.  Every single post that evening was people expressing the same deep sadness that I had experienced.  People from all over the world, who had enjoyed following the adventures of Agnus Ann, poured in their condolences, started Go Fund Me accounts, a Tribute Page and donated to rescues…all in the name of this sweet little dog and her owner.  All desperate to do something, anything to ease the pain of someone most knew only through the internet.  What had started as so heart-wrenching, suddenly became incredibly heartwarming.

Within 24 hours, what seemed like thousands of people from around the world, of different faith, race, religion and political views united for the love of a dog and her devastated owner.   They united with a common goal to ease suffering, to bring some light into a darkened world.   And I was struck by it.  Struck by what could happen when people put aside their differences.  Struck by the idea that this little fluffy dog could open so many hearts in a time when world events are closing so many minds.

And it gave me hope and I just had to share…

R.I.P. Agnus Ann xo

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Be Your Own Great Leader…

We had another inspiring and empowering Ladies Night! I may be here to teach, but I am always amazed at how much I learn. Tonight our exercise focused on leading through uncertainty. We partnered the ladies up and had them lead each other blindfolded through a number of obstacles.  We discussed what we look for in a leader in general and what the most important traits are during uncertain times.

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Our horses didn’t disappoint as they guided the learning and inspired new thinking.  Just like us, in the absence of good leadership they can get distracted , they question authority and sometimes just disengage all together.   The ladies shared what they learned about their expectations of a great leader…be positive, have confidence, be a cheerleader, have a vision/plan and be trustworthy.   All definitely great attributes to get the best out of your team.   I then challenged them to think about how they activate those traits within themselves when faced with uncertainty.  An interesting thought.  Many had plenty of examples of how they don’t…me included.   Negative self-talk, lack of confidence, unsure of what to do next and how to focus.   Sound a little familiar? Funny how we expect so much of others and so little of ourselves at times.

We all need to be our own great leader everyday and especially in times of uncertainty. What we say to ourselves, expect of ourselves and challenge ourselves to do and be will make or break us. So when the going gets tough – be positive, have confidence, be your own biggest fan, remind yourself of your vision and put a plan in place.  Then most importantly put some trust in you and leaIMG_0115d on…

Tell me…When faced with uncertainty, how do you lead yourself through it?  Are you your own great leader?  

Thank you ladies for a wonderful evening! I think that is the sun setting on our negative self-talk in the background!  Can’t wait until next month! 🙂

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Horse Lessons: It’s Actually About You…

At first glance most people look at Dreamwinds and categorize us in “The Horse Business”.   It’s an interested conundrum really.   There is no doubt there would be no Dreamwinds, no Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) Centre, without my amazing horses.   I can’t argue with that.   But I’m here to tell you…it’s actually not about them.  It’s about you.

I was reminded of this today as I took Play-Doh out for a trail ride alone.   It was a gorgeous day out and I needed some time to think…to prepare for a presentation I have to make tonight that was in need of a “Plan B” approach.   We had been out cantering our own field last night and I thought it would be good for the two of us to venture over to the neighbours…farther from home…farther from Play-Doh’s herd.    For a lot of horses this can be too much to bare, too stressful…often terrifying it would seem.   But Play-Doh took it all in stride…trusting me every step of the way.   And for a moment I thought… “wow how far he has come.   He’s changed so much and we’re finally coming together as a team.”   I can tell you, and anyone who knows us can attest, we have come FAR.   But as I look back on the 4 years of our partnership…it’s clear.   It was me who had to change, not Play-Doh.

Horses are pretty simple…they react.   Whatever a horse is doing in our presence, chances are it’s merely a reaction to who we are, what we are feeling, doing or thinking at the time.  For Play-Doh to be better, first I needed to be better and not just a better rider…a better partner.

I brought Play-Doh home in 2010 from a short, lackluster career at Woodbine.  He was 2.5 years old and a clean slate.   Nothing to fix, minimal baggage, he would be all mine to make into something special and I was up for the task.   But he had a lot to live up to…after all, I already had the perfect horse in Oliver.   And that’s how it started.   I’m ashamed to say that for the first few years I compared him to the ‘good son’.   In my defence, he was ROTTEN to work with on the ground.  Constantly testing and kicking…nothing like his brother Oliver who would never dream of putting a foot wrong.   He was a bit lazy to ride and lots of work to motivate…nothing like his brother Oliver who was responsive and so keen to please.   Whenever we were together, I was subconsciously (and occasionally consciously) setting out to “fix him” and turn him into Oliver.   Are you seeing the problem here?    How often do we do this with people?   Holding our employees, partners and children up to impossible standards and setting about to “fix them”.   Expecting them to fit into our definition of “the norm” and when they don’t, getting frustrated or worse, giving up.   I almost gave up.   Maybe we just weren’t a good match, I thought.   I have to admit, the dreaded words “For Sale” even crossed my lips more than once.  And I’m sure that he knew it.

When I was made aware of how I was projecting onto Play-Doh about a year and a half ago and realizing how unfair I was being, I first thought…I knew better!  I was ashamed that my goals and expectations had somehow clouded the journey.   But more importantly, I listened and I learned and I made a conscious effort to try to ‘understand him’.   Turns out he has quite a sense of humour…he just sometimes thinks he’s funnier than the rest of us do!   As I stopped comparing him to Oliver, started to laugh more at his antics and appreciate the things he did well, things started to change radically.  So radically, we can now venture on long trail rides alone.  So radically, he now stands calmly in the cross ties.   So radically, we are now a team in the jumper ring and for the first time in my life I’m actually enjoying horse shows.  He was just reacting to me all along.   It was my mindset that had to change, not Play-Doh.

While this was a ‘louder’ lesson learned over time, this is the basis of EAL…it’s about creating self awareness and ultimately change in people using the reactive nature of the horse.   How they react to our communication, our moods, attitudes, thoughts and behaviours helps us understand ourselves and learn how to be better…better leaders, better parents, better partners…better people.    They are more than willing to teach, we just have to be willing to listen.

To Play-Doh – Sorry it took me so long to hear you.  Love you buddy. xo

 

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Life lessons from a simple photo shoot…

Have you ever had “one of those days”?    I thought I had one recently…Dreamwinds Photo Day 2015.   It was a hot and sunny day and we had hired our favourite photographer to come shoot some photos of our farm, our horses and our family.   I was looking to grow our gallery for our business posts and website and had some specific thoughts in mind on what I wanted to get out of the session.   I had visions of gallery quality shots of my magestic horses running freely with their manes and tails flowing, but I was also excited to capture that “perfect family photo”.   You know the one…where everyone is posed perfectly, looking perfectly un-posed and natural with a soft background and perhaps a light wind in our hair.  Is that so much to ask?

Well it seemed my subjects had other ideas and as the day went on, while we were having lots of fun, my dreams of the perfect shot were fading. The type A in me could not believe that my horses & dogs couldn’t hold it together long enough for one decent shot!   Then I got the photos back…and I was reminded of a few valuable life lessons:

  1. “Imperfection is beauty.  Madness is genius and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.’ – Marilyn Monroe
    Thank you Marilyn.  In this attempt at our first family shot with Dirk and my 3 geldings, it all goes awry as the horses break formation and squeeze in.   I am reminded here that we are actually often ridiculous, rarely boring and, let’s be honest, never perfect no matter how hard we try…and that’s ok.CAP_5203

     

  2. “You can’t control everything.  Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out.  Let go a little and just let life happen.” – Kody Keplinger
    For me, this photo is what it’s all about.   That horse-human connection.   You just don’t get that from a posed portrait shot and had I not let go of the reins so to speak and allowed this moment to transpire, I may have missed the point all together.CAP_5213 copy 2

     

  3. ‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken” – Oscar Wilde
    This is Play-Doh…for real.  We gave him the show name “Play of the Day” because he was forever doing something memorable and goofy.   Somehow after seeing this, the glamour shot wouldn’t have seemed right anyway.  Our authentic self is always our best self.CAP_3825 copy 3

     

  4. “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need’. – The Rolling Stones
    There is no getting around it, labour of love or not, work on the farm can be hard and tiring.  And I’ll admit, it can be made harder and more tiring by my constant pursuit of perfection.   Frankly, I needed this photo.   It makes me smile and somehow allows me to exhale.CAP_5189

     

So we may not be appearing on the front cover of Vanity Fair anytime soon, but there is no doubt in my mind that I got my perfect family photo and some gentle reminders that I wanted to share.  When all is said and done, we shouldn’t be so concerned about what should be that we forget to fully appreciate what is.  There was no doubt about it as I looked through the photos…this is my life and my crazy family and I wouldn’t have it any other way!   Captured perfectly. 🙂

photo credit: CAP Photographic Solutions

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Hello!

It seems like there is never a dull moment here at Dreamwinds!  Whether we are working in the stables, running our leadership & team building workshops or just enjoying life on the farm, there are always a lot of laughs and some lessons to be learned.   So I thought I would start to share a little bit about us, our day to day life and some things we learn along the way with the help of our horses.  I hope you enjoy this Dose of Dreamwinds!

Tracey

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them – W. Disney

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