As dawn arrives on the first Saturday of May, and the misty daybreak gives way to its evanescent rise, twin spires begin to reveal a majestic aura. The flower gardens of the paddock reveal fresh spring scents, and you can hear the sounds of stately steeds exercising in the early morning coolness. The pounding of hooves against the dirt sends a thunderous wave and sound of strength through the well-muscled chests of magnificent beasts. This track, these “Downs,” the surface of which has felt the feet of champions for generations, will this day support the feet of those destined for exaltation.
As you behold the gardens, the track, the spires, you suddenly realize there is no place in all of sports that has held the feet of more leaders than that upon which your feet now stand. You are in awe; you feel inspired – inspired to “become someone worth following.” You know you are at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs opened in 1875 and began two of the most prestigious races in all of the racehorse industry, the “Kentucky Derby” and the “Kentucky Oaks.” These races are the oldest continuously contested sporting events in American history. That in itself qualifies Churchill Downs as the leader in the racehorse industry.
Year after year Churchill Downs has not only inspired champions but supported such heroes as “Sir Barton,” “Gallant Fox,” “War Admiral,” “Whirlaway,” “Citation,” “Secretariat,” “Seattle Slew,” and “Affirmed,” just to name a few. These noble steeds and numerous others have gone down in the annals of racing history as true leaders, leaders that have inspired hope and given birth to new vision.
Similarly, inspired by lessons on leadership taught to me from years of training horses, the “Leading by the Reins” program was born. This program, offered by Peak Technical Institute of Maryville, Tn., is a unique equine leadership program for corporate executives, coaches, pastors, police, and city officials – virtually any position you can imagine leadership is required.
My years of training horses from wary wild Mustangs to magnificent Gypsy Vanners from LexLin Gypsy Ranch, have taught me the importance of not only knowing what leadership characteristics are, but also that unless the characteristics are a part of who I really am inside, I will never truly become a leader to the horses in my sanctuary. These characteristics include such attributes as: vision, value, courage, character, boldness, commitment, passion, drive, responsibility, attitude, honor, integrity, veracity, focus, confidence and awareness, to name a few.
Additionally, horses have taught me that character also requires skill, as it is skill that will enable me to cause the horse to realize my leadership role, supported by my character. The equine is dependent upon this in order to willingly surrender its trust, its respect, and its loyal cooperation.
In our program “Leading by the Reins,” I begin each day with a lecture on these skills and characteristics, then each participant is assigned a horse for the three days of leadership training. The leadership training is very much a paradigm shift using the relationship with a horse as not only a visual but a real true living, breathing, and thinking individual that knows nothing but to tell the truth. Unlike a role-play situation that is usually done in many training seminars, the horse doesn’t get to read the script and play along for the sake of a certificate at the end of the training. No, this course is a real training seminar that will change your life because you will see the true effect of your leadership unfold before you.
The “Leading by the Reins” program is paramount in its class, just as Churchill Downs is the premier track in the race-horse industry. That is why we at “Leading by the Reins” have entered in partnership with Churchill Downs through the sponsorship of “Susan’s Girl.” This race is number three on “Kentucky Oaks” day, Friday May 1st, at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs will continue to be the place where leaders arise. “Leading by the Reins” will be the place where leaders are made.
To find out more about “Leading by the Reins” and how you can “become someone worth following,” visit our website at www.LeadingByTheReins.com, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest, or call us today at (865) 238 4004.