The new year has arrived and I've been thinking long and hard about what that's going to mean for Heavenly Gaits Equine moving forward this year. 2014 just happens to be The Year Of The Horse. Considering the roller coaster ride the horse industry as a whole has been on for about the last 10 years now (with more downs than ups), I'm thinking this has to be a good sign for the horse world!
The last couple of years have been a whirlwind here at Heavenly Gaits Equine as well. It's actually been almost 9 years since I first ventured into business and 7 years doing it full-time! That's a huge milestone considering the state of the economy and the number of small businesses that haven't been so fortunate. I won't go so far as to say it's been easy…there were times when I felt like giving up. But the rewards of sticking it out have FAR outweighed the stress of running your own business.
So in looking forward to 2014 and setting some goals and resolutions, both personal and professional, I was having a hard time getting anything concrete in my mind. I have had to make some adjustments over the last year because of an injury and knowing that eventually the physicality of my chosen profession would catch up with me. I needed to continue to take this into account for any goals that I set. I meditated long and hard on this thought, asking God for guidance.
The first thing that popped into my mind was our new puppy. We happen to have quite a lot of pets. Most of them have found us, rather than us finding them. Whenever we've conciously gone to pick a pet out for ourselves, it's not worked out so well. But the animals that God has brought to us have always turned out to be the best ever – big surprise! Our newest addition, Smeagol, has been no different. I found him abandoned by his mother in our garage just before Thanksgiving and an oncoming ice storm. He was malnourished, loaded with parasites and scared to death and only about 10 to 12 weeks old. He has integrated into our family wonderfully, and he and our other dog Eli are now attached at the hip.
So how does a puppy apply to setting business and personal goals in the coming year? Well, it's quite simple really. It has to do with following God's plan and not trying to force my own ideas and expectations to happen…like a square peg into a round hole. I'm a control freak by nature and have a REALLY hard time giving control of anything up (yes, even to the Lord!). So my resolution for 2014 is to try really hard to follow and listen rather than lead. Rather than me just throwing things out there that I think people should learn about, I want to take my cues from you, whom I'm wanting to help. I'm going to allow you to lead me and my business this year. I want to hear what kinds of things you need help with and what kinds of products and services you would find the most helpful for the challenges that you and your horse face.
Some of the things that have come up over the last year are an increased interest for local clinics and individual consultations rather than individual equine massage sessions. It is my nature to be self-reliant and I always want to learn how to do things for myself. I have strived to model my products and services toward that end.
Ideas I'm tossing around for 2014:
- Local Horse Owner Clinics – learning about evaluating your horse with a critical eye, finding things that may become problems later on, and some basic bodywork and natural techniques that you can do at home to help with any issues that might come up, including how to incorporate essential oils for your horse care if you choose.
- Individual Phone/Video Consultations – offering 30-minute consultations where you can send me videos, photos, and questions about challenges you are having with your horse. Together we can step through the various resources to get you and your horse moving in the right direction.
- Video Trainings – covering stretching techniques, how to use essential oils for your horse, evaluation techniques, etc.
- Private Facebook Group – Since a lot of you are not local to me, I still want to be able to help you in the same way I would at a clinic. We could do something similar in a private group setting where you can get your questions answered, have a monthly/weekly call, weekly video tip, etc. Post your videos/photos and then step through the process we would use in a clinic setting.
- Other – If none of the above is what you are looking for, let me know what you would find the most helpful for your and your horse's needs.
So let's make this Year Of The Horse one to rememder by really focusing on helping our horses be all they can be and providing you with the resources to help them. I'm really looking forward to taking this journey with you!
Please feel free to post your feedback in the comment section below or on the Heavenly Gaits Equine Facebook page here – http://www.facebook.com/HeavenlyGaitsEquineMassage.
Lisa Carter is a Certified Equine Massage Therapist (CEMT), with multiple certifications from several different equine bodywork schools. She incorporates her knowledge and experience with Parelli Natural Horsemanship, equine bodywork, using essential oils for animals and as a veterinary technician to provide her clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions for their horses. She encourages and facilitates network building between equine health care professionals, working together to find the best combination of therapies to meet the needs of the "whole horse".
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