Many moons ago when I had my first lesson with Joe Fargis he told my sister and I that we had four simple rules to follow if we wanted to ride with him. These rules have been added to over the years but they have laid the foundation for success.
1.) Be on Time
2.) Boots must be Polished
3.) Carry a Whip
4.) Wear Spurs
These are four simple rules but it amazes me time and time again how hard they are for people to follow, especially the first two. These rules do not only apply when taking lessons, but the broader meaning of them applies to life and helping to make yourself successful.
Being on time is so important for many different reasons because it is the first impression you give people and shows respect. In your professional “outside of horses” career, being late can possibly cost you your job or at the very least annoy your employer or client enough that they will not give you as much work. Being late can also cost you opportunities. As the old saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.” When people take their time moseying up to the ring at the show it makes an impression on the judge. Who do you think is going to win, the person with a really nice round who did not keep the judge waiting, or the person with the nice round but was late to the ring by 15 minutes? How hard it is to prepare ahead of time so that you will not be late. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances that may cause you to be late, but then call ahead and give a heads up on why you are going to be late. Realize though that you cannot make the same excuse time and time again and still expect people to trust you. BE ON TIME!
Appearance is key! When you walk in the show ring with muddy boots the judge automatically forms a lesser opinion because you do not look as professional. When a client goes looking for a rider or trainer for themselves or their horse they look for one that is neat and organized in appearance because this will demonstrate how they handle their business. If you walk into a prospective clients office or into work with wrinkled, holy jeans and a wrinkled shirt it may cost you the job. If you have clean boots and are dressed professionally you will feel more confident and perform better.
The last two really cannot be applied to a life outside of horses, but again the meaning of them is what you take with you. Always be prepared! When you get on a horse always carry a whip and wear spurs because it is better to have them and not need them, than to need them but not have them. That crucial moment when you need them, you have to have them; if you have to go get them it will be too late. When going to meetings or making decisions, etc. always be prepared with the tools you may need. It is better to be over prepared than under prepared.
Joe is a very simple person, but after winning two gold medals you have to realize that he knows what he is doing. These rules have served me well over the years and while riding with Joe I learned that life does not always have to be complicated. Start with the basics and carry through. Set yourself up for success and success will follow.