Introducing the ‘Not Too Old to Learn Challenge’!

not too old to learn challengeWe’ve been celebrating the NickerNews and BestHorsePractices community with guest columns and photo albums dedicated to our readers and their equines.

Inspiring stuff.

And as often happens in the dark, quiet months of winter, I got to thinking:
Let’s do something with these inspirations. Let’s use them to boost our own horsemanship goals.

Credit goes to Debbie Hight, Rob Rowbottom, Randy Rieman and Joe Wolter. With actions and comments, they’ve motivated me to set goals and hold myself accountable.
Debbie and Rob are working with Postcard Jack, Maine’s most winning harness racer. Read more here.
Clinicians Randy and Joe urge riders to constantly challenge themselves and step outside comfort zones. Read more about Rieman here and Wolter here.

Welcome to the Not Too Old to Learn Challenge!


From top: Wolter, Hight and Rowbottom, Rieman

I have two goals: to horse pack in the backcountry and to compete in the Impact of the Horse, a versatility-type event to benefit mustangs, held annually in Heber City, Utah. I’d like to bring Jolene, who would be the first mule ever to compete. Read about the event.
It’ll be quite a challenge. She’s a tough nut to crack and I’m just your average rider, with next-to-no formal education. Read more about Jolene here.

In other to accomplish the Challenge, I’m breaking down necessary steps.

1.    Agree to the challenge and sharing your initiative with a few friends. Call it an ‘initial commitment.’
2.    Set small, incremental goals. Neither of us feel comfortable in arena settings, for instance, so we’ll visit arenas regularly.
3.    Assess strengths and weaknesses (like the aforementioned nervousness in public settings).
4.    Find support when needed. I expect to ask Steve Peters regularly for insight on training hurdles. My friend, Raechel Nelson, has agreed to the Challenge, too.
5.     When things go sideways, just say it’s OK. To be challenged is to win. I’m fine with things not going as anticipated, as long as I try my best.

Consider hitching your wagon to the Not Too Old to Learn Challenge. Throughout the year, we’ll be staying in touch and profiling readers as they work through their Challenges.
Giddy Up!


Posted in Clinicians, Mule, Not to Old to Learn, Reviews and Links, Training and tagged , , .


  1. Great idea! Can’t wait to read about your new journey.

    I don’t think this counts, but I’ve committed myself to doing more traveling with my horse this year. Last year I only went and participated in the local Memorial Day parade due to the work of owning and running a business with my husband. This year I’ve already signed up for a one-day clinic, made reservations at Memory Lane Vacations, and currently making plans for a summer trip to Acadia. None of these things have I done with my horse before.

  2. I’ve been having issues with my horse, not sure if they are health issues that I am not aware of, or just mental issues, with certain things. I’ve had him a year and a half and these issues aren’t often, thank god, but they usually end up with me on my rear end. Not a way I want to end up on any day! So, I am treating him for an ulcer (easier to treat it then to have him tested for it), hoping that’s what it is, but it also might be a back issue, and I will be getting a chiropractor for him too, after I treat him for the ulcer. Once I get past this, we’ll be resuming barrel racing. But I want to be able to do things with him we have either started (arena trail challenge for one) and getting him to trail ride quietly. He starts out quiet but then its not long before he’s not quiet. Just doing what most people want to do with their horse, is a challenge, so, i’m ready!

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