Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Horses / Happy People

Valentino: happy at work.*

I recently wrote an article for NARHA’s Strides magazine on equine stress that will be in their Summer issue. In taking several photos to illustrate the article I decided to use Valentino, an eight-year-old, 14.2 hand, Tennessee Walking Horse cross who only gaits when he is near a mare who is in heat. Vali gives ground and riding lessons to people with disabilities, and he is very good at what he does.

My idea for the photo shoot was to simulate scenarios during a therapy lesson that might make a horse tense and then photograph the physical reaction. The problem was, Valentino is so happy and loves his job so much that nothing we did caused any signs that he was stressed, uncomfortable, or unhappy in any way. In fact, in more than five dozen photos, all you see is a relaxed, happy, confident horse.

I wonder how many people can say that about their horses and the jobs they do. I also wonder how many of us can say the same thing. We spend so much time at work, we should enjoy most of it. Not everyone is able to switch jobs or careers, but there are ways to find more enjoyment in what we do everyday. Here are a few ideas:

1.  List the three best things about your job or career, then see if you can find a way to do more of that aspect of the job. Or, schedule the things you like best during times when you typically get bored or tired. Doing something you love is a great way to keep your enthusiasm up throughout the day.

2.  Set a work-related goal and then be sure to treat yourself to something nice or celebrate whenever you complete the task. This works great for both group projects and also in improving personal performance.

3.  Re-organize your work space so you can find things more easily and can work more efficiently. A little sprucing up around the work place goes a long way in sprucing up your attitude as well.

* For more information on Valentino and what he does, go to Therapeutic Animal Partners

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