Day 88: A Horse Saved My Life Last Night (And Can Save Yours Too!)

I saw Secretariat last night.

Believe it or not, the movie saved my life.

It could save yours too, but only if you keep reading.

The love of my life, my horse Payday, physically broke me more than once in 2006, with one accident so severe it left me nearly paralyzed.

Though we’d taken Ohio by storm the prior year, placing third in the state with a rookie rider and a horse that was new to the area, most people would’ve sold him without a second thought.

I still thank him every single day.

My divorce made 2006 one of the darkest years of my life. Riding Payday fueled the illusion that I was happy.  If he hadn’t broken me physically, I would’ve no doubt lost what was left of me emotionally.

I’m reduced to tears every time I think of Payday’s emotional burden as he grounded me an hour at a time, six days a week for nearly two years.

Payday was right to show me some tough love and finally say “enough is enough!”

Ask yourself, is someone or something in your life carrying the load for you because you don’t know how to make YOU feel better?

Think of a time when your back was against a wall; a Grand Canyon-sized pit sitting in your stomach, a Mojave desert coating your mouth, and a lump in your throat thick enough to choke you.

How did you escape?  What did YOU do? What do you do when this happens?

Do you call a friend, grab a drink, a smoke, run, eat, go to sleep, pop a pill?

What do YOU do to feel better in that moment? (And the next, and the next….)

Toss fear the keys and it will steer you into a deep dark abyss where you will soon stop looking for the light, and eventually cease to believe it exists.

Fear subsides the second you embrace it.

It’s like standing on the high dive, staring down, stomach quaking and knees knocking. Man, that’s a lot higher than I thought.

What happens when you finally jump (or are pushed)?

A current of energy crackles through your body. You land in the water and glide to the surface. Then, like curtains being ripped open in a darkened room, everything has changed – you are filled with joy because you survived!

It’s time to see life as your high dive.

Every minute of your life matters, if you save even one from being wasted wallowing in fear, sadness, worry or anger, you can save your own life, which is what Secretariat did for me.

Finding a way to get into a naturally happy state, without being a burden to the people in your life, is paramount to having healthy relationships.

You have a choice every time you feel paralyzed and stuck in a bad place.

For example, now I know I can change my state by watching this movie.  Or any movie that’s “moved” me. I have plenty. I bet you do, too. Read a book, listen to the right tune, or watch a funny video on YouTube. It doesn’t matter – switch the gears to flip the switch.

It’s that easy.

I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking, “What a waste of time – big deal, you got in a stupid funk for a bit and a movie cheered you up – there was no life or death situation, no one ‘saved’ your life.”

You are wrong.

Most of us, on some level, live our lives in FEAR of dying or losing something.

Even if you aren’t thinking it, someone is still saying…

Don’t smoke – you’ll die.
Don’t eat too much of this – you’ll die.
Don’t work too hard because when you die you’ll regret it.

The truth is, who cares about dying?

When you die – you’re gone – the “suffering” here is over.

Yet the self-inflicting pain that comes from Living in a state of fear or worry, then enduring it day in and day out, is WORSE than dying.

When you devote time to pleasing, impressing or trying to convince others to love you, you’re paying with your life’s debit card, giving others free access to an unlimited credit line to your most precious commodity – time.

So yes, a horse saved my life last night.

After his story changed my state, I felt new power coursing through my veins, allowing me to realize the impossible is always possible. My energy shifted and my soul opened to the amazing opportunities now flowing my way.

All because a horse with a giant heart and grit, reminded me, “This is your time”.

It’s your race. The only limits are those you set. Even the consequences for “failing” are given meaning by you.

If you believe you can, you will.  Try it – what movie, book, video, song, or anything else has the power to change your state?  How often do you let it? And how often will you let it in 2011?

Don’t let your fears hold you back – let them push you to do more than you ever dreamed you could.

And remember, as Steve Crist from the Daily Racing Form said, “You’re not supposed to win  majors by dozen strokes.  You’re not supposed to score a 100 points, and you’re not supposed to win the Belmont by 31 lengths.”

But it’s been done. You can do it, too. 

Run for the roses and never, ever let fear hold you back again.


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Lori Taylor is a direct marketing specialist who writes about Seizing The Minute at her site, One Click Society. Follow her on Twitter.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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