Ep 89- Getting Started in the Horse Industry-a conversation with Molly Wagner

Today, I’m talking with Molly Wagner about getting started as a professional in the horse industry. Together, we are going to tackle two voicemails that came in. Some of the topics we discuss include:
What can I do to gain reputation and experience? The challenge of family and work goals. Gaining confidence, making mistakes, learning on the job, equine careers outside of training…and more!

Click for full show notes

Announcer: [00:00:03] Podcasting from a little cabin on a hill. This is the Stacy Westfall podcast. Stacy’s goal is simple to teach you to understand why horses do what they do, as well as the action steps for creating clear, confident communication with your horses.

Stacy Westfall: [00:00:22] Hi, I’m Stacy Westfall, and I’m here to teach you how to understand, enjoy and successfully train your own horses. This is the end of season eight, Conversations With Stacy. Today, I’m talking with my good friend, Molly Wagner. And together, we’re going to tackle two voicemails that came in around getting started in the horse industry. Before we jump into that, let me tell you a little bit about Molly’s background. Molly is a professional in the equine industry, and she’s worn many hats. She has managed several multi-million dollar brands. Yes, multi-million dollar equine brands in the following areas: structuring sales for worldwide distribution, international product sourcing, setting up major wholesale and retail events, equine events, sponsorships, managing celebrity endorsements, equine photoshoots, customer service, merchandising, product development, marketing, advertising, cat catalog development, acquisitions, budgets, planning and leadership training, to name a few. Let’s listen to our conversation.

Stacy Westfall: [00:01:40] Hey, Molly, thanks for joining me today.

Molly Wagner: [00:01:44] Oh, thanks for having me, Stacy.

Stacy Westfall: [00:01:46] I am–You know, it was funny because we’ve been friends for a long time, so coming up with the topic was kind of interesting for me. Ok, immediately I thought business. Does that surprise you?

Molly Wagner: [00:01:46] No, not at all.

Stacy Westfall: [00:02:02] We talk business all the time and that’s kind of what we’ve done from day one. Sure, we’re out riding our horses and we talk about different techniques and stuff, but we talk about business. And I love the dance of the different angles, I guess, on the industry that we have and the different viewpoints that we have of the industry. And I think that’s why I decided to pull up these two voicemail messages that were left, because I think that you and I could have an interesting conversation based around these ladies that have left voicemails. So if we listen to both of those voicemails, I think it could kick off an interesting conversation that will kind of wind our experience and views of the industry into a roundabout answer for these ladies. What do you think?

Molly Wagner: [00:02:55] Sounds great.

Stacy Westfall: [00:02:56] OK, let’s go ahead and I’ll play these voice messages back to back and then we’ll just dove in.

Kylie: [00:03:03] Hi, Stacy. My name is Kylie, I’m from Australia. I’ve had a passion for horses as long as I can remember. I’ve been riding for over 20 years and the last five years I’ve been studying, starting and training horses. I’ve listened to all your podcasts, watch your DVD, YouTube videos, etcetera. And I’ve joined your most recent course on steering and neck reining. I’d love to become a professional trainer. But there are many blocks, both physically and mentally. I don’t have the facilities that I feel that I need–I’ve got a flat yard and a paddock to ride my horses in and I have four kids eight years and under way to think about. And they keep me quite busy. But I believe this could all be overcome if I have some confidence in my ability. My question is, how do you make the leap from hobby to professional and how do you know it’s the right time? I feel like no one would take me seriously and I haven’t got enough experience and I’d take any criticism to heart, especially from my husband. I am also concerned about horses getting hurt while in my care. I have confidence in my own ability in myself, but I don’t have confidence anyone else will believe in me. I’ve also never competed horses. Is this a must before going professional or can I have my own niche? Thanks for listening to my question.

Stacy Westfall: [00:04:22] Question number two.

Caller #2: [00:04:23] Hi, Stacy. I’m an equine major, and I recently got the opportunity to hear you speak one of my classes. I loved hearing about how you train for shows and what you focus on to be ready after I graduate from college. My biggest dream is to be a horse trainer and or a riding instructor. My biggest fear is that I will not be ready or I won’t have the tools I need to succeed. I’ve talked to one successful professional trainer in the past and she described how she went to a lot of shows as a young rider when most of them gained a lot of horse experience. I made a name for herself that way, but I do not have that kind of experience. I have only gone to–to low rated shows and I do not have access to horses that perform at a particularly high level. I would love to hear about your path to becoming a professional trainer and rider. And what do you think are some things I can do or work towards to start gaining the experience and reputation that I would need? I also find that the riding instruction at my college is rather limited compared to some other schools. How would you suggest that I better myself as a rider, despite being limited to the amount of time I spend with a professional riding instructor? Is there another path that I should be looking at? Thank you for taking the time to answer this.

Stacy Westfall: [00:05:34] Well, Molly, we should be able to answer all of that in a couple minutes, right? Not a problem?

Molly Wagner: [00:05:40] Not a problem. Oh, it could–it could take a while, but I think we could help.

Stacy Westfall: [00:05:46] Yeah, I think we can. And you know, what’s interesting is I listened to these voicemails when they first came in and then I listened to these voicemails when I was taking notes and then I listened to these voicemails right now. And every time I listen the primary thing changes. Like, I have a different like–like this time when I listen to it, I was like, oh, that’s interesting, because there is a dance, a very subtle dance between looking at someone else’s path. For example, let’s just say that they’re looking at me and my path that I took to get where I am. There’s a very subtle dance between looking at the path I took and comparison. And–and I think to me, when I’m–when I just took that note this third time that I’ve listen to these…it’s just such a subtle thing to tease apart because it’s like totally natural to look at someone else’s path. And it’s really helpful because sometimes you can avoid some pitfalls. But I think there’s this really subtle dance of making sure you don’t get too much into the comparison thing, because I guarantee this you see more of the pretty side than you see the ugly side just because, like, I’m less likely to make Facebook posts about that. You know, I try, but really, you know, that that’s not gonna be as prominent. So interesting how I keep getting different things out of it every time I listen.

Molly Wagner: [00:07:12] Yeah, absolutely, I can–you know, I get that same feeling when I was listening to them. There’s a lot that you can take away. There’s a lot in there, a lot more than you would originally think the question is, right? But I think the biggest thing that, you know, I’m taking away from it is that I don’t think any two parts are the same. There might be parts that are similar. Right? And I think when you look at people, take you, for example, Yeah. I doubt people really have a real good understanding of all the challenges you had, right? It all looks like, you got here. Now, can someone just give me that recipe right here? But at the end of the day, I mean, whether it’s, you know, folks like you or, you know, different people that I’ve met throughout the business world, right? There’s a lot of similarities in what they took on its challenges. Meaning what–that they all had to overcome things, but the paths weren’t the same, if that makes sense. It was just the fact that everyone had to overcome obstacles and everyone dealt with them successfully sometimes and other times they failed. But the thing is, is that they learned from that and failed forward, if you will, and kept moving on, right? And that’s how they got to where they’re at today.

Stacy Westfall: [00:08:44] And I think so….two things. One of what I heard you just saying there is there is, almost that it’s more of an attitude of moving forward despite the failures. And I think the best way for us to illustrate that might be to talk about like the first five years of each of our careers. And, you know, just to be clear, you know, your considered a non-professional when you’re showing a horse, like in training or something like that, because you don’t make your living by training other people’s horses. You have your own horses on the side. But you’re really, really deep in the industry in–in so many levels, the manufacturing side of it, the, you know, distribution market, you understand a lot of the different levels. And so what I love about this is that as we’re talking about it just sort of indirectly–and maybe it’s a whole other podcast. I actually know it is. It’s a whole other season I’m talking about doing. But there’s–there’s so many different paths that we can follow. But I’m going to illustrate the kind of more classic trainer path. But I think it’s also interesting that you could compare and contrast your first five years of kind of getting in to the industry and some of those things that people…Like that I think some of these people that are listening, they’re in these situations like these ladies are, are–they’re struggling with and they’re feeling all of this confusion and all this energy and all the struggle, and they feel like they must be doing it wrong. So I think. Do you want to start with your path or would you like me to start with my path?

Molly Wagner: [00:10:29] You can start with yours. That works, I think the only thing I would say with that is to start the whole thing off with their–their confusion, right? And trying to figure out where to go is totally normal, like…And it will only get clear. So have confidence in that, is what I’d tell these two ladies starting off before we even get into our five years. It will get clearer. And it’s OK. Everybody has started exactly where they are. So…at some point. So yeah. You go first.

Stacy Westfall: [00:11:06] Yeah. I want to follow up with that comment you just said, because it would it made me think of was, you know, I attended a–Dan Miller does a career thing and he wrote the book 48 Days to the Work You Love. And at his career conference, he had said that some of the highest money earning years for people are later in their life, like 50s to 60s, because what they’ve learned all the years before that were the things that they didn’t want to do. I thought, wow, that’s really impactful. And I think that’s kind of a piece of what you were just saying. There is–it’s almost like the more things you find that you don’t like and they don’t fit or because you thought–like for example, at one point I thought I wanted to have a tack store and I opened it up, I started it. And then I was like into it for not very long. And I’m like, no, that was not like–the–my version of it from afar and the reality of it didn’t line up. And that’s OK, because now I don’t have to spend the rest of my life wondering. I’m totally confident. I don’t want one. But, you know, that was like a…you know, it wasn’t like an easy snap decision. It’s like a big commitment to go in. And it’s a–it’s a–it’s a deconstructing to come out. So that’s where I’m saying, like, sometimes even in that comment that I just made, you don’t feel all of the struggle that went into making the decision to say yes to the tack store, walking in with all of the excitement and then deconstructing it all the way down. Like now I just make it sound like easy. But that’s not because I mean to, it’s because I’d have to write an entire book about just that one chapter of my life. So that’s very–So, you know, I guess I’m going to–I’m just gonna do some touch points, you know, in the first few years that might resonate with with these ladies. First of all, I graduated from an equine college and got married just a couple months later. So great. Actually, I graduated in May and married in June. And then I personally knew that I wanted to have children. And I also knew myself really well that I wanted to have them early because I was afraid that if I got started down the path of doing a lot of training, which is very physical, I was afraid that I would set myself up and end up in a position where I had a horse that was really headed somewhere. And I didn’t think the timing would be right for getting pregnant because I would want to stop. And I was afraid, knowing myself personally–this is not to speak to anybody else’s choice–but I was afraid that I would, you know, choose not to have children or do something drastic like that, you know? And so literally, I was like, looking ahead. And I thought, if I have if I have my kids now, I love that my mom was young and I love that the the energy that it brought to it. There were just–I just weighed out literally, weighed out the pros and cons. And I was like, I really want to do this now. And so had all three of my kids very back to back. So graduated in ’97, got married in ’97, had, uh, first son in ’98, second son in ’99, third son in the just the–like in 2001. And so really if you look at the first few years of, of us in business, we started training. My husband started training some outside horses within about a year of us getting married and I started doing like lunge line and stuff. And I was cleaning stalls and I was doing kind of the support stuff because I wasn’t training, because I was I was pregnant and taking care of the kids. And I was doing what I could fit in on nap times and on the side. But it’s it was definitely, you know, it was definitely a struggle in that area, but it was one I chose.

Stacy Westfall: [00:15:07] And I think that was really helpful for me. I didn’t know I was doing that. That’s that mind work at the time. But I think because it was such a deliberate decision. So I’m gonna throw one nugget literally. This is a fascinating thought, but you can decide any day that what you have is what you want. So, like sitting here at my desk, at my computer, in this situation that I’m at right now, I can be like, this is what I want. So what I guess I would say is like. There’s some serious power in choose–in being able to say, like, I’m choosing this, and sometimes that comes before when you make the decision, like I did, to be like, I want to have all of the children right now in this timeframe. But you can literally–but the mind boggling thing to me is you can say, like, I choose this now. And it releases all this power and it can literally be choosing something you already have like this Mac computer that I have sitting on my desk. I re-choose you now. Otherwise, you end up in a yard sale tomorrow. So I don’t know. There’s something around that dance that’s interesting. So, yes. Can you give a little bit of your beginning phases?

Molly Wagner: [00:16:22] Yeah.. So my beginning phases were, you know, I can hear a lot of, you know, my beginning phases sounded a lot like the two voicemails that we heard, right? The uncertainty. What are you doing? And all of that. So I–you know, I actually started off my career, as you will, graduated high school. I knew myself pretty well to know that college probably wasn’t going to be for me. And, you know, I debated with that whether or not that was a good decision or not. But I have good people in my life that were like, you’re gonna be fine with, you know, not going just because of the way I learned. So I actually started off running heavy equipment and had been around business pretty much my whole life because that’s what my family does. So I had a lot of good mentors in that area and actually was working for the family business running equipment. And so I, too, decided that I wanted to have children at a young age. And, you know, I got married at 21 and I had my son at twenty four. That wasn’t–having kids really wasn’t conducive to working on an asphalt paving group because of the fumes and just the hours and things. So I had my son and I chose to want to stay home with him for a while.

Molly Wagner: [00:17:53] And those years were tough because, you know, I, I want I’ve always wanted to do more. It’s wired in me. And there are times that I wish that I could back that off a little, but, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to be there when my son was little, right? So I stayed at home. And the way I did more was I took on more children and I watched kids here at my house and I had my son and I very full days. And I missed that adult interaction with business, right? And so I’d grown up loving horses similar to the gal that’s done it for–ridden for 20 years and trying to figure out, what you do now, right? And so I was like, you know what? I think I’m ready to go back to the workplace. Well, I had within that basically how it all started was I went to work for a prominent tack and accessory company and I actually learned about it in the classifieds in the newspaper. They were hiring for a position that I totally wasn’t qualified for. I mean, not even close. I mean, they were wanting like Mandarin-speaking like human to work with overseas suppliers, right? Totally not in my wheelhouse. But I’m like, this is a horse company. Like, I could do this job. So I wrote up my first resume I’ve ever written in my life, sent it off, and my passion for horses must’ve showed because they called me in and I was like, yes, I can totally do this, right? And it turns out they called me in for a position of answering the phones, right? Because I really wasn’t qualified for that position. So I went in and started answering the phones. And it all just kind of went from there. I…it wasn’t what I expected, but I was excited to be in a spot where, as I tell a lot of people, I could bloom where I was planted. And so that’s what got me started in the industry was answering the phones for a company. And it was it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn’t know it at the time, but it really was. So you never know where it’ll start.

Stacy Westfall: [00:20:27] Yeah. Yeah. And I–I love that because, you know, I love that you applied for a position you weren’t qualified for, actually.

Molly Wagner: [00:20:39] It was like the head of purchasing, right? At this big company. I’ve–roller on a painting crew. But I was like, hey, I’m a hard worker. I could do this. Oh, ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

Stacy Westfall: [00:20:56] Well, I think the other thing that it shows, though, too, is I really wonder if we could track down the person that read that. You know, the other thing that I think sometimes people…block themselves because they’re afraid of what the other person will think when really somebody could they could look at that and they could say, what was she thinking? And somebody else can look at it and say, this person really wants to be here. This person really wants, you know, the company, the culture. Like you said, you said you wrote it from the angle, like the horses. It’s like–And I think sometimes the under rated piece that we carry with us that’s so strong and we don’t realize it is the passion that we have for something. And so the passion that you had for the horses, for being involved in the industry, I would bet you, is what showed–shone–shined through your, you know, your resumé, which is also fun that that was your first resumé ever, you know, and I’m sure that’s what shined through. And then any other follow up would have just stayed totally true to that. I think that’s where, when you do realize that there are, you know, for example, like that you really want to be in the horse industry and that you were very open to getting your foot in the door. I think that’s a very appealing thing to hear versus like you coming in with, like, I’m–like with with more of a rigidity and a like, this is the only position. And if I can’t get it done this way…like this–I think that that’s what probably was shining through. So, yeah, interesting. So is there a way….I’m trying to think of how….Because to me, this is also plays in with, in the second question it–basically one of the things was, what can I do to gain reputation and experience? So going from your application that–were–that you weren’t qualified to even apply for. How do you think…What do you think was there? How did you gain that reputation and experience to move up through the company?

Molly Wagner: [00:23:17] You know, one of the things that they do, things that I noticed within the company pretty much right away was one of the things you heard a lot was this talk about blooming where your planted, right? And I thought, well, this must be important to moving up in the company, right? And you could, you know, the longer I was there, I understood that people moved up, right? So they obviously promote from within. So I–So I took away, I’m going to be the best person. I’m going to do my absolute best to be–and I’m a little competitive–So, so I am going to do my absolute best job that I can possibly do. And I am going to try to do it even better than what the job description says. I’m going to try and do more than what they ask. I’m going to ask, can I do this? And then I’m going to do it better than they’ve ever seen it done. Like, this is what’s going through my mind, right?

Stacy Westfall: [00:24:15] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:24:16] And so that, and then one of the other things that I took away very early on from there that I still see very on a regular basis in all business aspects, was this thought that making your boss’s life easier. And so, you know, I’ve noticed it with, like people that I’ve worked with, right? There’s kind of like this thought. And and it’s–it’s true to some standpoint, right? But there’s this thought that your boss is there–and technically, as a leader, when you move up, if you have people that are reporting to you, you are there to serve them, right? And that is the mindset that you have. But you–if you take a look at what your role is…is someone that is working for, you know, that superior, right? One of the easiest ways to move up is to do your job really well and make their life a heck of a lot easier.

Stacy Westfall: [00:25:17] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:25:18] You know, the the boss asked to stay late because someone didn’t get their job done and misses their kids T-ball game is not thinking about promoting you. So, you know, I think it’s interesting because there’s this thing that I observed through people where it’s this psychological words like, well, they’re my boss and they make more than me. So, you know.

Stacy Westfall: [00:25:18] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:25:44] It’s OK that they have to fix it or stay late.

Stacy Westfall: [00:25:47] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:25:48] And so, yeah, in theory, that’s accurate. But the one thing I found was if I did it to the very best of my ability and I actually at–you know, I’d be like, I can do that if you need help with it. I have all my other work done. You gotta get all your other stuff done really good first and then ask for more. Like, I can help you with that if you want to go to your kid’s ball game. That’s–that’s how I moved up. Bottom line. Yeah, I was almost always the last one to leave the office. And…but I knew I got a good consult from my dad when I was young. He always said, you have to put in the time. And the sooner you do it, if you work when you’re young, the quicker you’ll get where you want to be. But you have to put it in initially. And so I took that to heart and took the bloom where I was planted at heart and trying to help my superiors make their life easier. And that was it. It was really that simple.

Stacy Westfall: [00:26:46] Yeah, that’s–that’s what I would have…I didn’t know you at that time period in the beginning there. But I totally would’ve guessed that because when I met you, that was what resonated from you. And even just, you know, a week or so ago. And we’re riding together and you’re getting to load up and you’re like, hey, can I help you with anything before we take off? You know, it’s just this piece that being around you is it’s–it’s very much there. And I think the–what happens is when–because I’m going to speak to this a little bit in my side of the industry–is that, you know, if if that’s genuinely where you’re coming from, then people are more likely to give you responsibility. And as a as a horse trainer, as a person who takes somebody’s horse into their home, like–so when the horse would come to my house in Mt. Gilead when we trained horses full time, when the horse would show up, somebody is dropping off their horse, which they care about a lot. And so my willingness to call them regularly…I mean, I had customers that I would talk to every other day on the phone. Every day if they wanted to. But it was very common to stay in–in a lot of contact, especially if I didn’t know what their preferred level of contact was. I always went on the higher side, you know, unless they were basically kind of telling me they didn’t need updates quite as frequently, then I was more likely to be reaching out, which it’s almost like, you know, how there’s a little joke with farriers, sometimes. I have a really good farrier friend and he wears some really funny farrier based shirts. But, you know, it’s like that simple act of calling–if you have a farrier that calls you when they’re gonna be late. That’s an amazing thing because sometimes in certain industries–his T-shirts crack me up–you know, some industries have some jokes around them about that. Well, if you just, you know, go to the other side of it and it’s like when I was in college, I think they did a great job of making us–They had us write, they called them colt papers. Like c-o-l-t, colt papers. And every time–every month we had to write a paper and send it to the person who had the horse in training with us. And we had to give them a kind of a recap of, you know, what we’d done with the horse that month and how it was going and all that kind of stuff. And I took that little piece that was was assigned to me as paperwork, homework in college and basically just blew it out of the water when we opened up our business. So kind of similar to what you’re saying, like it was like, how can I do this really well? Well, I’m not going to write. I’m going to call them. I’m going to, you know, later on if email or text or whatever. As the technology changed, basically, I’m going to stay in contact with them a lot. And those are the little things that build your reputation faster than any ad I’ve ever run in anything, anywhere, because that ability to just to say, I’m returning your call, but I don’t even know the answer yet. The–you know, the farrier hasn’t got back to me or I need to ride your horse five more times before I’ll know or, you know, it’s too early for this or no, we missed that. That’s not a good timing. It’s just staying open to that. And that, I think, has helped my reputation. And then–and then I think to speak to the experience side of it, like you said. Think of all the experience you were gaining every time you said yes. And can I help you with something else? I think a lot of times that’s where when I worked for horse trainers when you were doing that kind of stuff. That’s how you got to ride when you did all your work really well, when you cleaned all the stalls and you rode, you know, or did the groundwork and cleaned tack and did, you know, rode the few horses you’re supposed to ride and you’re still standing there at the end of the day, watching them ride their horse after you’ve been there for twelve hours and you’re standing there on your “own time”. That’s when they start to be like, oh, this one this one really wants this. And they’re more likely to be like, hey, why don’t you get on and feel what this feels like? And that five minute ride can change everything. And it speaks to the experience by being dedicated.

Molly Wagner: [00:31:11] Oh, absolutely. It it totally does. And that is one of the common threads, Stacy that I see. Whether it’s someone that wants to be a horse trainer or someone in the business world, that the person who did their work did it well. And 12 hours later, they’re still there watching them ride because there’s still more to be learned that day. You can apply it in all different aspects. But that’s one of those threads that I see with people that I’m like, how do you get there? And then they tell you. And you’re like, oh, it’s really very similar to somebody else’s story. But it might be–it might be doing something totally different, right?

Stacy Westfall: [00:31:51] Yeah. No, I want to add a little bit to that, because I think especially for me, some of the questions I get that dance around the family idea. I think I’ve got two different, you know, ways to wind this together, because some of the hours I’m talking about don’t seem like they would be super, like, balanced with family life. And for sure, personally, I think that if somebody could go back and watch, like a video, they would just plain think I was crazy because I was always like, well, there’s always the time when they’re sleeping. So, like, when they were sleeping, I could be working. And so there was also the dance with my husband, Jesse, was a horse trainer. So, for example, when you want to talk about like facility, family, work, getting started, I think one of the illustrations was when we very first started taking courses in training and having the children the same time. I was also working a job at the–at a bank up until my first son was born. And then I made a similar choice that I wanted to stay home. And I my husband would get up at like 6:00 in the morning and leave by 6:30 in the morning to go to his heating and air conditioning job. I would take care of the kids and then we would meet down at the–we didn’t have a facility of our own. We were renting a house and we would go down and meet at the place where we were boarding the training horses. And so we boarded the training horses, which took, you know, it took a chunk of the money out, but we didn’t have a facility and we had an old minivan that we could fold or take the backseats out of, depending on which one, because they kept dying on us and we kept getting new ones. New as in, new to us, like but like maybe this one’s window won’t fall down while you’re driving it down the road kind of van.

Stacy Westfall: [00:33:44] And so the back of our van behind the behind that second row, that third row was, was gone. And we basically use it like a playpen. And we would take turns from the time that he would meet me there at about 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon until about midnight. We would work horses and we would take turns. Like I would ride a horse and he would be playing with the kids and then he would ride a horse and I would be playing with the kids and we would literally duel back and forth like that until like midnight, drive home, go to sleep, and the whole thing would start again. And that was how we spent ’98, ’99, and then we bought our first house where we moved horses over to our place in 2000. And then we did a similar thing where we had an intercom system to the house and we could, you know, we could tag team on and off. So it’d be like, hey, I’m done with this horse, you know, and I’m getting ready to come in. And we could–we looked like some kind of a, you know, the house was 50 feet from the barn and it would be like, you know, tagging hands through the garage and being like, you know, one in, one out. And it was–it was pretty crazy for sure. And it was long hours. But we did pull off family and work. And, you know, my kids grew up going to our shows and spending time with horse people. And, yeah, it was it wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it. And I think there’s a lot of creativity that you have to have go into it too.

Molly Wagner: [00:35:23] Yeah, there’s a lot of creativity and just a lot of, you know, you’ve got to give yourself a little bit of a break because it is crazy, right? When you’ve got a family and stuff and things never go, most of the time, how you think they’re going to go when you know, when you’ve got little ones and have a family. But try and you can come up with creative ways. I mean, I remember when I first went went back to work, right? You know, I did drive there and everything. And so I’m trying to think, man, how do I cut any of that down? Right? So one of the things I did was I talked to him about working 4 days and 4 tens. Four 10 hour days. So that..and then I’d always do more than that, right? But then that’s how I kind of started going back into it so that I could still have the time to take care of the home and the family, right? And so there’s different things that you that you can do. There would be nights, you know, that, you know, family members would pick my son up from daycare. Help me out so I could work really late that night, right? Or different things. But yeah, you end up getting creative. I mean, I don’t think for about ten years, I very rarely actually took a lunch break, yeah, breakfast or lunch. I still don’t do it very well because I’ve become so used to not doing it. Now I’ll tell you, you do need to eat something because that’s not good, because I’ve been there.mI should at least like grab something. My–my choice is coffee till about 3 or 4:00 in the afternoon for a while and you know, from a health standpoint that’s not a real good idea. But a–but a–there was jokes around the office about that because I’m a relatively peppy person. Someone I think mentioned–actually the owner of the company–that are we sure we should still be allowing Molly to drink coffee at 3:00 in the afternoon, but. But anyway, I think you just you end up making those decisions because there would be a meeting that they would, you know, kind of like you get in a five minute ride on the horse…There would be the meeting. Hey, would you want to sit in on this meeting? And it is the only hour that you didn’t have something blocked out. Right. And you’re like, absolutely. You know, you know, you grab your apple, hit the Cheetos at the vending machine and off you go, like at a high trot. So anyway, you just, you get creative with and you find time in, in learning. Yeah. So, yeah.

Stacy Westfall: [00:38:09] You know, I think that if people are listening to this and they’re like, wow, that sounds terrible, then I think the I think the thing to take away from that is that, this is not an example of a career path that you would probably want to choose if–if listening to it–Like, I would highly suggest that if it sounds like it would be, you know, some people listen and they’ll be like, oh, my gosh, that’s so helpful. I can see how that would help me. You know, I want to do it. And then there’s other people that are like, that does not sound like me. I wouldn’t use that as, again, back to that comparison versus, you know, looking at different parts. I would totally look at it like, that doesn’t sound like a path that I want to go on. Just like I said, I don’t want to do the tack store path, but I absolutely love people who have them because I still spend lots of money there. So, you know, I think that–I think that you can you can kind of feel out some of the different things, because one thing that I love the view that you have, and this is going to kind of be like an on-the-spot kind of lets–lets volley back and forth. I’ll play the game with you of how many careers we can kind of think of that aren’t as direct in–So like both of these ladies were kind of talking about horse training, pretty much directly about horse training. And yet I said, you don’t train horses professionally, and yet you have the ability, almost like some people would look at it and they’d be like, oh, my goodness, she has the best of both worlds.

Stacy Westfall: [00:39:38] She’s surrounded by horse people. She’s kind of inside the industry. And yet she rides her own horses and, you know, is is doing some breeding and raising some babies and showing at the Congress and the reining futurity. And she’s doing these different things that all sound really interesting. And yet she’s not the “professional” who’s out in the barn doing it all the time. So you’ve got this beautiful dance. But one thing that I want to just kind of buzz through is all the different things that I didn’t see as possible, because the one with the one message did say, is there another career path I should look at? Which I’m not suggesting it is because we’ve still got more to unpack. But there are so many parts I didn’t see when I was becoming a horse trainer. So I never saw the path that, like some of the some of the different things you’ve even done, like customer service for a horse business, I never would’ve thought of that. I never would have thought about, you know, somebody is out there designing the tack sets. I remember the first time you had me come in to help design a tack set, and it was like, oh, my goodness, look at all the conchos, look at all the leather. So can you–can you rattle off a few that that might, you know, just kind of surprise people to think about and I’ll join in?

Molly Wagner: [00:40:55] Oh, yeah. Because this is the fun stuff. This is like the eye-opener part, because I think, like, we all ended up–I mean, I started out wanting to be a race horse jockey. Like one of the first females, right? And then I was 5-10. So that went down in flames. And then you’re like–and I wanted to do–be a horse trainer, right? And then it was like, you know, I just was like, I’m not sure how that’s gonna work out. So I get into customer service and, you know, for a company that does accessories and accessories for horses. And it opened my eyes up. And man, there’s a lot I mean, customer service. And for any of these companies, there’s all the people that source all the cool leg boots, all the cool blanket tops for your saddle pads. There’s the people that design all of the tack, right? That make the pretty headstalls, that make the pretty patterns for the leg boots, right? There’s graphic designers that are building the ads that are going in, that are showcasing, you know, like your hero. Like, you know, I have a graphic designer that does the ads with Stacy in them, right? Lays them all out, makes them pretty, puts them in Western Horseman. Then you branch off on that. You’ve got the people that are working with the companies like the Weaver Leathers and Circle Ys and and Farnams and Purina that are selling the ads for Western Horseman or Horse and Rider. So, I mean, you could get into sales that way. There’s sales to the people who sell the products to the tack stores. There are, you know, there are people out there that work with vets to sell them the drugs, right? And develop the new drugs that are scientists, right? So I think we get stuck with, there’s a vet or the horse trainer or whatever, but there’s a ton. What else we got, Stacy? That’s just a few just off the top of my head.

Stacy Westfall: [00:43:06] Yeah. I mean, like, I walk into the different industries, it’s like, I mean, I have a massage therapist that works on my horses. I have a chiropractor that works on my horses. I have the farrier, which is kind of the classic that–that works on my horses. I have, you know, photographers because, you know, I definitely see the value in and paying for professional photography and and videography. And then it’s–.

Molly Wagner: [00:43:36] Copywriters.

Stacy Westfall: [00:43:37] Oh, my goodness. That’s a huge one. You know, and what’s really interesting–

Molly Wagner: [00:43:41] That’s really awesome, if you have experience in the horse market for writing copy, because it’s a total emotional…So if you’re–if you’re out there and you are awesome in your literature class and you can write, just know that there are people–copywriters–need it.

Stacy Westfall: [00:43:58] Yes, that’s exactly it is so funny you were saying that because I was thinking same as a photographer. Like there are angles that flatter a horse and there are angles that don’t and and–for the copywriting, oh my goodness, like that one would be wide open because some days at the end of the day, it’s like, you know, you–you look at like a leg boot or something like that, like it is an art form to talk about how–like what the different pieces of it are and to make it, you know, relate to whichever industry you’re marketing to. Like, you know, whether you’re marketing to a barrel horse person or whether you’re marketing to a reining horse person, you’re phrasing is going to be different. And so, you know, for some of the different things, it’s really just interesting to think about how niched down it can get, meaning that you say something like photography and like, oh, my goodness, if you can–if you can take pictures and write, you are like, golden. This is now–

Molly Wagner: [00:44:55] Oh yeah.

Stacy Westfall: [00:44:56] Like, that’s like–because now you’re definitely like–see you’ve got some kind of the graphic design and the ads and there’s so much moving digitally now.

Molly Wagner: [00:45:05] Yeah.

Stacy Westfall: [00:45:06] Like a–it’s a–it’s a consuming monster and like…yeah…I mean marketing for people. So like if I’m the professional that’s in the barn that’s training the horses–I interviewed a lady the other day that that has a website, horserookie.com, And she trades for a lot of her lessons and boarding and and things like that by advertising people’s clinics, which is beautiful because if I’m the one in the barn doing all this work, like, I don’t know that I want to know how to, like, set up a website and maintain it and know how to change the dates and know how to, you know, I mean, how to post it out to this and make sure it gets shared because that takes time. And, you know, so if you can go in and help somebody out like that, which I think kind of winds back over to something we touched on before is–is like when the one lady was asking, you know, about…You know, just what the career paths she could look at. It’s so cool when you get near someone that is doing something you think you like, how you can then all of a sudden see all these other openings, which is what you mentioned when you went into customer service. And then you’re like, you got in there and went, oh, my goodness, there’s so much more. So I think that’s where being flexible with going in, trying something out…Be clear with the company, you know, be clear with the person that’s–that’s interviewing you or whatever, you know, because a lot of people do trial periods and things like that and go in and then look around and then really try to look to what your strengths are. So…yeah, yeah. So there’s a lot here, Molly.

Molly Wagner: [00:46:48] Oh there there is so much. And that’s, that’s the cool thing. Like if it goes goes back to like what you were saying about, you know, people that say that they make that their most massive money in their 50s and 60s, right? You know, I just turned 40. So I’m really looking forward 50…But it is–it’s, it’s one of those things where what you end up finding is, I would say, right, wrong or indifferent. I, I took on things that that weren’t even necessarily stuff I thought I wanted to do or stuff I necessarily thought I was good at, right? Only because–and this is just me, right? I wanted to understand how the whole thing worked. I felt like I could do a better job if I had–if I was an expert in, say, purchasing, right? But if I learned enough about it that I could make quicker decisions for a whole picture, right? Or…And you know what? It was–there–it was really hard because a lot of times I bit off more than I could chew. And you figure out how much you can take, right? But what it did was now it has helped me have a pretty well rounded picture of how things work. And it helps me wherever I’m at in the process, if that makes sense. So for me, I took on things that I was pretty sure I wasn’t–it wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but I was eager to learn because I knew it would help me in other areas. And I think that’s why when you’re 50 and 60, you do make more money, because if you learn things and all these different areas, the amount of time it takes me to make decisions on whether or not I should take on a project or how long that project’s going to take is totally different today than it was 15 years ago.

Stacy Westfall: [00:48:55] So true. Yes.

Molly Wagner: [00:48:58] And that’s what makes it fun. So even though it feels probably a little to some folks today, like, oh, my gosh, I have no idea what direction I’m headed, just take every what–what your gut tells you is a good opportunity. Take it and like, do it, because now you learn from it and you will use that in 10 years. I guarantee you, you will.

Stacy Westfall: [00:49:18] Yes.

Molly Wagner: [00:49:19] And it just now I, I have so…my quality of life is just so improved because I took the time to invest in learning. And it doesn’t take me nearly as long now to do the things that I that would take me, I mean hours and days before. And so what I’m so glad I did it.

Stacy Westfall: [00:49:43] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:49:44] That’s why I think people end up being successful in the end. It’s because they put in the time in the beginning.

Stacy Westfall: [00:49:49] Yeah…You know, I had–I had like three more bullet points before we close. And you just spoke to two of them. Number one was like kind of the “right time” phrasing that showed up. And one of the questions like, when’s the right time? And I think you just answered that by like you say yes and you dive in and you do. And then you realize, wow, that was a lot, because there isn’t really–I know it’s so cliché to say there isn’t a right time, but it just feels so true. That’s why it’s a cliché. So that was the one thing that I just heard right there. And then the other thing that I heard you talking about in there, which was on my on my bullet point notes here, was–and I’d like to go a little deeper into it–is the phrasing that I pulled out, others won’t take me seriously. Now something there because you were, like, willing to.–And I have been also willing to dive in and do things where others either don’t take you seriously or like with the bareback and bridleless, like people were literally like, you’re crazy. They weren’t–they weren’t being subtle about it. They were direct, face on, like, this is not a great idea. So what would you say to the phrasing, others won’t take me seriously?

Molly Wagner: [00:51:06] You know, that’s a that is really–that is–that is a battle and one battle only with yourself. Really and truly, because at the end of the day, there’s not one person on this planet that it matters more to than you. And I think we sometimes get this in our head that, you know, people’s viewpoint of us is as big as how we view us, right? It’s actually not, you know. You know what I mean? And so it could be in a fleeting moment. You know, I just remember the one–you probably remember that Stacy–it was actually kind of funny, but I was on a horse. And as I’m riding the horse in the show pen it hits me and I’m like, all these people are thinking, I’m….the…I am terrible, right? This looks so bad. And I just remember thinking, who cares? We’re dragging this lead in this circle, I think we’re three quarters of the way around. And I’m still trying to get him to change. And I’m like, all you can do is– it’s like the time that I almost ran over the judge. And I saw he had Winnie the Pooh on his tie. What are you going to do but laugh? And just because you miss him, thankfully, ride by and say, nice tie. I mean, if–you know you can’t be that serious with yourself.

Stacy Westfall: [00:52:34] Yeah.

Molly Wagner: [00:52:35] I mean, it’s hard not to be. I will tell you. But like, every time I get this, oh, my gosh, we’re dragging this lead and we’re halfway around the circle…Like, who cares? I’m gonna come out of the pen and I know I have the right people around me because you and Jesse were there and I’m like, they’re gonna help me fix this. And you just have to have people around you that help with that. And then just try to shove out the people that, I mean, who cares what other people think? If you would have cared what other people thought with your Roxy ride, just think of the opportunity you and so many millions of people in this country would have missed.

Stacy Westfall: [00:53:14] Mm hmm. It’s you know, you just–you just–you just said it perfectly because, you know, it does take people around you. And you’ve been one of those people for me and thank you for it, because it does take people around you that that are OK with seeing you make the mistake and still being like, that’s OK. Like, we’re gonna–like–this is how we learn. We literally we learn from these mistakes and–and you–but you have–if you have this support system around you of people that will help you do that, then it does make it a lot easier because there are times I just remember beating myself up over and over and over again for the mistake I made in the first time I tried the brideless with Can Can Lena in 2003. And I mean, I beat myself up for weeks before my husband was, like I say, brave enough to actually say something because there is a time for…there can be times when you’re like in that kind of…for me, it was like a grief mourning, although there was definitely something unhealthy about the way I was–the level of beating myself up. But at the other end of it, I really–that, that phase showed me that that was not useful.

Stacy Westfall: [00:54:24] Like the beating myself up wasn’t useful. So what you spoke to earlier about you make decisions faster. I make decisions faster that beating myself up isn’t useful and putting myself out there and having the chance. What? Yep. I might drag that lead. I, you know, I might–I might like, I’m getting ready to go do some dressage stuff that’s all going to start to involve the lines of lead changes across the diagonals. And it’s like, I might miss…jump–like the number of ways this could go wrong are much higher than the number of ways this could go right. And I’m gonna go step into there because I really want to learn that bad. So, yeah, I think you–I think you really wrapped it up there well. Nice, Molly with the with the idea and really, truly other people don’t really spend as much time thinking about us because really we think about our our lives and our our thing. And so yeah. Let go of it. And if they really are criticizing you, they’re not your people so…they’re not.

Molly Wagner: [00:55:24] Find your people.

Stacy Westfall: [00:55:28] Find your people. So thank you so much for joining me for today and I will be over to ride with you tomorrow day.

Molly Wagner: [00:55:37] Can’t wait. This has been awesome. Thanks, Stacy.

Stacy Westfall: [00:55:45] I hope that our conversation was helpful to both of the ladies that left the messages, but also to all of you who are listening. I am personally always looking for the broad life lessons that seem to work across the board. Take work ethic, for example. If you look at multiple industries, I mean anywhere, not just in the equine, and you start to see that a theory or an idea like work ethic works, there’s a really great chance that it’s going to be really useful to you in anything that you choose to do. But I also really, truly think that what Molly said about no two paths being the same is true. It’s okay to look at different paths. It’s okay to look at my path, for example. But be sure that you’re doing it from curiosity and not from comparison.

Stacy Westfall: [00:56:35] And I truly want to thank all of you for listening and for the amazing reviews that you’ve been leaving on iTunes and the other podcast players. Your feedback really does make you part of my supportive community–the one that Molly and I were discussing. Thanks again for listening and I’ll talk to you again in the next episode.

Announcer: [00:56:56] If you enjoy listening to Stacy’s podcast, please visit stacywestfall.com for articles, videos, and tips to help you and your horse succeed.

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  1. Laura on December 17, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks so much for your insight on kids – this is something I have thought about a lot, too! 🙂

  2. Kailey on September 4, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Wow! I think this is my favorite podcast yet. Thank you Stacy and Molly! Great job.

  3. Sindy on August 31, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    really enjoyed this episode. Thanks to both of you for the insight……

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