The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in Minneapolis funds a unique program called the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute. Over the course of nine months, a group of about 25 leaders from around the country convene four times in the Twin Cities area. Their backgrounds are as diverse as the companies they represent – but they’re all there to clarify the purpose of their work and to articulate the changes needed to enhance focus, commitment, energy and satisfaction.

It’s a fascinating experience for an observer as well as a participant – because the process makes you stop, think and evaluate whether the things that are truly important to you are playing a role in the way you live. It’s a great chance to reflect on whether your current life is in harmony with the life you hoped for.

And that’s a great approach to many practices – including the management of your horse.

What is it you want to get out of the time and resources you dedicate to your equine partner? Over what time span? Are you going about it in the right way? What other opportunities are there to change your approach?

Being Grateful
One of the things I’ve appreciated most in 2009 is the ease of use of the Easyboot products. There’s a lot to be said for simple: a minimum of moving parts offers less exposure to malfunction, and that’s important to me.

A Gluing Refresher
As I was getting ready to leave for the Death Valley XP ride last weekend, the thought of gluing on boots was weighing on me a little. But the fact is that once you have the right tools, the process really runs quite smoothly.

It’s always good to be reminded:

1. Rasp – rough up the hoof wall and clean the sole of the foot.

2. Goob – Apply goober glue to the sole of the foot and use a spatula to spread it out like icing on a cake.

3. Adhere – apply a generous bead of Equi-Pak Adhere along the inside of the hoof boot shell.

4. Twist – twist the boot on. I use a rubber mallet before putting the foot down to make sure the boot is all the way on the foot.

5. Seal – use a little more Adhere to make a seal around the top of the boot, staying below the coronet band.

6. Stand – hold up an opposite leg for a minute or two until the glue has begun to set.

I can get four legs done in about 40 minutes or less. And much like doing a 100 mile race, the concept of it is always bigger in my mind than the doing.

I’m looking forward to a very uncomplicated ride at Death Valley this week thanks to Gloves on Redford and Glue-Ons on Far. And apart from some cool nighttime temperatures, it looks like the weather will cooperate too.

Give some thought to the values your horse management program – and let me know if things are lining up they way you envisioned.

Happy New Year: keep up the bootlegging!