You Decide …

with 2 Comments
You Decide …

The article below was written in 2004 for an Arabian horse magazine. As I browse my past articles I realise how my writing journey clearly parallels my years of breeding Arabian horses.

Early in my writing career, I read lots of books about how to write fiction. I did the same when I began to breed Arabian horses in the 1970’s. These days I make a point of printing out helpful articles on writing, just as I drew up extended pedigrees of Arabian horses and read the words of wisdom from older experienced breeders. The information was invaluable in helping me learn what to expect from specific mating’s and to recognise the pitfalls. It’s the same with my writing; I still listen to the more experienced and take on board their criticisms as well as the praise.

Life demonstrates that there is no better teacher than experience. It took ten years to write my first book Tails Carried High, a long time, but when I think back, my life was VERY busy with the stud and my work off the farm. I didn’t set myself a number of words to per day, I wrote when I found the time. I know these days’ people keep saying you must write every day, be productive but what might be a prolific for one writer might be an unsatisfactory amount for another. How you structure your writing days should be what you can manage as long as you move forward. Personally, I don’t count words, I write and then I stop. That doesn’t mean I don’t push myself, I’m just more forgiving by offering myself the luxury of a break if I consider I need it. Also for me it’s important to stop while I still have something to say so the next day I don’t face an empty nothing in my head. Could I possibly be wiser in my old age? I don’t panic anymore if I write something one day and then delete it the next. I haven’t lost much. It’s as if I took a day’s holiday …

I became so much happier and less pressured when I worked out what works for me. Mind you in order to become a better, horse breeder, rider or writer you have to work at it, not dabble at it. In other words know the difference between making excuses not to write and using time with purpose. In closing I must say with both my breeding journey and now with my writing I learn and accept the guidelines of others but I don’t believe in anybody’s rules except my own.

  “Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.”
—Jim Tully, October 1923


You Decide

  By  Carmel Rowley


“Would you tell me, please, which way I go from here?’

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.

“I don’t much care where –“ said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.




Alice and Arabian horse owners are faced with similar questions, which way do they go and where do they want to get to? Difficult questions to answer, except for one difference, Arabian horse owners care which way they go. For the newly initiated Arabian enthusiast the whole scene can be confusing when told what is the right and wrong way to make a success of their exciting new venture.

The flexible attitude of today offers the Arabian horse owner many options to pursue their ideals and dreams. Rightfully, they can decide how their life with the Arabian horse unfolds. After all there is more than one right way to do anything and a great variety of roads to travel to achieve success!  You often hear comments like, “EVERYBODY does it!”  “We HAVE to do it.” “They’ve been doing it for years so it has to be the RIGHT WAY!” It’s really up to each individual to be innovative as they follow the direction that personally suits their ideals. Why follow the road everyone else takes?

It’s an interesting pastime and you may actually learn something if you watch and observe owners and breeders, especially the people you really respect. If these people are writers read their written words, then decide what does and doesn’t work for you. You never know who will offer a suggestion that may change your ideal.

Look for mentors to inspire you. Study the diversity of Arabian enthusiasts within Australia and around the world, there are hundreds if not thousands of successful people living and dead who have left a marvellous legacy from which to learn and prosper. Many admired breeders and owners love to share their experiences, it may save years of trial and error. There’s nothing wrong with listening to the good ideas of your fellow competitors and then applying your own slant to improve on them.

“By the mile, it’s a trial

By the yard, it’s hard

By the inch

It’s a cinch.” -Anonymous

It’s a great reward for an Arabian horse owner to be singled out as a mentor or role model. The best way to show appreciation for the help is to become a success yourself in the field you choose to follow. Quiz your mentor about why they chose their particular path. Also ask them the key attribute’s that contributed to their success. Don’t forget to be generous enough to give due credit to the people who have helped you along the way.

It’s safe to say most Arabian owners crave recognition and acceptance from their peers, which is possibly why many play the follow the leader game. You learn by association and every horse owner has to purchase their horse from someone.

In any endeavour most owners learn to apply what works for them as an individual; your own personal ideals based on the desired attributes of the Arabian breed. Never casually dismiss peoples advice or opinions without first giving them careful thought and consideration.

What do you hope to achieve by entering into a life with Arabian horses?

What is it you would most like to accomplish?

The decision to be involved at either end of the spectrum or in fact anywhere in between offers a variety of opportunities. If your wish is to Network intensely it’s exciting to visualise your plan for success. You can stimulate people’s imagination by creative advertising or showcase your horses by holding Open Days or compete with your horse in the Arabian or open show ring. Possibly, you’ve simply decided to surround yourself with the beauty of the Arabian horse to be a part of and to enhance your day-to-day life. All offer unique insights into peoples values, coupled with continued enjoyment of the Arabian lifestyle.

The question, “How did they do it?” can be answered in a hundred different ways, but

continue to ask, “Why not?” and “What if?” Don’t determine your opinion of yourself by what others say you can or cannot do. Many focus on the short term when in fact with any type of breeding, it’s beneficial to consider how the long term affects your personal journey. This journey can be long standing or a short encounter, intense or laid back, big business, a leaning towards a small boutique collection or family orientated. For most, breeding Arabian horses is primarily a lifestyle and if it’s big money you’re chasing maybe you should search out the next Black Caviar. As with any of life’s journeys the true excitement is in the creation, the challenge of deciding the right path to achieve your dreams, not in the arrival at your destination.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“… so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the cat, “if you only walk long enough.”


                                       BY LEWIS CARROLL



This article was originally written for the Arabian Horse Express December 2003 – January 2004, this edition has been altered from the original.

2 Responses

  1. Katy Carolan
    | Reply

    Wonderful wisdom and advice Carmel, going to read as re-read this one!

  2. Carmel
    | Reply

    So glad you enjoyed it Katy, I know I love writing my thoughts and like yourself there are many who are like minded. It makes me feel that the Arabian horse, regardless of all the negativity at times, is in some very safe and caring hands.

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