This week, we catch up with owner and founder of Motivation Addict, Julia Saillant. She is an amateur dressage rider who owns Zeus, a 14-year-old, 17.1 hand Tennessee Walker. Julie gives us some insight into life as a rider and business woman.
"I started riding at 5 years old and fell in love with horses right then and there. My first horse was a Saddlebred, I rode saddleseat and showed quite a bit. In my 20’s, I was thrown from a park Morgan and fractured 3 vertebrae in my back and it was never the same. When my saddlebred passed away from founder, I waited 3 years and then found my Walker in Tennessee. I wanted him because they have the glide ride and it is much smoother on my back. Now I ride for fun, working on my dressage as I go along. I have no plans to show, but I go to the barn every day. Horses have and always will be a huge part of my life. I am not happy without them.
"I was born as a strong empath, from a young age I would have extreme reactions from violent movies and other people’s energy. My grandmother was clairvoyant and I am also able to pick up on what people don’t say – their energy, intentions and subconscious thoughts. I have always been closed to animals and a few years ago, I noticed that I was able to talk to other horses, not just Zeus. I get words and images from them and I started communicating this information to their owners who were blown away by what I was telling them. I started my business helping people find their true north, but being an equestrian myself and hanging out with so many like-minded people, I realized they needed motivation (for the tough days) and communication feedback from their horse. For those who will listen, it’s invaluable."
This sounds like a full-time job. We had to ask, how does she balance her business and her equestrian life? She said, "Since I am at the barn every day, it’s easy to make friends. I keep a schedule and this year have hired Entrigue because I just couldn’t do it by myself. I couldn’t post on social media, write blogs, take pictures etc. By hiring them, it has given me the freedom to focus on what I love, writing, working with others and I am going to start a podcast and start speaking shortly. Short answer – hiring others to help you is always a good idea."
Along these same lines, Julie also added her piece of advice for equestrians trying to start their own business. "Get help as soon as you can. Being an entrepreneur is hard and can be a long road. You need assistance because you can’t do everything. The sooner you can get someone to support you, the better."
Julie has also had some influential horses in her life. She believes that her saddlebred, Replay, was the most influential one. She says, "He was a very, very special horse. He was at a show barn and had never had a proper owner. He was an advanced show horse who was very sensitive to riders and everything around him and I mean everything! He taught me how to be confident, how to ride as a team, humility, most of all LOVE! I rescued him and brought him to another barn because I knew if I didn’t he would die where he was. Lack of fresh air, sunshine and being able to run were really hurting him (he was always in his stall – show horse). At the new barn he came up lame quickly and the doctor told me he needed a YEAR OFF and he would never show again. Replay looked at me and said “Don’t give up on me!” and I didn’t. I gave him a year off and then we showed and he was amazing. I loved him so much he was a very special horse. We were really bonded. "
Some of the biggest life lessons that Julie has learned from her horses are, "Accept yourself for who you are and where you are. It’s ok if your not where you want to be, you are where you are – accept it. Sometimes it’s hard because we think we should be farther along and we’re not. It’s ok. Also, life and your riding is a journey, not a destination. You learn every day and do your best every time you ride. Lastly, they offer forgiveness unconditionally. Learn to forgive yourself as you forgive them and they forgive us for our mistakes – which are many." Wise pieces of advice!
That all being said... we know that riding is tough -- mentally and physically -- and it isn't just tough for us. It can be tough on our equine partners, too. Julie and her horse Replay show that even though this is a tough sport, Julie's love and dedication to her horses brings her back each day. "I have been hurt a lot physically and as you get older it gets hard mentally. I love horses and I can’t be without them. You need to take your time and give yourself (and your horse) whatever you need. Take the pressure off yourself and give yourself a break. Trust that you can do whatever you set your mind too. Ultimately, if you love the sport enough, you will never quit – no matter what happens." We love that answer, because we know exactly what it feels like to hit that mental block. But at the end of the day, it always comes back to that young girl who fell in love with horses and never looked back.
Thanks for chatting, Julie. We can't wait to hear how Motivation Addict empowers our readers!