Taking on obstacles one at a time: A Story about a Positive Vision
When a child turned 10 in the Acord family, they could either get a motorcycle, a dog, or a horse, as long as they paid for it and took care of it by themselves. For David, there was no question in his mind about what he was going to get.
“I just got on [a horse] and it was like, ‘Oh, yeah what else would I do?’ This is what I do, this is who I am,” he said. After buying his first pony and taking lessons at a barn down the road from his house, he went to his first horse show and that was when he started to see horseback riding changing his life.
“I was not a super outgoing kid, I was kind of shy and introverted and reserved. And so that started to build my self-image, started to build my self-confidence through the competing as well as the riding,” he said. David describes the connection with the horse as healing and empowering and keeps that in mind when training his students and instilling them with confidence and supporting their goals in the sport.
For David, his goal in riding was established at a very young age. At ten, when asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, he told them he was going to ride in the Olympics, which of course received many different responses.
“I think when you set out on any success journey, this is true. You’ll have a small percentage of people who are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for you, I believe in you!’ And then there’s another percentage who want to protect you from yourself. ‘Oh, you know your parents don’t have very much money, that’s a really expensive sport. Not a lot of people make it to that level.’ They don’t want you to get your hopes up. And then there are some people who are just mean. You know, they’re like, ‘Oh, well you could never do that.’”
“But I think there are a few different ways you can react to that. For some people they let that define them. They’re like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re probably right. What was I thinking?’ For me though, I’m like, ‘Watch this.’”
Despite challenges coming in the form of naysayers, financial challenges, and difficult horses, David has been competing at the Olympic level on various horses for over ten years now and owes much of his success to his positive philosophy on life. He believes that there will always be that negative voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it, but you have to be able to talk right back and believe in yourself. When you do that, the positivity will spread to those around you, and that is exactly what David is known for in the horse world.
“I used to think, ‘Is someone a glass half full kind of person or are they a glass half empty?’ And I’ve totally changed my mind about that. I think it’s you have your glass overflowing to where you can go around filling up other people’s glasses. You get in a place of getting past yourself and encouraging others and it’s contagious and powerful.”
About the Contributors
Senior / Photojournalism and Spanish
Haley Nelson is a senior pursuing majors in Photojournalism and Spanish as well as minors in International Studies and Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies. Her dream is to be a foreign correspondent, telling stories and sharing news abroad.