We were given the fantastic opportunity a few weeks ago, to sit down and get personal with Shelby Dillman, an experienced and knowledgeable horsewoman, equine coach and aspiring model, originally from a small town in northern Alberta. Shelby is also our Bold Brims model and Wilde Child ambassador, and opens up to talk to us about hardships, fears and the importance of believing in your goals and yourself.
For a heavy dose of reality, honesty and inspiration, check out the full interview below.
1) Q: Tell us a bit about what you have been working on lately career wise?
"I am considering going back to school to be an elementary teacher. That way I could have a stable job that allows me to have time during rodeo season to compete. I love coaching kids to ride, and thought this may be a good path to take. Another career goal I am working towards is an equine body worker and therapist. At the moment I am juggling upgrading my math and English as well as working at several different auction marts and waiting tables, but I won’t let it define my future. I love my jobs!"
2) Q: What is something about you that most people don’t know?
"I am such an anxiety person it's not even funny, and I hate confrontation and dealing with angry people because I take things so personally. Things get into my head and I overthink to the point of making myself sick. I've been dealing with certain triggers, but it's still tough. Anxiety is more of a big deal than people realize, it is a very misunderstood topic. 95% of my anxiety has to do with people, rarely ever animals."
3) Q: What types of challenges are you facing at the moment?
"I moved to Ponoka in August and had absolutely nothing but bad luck. In November I was almost homeless, and have been struggling financially for the past 4 months. I work my part times jobs, and haven’t had a permanent home, which is frustrating and scary. Right now I am trying to get back on my feet and be able to afford to keep a horse down here. But things will turn around; I just have to hang in there!"
4) Q: Growing up in a small northern Alberta town did that increase the challenges of reaching your goals and how?
"It was very challenging up there because there was limited access to resources, such as events, mentors/peers, horsepower and even energy. All of those factors drew me to central Alberta where rodeo is more popular and easy to surround myself with."
5) Q: What do you do to stay positive when things aren’t going as planned?
"I want to barrel race more than anything, and be just as successful (if not more successful) than in the past. I want to train my 4 year old from scratch and run him. To stay focused, I like to make lists and write things down such as goals I have, so I have something to work towards. I know what it feels like to be a top barrel racer and run a 1D horse; I am hungry for that feeling again. It feels great to work as a team with horses you can’t live without."
6) Q: If you could tell someone one thing about how important it is to believe in their dreams, what would it be?
"I would emphasize how important it is to believe in your dreams because dreams are what keep us going in life, something to strive towards, a meaning of life in a sense. The journey to fulfill your dreams may be tough and some may be even just out of reach, but don't get discouraged. You are NOT allowed to give up. If they are beginning to look as if they are difficult to attain, sit down and modify them, but believe wholeheartedly that you are worthy of them."
7)Q: You've mentored several young women in the past, tell us more about your mentorship program and how it is beneficial for young women in the equine industry?
"My mentorship program for riders is quite different than most, as I cover many aspects that are often overlooked by coaches. If you are serious about your equine sport, then get serious about your horsemanship and mental game as well. I give you the tools not only to meet but exceed your goals. I build a program that suits you and your horse’s individual needs and style, they are not all the same for the next person or previous person in line. This includes horsemanship from the ground up, mental preparation, patterning and drills, holistic work, tack fit and prep, motivation and goal setting. This is great for girls interested in Queening as well. I am not limited to only western as I coach jumping also."
8) Q: What or who inspires you?
"A lot of the underdogs and smaller names inspire me, honestly I am not too crazy over the big shots, with the exception of Sherry Cervi and Stingray of course. As strange as it sounds, grade horses inspire me like crazy! A lot of the time I don’t even bat an eyelash at these big fancy new names. My gelding Trigger was one of the top horses up north in our prime high school rodeo days, and I have no history on him besides he was a previous calf roping horse and then my friend bought and trained him and ran pro barrels on him, and then eventually sold him to me. I love the old school bloodlines and grade horses, there is a good chance you won’t catch me on a big named papered horse unless I am jockeying for someone else or found the right one. Also, the idea alone of wanting to inspire other competitors and helping them reach their goals inspires me, I think that is pretty cool. I want to be one of those people who, riders of all ages and experience levels can look up to and say, “Because of you, I didn’t give up”. I work hard in order to help others the best I can so I can share that exciting feeling of success with them."
9) Q: What would you like to see more of within the female equine industry?
"I would like to see more team players and less cattiness. I have noticed that some people tend to be so secretive with how they do things and don’t want to help others succeed. They want to see you do good, but never better than them – remember that. This goes for parents as well as kids. Also, I would like to see better horsemanship. Lately I have been watching some “problem horses” and very, very sloppy riding where it does not allow the horse to efficiently do their job or horses are getting mixed signals."
10) Q: If you could tell someone one thing about how important it is to believe in their dreams, what would it be?
"I really doubt myself often and don’t give myself nearly enough credit, and overthinking is a bad one too. Your mind is ultimately your worst enemy if you let it be. I know for a fact that is the number one killer of all dreams more than money issues. I am really afraid that I won’t be able to financially afford to continue barrel racing and that scares me. I want to compete again in the worst way, and trying to work 4 jobs in order to do so. Life gets in the way but when you want something bad enough you need to make priorities and not excuses. A lot of my friends who run have support from family or a significant other, where I am completely on my own. It is kind of scary but I think that gives me another push of motivation to show people that I can do this."
11) Q: You are also an aspiring model, what struggles have you overcome and what would you tell other women wanting to do the same thing?
"I have had a very hard time finding agencies and companies that want to take me on, even small western boutiques. I would love to model for a small town western boutiques! For those of you wanting to get into the modelling side of things, start off small and apply to any little gig that you come across. A great way to start is to find a photography class in need of subjects to photograph (this is how I started)."
12) Q: You've been a part of the equine industry for a long time, why do you hink the Wilde Child Community is beneficial?
"Wilde Child is definitely one of those hidden gems that everyone in the Equine community needs to uncover and have in their life. It is very beneficial because I do not know of any other groups out there who support each other like Wilde Child does. You don’t have to travel your journey alone, this is what we are here for. Competitors need more support and less drama, whether you are just getting into competing, or have been doing it your whole life. Positivity, motivation, support and coaching are major key factors that all play a role in your success. We are all in this together!"
13) Q: What makes the Wilde Child Tribe and company different from what you've previously experienced?
"Wilde Child is hands down one of the coolest groups of badass, strong, helpful people I have graciously been involved with. This is a zero judgement zone where you can vent and cry your heart out or go off on a motivational rant to uplift people, and nobody will have anything bad to say about it. The equine industry is very cliquey and can be intimidating, but you do not have to worry about any of that with us. A lot of people like to use intimidation and fear as a way to make you fail when they can see your potential while you cannot. In our tribe, we help you see your potential and success and give you the tools to overcome the fear and intimidation tactics. The Wilde Child Tribe is a very close knit group of incredible people."
14) Q: Why did you decide to become one of the faces to represent Wilde Child, their message and their products?
"I was thrilled to finally find a group who was all about that positivity and support I am so crazy about. I am a very driven person when it comes to the equine industry and following your dreams and want to help others feel that sense of drive and passion. It is very important to me to have an “average Joe” type individual on the team to show others you do not have to be a big name to be successful. One day I hope that my name will become more recognized, but until then I feel it is crucial to be the “average Joe” in the crowd of big names and walk along side my group of stars and work at this together. I want to share the knowledge and experience I have gathered and I feel strongly that I am capable of doing so, while being seen as equal and down to earth. If I am capable of great things, so are you! Don’t let anyone tell you different. I have been through hell and want to set a good example for others not to give up. Severe anxiety, temporary homelessness, major financial loss… those were only some of my obstacles. What’s your excuse?"
15) Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
"I am working hard at getting my own place and planting some roots here in central Alberta and getting more clients and horses to work with (both riding and holistic/intuitive therapy). By then my current barrel and breakaway prospect should be fine-tuned and running well and I will be competing again for sure! I aim to do some motivational clinics and work alongside Shilah promoting Wilde Child by means of fun things such as videos, interviews and event appearances. I want to see Wilde Child go BIG, and would love to be part of the contribution."
16) Q: What does the Wilde Child Motto 'Don't let them tame you' represent to you?
"This motto really hits home for me. Ever since I was young, I have always been part of that metaphoric “flock of sheep” and couldn’t see past the wool over my eyes up until a couple years ago when I figured out how to be my own person. Since then I have become that wolf in sheep’s clothing, but only to help others see what I see in terms of life and following your dreams. You do not have to follow the norms of society like everyone else. I like to stay under the radar for a little bit and try not to cause too many waves, because that seems to be what makes people the most uncomfortable – change. Big change too fast really freaks people out and then they all of a sudden drop their dreams in a panic. Don’t let people around you take your dreams from you or make you live your life a certain way just because they don’t understand or are jealous. People seem to be quite afraid of going against the grain because they are scared of what others may think. I have suffered with that since day one and I am finally getting over that hurdle. Life is far too short, don’t let other people (or yourself) get in the way of your own succeed."