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What is Legacy? For Horses… its Head, Heart, and Hooves.

Horses on average weigh 1000 pounds, which means, when a horse dies, it takes a significant amount of effort for a full burial. Because of this, the tradition to bury only the head, heart, and hooves of a racehorse, began. Only for the highest symbol of honor is a racehorse buried whole.

Why the head, heart and hooves? The head signifies intelligence and “Will to Win,” the heart is for courage, and the hooves are speed of execution. These three things make a racehorse.

There is no greater racehorse than the legendary Secetariat, who is, not surprisingly, buried whole.  His owner and biggest cheerleader, Penny Chenery, died last month and has us at Riverbend reflecting on our “Leadership Legacy: Head, Heart, & Hoof” experience-based learning program that we built around their story.

Secretariat’s journey, his enduring legacy, and the tradition of burial by head, heart and hooves inspired us to create our Leadership Legacy framework.  This immersive program starts with finding your why and developing an actionable plan to leave a lasting legacy in your organization and your life.  Classroom time is complimented by exclusive VIP experiences throughout Kentucky’s heartland of Thoroughbred country.

Head = Will to Win – the drive and determination to pursue a sustainable win and legacy

Heart = Courage – moving forward, despite fear, to pursue greatness

Hoof = Speed of Execution – mastering the timing and urgency displayed by champions

Excellence in these three areas produce Triple Crown winning horses, who represent the 1% of all racehorses.  When we humans master these three leadership pillars, we too will be in the 1% — leaving a legacy worthy of a Triple Crown blanket of roses.

So, in memory of Penny Chenery, we salute the Triple Crown horses and their support teams.  We are grateful for the legacy that endures with each horse’s story, including the great-great-great-great grandson of Secretariat,  American Pharaoh.  Join us in taking the opportunity to think of Secretariat and reflect on our head, heart, and hooves… how we will leave a legacy in our families, our organizations, and the world.

Author Riverbend

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