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The Success And Inner Demons Of Mike Plumb

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  • The Success And Inner Demons Of Mike Plumb

    The lead story on the Chronicle's website today is a phenomenal article about Mike Plumb. The story first appeared in the print edition in the July 23 Olympic Preview Issue of the Chronicle; we're publishing a few of our best 2012 stories online to highlight the great content in the print magazine.


    Don't miss out on stories like this in 2013!

  • #2
    Marvelous article. Thank you for sharing it here.
    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


    • #3
      i thought it was a really good article. you have to admire his honesty discussing such a hard topic while not making any excuses for his actions and taking responsibility for it.


      • #4
        I read this while I was stuck sitting in traffic on the way to work this morning (not driving, commuter bus passenger), and I really loved it. Thank you for posting it online! As evntr5218 said, I admire his honesty and candor. It can be really hard admitting mistakes and taking that kind of responsibility for those mistakes. He owns it and I respect that.

        I've seen the threads on here about people asking if they should clinic with Mike Plumb, and reading some of the conflicting stories and now I understand why. He sounds like a really neat guy, and I'm glad that he's passed on so much of his knowledge to his son, and that he continues to teach and train. I really hope that I get the chance to see him ride someday.
        In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.


        • #5
          Thank you for sharing this article. It explains so much about why he taught the way that he did back in the '70's and '80's. I am thankful that he found his way out of alcoholism. So many folks do not have the strength from within that it takes to make such a huge committment for change in their lives.

          It took me a long time to learn to listen to my horse. I was brought up in a similar manner, so made many mistakes trying to fit every horse that I owned into one system. My moment of clarity came with a horse who just would not fit into any system that I had learned. I owned his Dam, was there when he was foaled and had a handful on my hands from his first week of life, until I sold him when he was six. I had to learn how to make everything his idea or I would be sitting on the ground, with him running me over. Apathy for learning new ways of doing things is never a good thing for a horseperson. Izzy pulled me from my apathy and taught me to be better.

          I am happy to hear that Mr. Plumb is in that place of awareness, now. He will be a much better teacher, than he was way back then. My hat is off to him for learning from his horses and listening to them.

          If I had not found this truth, Tess would not be an event horse. She did not want to be put in the gaited world. She wanted to jump. If I had not listened to her, both of us would have been miserable.

          Once again, thank you for bringing this article to our attention. Kudos! Mr. Plumb. He is a great horseman and has achieved beyond what any horseman could dream. I think that it is very cool that he is running Novice at age 72!
          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


          • #6
            Thank you for this link! I actually competed (LOL) against Mr. Plumb at Longleaf last spring (let's use the word competed loosely, shall we, I believe it was my horse's first real Novice and I have certainly not ridden any Olympic courses, ha) and often see him working at events with his students and training horses -- he has an excellent eye (he offered to buy a friend's marvelous horse then and there), all the horses go beautifully, and he is always watching EVERYTHING. I watched him compete when I was a kid and it's an honour to ride near him now. I hope that everyone can be even half as thoughtful about who they are and how they ride!
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
            We Are Flying Solo


            • #7
              Excellent article. Have admired his velcroed position in the saddle for many, many years. Nice to see that he is back in the saddle and enjoying himself.


              • #8
                Thanks for the article.
                If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                • #9
                  What a wonderful article... loved it!


                  • #10
                    How do you order reprints? I read the original article (am a subcriber) and found it so inspiring that I gave away my copy. Amazing courage to be so forthright and honest... thanks for printing!
                    Live, Laugh, Love


                    • #11
                      "Thank you for sharing this article. It explains so much about why he taught the way that he did back in the '70's and '80's. I am thankful that he found his way out of alcoholism. So many folks do not have the strength from within that it takes to make such a huge committment for change in their lives."-Quote -Auburn

                      Well said. I saw and heard him teach back then and totally lost respect for him. I never knew that there was a devil driving him.
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                      • #12
                        as a mental health professional, it's really nice to hear a success story
                        "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama


                        • #13
                          Mike Plumb continues to be COURAGEOUS. He is a role model on many levels to people of all ages.

                          Great article about an amazing person!
                          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                          • Original Poster


                            If you'd like more copies of the July 23 issue, feel free to call the Chronicle's main office at 540-687-6341 or email me at molly@chronofhorse.com

                            Thanks! Molly


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HiJumpGrrl View Post
                              as a mental health professional, it's really nice to hear a success story
                              Amen to THIS! However, not sure what I think about the article's repeatedly characterizing Mike's problem (which he has very courageously overcome) as a "disease."

                              Seems to me a "disease" is something that "strikes" one, such as most cancers, pneumonia, or Parkinson's, whereas an "Addiction" has a certain element of free will, as Mr. Plumb has now once again proven by his beating it.

                              My flame suit is ON, I know the PC term is "disease," but it seems to me that to open the bottle, light the cigarette, or snort the line is a CHOICE the person is making; same as the CHOICE he makes to finally stop. That stopping is difficult goes without saying when one is addicted.

                              But I'm not sure it's in the same category with something that seems to come from Nature's bad luck. Not debating; just an observation.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                                My flame suit is ON, I know the PC term is "disease," but it seems to me that to open the bottle, light the cigarette, or snort the line is a CHOICE the person is making; same as the CHOICE he makes to finally stop. That stopping is difficult goes without saying when one is addicted.

                                But I'm not sure it's in the same category with something that seems to come from Nature's bad luck.
                                You don't need a flame suit. You need facts.

                                Take a look at the NIH's page on the genetics of alcohol disorders. It's just a brief summary but it should provide a sounder basis for thinking about addiction disorders:

                                Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism. Therefore, genes alone do not determine whether someone will become an alcoholic. Environmental factors, as well as gene and environment interactions account for the remainder of the risk.

                                Multiple genes play a role in a person’s risk for developing alcoholism. There are genes that increase a person’s risk, as well as those that may decrease that risk, directly or indirectly.
                                You may be aware that a similar interplay between genetics and environment causes some people to develop various types of cancer, which you seem to consider a more legitimate 'disease.'


                                • #17

                                  The words mentioned above to describe Mike are perfect: courageous, brave, strong. He has lead a competitive career of which most dream, and has conquered more than many can fathom. Mike is a legend in numerous ways, and is by far one of the strongest, kindest, most intelligent, and most understanding men that the equestrian world has ever known. He has a lifetime of knowledge, of lessons learned, of information to share with his horses and students, and he openly provides all that he can. Each and every day at JMP Farm is a beautiful opportunity, the chance of a lifetime.

                                  To provide a follow-up to the July article, everything has continued to go very well for Mike (knock on wood ). He continues to teach and train full time, with at least 6-7 rides per day, and lessons filling up any "quiet" time. The training program is going strong, students are doing very well, the breeding program is incredibly fun and interesting, and the horses are looking great.

                                  The horse mentioned in the article as Mike's ride-- Donnybrook's Dudley Street Station-- is my 7yo Irish horse. He and Mike will be doing Training this spring, with an eye towards a Preliminary move-up later in the year. Mike has several other horses coming along, so who knows what the future will bring.

                                  JER, thank you so much for posting that info. The interplay between genetics, environmental factors, and role of "self" (my personal research interest) in disease, addiction, choice, self-control, and above all, coping mechanisms, is a fascinating component to life's story. Hopefully someday the sciences will be able to even better nail down and interpret the key components and prerequisites to the quality of one's existence.

                                  Each of us has our challenges and demons in life; as cliche as it is, no one is perfect. May we all turn out to be as poised, insightful, giving, courageous, honest, and sincere as J. Michael Plumb.


                                  • #18
                                    ^^^beautifully stated.
                                    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                                    • #19
                                      This was a very good article, except that I don't think alcoholism is simply overcome and one moves on. At least that has not been my experience with the alcoholics in my life.

                                      I'll bet that JMP works his program every single day. Yes, he has stopped drinking, but it takes work and courage for a long term alcoholic to stay sober. It really is one day at time. It's clear to me from statements in the article that he is working on the AA step that involves making amends where he can do so.

                                      I actually respect him more for being in recovery than for his riding.
                                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                                      • #20
                                        It's a disease. Are there choices involved? Sure. There are choices for diabetics, too, about what to eat, whether to check blood sugar, how strictly to count carbs, etc. There are choices for people with heart disease, and choices for people with all kinds of disease. I'll assure you, as a psychiatrist who treats addiction, substance use disorders are brain diseases--ones that are treatable, but never curable. It'll be a fight to the end, but one he appears to be winning.

                                        I wish you the best, sir. You ARE legend, and it will only get better.
                                        "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" Barack Obama