It's no secret I put a lot of pressure in myself to do well, and be the best I can. There is nothing wrong with that at all. It's healthy and motivating and mostly a good thing. Except that sometimes I go a bit too far, push too hard and expect too much, inevitably falling short of my own expectations.

This seems to be getting both better and worse as I get older. Better because I know what I can do better, what went wrong, and am overall better at self assessment. Worse because I constantly set the bar higher and higher.

This came to a head this year, when I was pushing myself to do better, my results were generally reflecting improvement, but not to the extent I was happy with. In my mind I should have consistently been finishing in the top 10, yet I was still down the bottom of the score board. Added to that was pressure to get my young horse out competing and doing well.

Trying to juggle my own expectations and judging myself against other people and their progress resulted in constant disappointment and stress, making competing not so much fun, even though I was trying to put a lot of tools in place to prevent that. Thrown into the mix was feeling like I just didn't have time to ride both horses productively and enjoy it like I should.

Things got a lot worse when I fell off Henry. He had hardly been worked and we were up at pony club. He wasn't really bad, he just caught me at the wrong time and I hit the deck. I got right back on and kept working but it shook me.

I found myself not wanting to ride, feeling afraid to ride and having that affect my rides on Coolie too. I was feeling unprepared for everything and I was struggling. I knew something had to give.

I decided to sell Henry. I thought long and hard about it, and finally decided it would be the best option for everyone. Being scared sucks, and I am in general a fairly confident rider but I just wasn't feeling like the rider Henry needed me to be. I listed him for sale and I got quite a few messages abut him (why does no one call anymore, UGH!).

People would ask a billion questions and then want to arrange to come and see him. Then just stop responding. A lot of people who contacted me were not a good match. And through all this, I was riding Henry consistently. I took the pressure off myself. I started to have fun again. I found myself not watching to sell him.

All of a sudden I had a desire to ride my horse, take him out, push ourselves out of our comfort zone. That feeling had been missing for so long and suddenly it was back. By wanting to sell, I took the pressure off. I revised my expectations and started to just enjoy things again.

It's not been smooth sailing since this point. I have been tested thoroughly, but last weekend I rediscovered my confidence and something in my head has shifted. There is so much work to do to keep improving my own head space but I feel more positive and confident. I trust my abilities and it's a really good feeling.

Safe to say Henry is no longer for sale and is staying for the foreseeable future!


  1. Glad you were able to take some of that pressure off!! It’s so funny how some small mental shift like that (like deciding to sell) can completely change how we interface with the horses, and in a good way!

    1. I'm pleased that it made a difference, it makes life so much easier. Selling horses is hard!


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