Dealing with Disappointment as an Equestrian


A decidedly unfun thing we all feel from time to time in our world with horses (and beyond!). Today I’m going to be talking about why its important to feel those feels, even if they are uncomfortable, and a-few ways you can actually utilise them!

We’ve all felt it. You’re out showjumping and you’re having a great round and then you knock a pole down. You fudge up your dressage test you spent weeks prepping for. You arrive at a clinic with your normally calm horse and for whatever reason on that day, they will not settle and you don’t quite get the experience you were looking forward to.

Those feelings of disappointment might be incredibly visceral, or they may be light and fleeting, but all the same, they are to be felt, and listened to.

It is so important, that we do not dismiss uncomfortable feelings. As an equestrian mindset coach who specialises in helping people build a more positive, confident mindset, you might think I’d tell you to push those feelings away, ignore them, or help you get rid of them…however the truth is, I encourage you to allow yourself to FEEL them. These feels, while not light and fluffy, are just as valid as all the others. Joy, happiness, anger, sadness, envy, grief, love, gratitude…all these feelings are experiences that we were put on this planet to feel, and while some feel nicer than others, it does not mean that they are more or less important. Each is here to teach us something and to help us grow.

By trying to push ‘negative’ feelings away or bury them, we inevitably are saving them for a later date, in which they will come back and bite us on the bum when we least expect it!

So, I invite you next time this feeling pops up, to allow yourself to feel it. Cry if you need to, talk about it if it feels helpful, journal it out…do whatever is helpful to help you feel it, so you can move through it.

Disappointment doesn’t mean you should stop, shrink back or give up whatever it is you have been working on. In fact the level at which you feel it is actually a sign of how much you care about ‘that thing’ and that you should keep going!

So how can we utilise it?

Firstly…feel it, and remember its a sign of how much you care.

Next, look at what ‘went wrong’ and what you can learn from the experience. What would you do differently? What can you take away from it to help you/your horse grow and improve?

Finally, make a plan to implement your takeaways, and give yourself and your horse, empathy and compassion as you do. Remember, progress is not linear, and it is in those moments of percieved struggle, that we truly learn.

You’ve got this.

I hope that was helpful! I talk more on this subject in my most recent podcast episode linked below, head there for a listen and be sure to share and subscribe if you find it helpful!

The Power of Pause. Why its so important to take breaks when you work with your Horse.

I don’t know about you, but I remember having lessons (and even later on teaching lessons) where it was all go-go-go. We would go from one exercise to another, whether it was pole work, transitions, jumping etc, without stopping for breath, because it was all about how much ‘progress’ you could pack into a session.

I very vividly remember, way back in the day, teaching this way- feeling pressured to get as much done as possible and to ‘keep everyone moving’.

Nowadays, I’m happy to report that I know much better, and I understand the power of having lots of pauses for integration throughout sessions I am teaching, and also when I exercise or work with my horse.

So why are pauses throughout sessions with your horses so important?

In working sessions between humans and horses, those moments of pause play a crucial role in facilitating learning and integration. This is rooted in the functioning of the nervous systems of both species.

Humans rely on their nervous system to interpret signals and communicate effectively with our horses, and pauses allow for reflection and relaxation, aiding in the consolidation and integration of learning and refinement of techniques, mentally, physically, and energetically.

Horses possess a sensitive nervous system that enables them to perceive human cues, and allowing moments of quiet, provide them too with the opportunity to process information and alleviate stress, fostering a sense of safety and trust, and preventing them feeling ‘overloaded’ with information, particularly if we are working on something new. This then allows us to make progress together, because learning and growing from a place of relaxation, rather than constant buzz and stress, is considerably more effective and enjoyable for all.

Overall, pauses are integral to working sessions, allowing for the synchronisation of body and mind, fostering trust, and facilitating effective communication between humans and horses.

Next time you work with your horse, I encourage you to try introducing some mindful pauses in your sessions to breathe and integrate, it may seem counter intuitive to ‘slow down to speed up’ your progress, but I’d love to know if you try it, how it changes your sessions…because I have a feeling, there’ll be all the better for it!

Thats all for now, lots of Idyllwild love,

Kim 🙂

Are you distorting your experiences with your horse?

It’s a profound question to ask yourself, yet it’s essential for any horse person looking to deepen their bond with their equine companion and enhance their horsemanship skills. Often, without even realising it, we bring our own limiting beliefs and biases into our interactions with our horses, which can hinder our progress and connection with them.

This might look like:

  • Out on a hack/trail ride, in an hours ride your horse spooks twice, but you get back and all you can focus on is those ‘massive spooks’ which were really only 5% of an otherwise pleasant ride
  • You finish a dressage test, get a great score, but can’t believe it because you remember yourself ‘riding terribly’.

Limiting beliefs are those deeply ingrained thoughts or attitudes that hold us back from realising our full potential. These beliefs can stem from past experiences, societal conditioning, and self-doubt. When it comes to horses, these beliefs can manifest in various ways:

  1. Fear and Anxiety: Perhaps you had a fall or a negative experience in the past, leading to fear or anxiety around riding or handling horses. This fear can create tension in both you and your horse, impacting your ability to communicate effectively and eroding trust.
  2. Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in your riding or training can lead to frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned.
  3. Self-Doubt: Doubting your abilities as a rider or handler can undermine your confidence and clarity in your communication with your horse. Hesitation or uncertainty can confuse your horse and lead to miscommunication.
  4. Comparison: Constantly comparing yourself to others or feeling inadequate in comparison to more experienced horse people can diminish your enjoyment and progress with your horse.

So, how can you start to change these distortions and improve your mindset and outlook when spending time with your horse?

  1. Awareness: The first step is to become aware of your limiting beliefs and how they might be influencing your interactions with your horse. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions during your time with your horse, and notice any patterns or recurring themes.
  2. Challenge: Once you’ve identified these beliefs, challenge them. Ask yourself whether they are based on facts or simply assumptions. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations and focus on your strengths and progress rather than perceived shortcomings.
  3. Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques to stay present and focused during your interactions with your horse. Take deep breaths, relax your body, and let go of any tension or stress. This will help you communicate more effectively and build trust with your horse.
  4. Education: Continuously seek to expand your knowledge and skills as a horse person. Take lessons, attend clinics, seek out coaches (ahem!) or read books and articles on horsemanship to deepen your understanding and confidence in working with your horse.
  5. Patience and Persistence: Changing deep-seated beliefs takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself. Celebrate small victories along the way and stay committed to your growth and development as a horse person.

By addressing and reframing your limiting beliefs, you can unlock new levels of connection, communication, and fulfillment in your relationship with your horse. Remember, it’s not just about what you do with your horse but also about the mindset and energy you bring to the partnership. So, are you ready to let go of distortions and embrace a more empowering and enriching experience with your equine companion?

If yes, and you’d like a little help…you know where I am! Check out my services page or drop me an email and I’d be more than happy to help!

Practicing Praise & Snapshotting Behaviors

How often do you let your horse know they’ve done/are doing what you’ve asked them for?

Praise is SO incredibly important when working with your horse, particularly if you are working on something new or challenging. Actually saying out loud ‘good/good boy/good girl’ and pairing that the release of pressure, or with some kind of reinforcement such as a rub/scratch or treats etc (whatever is best for you and your horse) is a great way of ‘snapshotting’ the moment that your horse has offered the behavior (or steps towards it) that you are looking for. The better your timing with this, the more ‘drive and try’ your horse will have to working with you, making the whole experience more of a positive interaction, and a more enjoyable experience for both horse and human.

For me, I find that consistent ‘pairing’ of using my voice and other positive reinforcements is key, particularly at times when I am working with my horse and can’t physically reach them (such as lunging, long reining or liberty work) because then when I want to praise them, they will get the same good feelings from me simply using my voice, as they would if I was physically giving them a rub or a treat. This method utilises principles of classical and operant conditioning to shape behaviors effectively.

So my question to you is, do you praise your horse out loud? Do you work to pair that with other reinforcement…and do you keep an eye out for moments when you can snapshot behaviors that you’re after…?

If not, I highly recommend giving this a try, and please feel free to let me know how you get on in the comments!

If you’d like to learn more about this, I talk all about it on the podcast episode linked below!

Otherwise, I hope you found this helpful, and I’ll be back with another blog soon!

Over and out!

Kim 🙂 xx

Some Advice for Ch-Ch-Changes…

We are finally moving towards (dare I say it) Spring now, the days are getting longer (hooray!) and the weather is slightly milder, daffodils are popping up everywhere and blossom is now starting to peep out from the trees.

As delightful as this is, you may have also noticed ‘spring-like’ changes in your horses too! I know Snoox and his girlfriend have been suddenly more spritely, and I’ve had many reports from friends and clients of their horses acting and feeling the same!

While its great to know that your horses are ‘feeling well’, changes in their behavior, admittedly, can be a bit frustrating. You may be seeing more adverse behaviors such as heightened awareness and spookiness, low attention spans, and general ‘freshness’ from your horse. If you are reading this and can relate, please know, you are not alone! Seasonal changes are a real thing when it comes to horse ownership, and as your horse is a living thing, and connected to nature as much as we are, shifts in daylight patterns and changes in weather affect us all.

So how can we work with our horses through these seasonal transitions…and remain sane, loving partners to our horses??

Here are some tips that I hope help!!

  1. Know and Understand, that this ‘is a thing’ and it will pass.

It can be so frustrating when you’ve been making progress with your horse, or you have things you want to achieve, and suddenly their behavior has changed, and you’re not quite getting what you want and need from your furry pal. Here its important to understand, this will pass, look at the positives in the situation (i.e. this means the weather is getting better, its great that your horse is feeling well etc) and try not to get bogged down in annoyance and frustration.

2. On Days Where You Bring In a Fire Breathing Dragon From the Paddock..

You have two options. Decide that today is not the day, pick their feet out, check they’re alive and well, and chuck them back out again to try again tomorrow…or…commit to your session, take a breath, and minimise what you work on. If you choose option 1, know that this is ok, there is no win or lose, sometimes, its just not worth the hassle! If you choose option 2, break down your session, really focus on just getting your horses focus in the session, and reward moments of relaxation and focus from your horse. Lots and lots of transitions are always helpful to get your horses focus in a session.

3. Consider some Herbal Help!

I change Snoox’s supplements depending on the seasons, to best suit his needs and make sure he stays nourished and healthy all year round. I LOVE using herbal support! This time of year if he was being consistently crackers (which for now its just every now and then so we’re ok), I might consider bringing some calming herbs into his diet such as chamomile, valerian, or passionflower.

The biggest thing to remember here, is that this will all pass, and to stay positive, not to take any behaviour personally, and to be kind to yourself, and your horse, as we transition through the seasons.

I hope this was helpful, please feel free to email me at with any questions or comments!