This happens to everyone

I have two friends navigating the same challenge but in totally different disciplines.

One rides reining horses, and the other shows pleasure horses.

They both love to show and have been progressing well, and their results in the arena are beginning to show it, too.

But the wheels fell off in the show pen in the past three weeks.

One was angry that she had worked so hard only to get that kind of result, and the other felt humiliated and discouraged.

Raise your hand if you can relate.

Okay, you can put your hand down now!

This video discusses my thoughts on their situations and what to do next.


My first response as a friend was to listen. I asked lots of questions to get the story facts, as well as the story they were telling themselves about the situation and why things turned out that way.

I felt their pain, and I’ve been there many times, too. We try so hard. We’ve invested a lot of energy; things go well – until they don’t – in a big way. It’s a huge letdown and can be very discouraging.

My first thought is that no one escapes this kind of pain. No one. When I was heavily showing a few years back, I shed tears when I missed the finals by a half point in a big show or, on the other side, did so poorly I felt embarrassed. I used to ask God why He had to make it so hard! LOL.

The critical thing to remember for you and me is when it doesn’t turn out well, after we poured our heart into it, know that somehow, somewhere, things went awry.


Yes, but that doesn’t mean anything more than it’s time to be a detective and figure it out. It was never a reflection on if you or I had what it took or if we would ever be successful again.

If we think, “I’m just a poor rider. This will always keep happening because I don’t have what it takes,” that’s shame and damaging to our hearts and confidence. And untrue!

But if we think, “That went to heck in a handbasket, let me figure out if it was my riding, my focus, my horse’s preparation, the cows, the plastic bag that flew across the arena, or something else nefarious?”

Bottom line. Is it something I can control? If so, study and practice the lesson and go for it again. If it’s out of my control, let it go.

I know that sounds easier said than done, but the difference between the two perspectives is massive.

One keeps you searching and learning and builds inner strength; the other gives your brain the message, “You know, you really should hang it up.” With the second one, there’s little room for a bright future because the brain believes everything we tell it.

So, know the bottom will always drop out from time to time. Give yourself some time to grieve the moment. But be a watchdog for those inner thoughts that degrade you.

Let me know what you think – and always be kind to yourself no matter what.

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8 Comments on This happens to everyone

  1. Tania on Sun, 12th Feb 2023 5:22 pm
  2. Love the thoughts and encouraging words from you
    I have been down there many times and felt like hanging things up.
    I will keep trying. I will not give in to my negativity.
    Thank you !

  3. Marsha Shapiro on Sun, 12th Feb 2023 6:59 pm
  4. Your positivity is starting to sink in. I’m beginning to correct my negative cognitions (a little cognitive behavioral therapy for the therapist.) Thank you.

  5. Andy on Mon, 13th Feb 2023 6:40 am
  6. Thank you for sharing these thoughts!
    They are a mentally healthy approach to all of life.
    I’ve spent most of my life with inner thoughts that were horribly degrading. Now, in my early 70’s, I’m learning a different way; a kinder, healthier way. I’m saying kinder words to myself.
    To everyone reading Barbara’s words, follow her advice. It can save your life!

  7. Kathy McBride on Mon, 13th Feb 2023 6:50 am
  8. Hey Barb, First of all thank you for sharing that beautiful scenery! The sunset and river and the green grass is such a joyful sight. Everything in Ohio is still brown. I love your insights as we prepare for our show season getting the mental skills tuned up.

  9. Mary Kay Russell on Mon, 13th Feb 2023 11:20 am
  10. Thanks for this Barbra. I don’t show, but last year my mare just “blew up”. She refused to do anything that I was asking, and she refused quite dramatically and energetically. There was no doubting that she was telling me she no longer trusted me. I had to decide to either sell her or change my own path. I decided on the latter. This has led us on a journey of self discovery, connection, and a better understanding of what makes us both tick. I am VERY SLOWLY regaining her trust. Don’t give up – you never know what you will learn or where the journey will take you. (Thanks for the link to the Schiller summit).

  11. Dawn on Mon, 13th Feb 2023 1:41 pm
  12. Oh my!!! What a lovely sunset ride. I loved Nic’s beautiful red head glowing from the sinking sun. Wow.
    Thanks for sharing this, Barb. It’s so important for us to remember to avoid shaming ourselves. It’s so much better to use disappointment as a learning opportunity. ❤️

  13. Carol MacGregor on Tue, 14th Feb 2023 12:23 am
  14. Hi Barb, Wow, what beautiful scenery, especially with the sun setting in the distance. Does it make you nervous to be riding out there by yourself? Nic looked so pretty with the sun shinning thru his ears and coat. Thank you for the insight into those two ladies “show day” that was disappointing to them both. I like the idea of setting a time limit on how long a person allows themselves to sulk!! Great life lesson there too. Thank you!

  15. Natalie Martus on Tue, 14th Feb 2023 9:40 am
  16. Such a powerful message. I struggle with negative self talk especially after a run has gone bad. I try to remind myself I would never speak to a friend the way I talk to myself. I keep working at it, but I do have to say the struggle is real and can be defeating at times. I have to remember I do this for fun and for the love of the horse. xoxo

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