Parents of Equestrian Athletes



                                                                                                               PHOTO BY PETER PHAM




"I know it's my fault she has these issues with the mental part of her riding." I hear this a lot from parents.

While it is always a good sign to recognize and take ownership in our part of things, I'm not believer in blaming parents. Or anyone or anything for that matter.

In fact, I am pretty much known for HATING blame. I think blame is the number one reason why most people have problems and stay stuck in them. This perception about the dangers of blame is pretty much one of the main pillars of my program! 

We are all responsible for who we are and who we decide to become. I told this to my own son (over and over), and I tell this to all children and young adults: 

"It doesn't matter what your parents said or did. Nobody is perfect and some people can just be down right awful because they don't know any other way to go through life or they have serious mental or physical health issues.

All that matters is what YOU decide you are going change within yourself and what YOU decide you are going to achieve in life despite other people or past events." 

In my world, there is no such thing as negative parents or events ... it's all good if you decide to perceive it like that. That's not being obnoxiously positive.

That is from having total confidence and knowing with absolute certainty how to take ANY arrows or any negative event and turn it around and use it to make myself and my life better!

It's a skill that I teach, and it didn't come from all the text books, research, and studying that I did. It came from the EXPERIENCE of growing up with a lot of tough adversity and figuring out MY own puzzle as to what leverage and techniques would work for me!

My mantra? It goes like this; "Bad news? Bring it on! I specialize in overcoming ANY adversity and making it work for me!"

That's what I do; shift people from blame to extreme ownership. Shift people into learning how to take ANYTHING and make it work for them!


That being said, it IS helpful to start coaching with the insight of knowing the history or the past; the words or events that someone can perceive in a way that is not serving them well and instead, is triggering un-resourceful emotions. 

When riders coach with me, my standard rule is this: 

We can not control other people, places, or things. We can only control ourselves. Therefore, we need to change how we allow other people, places and things to affect us. 

So does that totally get the parents off the hook? Not really.

We all know that our words and actions can affect others in a negative way, and we ARE responsible for our own actions! Yes, parents can make it harder or more difficult for children. In fact, they can react in ways that are quite damaging and not even know they are doing it.

(See my link at the bottom to read my blog post about how that was a problem when my husband and I were raising our athlete.)

But let's assume your actions aren't over the top ...


1. So that the parent feels better inside (peace and joy) and the parent takes control of THEIR thoughts and behaviors. (So triggers won't affect them.)

2. So that the parent better understands horses and this sport.

3. So the parents can learn how to navigate trainers, other parents, gossip, and the pitfalls that are inherent for any athlete or sport.

4. So that the parents can learn how to stop enabling children (doing for them what they should be doing for themselves) and to instead raise strong, independent children who take extreme ownership for their success and failures. 

5. To become the best version of you and for you to achieve peak performance in your parenting life and your career. 

6. Because if we are not EFFECTIVELY helping our kids, we could be making it more difficult for them. (Is that worth changing?)


Well, every child is different, so we will be exploring what works and what doesn't work for YOUR unique child. Yes, there may be more beneficial ways to say something or to deal with an issue. Yes, your child may improve by leaps and bounds as we tweak a few things. 

Ideally, the child and the parent will BOTH coach with me so we are all on the same page with my unique techniques and strategies, but if that is not possible, I coach only the child or the parent. 


I take parents through the same step-by-step phone coaching program that the riders are on. What makes my program have such huge results in totally changing people's lives is not only the techniques and strategies that I use, but how I am able to customize them to work best for each individual and their personality, situation, history, etc. (To includes each unique horse and trainer!)

This is not therapy; sitting around and paying a lot of money to stay stuck in talking about the problem and being in pain all the time. Coaching is about MOVING FORWARD into the solution. And taking responsibility for feeling like a million bucks!

I am all about RESULTS!

Here is the article I wrote on how difficult it is to be a parent of athletes. 

Sports Parents With High Expectations