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#5thingsimproudof Challenge

equestrian woman with a ribbon on horse
Written by Andrea Parker

I recently completed Rhea Freeman‘s Five Things I’m Proud of Challenge (#5thingsimproudof) of Instagram.

But first why did I do a challenge about the things I’m proud of? Is that not a little bit narcissistic? I don’t think so and here is why…
As riders we spend a significant amount of time criticising ourselves and our horses. On some level we need to do this to improve and progress. But sometimes this becomes the only thing that registers in our minds. Couple this with the fact that we do want to seem full of our own self importance and you’ve got a recipe for glossing right over your acheivements.

After all, how often do we take the time to sit back and truly celebrate our achievements no matter how small or insignificant they may be to others?
After any given ride I can tell you about the things I need to improve upon and the problems in my riding. But can I tell you about the things that went well?

It was both fun and challenging to force myself to come up with five things that I am proud of.

Day 1 #5thingsimproudof

At the end of 2017 I set the goal for Nonie and I to qualify and compete at the 2018 Australian Adult Amateur Owner Dressage Championships. There were times throughout the year where I didn’t think it was going to happen. Namely Nonie’s injury early on in the year and challenges within our training which limited the number of competitions we could travel to gain our qualifying scores. But we made it there and not only did we qualify, but we managed top ten finishes in 4 out of 5 of our tests. 
It was an absolute highlight of my year to have achieved this with a horse that I have brought on myself from a very green 4yo to medium level at 12 proving that there is nothing wrong with slow and steady.

Day 2 #5thingsimproudof

The second thing I decided to talk about in this challenge was my blog. When I first began blogging it often felt like I was talking to myself, so I’m really proud of just how much my blog has grown over the last two years. I may not have the biggest following but when someone comments on a post telling me that I have put into words what they have been feeling, that is priceless. 
The icing on the cake was being named International Talent in this years @haynetblog Equestrian Blogger of the year competition.

Day 3 #5thingsimproudof

For day 3 of the #5thingsimproud of challenge I decided to turn the focus solely to my wonderful mare. When she came into my life over seven years ago I could never have imagined just how much I would grow to love her. She may not be the biggest moving or most talented horse, but she puts up with a lot from me. We have grown enormously together and I know that there is still so much more to come.

Day 4 #5thingsimproudof

Day 4, the focus shifted slightly to the relationship that Nonie and I have developed during our time together. Looking back I can see that In the beginning I was overly focused on the outcomes of our rides at the expense of our relationship. My partner Steve played an integral role in helping me to connect with Nonie out of the saddle, discovering her love of wither scratches, and reminding me to slow down a little.

Since then, we’ve grown, developed confidence and most of all we trust each other. Can we as riders ever ask for anything more from our equine partners?

Day 5 #5thingsimproudof

My last post in the #5thingsimproudof challenge was a bit of a round about one. As equestrians we all know that it can be extremely challenging to keep all of the balls in the air. The ability to balance competing demands is not something that comes naturally to me. In the past I’ve simply cut out the thing I care least about, but now as an Adult Amateur there really is nothing I can get by without. I’m proud of the ability I have developed to manage keeping a horse in full time work, succeed in my 9-5, do a little bit of cross training and an have the most awesome family.
My little family includes Sailor the poodle and Steve the boyfriend and of course Nonie the pony…


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About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.


  • Love this post! You’re so right – as riders, we can list off every fault (of our own, and our horses), so it’s not so easy to talk about the things we’re proud of. I especially love how Steve taught you to slow down, and figured out Nonie’s love of wither scratches. My husband (not a horse person before we met) discovered last year that all three of my mares love to have their bellies scratched. He discovered this just by spending time with them, expecting nothing of them, and it was a real eye opener for me. It led me to start spending more time just “being” with them, which has completely changed my relationship with them. I’m pretty proud of this 🙂

  • I LOVED following this across your social media and great to read it all together in one place! You’ve definitely lots and lots that you should be super proud of!