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What will matter in the end?

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Written by Andrea Parker

The past week has been a challenging one. I’ve been running on a little less sleep than what I arguably need, work has been full on and I have a partner who has been sick with a bout of gastro. It’s pretty unsurprising that I’ve felt like I’ve not been riding at my best. 

And that would be fine except that despite some good moments, when looking back all I feel is the bad parts. I’ve felt like a failure and a bad rider. 

So after a week of feeling like a potato, of feeling like I was letting my horse down (something that seems to be part and parcel of life as an Adult Amateur) I finally said to my partner Steve, ‘I think I’m being a bit hard on myself’.

The look on his face said it all, ‘You don’t say Andrea… ‘ Because this isn’t new for me. Self doubt, harsh self criticism, this is one of the ways in which my anxiety shows up. 

After just saying it out loud, I went out and rode far better than I had all week. Of course there was room for improvement. Then this morning I woke up to the most generous and heart warming message on my Facebook page. It was a message that reminded me of something important. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

When I look back in 20 years time on my journey with Nonie, I don’t think the thing that will stand out to me is the competitions where we placed or even won. It won’t matter if we take three years before we are ready to move up to Advanced, or if we never make it to FEI. We’ve already come farther than I could have dreamt. What will stand out to me is the incredible partnership I have built with this mare, how much we have taught each other and how much joy she brought to my life. 

That is what will matter In the end.


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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.


  • I’ll be honest, this brought a few tears to my eyes Andrea. Thank you for being so honest. Because I guarantee every equestrian, mother, father, EVERYONE has felt like they aren’t good enough. So glad you pushed through and realized what was really important!

    • Thanks Heather! It certainly is a common feeling and I think its really important to be open about our perceived short comings. Its all to easy in this social media age to put up a brave front but in the end that only makes us feel more alone.