Here’s What No One is Going to Tell You When it Comes to Horses

Today’s newsletter feels a little different. I know I just had reining trainer Jim Greendyk on the podcast last week (amazing episode - go check it out here!)

But in addition to Jim, I speak with a lot of riders. And, I have the perspective of being a non-pro who’s been through many life changes myself. 

And I felt called to write a newsletter for the riders who may feel unrepresented. 

A newsletter for the riders who aren’t currently competing, or who don’t desire to compete at all. 

Riders who can feel like they don’t matter.

Riders who can feel uncomfortable getting the help they need because they don’t have big pockets or a desire to compete. 

Perhaps you’re a college kid who had to sell their horse. Or you’re just starting out in your first grownup job. Perhaps you have young kids and it just doesn’t feel right for you and your family to be on the road so much. 

Or your special horse got hurt. And your dreams feel dashed. 

Or after a time of competing, you just don’t feel like doing it anymore. 

This one’s for you, friend. 

👏 Horse dreams are more than the show pen. 👏 

If you don’t compete and feel like there isn’t a spot for you in the western world, this post is for you. 

If you’re feeling down, and wondering, gosh, what can you do with your horse besides compete? Let me help you out. You can enjoy:

Building an unbreakable bond with your horse. 

You open the back door, and your horse raises their head and nickers at you. As you walk down to the gate, they walk over to meet you; eager for your time together. You give them a little scratch in their favorite spot. Your bond goes beyond ribbons and trophies. You know their quirks. You communicate without words, and you’ve built a partnership based on trust and respect. Your bond is more than riding. Through all the quiet moments grooming, groundwork, or simply spending quiet time together, these little rituals forge a connection stronger than any accolade. 

Exploring the backcountry

It’s early morning, the sun is just peaking over the horizon, and it’s just you and your horse. The birds and chirping, the sunlight filters through the leaves in the most magical way, and the clip clop of your horse’s hooves fills up your heart. Connected with your horse, surrounded by nature’s beauty.. You’re overcome with gratitude and filled with peace. 

Bouncing back from training setbacks and injuries

Oh boy, to have horses is to know heartbreak. I gotta tell you: you aren’t the first, and you aren’t alone. A promising yearling gets injured in turnout. Your horse colics. Pulls a suspensory. Develops navicular. And that’s not counting all the time you can get sick or injured! 

Let’s be real—every equestrian faces setbacks. Maybe it’s a training challenge that seems insurmountable or an injury that sidelines you and your horse. These moments test your resilience and determination. But remember: it’s not about the fall; it’s about how you get back up every damn time. Embrace these challenges as part of your journey.

Its loving the journey and becoming the best horseman you can be

One of the things I love about horses is how horsemanship is a lifelong journey of learning and growth. No one ever achieves true perfection. It’s not about reaching a final destination but about continually evolving. 

After my kids were born I really found myself lost for a while without the structure of wins and badges in a competitive scenario. Then I found myself rediscovering my love of the horse. Imagine dedicating yourself to becoming the best horseman you can be—not for the accolades, but for the love of the craft. Every ride, every lesson, every quiet moment with your horse is a part of the journey of understanding, and growth. And that’s where the true joy lies, in the process of becoming better for your horse.

Starting your own horse

You don’t win anything for giving a young colt a good start. (At least not right away). But man is it a unique and rewarding experience! Having the horse learn to trust you. To yield to the softest cues of the lead rope. To go from tentative first steps, to confidently loping around requires patience, knowledge, and a deep understanding of equine behavior. 

Watching your horse learn and progress under your guidance is incredibly fulfilling. It’s not just about training a horse; it’s about building a partnership from the ground up and witnessing your horse’s development firsthand.

Seeing your heart horse teaching your children to ride

I’m not gonna lie, I love personally kicking ass. Being an amazing rider. Winning ribbons. But there’s something magical about watching your children ride the horse you’ve trained and loved. It’s a beautiful continuation of the bond you share, passed down to the next generation. Your heart horse becomes a teacher, a guide, and a trusted friend for your children, creating memories that will be cherished for years to come. It’s a legacy of love. And a priceless experience watching your children grow and develop a bond with the horse you hold dear.

Switching to try new, fun events

Listen, I used to ride dressage, I know what it is to try something new! You can switch events, or even just look for something fun to mix it up. There’s so much FUN to be had with horses! Cowboy mounted shooting, mounted archery, ranch riding, ranch trail, cutting, reining, roping, barrels, poles... If you don’t like what you’re doing, or you’re feeling curious or “meh”, try something new!

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be exhilarating and incredibly rewarding. And your horse might like it, too. Cross pollinate! I love taking some lessons with cows to spice it up. Each new discipline you explore enriches your horsemanship and opens doors to new adventures. It’s about embracing the excitement of the unknown and discovering new passions along the way.

So if you don't compete and sometimes feel like there isn’t a spot for you in the western world, know that I see you. You matter. You have value. Your journey is for you and not someone else. 

Dive into the beauty of horsemanship beyond the glitz and glamor of the show pen.

While the show pen has its allure, it's important to remember that there’s so much more to life with horses. Equestrian seasons ebb and flow, with times for competition and times for personal growth and exploration. Don’t ever be embarrassed by the season you’re in. Embrace each season and savor the unique experiences it brings.

Because it’s not about the shows. 

It’s about the horse. 

And no matter what path you choose with your horse, having a strong mental game is crucial. Because the riding, the training, and the mindset and mental skills needed to truly grow as a horseman… that’s there whether you compete or not. There are certain mental skills that all riders need to master to succeed, both in and out of the show pen. 

That’s why I do what I do.

Wondering what those mental skills are you need to master? Come join us in our upcoming (free!) Mini Mental Bootcamp.

Know what you should be working on besides teaching your horse the basics. Because when your mind is strong, you and your horse can truly shine, no matter what path you choose.

Remember, horse dreams are more than the show pen. Embrace the journey, build a strong mental game, and discover the countless joys and rewards that life with horses has to offer.

Happy riding,


PS - If you're ready to unlock your full potential as a rider, learn what's missing from your training program and get the mental skills you need for peak performance, SIGN UP HERE for the Mini Mental Skills Bootcamp to reserve your seat!

PPS- Prefer to listen instead of read the Newsletter? I got you! The Resilient Reiner Newsletter also comes as a podcast! 🎙️ Tune in to the latest episodes now!


or to participate.