Equestrian Dream Sucess: How to Fail to Build on It

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Equestrian Dream Sucess: How to Fail to Build on It

Moving forward with my dream to be an accomplished equestrian, I have moved to competing in horse shows.

A small equestrian dream achievement success I might add . . .

Last weekend I competed in a horse show.

Three days before this first horse show, my focus was simply staying on my horse. My horse Nikki was throwing it all at me: the bucking, bolting, and spooking. He was just getting it all out of his system, right?


Well fellow horse dreamers, we did great at the show. Nikki was a little stressed at first but never really lost focus and settled down quickly. I felt pretty relaxed throughout and only had to resort to singing for a few moments. The judge seemed to really like us. In the end, we earned one first place ribbon and one second place ribbon. Unfortunately, the show started late so we had to pack up and go home after only two classes.

Overall, it was a huge dream confidence builder.

Since then, though, I’ve been in a serious funk. Just ask my husband – he’ll tell you all about it. Here’s how to fail to build upon a recent success (i.e., what not to do):

  1. Fail to give yourself much credit for working hard and realizing a dream success.
  2. Eat junk food. Lots of it. Much more than is reasonable to “reward” yourself for your recent hard work and resulting success.
  3. Be super, super lazy. Let the laundry and dishes pile up. Let the kids watch TV all afternoon so you don’t have to deal with them.
  4. Do not return e-mails or phone calls to supportive friends.
  5. Complain about how tired and unmotivated you are.
  6. Do not look at the horse show calendar to plan your next show.
  7. Focus on all the things you’re not doing.
  8. Let everyone’s little comments and criticism really get to you. Take it all personally and feel bad about yourself.

I couln’t figure out what was. I was thinking that I could benefit from a vacation. And then I began to wonder if these feeling can be something quite natural. Maybe this is something that happens after you take a giant step toward your dream?

I know that it’s not uncommon for runners to suffer post-event depression after finishing a marathon. This is due in part to achieving a goal that took much time and effort.

I decided to some research on the Internet . . . and guess what I found?



By Kirk Wilkinson author of The Happiness Project

All too often I meet people who experience a period of depression soon after a positive achievement. They experience the euphoria of accomplishing a goal or reaching a milestone, but shortly thereafter they feel depressed. The severity of the depression varies by the significance of the achievement — small achievements can generate mild depression that only lasts a short time. While major achievements can bring on a bout of depression that can be more serious.

While goals and achievements are important and good motivators, we should be careful not to assign too much meaning to them. No goal can make you happy; no singular achievement can make you happy either. Happiness is created from the inside out. A goal is a goal, a step along life’s path, a measure of improvement and accomplishment. It does not define who you are. Too much meaning in a goal or achievement can create a never-ending pursuit of one goal after anther to find satisfaction and prove your self-worth. Your self-worth is an inside out phenomena. Look for ways to grow it from within and you will begin to feel happiness.

And how do you recover from Post-depression syndrome?

It is recommended that the sooner you get your mind off the old dream goal and onto the next dream goal, the sooner this feeling of depression will go away. This week I need to be disciplined and set aside some time to look at another show I can compete at and begin to train Nikki as if we have another show.

The idea is to move on to your next dream accomplishment that will once again push you a little bit further out of your comfort zone.

In other words, take the depression and build on it – in a positive way and understand it is a natural part of dream achievement.

Whew! I’m not so crazy after all!

What are you doing for your dream this week?


Danelle left 8 Women Dream in March of 2010 and is still working on her dream is to become an accomplished equestrian

  • Wendy

    Congratulations on your successful show! You and Nikki did great! I hope Nikki is OK. I can relate to the down feeling that follows a show. It always seems anti climatic after wards. I guess it’s the journey getting there that is the rush. Wendy

  • Danelle

    Thanks everyone. Forgot to mention – I cannot ride Nikki. On Monday (day after the show) I discovered two fist-sized bumps under his tummy, right where the girth goes. No riding until those go away or we figure out what they are.

  • Heather_M

    Danelle – I’m with you on the sudden let down of “getting there” can provide. Go easy on yourself! Maybe a night out with just your husband! Oh and if you need summer childcare ideas, just let me know. I had to keep my son busy full time for 13 years of summers.

  • Veronica

    I agree with Mike….ride your horse….

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I am sorry I missed your show Sunday. Too many gradation obligations – is it July yet? I am so proud of you. I think Kim is right – you worked so hard to get in that first show – I am sure this is just the letdown following the first event. Plus you may really just be tired. This weather doesn’t help either. We need a fun meeting – I have to figure something out for us for June!

  • Mike

    Mike thinks you should continue to ride your horse.

  • Thanks, Kim. I’m sure you’re right. But, for this morning, I’m sitting here eating “Dirt Cake” in accordance with #2.

  • Kim

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment! It sounds like you’re just coming down from a big “high” and your body and mind just needs to chill for awhile. Sounds normal to me and I’m sure you’ll be yourself in no time.