Caroline's Blog Post # 2

Becoming “Big Cheese”

Many people close to me would probably never guess that confidence has been a recurring issue for me. I think it’s partly because I’m a Type –A overachieving control freak living in the land of horses where there is ALWAYS something more to learn and something completely unexpected about to happen. I also think it’s because for the longest time growing up I was afraid to make a mistake.  I have learned that mistakes and imperfections are ok, expected, and NO BIG DEAL.

So why do I bring this up?

Last year I traded in my USEF Amateur status for Professional status. I had no plans to really DO much with it, wasn’t thinking of opening a barn or getting sponsors or anything huge. I just had a couple friends who wanted to pay me to ride their horses. This year, I took it a step further. My tax man was unhappy with my lack of a real business name to go with my Independent Contractor status. So one day, hacking through the woods, it hit me: Big Cheese Eventing. And why not?

Being a big cheese is something to aspire to. And it’s funny because my Prelim horse is Pepperjack (and I also have a dog named Cheddar..yes I really do love cheese this much!). So, without taking myself seriously AT ALL, Big Cheese Eventing got a Facebook page. And a website. And now I also have students, more people wanting me to ride their horses, clinics to organize and horse shows to host. Without ever thinking it possible, I have become a “real professional.” 

And because I now have students and horses to train for others, there are times that I feel self-doubt creep in. Do I really know enough to help this kid learn dressage? Will I know what to do if this person’s horse has a meltdown at an away show? Can I handle having multiple students at a show for the weekend?

But here is what becoming a professional has also taught me. Overthinking things is NEVER productive. I may still approach a new lesson kid with some doubts, but as soon as I jump in I feel at home. I KNOW how to do these things; I have spent my entire life working towards this moment. I thoroughly enjoy teaching, where I was never sure I would. To share in the light bulb moments, to watch kids learn what they are capable of, to see and feel horses understand their jobs and feel successful; these are all moments where I know I made the right choice.

My current string of horses include Jack, who has just been cleared for normal work following a tendon rehab, and Theo, my rescue-turned Gold Medal jumper pony-turned event pony (he’s for sale; YES, YOU WANT HIM!).  Going pro with these two has been eye opening. A successful rehab will always make you feel good about yourself, but for me it has also made me feel more confident in helping a student who may find themselves in a similar situation. Bringing a horse along from a throw-away to a successful show horse is confidence building for future projects. It’s impossible to look at my two horses and not feel a sense of accomplishment and a hunger to do it again, and again, and again.

I think, especially as a professional and a potential role model for others, that it is imperative to know how much you don’t know. I learned that line from my own trainer, who has never steered me wrong. I’m ok with not knowing everything, but I am determined to learn as much as I can. If I want to be a true Big Cheese, I need to practice the habits I wish to instill in my students; patience, respect, sportsmanship, and the drive to always be looking to expand my knowledge and horsemanship. I know I’ll never know it all, but I can certainly strive to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please share with your friends! Look for the share buttons on the far right side of the page. Thank you! 



Riding Far, LLC

Stackhouse Saddles
Stackhouse saddles

Our Sponsors!
Your ad here!