On the situations of feeling stuck and burned out... what you can do. 


Many of us have exerienced barns, horses, co-workers, employers, teachers that have made us feel "not so awesome" and burned out.  I talked with Cathy Penrod, a professional Performance Specialist with how this applies to job situations and what you can do about it!  You have all of the power to make choices.  


Here's what Cathy shares about "The Impact of the Social Influence "

When working with clients, from children, juniors, amateurs and professional riders, there is one common theme when we discuss the six influences that affect our performance whether working or in the ring– the Social Factor. Whether you are the rider, employee or part of the support network, the influence is strong and awareness of the impact for all is key.    

Social factors involve having the "right" amount and type of interaction with others when we work, ride or compete with, and if we feel supported before, during, and after our day and ride. This may involve being surrounded by like-minded people who are excited about the same things we are.    

Social factors detract from energy when social conditions aren't optimal for us or when other people's negative energy affects our own. For instance, when a trainer/employer, parent or spouse negatively comments about the last ride performed, our work ability, the dialogue can be adversely interpreted and an assumption made with a feeling left of disappointment.  Or, we are so concerned about disappointing our trainer, spouse and parent, as every bobble, wrong lead or movement, missed fence, money spent with no ribbon means, “ I have upset  those who support me the most”.    Our support network may not realize the affect their conversations have on us as they are just trying to “help” and be “supportive”; but knowing they are watching at ring side can influence our reaction and enthusiasm of our rides and impact the remainder of our weekend. Whether we are riding or it’s centered around an employer, our inner critic can come out and the fear of failureself-doubt and I am not good enough rears its ugly head.    

Social factors are those related to society and the people who are around us. While the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical influences are internally focused, the social area is more externally focused.    

We don't exist in a vacuum, and how we react to and interact with others can have a strong influence on our energy in our sport, our overall life, and in any particular situation. In his book Mastery, Robert Greene said:  

Often the greatest obstacle to our pursuit of mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us. We misread their intentions and react in ways that cause confusion or conflict... Navigating smoothly through the social environment, we have more time and energy to focus on learning and acquiring skills. Success attained without this intelligence is not true mastery, and will not last.  

People's social needs and desires vary greatly. From a social perspective, our engagement is enhanced when we have the amount and type of interaction that is right for us.  


Someone who is more introverted, for example, would likely be more comfortable working, practicing or riding alone or with one or two other people, while someone with extrovert tendencies may prefer being part of a large group or team. Introverts may need alone time in the form of frequent breaks to recharge, as constantly being with other people (even though they may enjoy them) can drain their energy.  Extroverts, on the other hand, recharge by being with people. What's important is to discover what best suits us, the one we support and the one we train, and then create those social conditions that work.  


Social factors coupled with stress reaction and internal obstacles; assumptions, and interpretations affect us in many ways.  Remember, stress itself is not the enemy; it's our reaction to it. What one person perceives as being stressful, another barely notices, and yet another is excited by. Also, keep in mind, we all stress and react differently. When your employer or trainer is more aggressive, are they stressed as wellAgain, interpretations and assumptions can play a large part of how we feel within that moment.   

When making the decisions if your support network, trainer or employer is the right choice, we have options. There are 5 methods of changing your negative work environment and support network:  

  1. Remain a victim to it – Accept loss of control and experience uncontrolled anger, grief and depression.  

  1. Leave it – If you cannot or will not remain in it, change it or the way you feel about it, your remaining option is to leave it.  

  1. Accept it – Suspend judgment, stress and the burden associated with it.  

  1. Change it – have a proactive action and your willingness to make a change.  

  1. Change the perspective on how you look at your relationships.  

Remember, the choice is yours.  

Happy Riding!  


Cathy Penrod is a certified professional Performance Specialist with 34 years of knowledge of the equestrian world and has more than 19 years of leadership, mentoring and coaching experience.  Cathy specializes in helping riders break through internal barriers, conquer nerves, and take their performance to the next level using customized programs such as The Spur Factor Process and COR.E Performance Dynamics.  

Find out more about Cathy and EquiCoach at: