Thoughts on “Firsts”

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Stretch Your Comfort Zone to Build Confidence

by Catherine Madera


It’s well into spring as I write this and the ground is erupting with firsts: first dandelions, first green grass on bare pasture, first baby birds. There’s a lot of excitement, expectation and maybe even fear surrounding a first time—for anything in life.

Stretch Your Comfort Zone to Build Confidence by Catherine Madera
Mateo’s first trail ride. Photo courtesy of NWHS

Within my small horse herd, it’s a season of firsts: Mateo’s first trail ride and showing my stallion Eli for the first time. Mateo has already completed his ride and when this magazine appears on stands Eli and I will be on our way home from our first show. I wonder how he and I will feel? I wonder how we will do? It’s exciting, and a bit scary, to think about.

Life is full of opportunities to cast fear of failure aside and try something for the first time. I must admit I had a few butterflies on the drive to the trail head with Mateo last week. I felt good about our relationship, and where he was in his training, but one never knows exactly what to expect that first time out of the safety of an arena. It was a slightly windy and overcast day and I almost canceled the ride…what if he spooked and bucked me off? I’m happy to say Mateo was unusually good for a young horse. Moving through a bit of insecurity—on both our parts—only increased our bond and confidence. That’s what stretching the comfort zone does for humans and horses. Like exercising your body it builds strength—mental and emotional strength.  One has to get over the hump of that insecure “first” to move on to better things.

I hope you all are getting out and enjoying some firsts with your horses so you can move on to greater and greater success in your journey together. Enjoy the magazine this month. Check out The Grange Supply in Issaquah for all those necessary farm supplies you need along the way. Email me at

Ride on!


Published June 2014 Issue

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