Welcome to the third ‘In Due Horse Inspo Interview’! I am SO excited to introduce to you this month’s inspiring Equestrian.
Heather Wallace or ‘The Timid Rider’ is an American blogger, author and pony owner. Heather is also an animal massage therapist and mother and all round excellent person! Heather is an incredibly inspiring equestrian. She uses her own struggle with confidence in the saddle, to help others with theirs. Encouraging other equestrians to be brave be bold & be honest!
From a personal note despite being over the other side of the Atlantic to me, Heather has been so encouraging and supportive of In Due Horse. We ‘met online’ back in October when I participated in Heather’s Blog Hop and Blogtober challenge and she has been so welcoming and supportive since and I am so pleased to be able to collaborate with her.
Photo Credit: Callie Heroux photography.
1) What inspired you to write your book ‘Confessions of a Timid Rider’?
Confessions of a Timid Rider was a book that I feel that I had inside me waiting to come out. I loved to write stories, but I was too afraid to share them with even my family. More, I loved horses but felt pressured (mostly by myself) to compete to be the best. I let the pressure of being perfect overwhelm me and cause anxiety. I stopped writing and I stopped riding horses for 17 years. I lied to myself for a long time.
After having my first child at the age of 31, I was determined that I needed horses back in my life. I craved something just for me, something that filled my soul. I still had doubt in my abilities and was quite nervous. I felt elated being on horseback again, even those it was much higher than I recalled. Maturity, experience and yes, stubbornness, got me back in the saddle and kept me there since. I still expect a lot from myself, but I realized that I was the only person I disappointed if things didn’t happen the way I wanted. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, but I have to ride horses to be truly happy. This really gave me a new perspective, and with it, confidence to share my story.
I am inspired by those around me who unapologetically live their lives and pursue their passions. When I started my blog, The Timid Rider I realized quickly from the responses that I wasn’t alone. Whether you are a returning adult equestrian, junior, amateur, or professional you have moments where you think, “I can’t do this.” But we are wrong. We CAN do it.
The trick is to be perfectly imperfect. Be bold and be true to ourselves. We all have something to learn, and horses are the best teachers, but it’s okay for us to go at our own pace. This book is my story and my experiences. In it, I hope that others find motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward and pursue their passion, whatever that may be…
Photo Credit: Callie Heroux photography
2) Who do you look to for inspiration and why?
I have been so grateful to have amazing female role models. My earliest inspiration in blogging was Susan Friedland-Smith of Saddle Seeks Horse. I first followed her on Instagram, and after engaging with her as a fan, she kindly helped direct me to organizations that would help me improve my writing and blogging skills. I had the absolute pleasure to meet her in 2018 at the American Horse Publications conference and even reciprocated with some feedback for her recently published book, Horses Adored and Men Endured. I am so happy to help others because I know that I wouldn’t be as successful without advice and support of others. I want to provide that in return.
I look to many women in the equestrian world as inspiration as I always believe that I will never stop learning. A significant person in my life is Camille Champagne, an FEI 3* endurance rider and founder of The Gobi Desert Cup. She took a chance on me as the 2018 Media Consultant for her event in Mongolia. I applied sight unseen to live in a nomadic camp with strangers for two weeks, with absolutely no camping experience or knowledge of endurance. Not only is Camille one boss babe, but she is extremely loyal and supportive. She tirelessly works to improve the lives of all the people she works with, not just me but also the Mongolian people, and she continues to give me opportunities, show her appreciation, and be a mentor in many ways. I am very grateful for her friendship. Sometimes I think she believes in me more than I do. She is going for the World Championships in Endurance and I have no doubt she will accomplish everything she dreams.
Photo Credit: Heather Wallace/ Gobi Desert Cup
3) What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
Wow, my most significant achievement is a tough one to answer. I honestly have so much to be grateful for in my life and am quite ambitious. I own two businesses (animal massage and small publishing company); I have written an award-winning and best-selling book and traveled to the depths of Mongolia to work with an endurance horse race that changed my life and my perspective. But what I am most proud of is raising three horse-crazy daughters who believe that women can do anything. They see me following my dreams and working my tail off to get there, but I do it in a way that lifts others instead of tearing them down. At the end of the day, to be a positive example for my family is the most meaningful.
Photo Credit: Heather Wallace.
4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?
We’ve all been there. Don’t believe everything you see on social media, we all have moments where we question our path, our expertise, or our progress. Life is not supposed to be easy. I have learned more from my mistakes both in the saddle and in life than I ever had with success.
However, it is essential to acknowledge the lack of inspiration and why. I often find that changing up my routine helps incredibly. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in this crazy world. So give yourself a break! Go on a quiet hack instead of exercises in the ring or decide on quality time hand grazing your horse. If you are feeling uninspired with work, plan a fun adventure on the weekend to have something to look forward to. The one thing you can always count on is change. You won’t remain uninspired for long if you get up and do something you love! Be bold, brave, and honest but always keep moving forward and pursue your passion.
5) What are the plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve?
I like to set a few achievable goals for myself, crush them, and repeat. Last year I met every goal I had set, and it did wonders for my self-esteem. This year, I have a few goals, but I may add more if I successfully accomplish them!
I plan on doing more speaking at events and conferences. Recently I’ve been massaging a llama with a right hind injury and anxiety/trust issues. The first time we worked together he wouldn’t look me in the eye until we were halfway through the session. Clemente’s owner kindly recommended me to the Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca conference, and now I’ll be a presenter and demonstrator there! I never anticipated working with llamas, but I have learned to go with the flow, and it has opened up many possibilities.
Complete another book for publication! I have three books I’m currently working on and bounce between them as inspiration strikes. They are all very different, and I’m very excited to share them when completed.
I plan on continuing to build my pony’s top line and work with him in a bitless bridle while gaining more time on trails and jumping to develop my own confidence. He loves to jump and is quite adorable!
I will be attending The Gobi Desert Cup again in August and helping to produce a documentary under the direction of Jamie Baldanza Claps of This Mustang Life. While there a few of us will also be spending a little time in the saddle with our Mongolian friends before the race begins. These men are born to the saddle and have so much to teach me about horsemanship and confidence.
More, I have some inspiring things in store for The Timid Rider in the next two years. Sadly it’s too early to tell you just yet. You’ll have to follow me on social media for the official announcement!
My name is Heather Wallace I stepped away from horses as a teen due to anxiety and regretted it ever since. Now I’m back but things are a little different now. I’m a mother, I’m less flexible, and I’m a lot more nervous. The biggest difference? I’m following my passion despite lacking confidence. Join me as I talk about all those things we think but don’t say out loud. timidrider.com/ social media @timidrider.