Junior Rider Testimonial from Kate Egan and Ella Smutzer

Testimonial from Junior Rider, Kate Egan, who trains with Emil Spadone at Redfield. 


Photo Credit: Andrew Ryback

Testimonial for my peak performance mental skills bootcamp from 16 yr old Equestrian Rockstar, Kate Egan, who trains with Redfield in NJ. Kate finished in the top 1% of all my riders and top ten in country 2021! A year after she started coaching with me, she won the WEC Premier Equitation Cup and the car!

Update: Kate Egan is now 17, and she is my Equestrian Rockstar Jr. Rider Brand Ambassador! 

Before coaching, list 2-3 of the greatest challenges in your life at that time?

a.) I was a perfectionist.

b.) I was an overthinker.

c.) I was stressed.

How were the above problems impacting your life?

a.) If something was not perfect in my round I would beat myself up about it. It would be hard for me to turn around my emotions to make use the pearls for the next round.

b.) I would think things I said or did would cause others to dramatically change their viewpoints about me. Additionally, I would think if someone saw a mess up in my round they would believe I was a bad rider or not worthy of a catch ride.

c.) I felt that I had many responsibilities that I could not handle. I felt that I was unable to get them all done, and that idea scared me.

What finally had you say “enough is enough” that inspired you to work with a coach?

All of my problems started to affect my mental state and riding in the show ring. I felt less confident, I was always crying, and I wasn’t feeling myself. I knew I needed to get back to who I truly was and become the strongest rider I knew I could be.

What was one of your favorite aspects of coaching?

One of my favorite aspects of coaching was not only learning the mental skills to be an Equestrian Rockstar, but also learning to have the time management and dedication I needed to achieve success.

Since coaching, what are some of the tangible results you’ve experienced in your life?

I feel unstoppable. I feel strong and empowered enough that no tasks or challenges are too much for me to do. I can balance all aspects of my life and execute everything with success. My show and academic results have improved, and my confidence in and out of the show ring is at its peak.

I became everything on the New Rider Identity list that I wanted to be!



Ella Smutzer who trains with Bull Run Equestrian Center. 



Before coaching, list 2-3 of the greatest challenges in your life at that time?

a) No confidence

b) Paralyzing fear of making a mistake

c) Overwhelming need to be “Perfect”

How were the above problems impacting your life?

I was suddenly placing at the bottom, or not at all, at shows.

It added unnecessary tension to my relationships with my parents and my trainers.

The stress I was placing on myself was becoming unbearable.

I was unmotivated in both my academics and my riding.

What finally had you say “enough is enough” that inspired you to work with Breakthrough Peak Performance Mental Skills Coach, Nancy Dye?

My performance in the show ring was rapidly declining. Riding had become less enjoyable.

My parents were pressuring me to make changes, but I did not know where to even start.

What was one of your favorite aspects of coaching?

Coaching gave me power over my past self-sabotaging habits.

Hearing Nancy’s stories allowed me to better relate to the things we were discussing.

Nancy and I created my new rider identity which provided me with a much needed fresh start.

I was able to choose my new identity which was empowering.

I enjoy having the opportunity to recap my show experiences and rounds.

We discuss all of the events and details from my shows that will allow me to improve in the future.

Nancy's book, "Equestrian Rockstars; Solving Your Puzzle for Riding with Confidence and Joy", allowed me to further my mental skills training even on days when I wasn't training with Nancy. I always had a resource available when I was not scheduled to meet with Nancy. The book provided a lot of good insight and stories that I was to apply to issues that arose during my rides and competitions.  



Since coaching, what are some of the tangible results you’ve experienced in your life?

I’m now consistently winning in both the hunter and jumper rings.

I am honest with myself and therefore more respected by others.

Peace in my relationships has been restored.

My horses can now rely on me to be the leader they need.

I am able to connect with my horses and my team in a way I was not able to before.

I have regained confidence in myself.

I can go into the show ring and win.

Update: Now training with Lynn Jayne, and her first time being at WEF, and her very first show, she was champion in the 1.10m jumper division and placed 3rd in the 1.15 jumper classic! 

Natalie Coffin who trained with Bull Run Equestrian Center. Now with Lynn Jayne.

Natalie finished up the '23 winter circuit with Reserve Champion at WEC on her new horse, Spice Girl, in the Small, Junior Hunter, 15U. Her other horse, Puck, who was at home rehabbing, nonetheless finished circuit as Champion in the large, 3'6 younger division! 

"You have played a massive part in Natalie's success and for that we are very thankful!"  Dave Coffin, Natalie's dad. 

Natalie's Testimonial.

Before coaching, list 2-3 of the greatest challenges in your life at that time (what types of things kept you awake at night and were pressing problems that needed to be solved in your life)?

A) I put too much value on the ribbons, so I psyched myself out every Sunday.

B) When I did win I would feel guilty.

C) If everything from the morning hack, to the warm-up, to my show rounds weren’t perfect, I couldn’t function.

How were the above problems impacting your life (list as many as you can recall)?

I had lost the joy in riding and competing.

I was always upset with either myself or my circumstances.

I knew I was the problem but had no idea how to fix it, and it just kept getting worse.

What finally had you say “enough is enough” that inspired you to work with a coach?

My experience at a show in Florida made me want to change everything. I started the week winning a professional class and a Hunter Prix, but completely psyched myself out with pressure and self-doubt on Sunday. I was so upset with myself because I knew that I was the only reason that I couldn’t keep winning.

What was one of your favorite aspects of coaching?

My favorite aspect from Nancy’s coaching was the day that she taught me that nothing can take away my riding ability. I was in Kentucky during WCHR week, with a brand new horse, competing against very big names. Learning this absolutely rocked me. It was like a slap in the face and everything changed from that day on. Really though, it’s hard to pick just one thing, because this training has literally changed everything about how I go through life, not just in riding, but with everything.

Since coaching, what are some of the tangible results you’ve experienced in your life?

I’m definitely more successful at shows. Not only do I have winning ribbons, but I’m enjoying competing so much more. If I have a round or warm-up that doesn’t go as well, it doesn’t destroy me, I can objectively learn from it, and confidently fix it. My attitude with myself, my fellow competitors, and my trainer is so much better that others have noticed. I was even awarded a HITS Sportsmanship award that I would never have been given before these changes. I have a hard time even remembering the negative and emotional way that I used to think and react. Now I don't even have to work at changing my mindset to feel empowered or unflappable. 




Eva Paliouras, Jr. Jumper Rider; trains with showjumper, David Blake, in Wellington & Tryon

Nancy was referred to us by one of the judges at WEF. Before coaching, I lacked confidence, I had a victim mindset, and I struggled with fear. These things were impacting my results at horse shows and were preventing me from improving my riding. What finally had me say “enough is enough,” that inspired me to work with Nancy Dye, was that I kept having bad shows and horrible reactions.

One of my favorite aspects of coaching with her was that she always made me realize something that I didn’t even think was preventing me from being my best self.  Since coaching, I’m more successful and definitely more coachable (my trainer can tell you that). I have been so consistent throughout shows almost always ribboning, if not winning, on all 3 of my horses. And my confidence is a 15/10! My best WEF season ever! Now I am ready and fulfilling my long time dream to show at my dream venue and show: Longines Miami Beach in April!


Below: Pilar Ojeda, age 17, trains with Columbian showjumper, Ricardo Villa and shows the medium jumpers at Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina. 

Before coaching, list 2-3 of the greatest challenges in your life at that time (what types of things kept you awake at night and were pressing problems that needed to be solved in your life?

a) Being negative on myself.
b) Solving problems by quitting and dragging on with that quitting mentally.
c) Constantly worrying about things going wrong/ wanting to be perfect in the ring.

How were the above problems impacting your life?

Those problems impacted the way I showed up to the ring. I was blaming things on my horse, being negative, timid, and lacking confidence.
Also being shy with my relationships. Quitting when things got tough, and I didn't want to change or help myself.

What finally had you say “enough is enough” that inspired you to work with a coach?

I was getting ready for my first regional Grand Prix, I was walking the course and for the first time I was genuinely scared to do the class. My mom was telling me to call you again after our free session for weeks before then. I told myself I was going to, but never made the time to follow through. When I was walking that course for the Prix, I was scared of the height (a new height I haven't done before and didn't really want to do the class. It was like I got shot in place. I wasn't worried about doing the class until I was standing there in front of the jumps. I continued to go in the ring with that mentally. The class could have gone way worse, me or the horse could have gotten hurt, by the way I was feeling about it but I got 2 rails. Maybe I would have been clear if I was an Equestrian Rockstar then!

What was one of your favorite aspects of coaching?

I love doing exercises like The Old and New Identities, Communication Styles, and the 6 Humans Needs, because it opens my eyes to things I need go work on. Seeing the things I do already and things I need to do out of my comfort zone. I also like how we make effective techniques that are custom for me, and make me feel empowered!

Since coaching, what are some of the tangible results you’ve experienced in your life?

I am more confident in myself, and want to make a change in my life while I am young. I am more confident in my riding, I'm excited to get in the ring, excited to have more experiences to work on myself, and ready to set my life on the right bridle path!

Breitton Bird, junior rider, who trains with Chris Covarrubias & Redfield Training, LLC.

Before coaching, list 2-3 of the greatest challenges in your life at that time.

a) Overthinking.
b) A perfectionist.
c) I was doubtful.

How were the above problems impacting your life?

a) I would go around the course thinking of problems or mistakes that could be made. I would overthink the course instead of just riding. On course when a mistake was made, I would be thinking about what people's judgements would be of my riding. I was scared to even mess up. I was overthinking my riding and anticipating failure.

b) I was down about my abilities. Nothing could ever be good enough. I felt I could never produce a good round or feel accomplished. I would walk out of the ring defeated every time because there was always something out of place in the round. I could never feel successful and look at the positives coming from my rounds. I could never leave the past round in the past.

c) I was doubting my abilities as a rider. I felt that I couldn’t be an accomplished rider or live up to my horse’s abilities. This doubt would lead to immense stress and defeated before executing my course.

What finally had you say “enough is enough” that inspired you to work with a coach?

I had the horse, the training, the shows, but there was always something missing. I was being so down about my riding and never acknowledging little successes. My rounds were never good enough and could always be better never allowing me to feel good. I would hold on to the mistakes that I made in the previous round hoping that they wouldn’t happen again. If this was happening in my riding, it was definitely happening in my everyday. I was scheduling myself too far between working out, studying, school, riding, and homework. This was all to deflect and keep my mind busy to not think about the true problems or solutions.

What was one of your favorite aspects of coaching?

I love how Nancy tailors every session to my specific needs and digs deep to find a true solution. Nancy is very active and interested in the root of the problems that are stopping feelings of empowerment and then being able to execute in the ring. Nancy is always pushing me to continue to be better. After every call, I feel more empowered and more unstoppable. Nancy is rooting for you and pushes you to be better. Its very enjoyable to have a show and talk to Nancy after about places of improvement and places where solutions were applied.

Since coaching, what are some of the tangible results you’ve experienced in your life? 

I am the most confident I have ever been whether this be in riding or my everyday life. I am not worried about people's assumptions towards me and am able to express my true self. I am able to now turn negative thoughts to something that will empower me and get me excited. I am excited to learn, grow, and accomplish new things. My empowered mindset is growing everyday allowing for my new rider identity to take complete control. When I walk into the show ring, I am able to be completely focused on the task at hand. I am happier with my riding and overall happier about my successes in life. These empowered feelings allow me to feel unstoppable and create more goals. This winter I am able to be a working student and this was done from never doubting my abilities. Living a life where I can be empowered from my own self opens an unlimited amount of doors and opportunities.



Above: Sophia Choti, A/O rider at WEF, who trains with Michael Desiderio. 

"I am Sophia’s dad and biggest fan. I want to reach out to you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done and will do for Sophia. We have seen how much you have helped Sophia, and more importantly, Sophia has shared with us how much you have helped her and how much she respects and looks up to you. I just wanted to say thank you. Its not about how many ribbons she is winning or how much money she is winning (although that has been nice) but more about how happy and confident she has gotten again. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart." Joseph Choti

Below: Olivia Combs is my Equestrian Rockstar Amateur Rider Brand Ambassador on the west coast. She coached with me as a junior and is now an A/O rider and trains with showjumper, Kyle King, in California. She does the desert circuit and the Canadian horse shows.

"I am 19 years old. I ride with Mark Kinsella of MK Equestrian based in Temecula, CA. About 10 years ago, I started seriously taking riding lessons at a small, local barn in Michigan before moving to what is now Ascend Equestrian, my family's hunter/jumper barn. I trained under Sarah Robertson for my entire Junior career. Her guidance took me from pony finals to numerous equitation finals and the low junior jumper championships. 

After finishing equitation finals in 2021, I moved to MK Equestrian to train under Irish Show Jumper, Mark Kinsella. By doing this, my goal was to better my show jumping career and fine tune my riding. While riding with Mark, I have obtained a lovely string of horses; Daisy Dee 16, Blueberry De Breve, and Once Upon a Time De Sens, I have reached and surpassed many of my goals for this year including success in the Medium and HIgh A/O Jumpers. 

My goals for this year are to debut my Grand Prix career and continue to have confidence and success in the ring. I am so grateful to my horses and everyone who has helped me to achieve my goals. I can't wait to see where the future takes me as I continue down my Equestrian Rockstar path!" 

Testimonial Question: 

 On a scale of 1-10 (1 being "I can't believe I signed up for this coaching stuff" and 10 being "the most amazing thing I've ever experienced"), please rate your coaching experience. 

 Answer: "10! I loved everything about it! Also, I absolutely loved reading Nancy's book! It was incredibly relatable, filled with her humor, and to top it off, educational. Well written with a charming voice, it was an extremely enjoyable read. Through her book and coaching program, my jumpers have never gone better, and I have never ridden so accurately!