Equestrian Performance Coaching

Courage to Confidence

1:1 Coaching Program

Strategy. Courage. Confidence.


Horses are resonant. They’re able to “hear” everything we think and feel. They get our messages of worry, self-doubt and performance anxiety directly. They feel our fear and they take on our insecurities. 

 No matter how unique and private your struggles feel, you are not alone. There is a process. There are strategies. There are insights and discoveries for you to make. I’ve been helping riders of all levels and disciplines build confidence and transcend barriers they never thought they could for more than twenty years now.

I am still blown away by the progress riders can make in a very short period of time.

Whether your goal is to go down centerline at a new level, ride through the scary end of the arena, jump confidently, canter your horse with joy, experience the freedom of trail riding with friends or share fear-free moments of connection with your horse, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT.

We work together to create awareness. We normalize your experience. You learn to leverage science and neuroplasticity to retrain your brain. You reprogram your nervous system and expand your capacity to handle all the things. 

Your horse will feel your confidence and share your joy. 

The Courage to Confidence program is designed to transform your experience of yourself and in turn, your partnership with your horse. If you are really ready to get to the other side of whatever is in your way…

Apply for a Discovery Call Here


  • I came to Jen as a really frustrated rider, uncertain if I wanted to continue. Jen helped me gain clarity around my goals for riding, set expectations for my horse, training program, and my riding so I could really understand whether I wanted to quit. With Jen's help I have found joy in riding, my training program, and my horse again. My results speak for themselves: I’ve successfully moved up a level and have been very competitive- with several wins in competitive divisions.

    Jen has a unique ability to remain curious in various situations and has helped me learn to do the same. This has allowed me to remove judgement and become a better student in riding and other aspects of my life. Her insight, stemming from her experience in the horse industry, has been very helpful. My focus and ability to be present while riding has significantly improved and my competition results are a direct reflection of that.

    Megan Robinson, Eventer & Consulting CFO

  • I first started performance coaching with Jen when my anxiety was taking a toll on my progression in my riding and my everyday life. I didn’t know how to handle it on my own.

    Through coaching, I’ve learned ways to manage my stress and anxiety in more than just riding but I have had success I never thought I would with my riding goals. In 2019 I was Oregon Dressage Society first and second level champion, USDF Region 6 first level and first level freestyle champion, and I qualified for the Dressage Finals in Kentucky. This year, from Florida, I have qualified for the NAYRC. I love how open Jen is to the things I say when I’m getting ready for a competition and how excited she gets for me when I do well.

    I just want to say thank you, Jen, for everything you’ve done for me. I truly would not have been able to achieve these things without your help. You’ve helped me change my mindset for the better and I can’t thank you enough!

    Jessica Beck, NAYRC Dressage Rider & Assistant Trainer

  • I sought out a coach in my early teens at the request of my trainer and parents. I was seriously struggling managing my emotions. Jen has helped me learn to stop. Think. And then act. Through performance coaching, I have gained significant emotional and life perspective. As a competitive young rider it was all too easy to become overly focused on the competitive aspect of our sport.

    From my coaching with Jen I have gained the ability to actually find the “success” and “growth” that is provided when what can often be seen as a “failure” happens. In our sport you can never expect your plans to go perfectly. My coaching with Jen has allowed me to be better prepared when my plans fall apart. Whether it’s plans with horses, or anywhere else in life. This has allowed me to be more confident taking risks and going for my goals. Every aspect of my life has truly been changed for the better by our work together. Coaching helped me bring out the strongest parts of my personality. Thank you!

    Elaina Martin, Event Rider & College Student

  • My only regret in performance coaching with Jen is that I didn't have her in my life sooner! She has helped me in so many ways. I saw changes within myself and my riding resulting from our first twenty minute discovery call. Although I have a wonderful trainer, Jen's coaching has been the perfect supplement to my riding lessons.

    Since starting coaching, I’ve made a successful transition to a second horse (that I was really nervous about!) and I have hugely improved my confidence in my riding. I have a better understanding of horse/rider dynamics- I share videos of my riding with Jen and we use them for brainstorming, discussing my progress and ways for me to get the most out of my riding lessons. Overall, I am just better able to enjoy my riding and accept myself. I cannot recommend this experience highly enough!

    Amy Swingen, AA Show Jumper & Clark County Superior Court Commissioner

  • Jen was recommended to me by a dressage clinician and I started performance coaching with her when I finally got tired of dealing with mental roadblocks in my riding. Working with Jen has been a life changing experience! She is the first person who has been able to help me address the mental issues involved specifically with riding. Her approach is personal, detailed and practical. I truly feel stronger!

    I understand I will need to stay vigilante about my own issues moving forward, but Jen has given me effective tools to use that I keep with me at the top of my riding equipment list and can take anywhere. I’ve moved up to second level and accomplished all my competitive goals this year but, honestly, the main thing is that, quite simply, riding is more fun now!

    Karen McCurdy, AA Dressage Rider & President, Mid Valley Chapter Oregon Dressage Society

  • Admittedly, I've never been the bravest or most outgoing in the saddle. I've frequently had knocks to my confidence along with challenging horse, barn and coach situations. Knowing riding is something I’d consider to be a big part of who I am, I wanted to enlist help refocusing and prioritizing in order to create a more positive environment in my own head.

    In my time working with Jen, I've been able to improve dramatically regarding my riding success. Not because I suddenly became a phenomenal rider, but because Jen has helped me learn how to focus on riding my horse well and having fun instead of comparing myself to other riders all the time and putting too much pressure on myself. Jen, additionally, has helped me see that when I’m in the right mindset I'm fully capable of achieving whatever I like!

    Stella Wright, Eventer & High School Student

  • At times, I've felt so discouraged in this sport that I love, that I’ve almost quit riding twice. Jen's coaching, not only prevented me from making that mistake, but has helped me rise above fear as I had to retire one horse and move on to develop a whole new relationship with a new one.

    I sought out Jen and The Performance Project at the recommendation of one of my riding coaches. I’ve taken the course several times now- each time, I've conquered so many fears! I’ve learned how to ride "in the moment". I’ve shifted my mindset to focus on troubleshooting so I ride like the trainer of my horse rather than just a rider. I’ve obtained clarity and perspective on my career too! I just made a big career decision that I would have been too afraid or too unclear to make without the tools I’ve gotten from TPP.

    Overall, working with Jen in The Performance Project has Increased my confidence, given me a greater ability to cut myself some slack and process my emotions rather than squashing them so that I am free to live my life!

    Lorraine Heath, AA Eventer & DNA Forensic Scientist, California State Patrol

  • Performance coaching with Jen Has given me increased awareness of what emotional and mental presence I bring to my riding and my horses on a daily basis. My biggest mindset shift has been a daily appreciation and gratitude for the little things I love about each of my horses. Instead of thinking about what I’m worried they will do or about their negative qualities, I focus my attention on their best qualities and what we can create together. My partnerships with each of them has improved immensely! This has led to much less anxiety while riding and huge advances in progression in our training.

    Emily Wilson DVM, Dressage Rider & Sport Horse Vet

  • I truly did not expect the last few months to be so transformative for me. Working with Jen has been a huge boost in my confidence. I’ve learned to approach my riding differently- from a learning perspective instead of a pressure/performance perspective. After several months of coaching, I’ve already seen a huge shift in my mindset surrounding what I’m capable of and how I can approach situations that may cause me anxiety.

    I’ve reevaluated why I ride: To learn and connect with my horse! (Not to have to prove myself or show off what I already know.) I’ve challenged habituated thought patterns and changed them. I’ve gone from feeling judgmental of myself and anxious about riding to feeling excited and hopeful for whatever comes next. I am so ready to dig deep and learn everything I can!!

    Heather Mullholland, Dressage Rider & Polo Player

  • My daughter, Ashley, worked with Jen to overcome the stress and anxiety that comes with riding and competing at the upper levels in eventing. My husband and I noticed great improvements in Ashley’s ability to reason and cope with anxiety regarding her horse’s health and in other areas of her life. It has made a tremendous impact on our family’s life in so many ways! Ashley has gained tools to deal, not only with pressure related to riding but, with other things that come up in life as well. Her partnership with her horse has strengthened and she is enjoying competing again. Jen is very approachable and encouraging while still helping Ashley be accountable to herself. Thank you, Jen, for your time and professionalism with Ashley. You have helped her grow more confident and resilient as a person, daughter and horsewoman!

    Shelly Widmer, Mom to Upper Level Eventer

  • I was so tired of being scared on my horse. I can't imagine that anyone is more afraid on a horse than I am. Jen got me to focus on me and become aware of what I am thinking. I’ve learned not to dwell on what others are thinking and be there for my horse.

    We are under no obligation to listen to the negative voices in our heads!

    I no longer have a constant negative voice in my head and I can deal with it when it shows up. I don't keep beating myself up for the life choices I have made. Performance coaching with Jen has given me new ideas, helped me make perspective shifts and my confidence has improved!

    Carlee Arnett, Dressage Rider & Professor, UC Davis German Dept.

  • Since coaching with Jen, I approach every ride with more confidence. If I am in a nerve-racking situation, I have tools that work to help me succeed. I feel more confident in the saddle but I also have an easier time saying no to things I don’t want to do. I feel more in charge of my own life. It’s a great feeling! Jen has changed how I approach riding. I’m able to get into a more focused state, set goals, and overall feel more confident. She is so easy to talk to. I never feel judged and she has a way of decluttering all the thoughts in my head. Working with Jen has been a pleasure and I will definitely continue to work with her in the future!

    Brigitte Czerwinski

  • I first met Jen when I joined The Performance Project last spring. I had struggled with crippling fear for many years. It was clear to me in TPP that Jen had so much to offer. I soon began one on one performance coaching sessions and couldn’t be happier I made that decision. Her coaching has helped me overcome fear associated with riding and allowed me to not only have a very successful show season this year, but enjoy it! She truly personalizes each session and remembers details from conversations we had months ago. I feel like she truly cares about my success. We now focus on bigger goals and how to achieve them. I am so grateful for her and plan to continue working with her for years to come.

    Jen Carr

  • Absolutely speechless and humbled. So grateful for the support I’ve been given in my journey with Enzo. Sunday afternoon we achieved a goal I set in ‘The Performance Project’ last April with Jen Verharen. WOW! When I set the goal, I teared up just saying it aloud. The goal gave me butterflies and I was scared and excited by the possibility of achieving it. Many months of work have gone by… and voila, WE DID IT! I accomplished overcoming Red Light fear to trust Enzo and he learned to THINK through challenges and TRUST me that ghosts were not after him. We went to a new place, and had a fabulous, forward, relaxed lesson with Jen. Not long ago, following a serious accident, Enzo’s and my fear were strong enough that I did not think I would be able to keep him. Thank you, Jen, for giving me candor, inspiration, experience and goal setting through performance coaching!! I’ve learned so much in my journey with Enzo this past year that will impact every facet in my life. Silly what these horses teach us about ourselves. Enjoying the process and time to set new goals!

    Keiley Giboney

  • When I started coaching with Jen, I felt like my ‘feet were in the mud’. I was feeling stuck and as if I didn’t have choices. I wanted help clarifying my goals and figuring out how to reach them. Coaching helped me understand that I did have choices and I got clearer about what I want for myself. Jen allows a safe place to vent but stays on task in helping you clarify perceived obstacles and offers ways to think about options. I was able to make clear, hard decisions based on a new understanding. Jen has a special energy which is supportive, and encouraging. She also has a big tool box for guiding us to accomplish goals. She is empathetic but helps you stay on task and move toward your vision. She is very good at what she does!

    Jan Chisholm

  • I had just started riding a new horse when I found out about Jen’s coaching. Going into a new show season, I wanted to be more focused and try to get rid of some of my past baggage. Self-doubt and a lack of focus had been plaguing me for the last few years. I liked Jen’s personality and her approach appealed to me. My goal, going into the coaching program, was to be ready to perform as well as I could when at a show. I started working with Jen in order to take my riding aspirations to the next level. I had never had the experience of setting intentional goals and it was crazy how rapidly I started to accomplish them. Not only did Jen help me create a doable plan, but she gave me the tools I needed to get out of my own way and really go for it in the ring.

    In the equestrian part of this effort, I ended up with a lot of show success, winning a USDF Region 6 Championship and qualifying for the Dressage Finals in Kentucky.

    As it turned out, however, our work together became more crucial. I received devastating news, in July of 2016, just as I was trying to qualify for the National Dressage Finals. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was my work with Jen that really gave me the self-confidence and determination to carry on with my big goal. I decided to continue on in my pursuit of my dream of going to the National Dressage Finals in Kentucky despite having to undergo cancer treatment and the physical and emotional challenges that came along with it. I did it! I survived cancer AND went to Kentucky.

    In 2018, I have now achieved my USDF bronze medal and am riding successfully at a higher level than I ever have before. Since working with Jen, my approach to what’s important, who I am, my self-esteem, what I can do has all changed. I believe in myself and I set realistic goals. I understand more about the process for achieving them. Jen has really found her way, doing something she is extremely talented at. And I am grateful.

    Christine Erickson

  • I consider myself a pretty positive person, but also a very skeptical person- particular in the self-help category! Jen is an amazing coach, and what I have gained from performance coaching with her has been invaluable. Jen helped me to stay positive and focused. She brought clarity to the negative patterns that we all have, but may not be aware of. I have moved ahead systematically, dealing with some challenging issues in my riding. I have aggressively pursued alternative riding opportunities, which have abounded where I thought there were none! I am more focused and much more aware of my inner critic and how it negatively impacts my thought processes. I have also stopped carrying so much blame and guilt over past horse issues. I can't say enough good things about this program. I am familiar with goal setting and self-analysis techniques, but I found that Jen was excellent about sensing where the real problems lie. She did not hesitate to change course or goals as we went along. That really helped me uncover what was hindering me. It is a process; frustrating at times, but she kept me on track and I am amazed in looking back, what has been and is still being accomplished. Thank you, Jen!!

    Kitty Politakis