Why Michael Pollard Quit the Sport at the Height of His Career

Why Michael Pollard Quit the Sport at the Height of His Career

Michael Pollard had what most of us could only dream of - a meteoric rise in the discipline of Eventing (including winning a Pan Am Games team Gold Medal in 2011), a string of talented horses, a strong non-horse business that supported his riding career, and a supportive group of sponsors, friends and family. 

But then, to the surprise of many, Michael retired from the sport in 2016, selling all of his horses. He went from spending most of his time training and riding, to not sitting on a horse for several years. 

In a strikingly candid conversation, host Caroline Culbertson sits down with Michael to get the story behind this difficult decision; the events that led up to it, the immediate aftermath, and how he’s come back to the sport now as not only a different rider, but also a different person. 

This special, not-to-be-missed discussion also touches on many taboo, yet common, aspects of horse sport, including: 

  • A frank dialogue about addiction, and how it nearly derailed his entire early riding career
  • Financial strain of competing, especially at the top level
  • Addressing the holes in your training
  • Dealing with the loss of a horse (and in Michael’s case, multiple horses at once in a devastating trailer accident)
  • Balancing riding with family, and the tough calls that are made along the way
  • How to allow yourself to be OK with changing paths while deciding what truly matters in your life
  • Why taking a break from horses doesn’t have to be a thing you avoid doing at all costs
  • 3 little things to do if you’re getting back into riding after a break


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