There is a lot of negativity that comes with any sport, but unfortunately an awful lot comes with this one. I have had quite the F*%k you attitude towards this side of Horse Riding but I have only recently started to think off the reasons as too why it gets me so annoyed…
The negative never wins, but what it does do is make you stronger, not only as a person but as a rider. It really is amazing though what you can witness when you just sit back, watch and even just listen to certain equestrians….
Being To Hard On Yourself
Do you ever find yourself having “one of those days?” Those days where nothing is going right? Welcome to equestrianism… is that even a word?! We have all been there & being honest most of the time it’s all in our minds. These can be quite frustrating moments, you trying to solve the situation yet anything you do feels wrong and nothing you do to try fix it seems to work.
Us equestrians always try to strive for perfection, and sometimes trying too hard is what actually makes the task most difficult. Some of my best work has come from me genuinely enjoying the challenge. Sitting on my horse having fun, smiling & not being so critical towards myself.
Try to ride your horse to enjoy it, lets stop being so demanding on your bodies or our minds for that matter. If you are having a bad day, why not take a day off? Don’t forget your horse feels everything, your frustration becomes theirs & in turn they are channeling your energy into their movements.
Watch what you say, I cannot say this enough. People can be sensitive, you don’t know what certain people are going through or trying to achieve. Certain comments you say might might have a serious effect on people, even destroying their confidence without you even realising.
I think everyone has been on the end of a negative comment & it is hard to say how to deal with it. Some would say bite back, but I personally don’t think this is the best solution.
How I look at these situations, if someone is commenting negatively on you, they are either jealous of you or annoyed that they can’t be more like you or frustrated they haven’t achieved what you have. I have gotten a lot of slack from people telling me I am too small to ride Dante, or people degrading the level they think I should be riding at with him, even comments I have heard whilst riding him.
How I deal with these issues? Well put it this way, none of these people would sit on my horse, and if they did they probably wouldn’t manage to get anywhere near the progress I have gotten with him. As the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. And for your own sanity, try not let these people get you down, they are only trying to build up their own self esteem by pulling you down!
Clicking with The Right Trainer
I have had my fair few share of trainers over the years since first buying Dante, but thank god I found Jeremy (my trainer now) when I did or I would basically be non-existent/horseless or stuck somewhere in a bush in the middle of a field… horseless….
Trainers these days really need to learn to be versatile when it comes to dealing with difficult horses or with difficult riders. Some trainers have a way of teaching but when they come across a horse or rider who won’t react or respond well to their training methods they loose the plot or get insulted. My advice, get rid of this trainer!
Likewise if you do group lessons or a lesson with 1 or 2 people weekly, if you feel you are being neglected in the lesson or not getting as much one on one action as anyone else, take a step back & think to yourself, are you even learning anything of quality from the lesson? Are you wasting your money for the sake of saying you do lessons?
Be selfish and think about yourself. It’s the only way to better your mind frame & your riding abilities. Getting a trainer you are comfortable with or someone who will drive & push you out of your comfort zone is what you are aiming for. Make some future goals & work towards them!
I know this may be a weird one & you might think why is attending a show a negative side of horse riding? Well, it is not so much the show that’s negative, it’s more so of the attendees or organizers at certain shows or events.
Going to shows with your horse can be daunting, especially if you are going alone. You might find yourself in the situation were you don’t perform to the best of your ability but you have a great day due to the surroundings of club members or the people running the event. These are the places you need to be going not only for your own sanity but for that extra confidence boost.
Like anything, you come across events were you feel out of place or not good enough, and 80% of the time it always comes down to snobby looks you are receiving from fellow riders which in turn makes you feel out of place or makes you feel as if you shouldn’t be there to begin with. I have also come across certain venues have that “Why are you even here” Ora about them… I will leave this one up to your imagination!
My advice for anyone nervous about starting to compete or for anyone who has had the wrath of bad shows, join a riding club or visit unaffiliated events/shows with your horse. I have noticed jumping leagues that are ran through riding schools are the best to start with, people are doing them for fun not for the competition.
But I always believe that those who cant, always try make it difficult & next to impossible for others. We should be focusing on building each other up not tearing each other down. That being said, if you ever do see us at a show & need a hand, Just ask us, we would be happy to help!
We all put ourselves out there on the internet which in turn leaves us all open for the good & bad comments. There are times when you really do have to think, is the criticism really necessary? It can be on a whole new level sometimes, especially when it comes to certain equestrians, it’s basically their way or the highway!!
The problem with the equestrian world is that whilst there may be a technical way of going about things, everyone always has a different way of approaching it that best suits or accommodates themselves, their horse & their situation. This does not often translate well on the internet, in-turn it unleashes a bucket load of trolls giving their opinions, negative comments, & basically tearing the said Equestrian down.
People post things online to show progress or to share with you a moment were they were happy, thrilled or ecstatic with their outcome, try keeping this in mind when commenting. Likewise when sharing a horse fail, people are using their platform to point out the problem & to sometimes openly admit defeat or to acknowledging they were incorrect. Think before you write an opinion underneath, some words of encouragement would be a lot more beneficial than a snarky remark!
Be kind to one another online, whilst you might not agree with certain things you see, try to keep a positive mind frame, your comments can leave a nasty impression not only on you as a person but the negative effect it might have on the person your commenting on could be shattering. Being on the other side & having to take horrible comments on board all day everyday, certainly can not be good for anyone’s mental health.
My positive Polly mind frame had been burst for a few days, but it is starting to come back stronger than ever. It is quite mad what a comment or even a negative person can do to you let alone how much it can mentally effect your riding.
So to anyone out there feeling low or to anyone being too hard on themselves, try not to be. Whether your working towards perfecting your trot for your trot poles or mastering your approach to your 1.35 fence, we should all be working together regardless of what level we are on to help build each other up, I am quite frankly sick of seeing so many equestrians tearing each other down.
Maybe I should start a my own “Positive Polly” Riding gang? Be sure to leave your thoughts below in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading & remember you are amazzzzing!!