When it comes to being involved with horses, every equestrian knows that the barnyard usually equals drama. When it comes to horse people, there are many different opinions about certain things that can create friction between riders. Not to mention that we literally train and ride our horses in order to be judged at competitions. You know what they say; “those who feel judged judge.”
So, if you’re sick of the barn drama and want to create a peaceful atmosphere at your stable, here are some tips to remember:
Don’t Take Advice From Everyone
One step to avoiding drama is by limiting who you go to for advice on caring for your horse. This is an epidemic at many boarding stables; a boarder needs advice so they’ll go to all the different boarders for help. Pretty soon, the one boarder has heard contradicting opinions and starts a game of he-said, she-said!
There are many different opinions in the horse world that you may come across when asking multiple people for help. There are the people who believe horses shouldn’t be blanketed in the winter and then there are the people who believe that they should. There are riders who shod their horses and then there are riders who believe shoes are bad.
What I’ve learned is that there’s usually some truth behind a horse person’s opinion, but there’s also usually a good balance. Before you take anyone’s advice, become an expert on the subject. Research and make yourself familiar with the particular subject so you can ask proper questions.
It’s not bad to ask for advice, in fact, if you don’t know what to do about something, I highly recommend it! However, to save yourself from confusion, you should have a designated experienced horse person you go to for help. This should be an instructor or another boarder who is willing to be in that position.
Remember That No One is Perfect…Including You!
In a sport where we are constantly being judged and molded by our instructors or competition judges, it’s easy to look at everyone else as competition. You start to look at their flaws and what they could do better. You find yourself constantly critiquing and thinking negatively of other riders.
STOP! No one is perfect, especially in the horse world! Instead of finding things that another rider is doing bad, why not look for the things that the rider is doing good? We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to riding horses. Horseback riding is so complicated and complex that it’s easy for even an experienced rider to make mistakes from time to time.
Being able to view other riders in a positive light will not only clear your mind from the stress of competition but it will also become easier to make new friends and truly appreciate other riders.
Gossip = Trouble
If you haven’t learned this yet, gossip always equals trouble, even in the barnyard. It can be hard to avoid gossip because it’s so juicy. Even if you are currently trying to avoid it, sometimes you can just get caught in conversation with someone and have no place to turn.
Did you know that when you gossip, you actually do yourself more harm than you do to the person you’re talking about? When you gossip and talk bad about this person, you suddenly start to feel super annoyed and you can’t stop stressing about them. Next thing you know, you’ve gone through your entire day frustrated. Meanwhile, the other person doesn’t know anything about it and didn’t carry the stress around all day.
There comes a point where you just have to make a decision to stop gossiping. Make up your mind that you refuse to talk about people behind their backs. It’s pretty easy to know when barn people are gossiping; they tend to huddle in tight circles. When you see this happening or if you suddenly find yourself in one of these huddles, just walk away and go do something else. There’s a ton of work that needs to be done at a stable, so it’s easy to find something to be busy with.
I hope this is able to help someone out there. I don’t write to condescend; I write because I’ve been caught in the gossip huddles and I’ve seen it drive great riders away from the sport. I’ve also heard when people were gossiping about me and I know that it didn’t feel good. Let’s all work together to make our stables be the best places on Earth!
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