Criticism in Equestrian World and How to Deal With It..
Like in any other industry no one is protected from being criticised. We are being criticized on how we look, act, speak… In Equestrian sports, however, criticism can sometimes be very discouraging, because it’s something that you have to practise and something that requires learning and hard work.
In equestrian Sports there are a lot of different approaches and opinions about how to handle the horse the right way, train, groom and etc.
Overall equestrian sports in general are often being criticised by supporters of natural horsemanship. Each of these approaches have their own benefits and I personally prefer not to take any position in an eternal debate of “how bad is english/western riding actually is for the horse”
In this article, however, I would like to focus on how to deal with criticism when you actually are a victim of it.
With great social media presence in our everyday life it’s extremely easy to get criticised. Have you ever posted a riding video on Instagram without any bad intention and got immediately lectured about your hands/leg/body position? Or maybe you have posted a photo of your horse looking a bit grumpy and got attacked by someone telling you that your horse looks unhappy/unhealthy/angry and etc?
Well, this is totally common and you are definitely not alone. People like pointing on mistakes of others. "According to Samantha Thurlow, founder of #notonmyyard, about five people a week come forward to tell their experiences, and how many came to leave equestrianism because of the way they were treated by others."
"Just ask Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Critics of her subdued award ceremony behaviour on television at the Rio 2016 Olympics gave rise to an especially vicious social media hate campaign that targeted Douglas at the moment when she should have been at her highest."
"Last month, Douglas came forward, told her story on national television, and announced that she would speak as a spokesperson for a social media campaign called #HackHarassment. She’s standing up for herself, and for everyone who’s been the victim of haters online."
Most vulnerable to criticism (and also surprisingly most criticising in equestrian world) are young girls/teenagers. Criticism in the club often times leads to a person either completely quitting horseback riding or riding at “odd” hours avoiding being looked at by the fellow riders.
Even the trainers can sometimes be too rough. Instead of enjoyable riding lesson you get an intense discouraging one hour of resentment and torcher for the rider and the horse.
Horseback riding/owning a horse must be a positive and pleasant experience. It shouldn’t cause any fear of failure or embarrassment in front of others.
If you are the one who is being critised the best thing you can do is not to pay attention to haters. If you are creating such an emotional reaction amongst them, you are probably doing something outstanding and interesting! It always helps to share your experiences with your closed ones, such as friends or family and seek some support.
Think about celebrities on social media (such as Miley Syrus, Lady Gaga, Madonna) They have millions of people who talk good and bad about them all the time! And it’s all because they are doing something unique in their own way and they are not afraid to express themselves!
Remember that people who criticise you are not perfect! They have got their own riding mistakes!
If you are the one who criticizes - think about this… Every Person has good and bad days. So does every horse. No one’s performance is perfect all the time especially when dealing with the animals. Let’s be more kind and supportive towards each other in this sport! Remember that everyone has their own way and variety is what makes the world such an interesting place!
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