Equestrians, Your Insecurities Do NOT Define You
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To My Fellow Equestrians, Your Insecurities Do NOT Define You As An Equestrian

You have come so far, and I am so proud of the person you have become.

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Most can remember, clear as day, the first time we sat on the back of a horse. It is the most memorable experience in an equestrian's life. This animal we shared this with offered a whole new perspective of the world and helped all of us blossom into confident and capable men and women.

They taught us responsibility, that our value is placed on our kindness, to conquer hardship and laugh in its face and that our passion burns brighter than our fears.

But many of us have forgotten these lessons when it comes to where we think we hold value as an equestrian.

When it comes to the toxic parts of our culture where perfection is sometimes valued over being kind to our fellow man and equine partners, we allow our insecurities to reign supreme over these values our horses have taught us. Insecurities are a natural part of life, we all have them whether you are an equestrian or not.

However, they have the potential to consume us. And in a culture that, unfortunately, has a lot of negativity, remembering these values we were first taught are incredibly important.

Part of holding on and embracing these values is incorporating them in our daily lives from going to the barn and cleaning stalls to riding at high-level horse shows. This includes talking to and encouraging people at horse shows and at home, even if you don't know them.

There have been several times where I would notice a rider I did not know at a horse show that was trying really hard and still was kind to their horses. I would compliment their horse's correct collection, how soft their hands were on the horse's bit, their horse was really in tune with them, etc. Little things that often would go unnoticed or unsaid.

Immediately their eyes would light up. There was then a newfound confidence they felt within themselves they had forgotten they had.

It is the little things that improve the equestrian culture — to encourage kindness to each other and our horses, rather than being a perfect rider.

Because I think we can all agree that we admire the riders who pat their horses even when they don't place, rather than the riders who place high and never even share a whisper of praise to their horses.

These riders who thank their horses even when they don't win are the riders who are also kind to everyone at the barn. These are the riders, who everyone wants to be around because they are also the first ones to congratulate and praise complete strangers that are good riders even when they don't place at the top. You can be that rider too, and I guarantee you will make someone's year.

I recently did a survey, where I asked equestrians "What do you wish other equestrians would tell you?" and the response was overwhelming.

"I wish people would tell me that just because I don't jump high, doesn't make me a bad rider." @eliza_equestrian
"That it's okay to ask for help." @crescentmoon_equestrian
"It never needs to be perfect." @bearriverevalleyquestrian
"Only compare you to you. That's the only way you can truly see your improvement." @Montanaoequestrian
"I wish people at horse shows would just be nice. I don't understand why some people feel the need to put others down or glare at complete strangers just because they do well at horse shows. Just be nice, we all want to have fun here." Anonymous.

I can add a lot to this list — every equestrian can. Many of us want more positivity between equestrians, and to do that we need to start setting the example by putting out the energy we want to receive. And as someone who has done this, and complimented people that deserved praise, even if I had no idea who they were, it really isn't that hard. It is also very rewarding.

When we think about what makes us equestrians, we have to remember why we started out in this amazing sport. You started out with an intense love for horses, don't forget that love.

When we have a hard time finding those riders that praise their horses even when they don't win, our insecurities enhanced by the perfectionist culture within equestrian sport, has a nasty way of crawling out of its trash can (where it really needs to stay).

And it is the truth, your insecurities are not a deciding factor of your charactor OR your skill because no matter how imperfect your riding is, you will always bend over backward to make sure your horse is happy and healthy. Isn't that what matters at the end of the day?

Because that is all that matters. If your horse is happy and healthy, and you're not cranking down on that horse's face or slamming down on it's back constantly when you ride them, you're doing just fine, friend.

You are a valuable member of the equestrian sport when you care about your horse on the ground and under saddle.

Know that your insecurities as an equestrian does not dictate your value as an equestrian, or even as a person in general. If you want to find those friendly equestrians at the horse shows or at the barn, be that friendly equestrian and you will find your people.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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