Are you Swiping Right to Help or Swiping Left to Hinder?
There is a quote that I quite like and it goes like this - if we are on the same team, all you should be doing is asking what can I do to help?
Sounds very simple and obvious doesn't it? Of course, if you're on the same team you should be helping.
However, are you unintentionally swiping left to hinder instead of help in practice? When you see somebody whether it's on the horse or in the stable, are you coming to them with solutions? or are you coming to them with problems? Do you notice that they are struggling and instead of helping them are you verifying all of their issues? Or walking away and pretending that nothing is happening? Are you hindering them by pretending they do not exist?
As women, we have a tough job, and society can still be a hard place to navigate when trying to change the view that has been widespread (probably since the ancient Egyptians!) that women are second-class citizens. We can be our own worst critic as well as our own worst enemy. It is often said that women are judgemental and critical of each other, sometimes even more so than the judgement they can receive from their male counterparts.
If we think of women as a team, the question therefore lies - What can I do to help the team?
How can we as a team overcome society's pitfalls and obstacles? The hardest place to do this and support each other may be at a competition. I have seen it before in warm-up arenas when I used to jump and many times since - before finals, jump-offs, and speed rounds, the warm-up arena can be a lonely place. A place where it is easy to 'unintentionally' hinder other women.
For instance, I have seen people refuse (by walking away when asked politely) to put a fence up or down when they are finished with it because they don't want to 'help' the 'opposition' warm up. I have seen people turn their backs when ladies get down off their horses and want to walk the course. No one offers to take the reins.
Are they playing on a level playing field when they jump their round? If they win, have they actually won fairly?
"Oh but they should have someone to help them, I'm not their groom/help."
No, you may not be, but what if that lady was like I used to be, arriving at a competition with two horses (one youngster) by myself as no one else was interested in horses/jumping?
What if that lady has no one with her as their partner is at home working/minding the children so she can get a couple of hours to herself?
What if that lady's passion was horses and this is the one thing in life she gets to enjoy for herself?
Would that background make us think differently?
We should not need background information to make a decision to help. The information in front of us should be enough - you see a person and if possible you 'swipe right' to help.
By doing such a simple thing you can make someone's day. You strike up a conversation, you feel a team spirit, and build relationships. By not doing anything, although you may not be going out of your way to sabotage them, you certainly are unintentionally hindering them.
Many people have altered fences for me and many people have held my horses giving me a chance to walk the course over the years. Those small gestures to them were most probably 'Sure I'm here anyway,' but those gestures, to me, were a massive help. They enabled me to compete, have fun, and relax a small bit. They helped me feel good about, and even look forward to, driving to the next competition.
Now maybe in other aspects of your life, you don't want to continuously swipe right as you would be exhausted 😉. But when you see your female 'teammate', be mindful and don't be too quick to swipe left.