To follow on from my last article where I discussed overcoming the ‘Whys’ of the industry and the world, I finished with a quote from Ronald Duncan...
“The Horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy and beauty, without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave’
So why can our horses, a type of animal, be like this and we as riders, can’t?
Without a doubt Equitas is revolutionising the status of women in the equine world and building a committee to empower and promote but why do people, at competitions, training, warm up arenas etc. feel the need to belittle or make comments about others??
I had been very fortunate throughout my riding career to have always experienced the opposite until recently! Warm up arenas are without a doubt one of the most stressful and daunting places I think a rider can enter. So why not help each other? Encourage each other? Support one another?
Instead, I have witnessed unnecessary comments, pushing riders off exercises and rudeness. For me in a warmup arena, I am the one who rides around everyone else for the fear I would mess up someone’s warm up and effect there round or test. While others come in to take over and comment on every other person, even from the side-lines.
So, again I ask the question, if our horses can be humble and courteous why can’t the people on their back do the same?
The industry is changing, and a voice is being heard coming up through the cracks but change needs to happen. The ethos and fundamental founding statements of many of
Ireland's leading sectors of are sport include “friendly environments” (Association of Irish Riding Clubs), “show respect and understanding” (Irish Pony Club), “fellowship for those within the industry” (Showjumping Ireland) and “supportive and sportsmanlike” (Eventing Ireland). These are just a few Irish examples and I feel they clearly highlight what the sport should be about.
So next time you are at a show, if you see someone unsure, nervous, stressed, perhaps you could lend a hand or offer the support? Say well done to the person before you no matter how bad it went and with one step and smile at a time, the industry can change!