Those words were uttered by an unknown person at a recent horse show. The rider in question heard it. At least she believes they were talking about her – we will never know for sure.
They were particularly cruel words as my student is fairly new to riding, and is struggling with a not so easy mare – who is young and was pretty green when purchased. This is a rider who worries about Everything regarding the care of her horse – she is on a tight budget but won’t give up the best box stall in the barn to save $150 a month. She takes 3 lessons a week and even started having her lessons at 6 am before she went to work so that heat and wind would not cancel her lessons. Her horse gets body work, chiropractic care, annual dentistry, and routine hoof care. Her owner took up running to lose 50 lbs so there was less for her horse to carry around.
Dedicated is not a strong enough word for this woman’s devotion to her horse. And she LOVES her mare and says she is her ‘daughter’.
In other words – if Anyone deserves to own a horse, it is this person.
But that cruel rail bird only saw a green rider with a bad case of show nerves, who was talking in the stands before her classes, talking about how she started riding 2 years ago, just to overcome her basic TERROR of horses. Once she Met a real horse – she fell in love with them. And she has been hooked ever since.
But to someone over hearing her story, they might rush to judgment. Rail birds do that. Make snap judgments about other riders and then make cruel and cutting remarks – mostly to make themselves feel superior. Because if they were out in the ring competing, they wouldn’t have time to sit and watch and judge.
Anyway, it really made showing tough for my student. Luckily, it was the last show of the season, and she still managed to sew up year end championships in both her pleasure and equitation classes. So, no long term damage was done. And it fact, it put a new resolve in this rider’s spirit – to really PROVE to the world that she DOES deserve the lovely horse that she bought. And I am glad for that.
She took a bad situation and made a good outcome. We can all do that.
Find the silver lining, or take a bad situation and make it work to our advantage. IF you go to the barn and you realize that your left your bridle at home after cleaning it, you can either be mad and turn around and just go home OR you can spend time working on ground work and some happy bonding and hand grazing with your horse. If the winds are blowing and your horse is spooky – forget about schooling shoulder in and doing your first flying change, instead confirm some more basic exercises and teach your horse that they can trust you to be their leader when things seem frightening.
Basically, with horses, the only time you lose is when you give up. It is OK to back down, as long as you then go forward in a more successful direction. A long time ago, I used to think that you had to win every battle. Now I just want to quietly win – and never have any battles at all. Not with horses, not with students and not even with anonymous rail birds who want to snark at people who are out there riding their best.
Life will always throw lemons at you – but lemons are lovely fruit as long as you are not determined to pretend that lemon is an apple. Take challenges and set backs for what they are and then make the best of them. And if you really don’t want lemonade, then pick up those lemons, take careful aim and throw them back at the idiot who threw them at you!