Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gratuitous Opinions




Unrelated, but Forget-Me-Nots are beautiful.
 In the Equestrian world, I realize we open ourselves up to a lot of debate and criticism; as with any sport out there. The type of saddle you ride in, clear as day, denotes what kind of rider you are and what your abilities are long before other competitors see you ride. It even comes down to the kind of halter your horse wears; which gives other horse savvy people the ability to detect what kind of mind your horse has (leather = good pony, rope halter = bad pony), or what their temperament is like. God forbid you show up to a clique-y Dressage clinic and don’t have a $200 helmet, or on the flip side, show up to a barrel race wearing a helmet! 
 

Of course, the instances I pointed out are more or less tongue in cheek. I am well aware that a saddle doesn’t actually depict how you ride, but I do find that the assumption is there. What you wear, who you train with, and what brand of girth your horse wears all gives an air of presumption. It is unfortunate that instead of being supportive and helping us through a rough schooling, people continuously “rain” on every parade just for the chance to be right or to be better.


 I’ve already received a massive amount of opinions and unwanted advice on the topic of Spud and his driving training. The few photos I took of myself driving him have turned into something less special than they should be. I understand there is room for improvement and not everything in the photos was done “by the book”. 

Some of the suggestions were just blank statements; just a piece of knowledge that didn’t help me rectify the situation. If you point something out that is wrong, at least have the decency to help fix it (ie. His cart is too big for him. Ok, great. What do you suggest I do?). Telling me that something isn’t right and then leaving me to my own devices isn’t helpful; if you really are in it for the best interest of me and my horse, I’m certain there would be some elaborating being done. I take help I can get; I am certainly not a know-it-all, and being that I am new to driving; I don’t understand a lot of things yet. However, the suggestions I’ve been receiving are more or less thrown out there as “if you don’t agree/follow my opinion, you suck at horses.”  Gee, thanks.


Let's just drive away from the negativity.

So what does the unwarranted help mean? Not really anything, to be honest. They don’t think he should be driven in an open bridle? Ok, great, I’m glad you are concerned. You think that it looks unsafe? Alright, cool, but could you be more specific so I can clear it with the Trainer? He requires_________ to be driving? Awesome – I’m glad you care about his training, could you tell me why and perhaps give me some info? 

I don’t know all the questions to ask the driving Trainer. I don’t know what “steps” he should be following in the training scale of driving and I certainly don’t know enough terminology to even pretend that I am following along. But if you have a concern, please, speak up but be kind about it and elaborate on your point. And remember that when it comes down to the bottom line, Spud is NOT your horse, so don’t be offended if I choose not to take your advice (especially if you are not a driver/driving trainer). If your issue is something as stupid as his weight, I’m glad you are concerned, but I am taking care of it at the moment. I am well aware that his hooves need doing [they were done yesterday, FYI] and his neck is very cresty – these are things I am not blind to and I am in the middle of fixing. Unfortunately, weight and hooves take time to correct and it won’t show overnight.



There have been good, even helpful, opinions from friends who were legitimately concerned or genuinely curious about Spud’s training, and have been nothing but supportive and over-joyed for me. The poor Trainer has also had her fair share of spastic text messages from me, asking question after question to clarify my mini’s training. I don’t know why I even doubted her for a second, but negativity has a way of wafting through the air and polluting our minds. I need to remember to brush it off, and bring it up to the Trainer in more of a “I’m curious to know _____” instead of “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS OMG OMG OM@?!?”

Criticism is everywhere, and everyone does things differently. We all need to realize that at the end of the day, what so-and-so does with her horse isn’t any of our business, and so long as the horse is healthy and being looked after, who are we to judge? We can ask the questions, so long as we are respectful, but it isn’t up to us to tell someone how they should be doing things. 

/rant.

12 comments:

  1. It's hard, because many people want to help and what they think may be really good, kind advice sounds much harsher to the reader. Keep your head up!

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    1. Unfortunately, a lot of the "suggestions" were said to my face...
      But yes, I agree.
      And I will :)

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  2. Aw. Spud is freakin adorable btw. Sometimes I think people are just trying to be helpful, other times they ate trying to prove something, often to themselves.
    I like a quote that goes something like ships are safest in harbor, but that's not why they're built. So, add that to judgey pants and knowitalls, and you have to think, they've never sailed *this* ship. So take chances and believe in yourself and your choices. Only you know what's best for you guys!! :)

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    1. Hehe. I like the word "judgey-pants".

      I think that a lot of people forget that at the end of the day, it doesn't really affect them.... Does it MATTER if Spud is driven in an open/closed bridle? At the end of the day, it's my decision and it doesn't have any bearing on their life.

      And I love the quote :)

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  3. I love this post so very much.

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  4. Sometimes its hard to get criticized, even when people are well-meaning. You may feel that people are judging you, when they think that they are helping you. You're doing the right thing by clarifying: "But if you have a concern, please, speak up but be kind about it and elaborate on your point." I hope you're able to say that to people in person too. Easier said than done!

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    1. The unfortunate thing about it, is that these people don't even drive. That's what makes it a hard pill to swallow.

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  5. I know literally nothing about driving... but it looks like a lot of fun! I hope this experience doesn't get you too down to keep trying and learning <3

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    1. Driving IS a lot of fun :)
      And I will never give up learning and trying new things - I still have a great support group behind me, I just need to utilize them more!

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  6. Driving is something I want to learn, posting or doing anything really opens you for crit, as does doing nothing. Its a part of life I guess.

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    1. It is a lot of fun! You should give it a try :)

      And it certainly does - life goes on, right?!

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