Fie on Neighsayers!

(“All we get is a stupid ribbon.”)

I’m thinking I live a very sheltered life. On social media I’m constantly hearing cranky voices complaining about almost everything related to our sport. The judging is corrupt and unfair. Money buys success. Everything is too complicated and unreasonable. Bronc riders, tennis players, and cyclists win money. All we get is a stupid ribbon.

Am I wrong, but it seems that other than a vocal minority (the squeaky wheels), most of the riders I see in lessons or at shows seem to love their horses and enjoy our sport. I suppose it’s easy to be grumpy. It’s the prevailing attitude in the news and the critical media no matter which side you’re on. But I like to think of our time with horses as a respite from all that, and I hope a lot of you do too.

I don’t deny that things can be made better, and if there are issues that need to be addressed, it behooves us to do so and not ignore them. But competing provides structure and goals—many riders appreciate the way it helps motivate and focus them.

It helps to be realistic about your available time, abilities, and finances. Pick the size sandbox you belong in, and don’t pout if it isn’t the biggest, most glittery one. If someone you know happens to own a fancier horse than yours and is able to compete on a bigger stage than you can, wish her well, and get over it. The operant term is “relative deprivation.” Don’t fall prey to it.