Hey guys, so I’m back…. You know the drill…
Time to go make a cup of tea and get comfy, this blog is a long one!!! Also might be worth putting a seat belt on, as this could well be an explosive and uncomfortable read… For some..
So, as you all know my blogs are written (usually badly) about things I experience, that I think you lot can relate to, the one thing that has changed the most in my life in recent years is the amount of horses I ride and compete. Not so long ago I would of come under the ‘professional rider banner’ not anyone. Now I ride and compete just one horse, do I mind? Not one bit.. But it is a new experience that I’m just getting used to- if I cock up I don’t get another go at getting it right. Last week I went SJ’ing and to be brutally honest I rode badly… Nothing went right and I drove back to the yard feeling very deflated, I really wasn’t sure if I could be a ‘one horse rider’ .. That evening I went to the pub with a couple of friends and had a brilliant night and you know what? My mood lifted, because nothing last forever.. I left the pub feeling like a idiot for being so hard on myself, I’m human… I get to mess up now and again but there is always another day because nothing, good or bad last forever.
The next day I heard the dreadful news that a young trainer had taken his life, it made my ‘wallowing in self pity because I rode badly’ episode the previous day seem very very petty, by all accounts this young man was a top class bloke, with a loving family and a successful and busy business. What really hit a cord with me was reading his wife’s statement. The brutally honest words of a woman who had lost her soul mate, husband, best friend and father of her child to mental illness. Because I’ve been there and if we are all honest I’m sure many of us have been in a situation where ‘me not being here’ has, even if only for a split second looked a easier way out. Sadly some of us aren’t able to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, because nothing lasts forever and that’s the point. No matter how bad things are, there will always be a light. That light might be one person that loves you, a horse that excites you or even a pet that needs you to look after them. As someone who has experienced the darkest of times, I promise there is always light.. The easiest way to find it is to TALK. Alone is a very dark place and very few of us actually are, we just choose to be. Choose to be light, TALK to someone and be someone people can talk to. You never know, you might just change a life.
Whilst all that very sad news was filtering though a totally non related video went viral on social media, it was a video of a girl riding a dressage test. A video I’d like to add that hadn’t been shared (from what I could tell) by her. I was and still am astonished at the comments made on the video, talk about rip this poor girl apart limb by limb! Now, I’m not saying this girl was a Carl Hester in the making and yes it was slightly uncomfortable viewing. But what shocked me was the fact that in one breath people were saying more needs to be done to help people with depression and in the very next breath they were ripping in to this person who they had never me and had no idea or context as to how the video came about.. My first thoughts when I saw the video were these – why didn’t the judge stop her? I hope someone helps her improve and understand what is and isn’t acceptable and the fact that the horse looked well looked after, in great condition and that he looked more annoyed at her than scared. Again I’m not excusing what she was doing but to be honest- she looked very ineffective to me.
Now what I found even more astonishing was the amount of professional riders having their pound of flesh off this girl, I wanted to ask them how they would feel if someone videoed them having a ‘off’ day or ‘squaring’ a horse up and posted it on social media for everyone to put their pennies worth in.
Show me any rider, especially a professional one that tells you they haven’t been tough on a horse, lost their temper or gone too far with a horse and later regretted it and I’ll show you a lier.
I wonder how many takers I would get if I invited everyone that commented mean things on that video to come mid week jumping with me, I promise you that we will witness some horses being ridden in an over bent outline, with drawreins on, being pulled around and being jabbed with spurs. Then I want them to go say the same kind of things they wrote but to the riders in person… Wonder how many would?
Have I ever had to be tough on a horse, yes. Have I regretted it… In some cases yes, in some no – because in most cases it was the making of the horse. Brutal but true. Us professional riders and I’m sure a lot of amateur riders are fully aware of the riders that are tougher on their horses, why don’t we all go posting on their social media telling them how crap they are????? Or better still go up to them in person… You know why we don’t? Because it has nothing to do with us and trolls pick their victims, usually from behind a computer screen. Brutal but true.
My final point – imagine if the rider in that video took her life over the public humiliation she has been put though? If you commented on that video imagine if it was YOUR comment that pushed her over the edge. Would if be worth it? Worth you putting your 5p’s of unwanted and unhelpful criticism in for?
So remember – every action has a reaction. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw house bricks and be mindful because one day someone may just unload a video of you not at your best, for the grace of god go I.
Over and out..