Hey people, so I’m back.. You know the drill! Pull up a chair and prepare your good selfs for my ramblings..
I try to write my blogs at a meaningful time, when the subject I am writing about is really fresh in my mind and still coursing though my veins. Of that isn’t always possible, hence why some of my blogs aren’t as good as others.. But this one is very much written in the moment! So hold on tight!! This could be a very uncomfortable read….. For many….
I am sure all of you know just how active I am on social media, I not only get lots of my teaching though social media but I also genuinely love sharing what I’m up to and love hearing about how my friends and clients are doing.
But recently I have witnessed and got myself involved with the bad side of social media.. From the rider who was publicly hung for the use of his whip at a recent event, to the rider and horse who pulled off not only the most epic save XC ever when they really should fallen (though IMO no fault of their own), but then managed to jump a fence they had no right to be able to jump. Neither of these riders (especially the second rider mentioned) asked for joe publics opinion but yet lots of the joe public had VERY negative views on them, that they felt they just had to share publicly………
There are a couple of reasons why I find it nearly impossible to sit on my hands in situations like this, a) It’s the hypocrisy of most people commenting. b) The fact most people have either never ridden to the level they are commenting on, have never been in that situation they are commenting on, or couldn’t dream of riding as half as well as the person they are commenting on. It would be like me being really mean and publicly critical of some top F1 driver about the split second decisions he made in the final lap of some top level Grand Prix because I race go karts and watch F1 on the TV. And c) Because I know better than anyone what a bloody lonely place it is reading and living with all the unnecessarily mean things about you.
You see about 13 years ago I let someone in to my life who was to be the most toxic, life lesson I would ever come across..
I adored this person yet they would continually pull me apart, in every aspect of my life. From me as person, my looks, my body and especially my riding. I remember one year having a fall coming out the water at Bramham, it was a very soft unfortunate fall. To be honest the horse I was riding wasn’t really up to 3* and shortly after that we found him another job.. Anyways, at the time of the fall lots of people at the event said how unlucky I was and to keep my chin up. Because that’s what people that know how bloody hard our sport is do, they know that sometimes no matter how hard you work, what a brilliant rider you are things just go sh*t. And it’s so important to support each other, even if riders make cock ups – they don’t mean to and more often than not they will be being plenty hard enough on themselves. But my ‘friend’ rang to tell me they were pleased I’d had fall because I was getting to big for my boots… And the fall would help rein me in a bit…. I was devastated, I just wanted a bit of support from my friend… Then there were the times this person would tell me how people thought I rode badly, shouldn’t have the chances I was being given. Oh, and the time Frosty and I fell at Burghley, it was a totally freak fall and to this day I believe neither of us did a thing wrong. But this person found me at Burghley to tell me it was because I rode like a idiot and had no feel and how everyone was saying I should stop riding at 4* .. I’d like to add that ‘everyone’ were his friends that had never even evented, but it made no difference to me. I was heart broken, I just wanted to be left alone and I couldn’t understand why these people were being so unnecessarily mean.. I once let another of my friends listen to a voice mail this ‘friend’ had left me, after listening to it my (real) friend cried. I swear it – she actually cried… That’s how mean it was.
It took me several more years before I cut this person out my life.
I’ve been free for 7 years but the scar still runs deep.. Because words cut deep and are hard to forget..
Im sure that 99% of people that knew me at that time would have thought I was a happy go lucky, full of confidence and ballsy. Truth is a small part of me was, but a massive part wasn’t. I rarely went to party’s or balls because I didn’t want to see the ‘people’ that had been talking about me. Nor did I make or keep any friends, it was easier that way.. It meant people couldn’t say mean things to me, about me or my riding if I didn’t allow them in. And it’s the reason why I’m so good on my own, because I’ve had to be.. Sad isn’t it? Such a careing, fun loving, strong person as myself can be made to feel they needed to shut the world out because of people’s unnecessarily mean and unkind words… Thoughout it all I never told anyone about the extent of my hurt or pain and I would have given anything for anyone to have found out about it all and to have stood up for me, to have given me a hug and to tell me this person/persons were talking crap. But I didn’t and no one did. So I’ve learnt to be tough, but it’s been hard.. Really hard.. But I’m out the other side and it’s why I find it so easy to cut people loose, only recently I was sent screen shots from a ‘friend’ where another ‘friend’ was slagging me, my blogs and my riding off.. Both friends are gone from my life, no dramas.. No public hanging, I just deleted them and their comments because they were unnecessarily mean and hurtful and I need neither in my life.
And this is why I speak out so loudly when I feel someone is being bullied, either in public or on social media. Some might think using the wording bullying is harsh, but that is what it is….. Wrtiting something mean to someone or about someone that hasn’t asked for nor wants your opinion is nothing less than vile bullying..
Imanage if your kid had photos of them riding at their local pony club event on a show and tell display board at school and some other child/children wrote in permanent marker pen under it how s**t your child was at riding or how they should give up riding and never have a pony because they were awful at riding would you be ok about it? I suspect not..
Well, Facebook is an adults show and tell display board… You don’t like what they are posting? Remove yourself….
We hear all the time about children taking their own lives because of internet bullying.. I truly believe it’s only a matter of time before a adult does the same in the equestrian world. Does being a adult make internet bullying ok? Dame straight it doesn’t………
So here’s a idea, before you type ask yourself this… 1) has the opinion you are giving been asked for or wanted? 2) would I go up to this person at an event and say this to the their face? 3) am I being unnecessarily mean and unkind to someone I don’t don’t know? If the answer is yes to more than one of these how about you stop typing and go do something podtive with your day??????
Dont let your unkind, mean and hurtful comments put anyone else though what I went though… Because not everyone is a tough as me…
Just be a kind person.