Kentucky Equestrian Articles

News & Information

Why are Equestrians so MEAN to each other?

Submitted by: Kentucky Equestrian
Email Address: danielle(at)
Date Added: 11/16/2015

Why are Equestrians so MEAN to each other ?

I ran into a client of mine at a horse show one day; we sat and chatted for a while. A minute later, this client is gossiping about a friend of mine and not being very kind either. I didn't quite know how to react. I started to wonder: She knows we are friends, why would she say these things? Is she trying to get information out of me? What do I say back?

My friend (who was the hot topic) had been going through some nasty personal situations and was just getting back into showing. Her last event was not her best, but considering the situation, she was really proud of her horse and happy with her results. I was proud of her for just showing up!

Meanwhile, my client felt it was within her right to bad-mouth my friends last competition & ram her for every minor mistake she had made at the show. I could not believe how MEAN her comments were! It took every fiber in my being to not shout an explanation for WHY my friend was struggling and share the personal baggage that she was dealing with. But it wasn't my place. By the end of the conversation, I was so frustrated.

This situation made me wonder...

How can you politely HALT gossip in its tracks?
How can you turn a conversation with nasty comments into a positive one?
WHY are Equestrians so mean to each other, when we all LOVE this sport for the same reason???

Now, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I have been a gossip before too. I'm ashamed to think of how insensitive my comments have been. We have all done it; we watch other riders and point out their mistakes in a negative way, without considering the rider as a person or the horse as a work in progress. It's an easy trap to fall into. There is another way. It's possible to recognize mistakes without being negative. Observation can be educational and still encouraging. It's all in your attitude and approach.

Again, I ask: How do we say WHOA to the negativity in the Equestrian world?
1) RECOGNIZE when it's negative & unnecessary.
You may not even notice that you're participating. I'm sure my client didnt realize she was being so hurtful. She's not a bad person; she just got caught up in comments and conversations she had heard from other negative competitors.
2) Make the CHOICE to be Encouraging.
If you find yourself or friend making comments you wouldn't want said about YOU, back it up with a compliment! A good horseman once told me that good trainers know how to see the things riders do well, not just the things they do wrong. If your friend is being relentless, diffuse it by comparing those mistakes to your own. (hopefully they wouldn't be that ruthless to keep insulting you too!)
3) SAY something.
Rise above the muck. Be straightforward: point out that it's unnecessary to be negative. If you don't believe in Karma, then believe this-- Horses are humbling; just wait your turn.
Most of the time, putting your foot down for something right will alter a conversation.

Let's make a change. Let's choose to be Encouraging Equestrians.

Let's turn riding into a team sport & support each other. Being an equestrian is tough enough: we work hard, we ride hard, we deal with slightly insane conditions. Why do we have to pass around the hate too? Give each other a break!

I wish I could take myself back to that conversation with my client & stop her right in her tracks! Rather than getting caught up in explaining my friends horse or her performance, I wish I had commented on her talents and the fact that she won the Reserve Championship despite those mistakes! I wish I had reminded my client that we are all in a different place in our training, and that we are allowed to have bad days.
The true equestrians are not the ones who never fail, but they are the ones who keep getting back on.

Next time.


Please SHARE this message with others. Pass around the positive!

Tell your stories of support or disappointment.
Use hashtags: #EncouragingEquestrians #AboveTheMuck @KYEquestrian