As competitive equestrians, the intensity of this sport surrounds us constantly. The amount of money, time, blood, sweat and tears that have been invested into this sport puts our desire to be the best at an all time high. With this comes the reality that the person in the judge’s booth is not the only one judging us. Negativity is common and people can be downright mean, ask any equestrian and I’m sure they can name at least 5 things that another rider has said about them or their horse recently that has hurt their feelings.
I have endured my share and negative comments hurt but I am a big believer in a strong support system. I have big dreams in this sport and I am fortunate to have a solid group of people including my parents and close friends who support me every step of the way in my pursuit. For every hurtful comment or unforeseen setback that I have in my journey, they are there to comfort me, pick me up, dust me off and send me back on my way. No matter who your system may consist of, every rider can benefit from having support in what they’re trying to achieve.
Surrounding yourself with positive people is so important because it will have a direct effect on your mental state. You want to be around people who want you to succeed but also people who love the sport as much as you do and share the same ambition. A wise woman once told me “you need to be around people who get it” because sometimes people will rain on your parade simply because you want to accomplish different things than they do. If you don’t believe that the people in your environment “get it” or support you in pursuing your goals, it’s time to make a change.
I recently read an anonymous quote that said “people who are intimidated by you talk badly about you with hopes that others won’t find you so appealing” and I believe there is real truth in that. Their hateful comments towards you stem from their own insecurities and unhappiness. My mother always tells me to focus on the good instead of the bad and she’s right; if someone says that you have poor equitation, think back to that time that clinician said you had a solid lower leg. If you don’t focus on their comments, they don’t consume you.
Although it’s never easy to brush off hurtful comments, a support system, positive environment and focusing on what matters will help you overcome the negativity and continue to move forward towards your goals. At the end of the day, only you can be the best version of you and no one can take that away from you.