Above All Else, Be Kind
I normally write about fear and courage, mixed in with a little horse or rider health, but in the last few days, a number of "UNKIND" situations have come across my path in the horse world and I feel compelled to say a few things that are from my heart.  There are two sides to every coin, and every story so I am going to try and give my thoughts from a "whole" perspective.
First of all, my perspective.  I have been that "PERSON" that was rude, that made a bad comment, that spoke out of line.  I have to tell you that when I realized it, either at the time, or later, it made me very sad.  I was sad that I could be mean, and I was sad that I inflicted that on another person.  
Most recently, there was a person asking about feed and not realizing it at the time, my comment was very CONDESCENDING. Thankfully, the admins of the group, caught it and deleted it and issued me a warning.  I share this because there were some lessons in it for me.  I now, re-read comments I am making, from the perspective of the person I am intending to receive the comment.  What I have realized is that I have very strong opinions and I don't take other people’s feelings into consideration nearly as much as I thought I did!  Am I getting better, yes, do I still make mistakes, YES.  
What this shows is that we don't always know what the person saying (or writing) the comments has been through and where they are coming from.  We have not walked a mile in their shoes.  This also shows that we should say something when someone trounces on us.  In a nice way, but say something, speak up.  I know in my case, it has really helped me to be better, not perfect, but better.  
Secondly, the horse’s perspective.  A horse needs, food, water, and safety.  That is it.  They don't know if they are going to the Olympics or helping a little girl (or older woman) with her dream of owning her first horse.  They don't share in the human "ego" that seems to be so prevalent in these recent days.  They don't know that everyone is on lockdown and stressed (well, they might feel the stress) but really, they are just BEING horses.  It doesn't matter to them that they are fastest, prettiest, can jump the highest, or receive the best dressage scores.  They want to be loved and cared for.
Thirdly, the perspective of the person being the brunt of the comment.  A couple recent examples and my advice to them:

1. A person has memories of a special horse and when that horse was sold, the new owner contacted them and told them to TAKE DOWN ALL PHOTOS, they could not share anything to do with that horse ever again.  This at a minimum was rude and uncalled for and at worst case, is crazy.  My advice - Think of this as an episode of "I LOVE LUCY".  You know something whacky is going on.  Picture this desperation of "Lucy" with the knowledge that something funny is going to happen to "Lucy" and just sit back and watch for the punch line.

2. A young lady received an amazing compliment about her young horse and before she could even bask in the joy, another horse person basically told her she wasn't good enough and was going to wreck the horse, get it to someone that could develop that horse properly.  What happened to encouraging the young people and welcoming them into our sport?  The horses don't care what level they reach.  Let the young ones thrive with the really nice horses and bask in the joy that they picked out a good one, that they are enjoying and caring for a special one.  My advice - think of that "neigh"sayer as a Grinch.  A little tiny green Grinch that is jealous of your joy.  Picture yourself as the WHOLE town of Whoville and bask in the joy of knowing that you did a great job picking an amazing horse and enjoy the heck out of riding and developing that horse to the very best of your ability.  But most of all, have fun with your horse!  
We can all learn to laugh a little more.  Practice seeing things as cartoons.  This takes the negative power away from those that are having some challenges and it puts us in control of how we feel, in spite of "those" people that forget to be kind (or intentionally are unkind).

If you have ever felt like your family needed a little more laughter, this book is a great family story, about my family and how I was raised, and how to bring a little more joy and laughter into your life.  

I have a supportive horse community helping overcome fear, in a kind environment, and would love to have you join us (if you are not already part of the amazing group). For those of you that don't have fear, you can cheer on those of us that do have fear and for those that have fear, it is a great support group!  Click here to join!


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