Good horsemanship is not just about horses. Ideally, it should extend to all other areas of our life in the way we conduct ourselves and have respect for others. After all, a big part of good horsemanship is consistency. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and truthfully, when you see poor horsemanship in the ‘human’ world chances are the horsemanship suffers in their ‘horse’ world as well.
Especially when it comes to showing horses, sometimes those gaps in good horsemanship rear their ugly head in the form of a sense of entitlement, lack of taking full responsibility, and ultimately anger. Usually those folks that display those behaviors want to blame everyone else instead of looking at what they themselves could have done better.
A good horseman gives the horse the benefit of the doubt. Instead of blaming the horse right off, they examine themselves first to see what they can do better to help the horse understand. Essentially, to them it doesn’t really matter what the horse does. It matters how they react to the horse. That’s how they become better horsemen.
So often, depending on the event, I see riders and competitors get upset and want to blame everyone from the show staff to the judge instead of looking honestly at themselves and asking what could they have done differently. They never stop to ask themselves if maybe they could have been better prepared or if they did something wrong. Instead, they automatically think they’re right and things should change for their favor. All I can say is I would hate to be the horse that they ride because you know they think that horse is always wrong!
One of the problems with blaming someone else is that it’s usually the show staff that gets blamed. There’s nothing more frustrating than to do your best putting on a show and have someone else blame you for their short comings. Putting on a horse event is a thankless job anyhow with very little return, if any, on your investment in time and money. Add to that someone that’s obviously not happy about how you’re doing things and it’s no wonder people quit hosting events!
I’ve often heard people complain that there aren’t enough horse shows, especially at a local level. But honestly, competitors have done it to themselves with their complaining. Instead of encouraging the people that put on the show and working to make it better, they’ve complained about things like cost, requirements, or how it’s ran.
People focus awfully hard on winning. Some say they focus on good horsemanship but at the first sight of something they’re not pleased with they automatically expect people to change things to the way they want them regardless of how it may impact someone else. Perhaps they need to focus a little less on winning and focus a little more on their horsemanship in and out of the pen. After all, as with horses, it doesn’t matter what someone else does, it matters how you react and how you can improve.
What are some ways you can improve your horsemanship outside of the pen? How can you encourage and help the shows in your area so that the show staff feels more appreciated and the events improve?
Find ways to encourage instead of complain. Find ways to help instead of tear down. After all as the saying goes, the world has plenty of critics – we need more encouragers. By the way, thank you to all those that put on horse events! If it weren’t for you we would have no where to compete!