“Horse people are very opinionated, and everyone is certain their way is absolutely right. This includes me,” – Anna Blake, Author and Equestrian
I try not to brag too much about the stables where I am so fortunate to have a work to ride lease, but I do love it there. It took me ten years and a few duds before I hit the jackpot, so if you haven’t found your dream barn yet, don’t give up. Your perfect fit is worth finding.
What I love is that despite a dozen intelligent horse-crazy ladies walking the grounds at any given time, no one will give their opinion from their vast expertise unless asked for it. In an age when everyone thinks they’re entitled to an opinion and think you’re lucky enough to listen to it, that’s refreshing.
My barn co-worker Mary is the one welcome exception, and that’s because I have asked her a number of times over the past few years for advice with a horse. She is a former riding instructor and by now knows my question before I even voice it. I hang on to every word she says to me.
“Half-halt Jayne, give and take.” “If you calm yourself, your horse will calm down too.” “Tip her nose to the inside to help her get the correct lead.”
On the other hand, Hannah, a former dressage competitor whose paths at the barn rarely cross mine, walked right past me this morning when I was working Tara in the round pen for the first time. Tara was definitely in favor of tracking right and I was having trouble getting her to change direction. I could see Hannah out of the corner of my eye and thought for sure she would be able to help fix my situation, but I forgot that I work at a barn where people are considerate enough to keep their opinions to themselves. Before I knew it, she was out of earshot, minding her own business. Tara and I soon figured out a way around our impasse on our own, and everyone was happy.
I know dozens of horseback riders and we all have fragile egos when it comes to our sport. We all want to be the best rider possible for our horses and sometimes verbal correction from others on top of differing viewpoints can leave us confused and hurt. I’ve been there and I’m so blessed to have finally found a place where the only opinions you’ll hear are positive ones like, “I love your horse’s bridle, could you tell me where I can get one?”