dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Judgement

This post has been rattling around in my head for a while. I am not the only one to write about it (like here- posted by Dom on FB). Even knowing that far better writers then me have tackled this topic I'm going to do it anyway.


rider hauling on her horse and causing her to invert OR
rider surviving a spin/leap/bolt and trying to get her horse back before someone
dies. You decide. Or rather don't. 
Lord knows I am not any shining example of perfection and poise. I have been known to swear - even in a show (in my defence I had gone off course and realized it).  I am the first one to admit that I have a lot of improvements I need to make in my riding. I am sometimes impatient and frustrated.

I am also sometimes able to ride with tact and responsiveness.

But here's the thing- whether I am sucking or rocking it, I am always trying my best. 

As I get older I get more and more irritated by people seeing a single moment/episode and making all sorts of snap judgements. They assume that they now know all that there is to know about that person and their horse. And of course they know what should be done.

We've all experienced it.

Remember my Trail Clinic back in August? I was so happy with that experience. Nikki (one of the clinicians) shared it on FB and that was then shared by someone else. Someone who added the following:
name blocked out because it's not relevant

The person who posted this appears to have leapt to all kinds of conclusions about my history with Carmen's training and is sitting in judgement. I thought about writing an explanation "actually I have done a lot with this mare and this clinic was another step on my journey to build our partnerhsip. In the end I didn't bother because I wasn't sure it would be a productive discussion. While part of me doesn't care, part of me is still rankled. 

We need to stop it. 

It's not fair. But worse, it's not helpful. It adds nothing to the discussion. In fact it stops any discussion dead.  We don't know what a person has gone through to get where they are. Maybe doing what they are doing is a result of a ton of work, sweat and bravery. And it doesn't matter that it could be better. It's enough that it's not worse. 

So this year I'm going to continue to work on being a cheerleader. I am going to assume that others are doing their best and that I don't know their story. I will not pass judgement and I will not give advice unless asked for. And even then, I will try to ask rather then tell. 



44 comments:

  1. Here, here! Sadly, it’s nothing new. The internet just makes it possible for judgemental asshats to be judgemental on a global scale, when they used to be limited to the arena rail. Like you said, explaining yourself does no good. They aren’t reading for comprehension, they’re just trying to make themselves look better by dragging everyone around them down. I’d rather lift everyone around me up, so I will join you in your cheerleading!

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    1. It's so discouraging (and not just the horse world). But I also think that people don't see themselves as being judgemental or mean. Which doesn't mean that their behaviour isn't.

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  2. Yup; I've experienced that as well. Cheerleading is so much better. I get comments about what I should do with Jackson. Drives me nuts. As if I'm not doing the best I can already. You and Carmen are doing fabulous and your commitment and energy are inspiring.

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    1. It's hard to not give advice if you have an idea. I try to coach it as 'this is what I found, it may or may not work for you and I am fine with that'. But even that is probably too much.

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  3. It's so easy to fall into that cycle with social media - knowing that only a fraction of the story can ever be told in pictures. My friend experienced something similar a couple years ago when she posted a pic of her and her horse accomplishing something while jumping that they had never done before, and a local judge commented to criticize her position and leg. Like. Cmon. Stahp. Theres a big difference between constructive criticism and public shaming. And between useful feedback and unsolicited advice. I'm also with you on trying to work harder that my own commentary falls in the former categories rather than the latter.

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    1. Social media has seemed to make it so much easier. I have seen the same things on BBs (like COTH).

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  4. Years ago, I started deleting all negative comments on my blog, which is why you and Linda are my main commentators the majority of time, so you definitely are a cheerleader, and I appreciate it. Even more so, you are non-judgmental, and it takes a lot of self-control to stay in that state of mind. I belong to a group on FB that is very positive most of the time, but when I feel it slipping into nastiness, I'm the first to step forward and bring the discussion back to civility. I actually had someone apologize for their snap judgement after I explained the person's intentions, which was refreshing. Owning horses is like raising children in that everyone thinks they're an expert, so it's hard to escape the unsolicited advice and snobby judgments. I also delete advice from my blog comments, because I've learned that if I publish it, all these people who normally won't comment will jump into the discussion and say, "Yeah, I agree with so and so, you should do this..." as if I needed to read it a second, third and fourth time. If I don't take someone's advice that they've been giving me for years, there's a reason for it, but I don't necessarily feel the need to explain myself, so I don't.

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    1. That's why I have moderating turned on- I delete anything negative. Not that I get too many trolls.

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  5. I agree. Someone who doesn’t know you or your horse can’t and shouldn’t pass judgement on what you do or how you do it. I’ve always tried to find the positive and encourage the rider by pointing out the good parts of a ride.

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    1. It's such an important thing. And not easy for many

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  6. Love this. and it also makes me so appreciative of the horse blogging community that I have come to know. So many great people that are so supportive and kind.

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    1. I couldn't agree more about the bloggers.

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  7. Being a positive cheerleader is a much better use of time than being a judgemental jerk - I wish everyone would adopt your attitude!

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    1. It's so easy to make those dismissive comments without realizing the potential damage.

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  8. This is so true and why I always hesitate to share things on social media (other than my blog, which is generally read by those who are supportive). I am definitely the type of person who won't say something to another person unless asked (and even then, I hesitate to share my opinion because what do I know haha). The tough part is we totally open ourselves up to other's judgement when we share online, whether we want the feedback or not! ;-)

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    1. Yes people make themselves vulnerable in all sorts of ways. We need to respect that.

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  9. I love this! I also appreciate you sharing your experience. I've been getting a few questionable real life comments since my move home and am finding the negativity from some a bit hard to wrap my head around. People can be strange!

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    1. I am always amazed at how people feel that it is fine to make such comments.

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  10. Bravo!!! The world needs less negativity and I never understand what someone gains from being mean to a complete stranger. Who even knows what your nasty comment does to that person? Maybe it ruins their entire day. Maybe it causes them to quit doing what they love. It is unnecessary to bring others down.

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    1. these days we definitely need less negativity.

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  11. Who has time to sit around writing negative comments like that?! I will never understand it! They have no idea how their words can cut someone.

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  12. I've found so much positivity within the blogging community it really has been a breath of fresh air.

    when I was thinking of "just" doing walk/trot for Annie's first show I let people's opinions sway me into doing Training level (which we were NOT ready for under stressful/show-like circumstances). "You are *only* doing Walk/Trot?" "Walk/Trot is so boring"

    I'm starting to learn to take my gut instincts and not worry about what people say. I just blogged about something kind of similar - though not directly related.

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    1. I seem to remember your blog on that. And you are right- we need to stick to our instincts. If we're wrong we'll figure it out.

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  13. Such a great idea. People seem to have a really hard time with just living their own lives. I know I have a hard time with it myself. I can feel a real physical desire to comment on certain things like don't ride baby horses and dear god, why does your small child not have a helmet on, but at the end of the day, my comment won't do anything so I just skip past the post and keep my mouth shut.

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    1. It's hard when you are convinced that they are doing it wrong. But there are ways to talk (if so inclined) to be helpful. I have bitten my tongue too but probably not as much as I should...

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  14. I AGREE. You never get the full picture from sitting behind a computer!

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  15. I got roasted on the COTH forums when I broke my leg. Talk about kicking someone when they're down! The commentary on my accident was bad enough (like I didn't know I had screwed up!) But then people deliberately went out of their way to dig up videos and post them out of context and flame me. I never claimed to be perfect, and there are certainly things I'd do differently if I was given another go around, but that thread was almost enough to make me quit blogging AND stop helping people with their horses. Nothing makes me crazier than people being nasty on the internet without having the whole story.

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    1. I love how everyone A) thinks that they know exactly what they would do in that situation because, you know, there's so much time to consider all options and B) that beating you over the head with it is sooo helpful.

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  16. Yes! <3 I could not have said it any better. I have discovered that many of those people turn out to not be honest with themselves. The ones that only post pretty images because they want everyone to think it is perfect. Like they do not have any struggles. They want everyone to think, because they are so worried about what everyone thinks instead of just focusing on themselves, that they are perfect. The truth is. Nobody is perfect. All anyone can do is try their best to be better than they were the day before. Have good intentions. Be present in the moment as the horse is. The horse knows your intentions and it is all about communication between 2 individual beasts that do not have the same language. Creating a new language all their own. No horse or human is the exact same and all have their own stories.
    You my friend are honest with yourself, your horse, and your readers. You are open and share your progress. All of it. Each moment is a part of the whole picture. You do not cherry pick perfect images that do not tell the whole story because that is not the truth and it is miss leading. The point is, you have worked and are working toward your goal and through tough moments to the other side.
    And if that person actually felt that way, which does not even matter because they clearly do not know what all you have been doing, they should commend you for doing something different because that is indeed closer to the truth.
    Sorry, that got my hair up a bit.

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    1. Aw, thanks for this. It is hard sometimes to put up the god awful photos of myself as well as the good. :) but I always try to write about it.

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  17. I love this, we as women, horse owners, heck even just people need to be more supportive of each other. Its a sad world when people criticize every move you make. I try to only be around those who are truthful and uplifting, it has made a huge difference in my life

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  18. I agree completely! I don't understand why we can't all give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume first that each person is doing the best they can. We're all on a different journey. Thank you so much for posting this :)

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    1. I am guilty of making snap judgements- I am just getting better of keeping the lid on them and taking time to think.

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  19. The internet does make it easier for people to judge without consequence.Things people would hesitate to say in person due to consequences fly freely from their fingers.

    I'm very guilty of judging based on first sight. I know that this is a problem and do my best to not let my snap judgements prevent me from learning and listening when speaking to another person. I'm at least able to keep my judgements to myself, where they won't hurt anyone. Your goal for the year is a good one. I should try to incorporate that in my ongoing effort to improve myself.

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    1. Thank you. I am pleased that this resonated with so many people.

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