We horse people love to give good advice to each other. Not the least to help each other, but also to help the horses. But are we sometimes a little too good at giving each other advice nobody has even asked for. Here are some thoughts on the subject – maybe you recognize some.
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HORSESPLAINING – BUTTING IN WITHOUT BEING ASKED
Maybe you’ve heard of the concept of “mansplaining”. It refers to when men in a condescending way explain to women something they have not been asked. The concept was invented by the American author and feminist Rebecca Solnit. She believes that some men really feel the need to explain to women how the world is. Even if the women have not asked for any explanation.
The question is – can one in the same way refer to “horsesplaining” when we horse people sprinkle around us with good advice to each other. Without having been asked for it?
“YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG”
Who has not tried standing in a situation where someone else in the stable – perhaps kindly meant – has tried to give you good advice on how to treat your horse? How to get it ready, how to put the bandages on? What feed you should give your horse and so on.
“You should probably consider another bit if your horse opens its mouth!”. Says another rider in the arena, while your horse throws you off in the biggest puddle of mud and triumphantly skulks over to the exit.
“So, its blanket is too big? It simply does not work,” your stable friend tells you. The only thing you want to say is: “Did I asl you!?”.
“No, you’re doing it wrong. The saddle must be further back,” you hear a passer-by in the stable aisle say. You kindly try to correct it without revealing your extreme irritation over that comment.
These examples are no doubt a bit caricatured, but the essence is understandable, right?
WHAT IS BEST FOR THE HORSES
The vast majority of the times we give good advice without being asked for anything, because of our love for the horses. We care not only about our own horses, but also about all the others. These are animals we cherish. But we must also remember our fellow humans. We must also want the best for each other.
The thing is, when you get on a horse for the first time, you become part of a “club”. That club is made up of other avid horse people who are just as passionate about their sport and the animals as you certainly are. These people come from near and far, from the stable, from the internet and from social media. They are to be found all over the place.
The Club of Horse People is a well-meaning and inquisitive club. Every member loves to talk about everything from proper riding to colic and how to pet your horse. It is a very straight forward community. Especially online, where the good advice as well as the lesser good ones are thrown at you as soon as you ask a small question. The court of horse people can be harsh with others. And it can sometimes take its toll to keep your head high. But always keep in mind that it is most often passed on in a good spirit.
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YOU ARE OKAY – REALLY!
No doubt, it can be very stressful to take into account everyone’s attitudes towards this and that. The problem will probably not be lessened by the fact that we horse people are part of a marked performance society. Here we often feel we must strive to be the best. We can quickly start feeling the need to be good at most things and bad at nothing.
Try not to feel that way. It is completely alright. Instead, give yourself a solid pat on the back and remind yourself – it is perfectly fine for you to have the attitudes and approaches that you believe in. It is more than okay to be in doubt and ask for advice. But remember that the best guideline is your own gut feeling.
You are so okay and even more so by showing others that they are too. The best way to do this is by not giving them too much good advice – without having been asked for it.