There seems to be a stereotype that as equestrians we are a bunch or know it alls, who like to present our thoughts and feelings as fact and can be quite judgemental towards those who don’t share our beliefs. I don’t necessarily buy into this stereotype but I have noticed recently there seems to have been a rise in cyber bullying amongst our community.
Some of these people are admittedly being deleberatly mean, criticising someone’s riding, horse or achievements is NEVER ok! Some people I genuinely believe are just trying to help but the way a response or comment is phrased had have a huge impact on how it is perceived by the reader.
Instead of this: “your position is terrible, you need to sit up and keep your weight in your heels!”
If you feel you have to say something,
Try this: “love your [breeches, boots, horse etc], if your finding it difficult to maintain your balance coming into the jump you could try sitting back slightly and pushing your weight down into your heels I’ve found its really helped me! Love your [Instagram, Twitter, YouTube] keep up the good work!”
I always try and give constructive feed back in a feedback sandwich. Not sure where I first heard about this technique but I’ve used it for ages. This is how it works: the first compliment is the bread of the sandwich, the critique is the filling and you finish it off with another piece of bread (another compliment or something positive).
This works offline as well if your at the barn or riding with friends and they ask for feedback, start off with complementing them on something they did well then something they could work on and how they could achieve it and finish by encouraging them.
Something that can be really annoying is if someone posts something that you don’t believe or know is wrong.
Random internet user: “that’s the wrong piece of tack/method etc”.
It can be so easy to post, “No your wrong…” and while there’s nothing exactly mean about this statement particularly if they are indeed wrong but it is quite confronting.
Try this instead: “I always believed… Or I was always told… Or I thought I read somewhere. Alternatively something like “have you ever thought about trying this piece of tack/method…”
This advise is not just limited to the Internet, before you confront someone about something try and think about how you could approach the issue without flat out dismissing their thoughts or feelings or being rude, make it a conversation and remember RESPECT is the word of the day!
I believe as a community we have so much power, let’s use that power to inspire, encourage and support each other to reach our goals. Say NO to bullying!