Horseback riding can be fun, but it can also be stressful. It can be challenging, especially at a show, to keep your cool. There's so much you need to do and so much on your mind that it can be overwhelming. Hopefully though, once you get in the saddle, you can block out all the stress and just enjoy the ride.
When we enter the ring, we aim to be perfect no matter what discipline you do. We are judged against others to find the best of the group. All we can do is our best and hope that is enough.
But what about out of the ring? Does our attitude change?
The International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) and World Dressage Masters have developed a Code of Conduct. This code talks about the "guidelines to ensure optimal horse and rider welfare and safety at competitive events." It talks about things like stabling and safety. What I want to talk about in this post is topic number 8; Psychological Well-Being of Humans. It has three points that they believe is unacceptable behaviour:
- Swearing or using abusive language towards others (i.e. grooms, trainers, parents, other riders, organizers, officials, etc.).
- Any manifestation of physical or psychological violence towards others, including horses.
- Behaviors otherwise considered threatening, abusive or offensive.
If we are expected to reach perfection in the ring, we should be expected to be good sports out of the ring as well. I don't think it should be that hard to be kind to our competitors, trainers, grooms, horses and everyone else involved in a show. Yes tensions are high, but if you can control them in a ring, you can control them in the barn.
I don't know about you, but winning a 1st place ribbon by cheating or being a bad sport just isn't that rewarding. It's much more rewarding to win because you worked hard to get there.
So what do you all think of this? If you would like to read the rest of the Code of Conduct, you can read it here.
I hope you are all doing well and that you are enjoying your weekend. Thank you for reading Pure Horse Sense.
Until next time, happy riding!