Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jealousy and the Horse World.... and How to Deal.

I have been trying to think for a while about how to write this post.   It was actually one of the first ideas that I came up with when I started my blog about a year ago.   However, even though I experience this emotion quite frequently, I have never found the right words to convey what I wanted to say.   What is this emotion?

Jealousy, people.

you are lying if you say you aren't jealous of someone else.

It rears its ugly head in the beginning months of show season, when teams of horses and riders are being paired up, and some of us sit behind, hoping and praying that our favorite lesson horses aren't bought or leased by someone else.   It happens when you work hard, really, really hard and have a good ride on a REALLY tough horse but you don't pull the blue.   Instead, it is someone with their near-perfect horse with a smooth, effortless canter who takes the victory lap.    Jealousy is when you show against someone who rides a horse they've practiced on for months, while you've practiced on your mount for a couple of weeks, if you're lucky.   It's knowing that this year's division will be stacked with riders who have their own (or leased) horse, while you will be riding whatever they take to the show.   Jealousy is those people who have custom clothes every year.   Jealousy is wishing you didn't have to carefully calculate how much you will have to save to go to nationals each year, and wishing even more that somehow the judges would have more sympathy for people like you.  

It's hard.   and I'll tell ya, I feel it.   All the time.   I try to play is off, and I joke that there is not a single person I ride against that I am afraid of.   I've worked HARD over the winter, and I have improved drastically since October.   But that does not mean that I am immune to jealousy.  

But I AM trying to do something about it.   So what can you do to overcome jealousy?

Be thankful.  I am thankful that I will have a horse to ride at the show, even if it is a different one each time.  I am thankful for great friends, who support and raise me up even when I am at my lowest point.  I am thankful that those same friends also tell me like it is, and call me out when I am being too whiny or too negative or looking to put the blame on someone else.   I am thankful for all of those people that have let me borrow things:  from saddles, to whips, to gloves and jewelry.    I am thankful that I get the opportunity to work as much as I do.   I am thankful for no-stirrup lessons and stronger legs.   I am thankful to have an instructor who looks out for me, even though I am quite the handful in the ring.    As my husband so aptly puts it, I enter the ring like I am "upside down, on fire, and in the fence".   It's true, and not just reserved for the show ring; I do my own stunts in the warm-up area, too.    

Be aware.    I know that it is going to be much more difficult to ride against those people with their own horses, nicer clothes, etc.   But I can sit back and cry about how it is unfair, or I can work hard enough that I can ride any horse in the barn, and win.  So I've been riding every chance I get.   And when I can't ride, I workout at home.   I am losing even more weight, so I will be as in shape as I can be.  

Be tough.  It isn't going to be easy--but it is better than drowning in jealousy.