Don’t be that guy – Equestrian edition



Don’t be that guy – Equestrian edition

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Eventers are a pretty awesome bunch: tough, talented, and maybe a little insane. They’re quick to lend a hand – or a stud kit – to those in need, and I like to think the eventing community sets a high bar for camaraderie amongst competitors.

That being said, we can all still afford to execute a quick self-check from time to time to avoid being “that (gender neutral) guy.” Everyone knows a “that guy,” and as the familiar old trope goes, if you don’t know one, then you’re it. Read on for a few examples you might see around the barn or at events, and hey, listen: don’t be that guy.

1. Meddling Milton
We all love and want what’s best for our horses. And maybe we love and want what’s best for everyone else’s horses, too. However, there’s a fine line between offering helpful advice and sticking your nose in someone’s business (especially if your nose doesn’t know what it’s talking about!). Often times, it’s easy for that guy to miss that line entirely. As a general rule of thumb, don’t tell people what to do, unless:

A. You are a legitimate professional.
B. They have asked you for your opinion.
C. They’re all alone and about to burst into tears in the beginner novice warm up ring (we’ve all been there, haven’t we?)
D. They’re literally three steps away from killing or maiming themselves and/or their horse.
E. You’re 100% sure you’re not about to be that guy.

2. Oblivious Ollie
The other side of the Milton coin: Oblivious Ollies are a hot mess. They lead their horses into the barn by their fly mask wearing flip flops, stick their helmetless three year old on their super hot sport horse for a pony ride, and exhibit a complete lack of consideration for other riders in the ring. If you’re that guy, a little self awareness will save you, your horse, and everyone around you a lot of grief.

3. Frantic Franny
Look – dealing with a hot, spooky or reactive horse can be a challenge. And a little common courtesy goes a long way to help mitigate easily avoidable ‘baby horse moments’ and accidents. However, If you forever walk on eggshells around your horse, you will create a self-fulfilling prophecy – and that’s your business. Just don’t expect or demand that everyone else do the same. Don’t be that guy! Suck it up, buttercup, and kick on.



4. Bitchy Barbara
I’m talking to you, Mr. “Complains about the volunteers but never volunteers”. You too, Ms. “Stands by the jump ring and loudly criticizes the starter division riders.” You can either help make the eventing world a welcoming space for everyone, or be an elitist vampire of joy. Guess which one will earn you more respect, in the end? (Everyone except for that guy, of course) has to start somewhere, and all riders who take from the sport should give back to it as well, even if it’s just an encouraging smile for a stranger every now and then.

5. Nosy Nelly
Do you find yourself snooping on your competition’s social media pages to see if they have an advantage over you? Are you a slobbering gossip hound about so-and-so and their such-and-such? Do you lurk around every corner to catch some hint of drama at the barn? Don’t be that guy. In the now Internet-immortalized words of the “worry bout yo’self” toddler, you worry bout yo’self!

6. Toxic Timmy
There’s nothing so insidious to a barn’s culture as a toxic person, be it a student, boarder or even staff. Instead of tearing others down, build them up. Instead of complaining behind your barn owner’s back, address your concerns with them directly. You can either be the poison that sucks the joy from other people and places or the antidote, but you can’t be both.

The truth is that we’ve probably all been “that guy” at one point or another in our riding careers, and we probably will be again. But it’s close enough to the New Year to add on one more resolution, right? Don’t be that guy!

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