6 Ways you can be a more helpful equestrian without breaking (much of) a sweat

Be helpful and equestrian sports will thrive.

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6 Ways you can be a more helpful equestrian without breaking (much of) a sweat

For the most part, the equestrian community is an extremely kind and supportive one. When riders are in need of a helping hand at a show, they can usually find several. On countless occasions, I have had other equestrians help me out at events with things ranging from helping me get a naughty horse onto a trailer to lending me a piece of tack that I forgot. Let’s work together to keep the horse world the nicest sporting community in the world by taking small steps to help when we have time. Here are six very easy but also meaningful ways that you can personally contribute to making your horsey circle the best:

1) When you see an aisle that needs sweeping, sweep it: It doesn’t matter if you made the mess or not if a spot in the barn needs sweeping just step up to the plate and do it. Sure there are probably people who are employed to sweep the aisles, but if you spare a moment to take on the task it will mean a lot to them. It will also free up their time so they can perhaps do an extra job around the barn. Not to mention, all the other riders will appreciate walking into a clean barn. If everyone took the time to sweep when they could, it would never be even close to a large job.

2) Politely share unsolicited advice to keep others safer: Everyone makes mistakes in this sport that could jeopardize their own, their horse’s and others’ safety. If you see something happening that should be done safer, then it is your responsibility to POLITELY show how it could be done safer. Here is a list of some of my big horsey safety pet peeves. When I see someone innocently doing something that could be dangerous, I always suggest a better way. Just make sure that you never act condescending or get upset if the safety offender opts not to follow your advice. But you’d never forgive yourself if you witnessed something unsafe that led to a bad situation while you simply turned a blind eye.

3) Bring coffee and snacks to the barn on occasion: This might sound silly to you but if you swing by the coffee shop to grab yourself one on the way to the barn, consider grabbing a few for people you know will likely also be there. I know money doesn’t grow on trees and you don’t need to make this a regular thing. But everyone loves the occasional treat and your generous deed will likely be reciprocated.

 


 

4) If there’s a pole on the ground, pick it up: I have been in so many warm-ups where some people don’t have a groom or parent around to pick up the rails they knock down. Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of people who will not walk over and put the pole back in the cup. Sure it isn’t their responsibility but it definitely would be helpful and appreciated. If you’re around a warm-up and see that fallen pole that is safe to pick up, then go fix it. Likewise, if you are near a show ring that is lacking a quick enough ring crew no one is in the middle of their round, feel free to put the knocked down rails back in the cups. You might not get a thank-you for this but trust me, people will appreciate it.

5) Be kind on social media: This should really be a no-brainer but it is shocking how many ‘keyboard-warriors’ love to attack fellow riders on social media. Neither professional or amateur riders deserve to be scrutinized for their mistakes online. If you wouldn’t want to say your comment to someone’s face then don’t post it online. If you really have a problem with how a rider is doing something then perhaps you should message them privately and directly. But seriously, ask yourself first if is it any of your business and will your remarks help anything.

6) Volunteer at events whenever you have some spare time: Do you have a dressage time at 8:00 AM and a cross-country time at 4:00 PM with nothing to do in-between? Fill your time with volunteer work! I mean you are stuck at the event anyways. Events are usually a little short on volunteers and by just donating a few hours of your time you will help out big time. Our sport needs volunteers to survive so keep it alive by being one.

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