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10 Ways to Never Let Negative People Influence Your Riding

Negative people spread their mindset and attitudes and all it takes is one person to bring everyone else down. Riding horses is a sport filled with challenges, which makes it even more crucial for the athlete to nurture a positive way of thinking.

 An exhibitor’s attitude can make all the difference in the show pen. Positive perspectives are compelling and achievable. Even though there seem to be negative people everywhere, there are ways to avoid allowing their poor mindsets to spread. Creating a world fueled by positivity rather than negativity is of utmost importance.

1)   Spend time with positive people

The people who you surround yourself with make a significant difference in your attitude, outlook, and overall experience of life. Making sure the support system is genuinely encouraging and caring is crucial. This is especially true in an extremely competitive sport like horse showing.

Negative people attract more negativity. This turns into a cycle of tension, hostility, and overall unhappiness. Surround yourself with people who genuinely support you in your riding. Find the people who influence you to work harder each day and never let them go.

Trainer, Margaux Tucker of GauxPro Performance Horses, comments, “I believe that you should surround yourself with likeminded people. If you are on the same page with your peers or your support system of family friends and coaches, there is a likelihood of breeding more motivation and positivity in yourself.”

2)   Do not take negativity personally

Do not take someone’s criticism personally. Everyone has a bad day now and then where frustration is taken out on the closest person at that time. This is not the proper way to handle emotions, but it is, unfortunately, how some people channel their feelings.

Remember that you may not be the person or thing that they are upset with. Their negativity is not personally directed at you. Take a deep breath, and as Taylor Swift once said, “Shake it off.”

Amateur exhibitor, Sabrina Janis, agrees, “Our passion for horses is the common thread that unites us equestrians everywhere. Don’t let a negative person or situation overshadow that.”

3)   Showing is a series of ups and downs

Horse showing, much like any other sport, is a constant swing of highs and lows. There are days where it all seems to “click” and other days where nothing seems to work correctly. Take each day in stride and be present at the moment.

This sport requires teamwork with a 1,200 pound animal with a mind of their own. After all, horses are animals, not robots. It helps to put this in perspective when you feel someone’s negativity starting to creep under your skin.

Tucker adds, “We all have our show ring ups and downs. Do not compare yourself to others, do not worry about a bad class or a bad day, keep working through it, and you will get stronger and more confident all the time.”

4)   Respond mindfully

It is easy to respond to negativity with more negativity. It is easy to lash out at someone. However, these methods only create more drama and tension in an already hostile situation. Mindfully responding to the person is the responsible course of action.

Children in kindergarten are taught to think before speaking. Next time you feel that fire starts to build up, walk away. Clear your head and think about how you want to respond to the person. The critical takeaway is to respond, not react.

Janis says, “I have a rule of thumb when it comes to dealing with tough situations. Take a second before you react or call someone out and ask yourself, ‘Is this situation going to matter in one week? One month? How about even one year?’ If you can answer any of those questions with no, then tailor your response accordingly.”

5)   Focus on solutions, not problems

By focusing on a solution, you allow yourself a way to escape the negativity. Dwelling on difficulties ultimately does not solve them. These are some helpful questions to ask yourself when looking for a solution to reduce negative energy.

How can I separate myself from the person/place/thing that is causing me stress? What/who is the root of negativity in the situation? What can I learn from this situation to avoid it in the future?

Janis advises, “When you dwell on a problem, you tend to get tunnel vision. Tackle problems that you have one day at a time. Rome was not built in a day, and neither are great horsemen and horsewomen.”

6)   Other people’s opinions do not matter

The only advice that matters is yours and your coach’s. Judges and fellow competitors only see one snapshot of your abilities in the show pen. They do not see the hours of time and dedication put in the saddle behind the scenes. They do not see the steps of progress made.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion. However, some people like to start drama by spreading their negative views. If the person chooses to be rude towards you, walk away. Other people’s opinions are not relevant to your growth as an equestrian.

7)   Laugh more, worry less

Unfortunately, the world is full of people who like to look at the downside. To combat their negative energy, you must look at the upsides. Often the way to do this is simply through a better sense of humor.

Laughing is good for the soul. Everyone loves to laugh. The best method to reduce negativity is to make a joke to lighten the mood. Worry less about what others think and just have fun. Life is too short to take things too seriously.

8)   Leave the situation

If there seems to be no way to solve the negativity, leave the situation. Whether this is barn drama, a toxic trainer, etc. Removing yourself from the source of hostility will ultimately make you happier in the long run.

Tucker advises, “If you get the feeling you are being brought down by those around you, it is ok to remove yourself. Do not feel obligated to those who are not of your likeness. If needed, remove yourself humbly and carry on towards your goals.”

Horse showing is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. It is not worth hanging around individuals who make the experience more of a chore than a hobby. Leaving your current environment may be challenging at first, but it will be worth it.

9)   Take responsibility

If you allow the negative energy of others to make you harmful, too, take responsibility. You have the power to change your outlook and perspective. Just because someone else is unhappy and bitter does not mean you have to be as well.

Be responsible for taking ownership of your actions and emotions. This is a crucial skill that will only benefit you as an exhibitor and as an individual.

10)   Let go and move on

Once you let go of someone else’s negative energy, you free yourself from the drama and stress. You cannot control someone else’s thoughts or actions. Focus on what you can manage and continue to work hard.

Janis says, “Do not let the negative experiences impact you in such a way that you become bitter or jaded…then negativity wins. Horse shows are meant to be enjoyable and meaningful time spent with our beloved horses, not dwelling on negativity.”

American author Zig Ziglar once said, “Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out.” Let go of their drama and focus on your growth. The most powerful way to not let them influence your riding is by moving on.

About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a freshman at Michigan State University. She has been riding horses for almost ten years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. She loves to show the all-around classes with her beloved horse, Zippos Kat Man Do, aka Teddy. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She is currently on a Pre-Veterinary track and also hopes to study business.