Horse people love to compete! Yet in the horse world, have you ever noticed there can be more competition outside the show ring than inside?
Horse showing isn’t a team sport. While individualism has served us well under Covid restrictions, enabling us to return to play earlier than team sports, the ethos of competing against each other is prone to leak its way into boarding barn aisles, horse show bleachers and social media comments. Ringside chit-chat slides into gossip over the client who left their coach or the horse trainer who left their spouse!
In our zeal to convince others of our viewpoint we put on blinders to avoid even considering opposing viewpoints.
The prize in the debate over horse training methods and horse management practices is respect and recognition as the barn expert. A verbal burr, slipped under the saddle of our “competition” could earn more Facebook likes or merely the satisfaction of being “right”.
We may win the argument, but might we lose the relationship?
We are designed for relationship. Created for community. Comparing and competing erodes the very thing we long for – being part of a team.
“Humility always brings a kind of relief.” John Ortberg
One of the quickest ways to diffuse the flaming arrows of negative comments is to extinguish them with positive ones. Responding to a gossip with a positive observation about the targeted person, or a plausible explanation for their situation can often rein in the conversation. Those who opt out of “one-upping” and save the competition for the ring are the real winners!
“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 The Bible