Red ribbon personalities –in humans and horses

.After the wave of cancelled competitions,  it’s been a bonus and  privilege to judge several horse shows so far this season.

It brings fresh meaning to the wording in the Codes of Ethics horse show judges sign for AQHA and Equestrian Canada:

“Designation as an AQHA-approved Judge (EC licensed official) is a PRIVILEGE, not a right, bestowed by the Judges Committee to individuals whose equine expertise and personal character merit the honor.”

Why does it sometimes take the loss of something we take for granted to realize what a blessing it really is?

Grumpiness (complaining about everyday irks) turns to gratefulness with each little loss restored.  Delays in a long horse show schedule? Waiting for a tardy entry? Porta potty? Food booth runs out of coffee? No problem –it’s a PRIVILEGE to be judging a horse show!

Grumpiness. It’s not uncommon at open horse shows to see a red ribbon fastened on the tail of a horse. The message? Stay away. I kick.

Help -my horse has a red ribbon personality!

If your horse’s personal -space guarding has become assertive enough to warrant a red tail ribbon, it’s time to go back and do some homework before going off- property.

Instead of donning a red tail ribbon, train towards expanding his social bubble. Whether the source is fear or aggression, here are 2 tips:

1. Spend time creating and repeating positive experiences beside another horse. Riding beside another horse, just inside your horse’s comfort bubble and no closer. Relax your body, soften your aids, then ride away BEFORE your horse has a chance to Repeat until the comfort bubble is closer to his neighbor.

2. Set the boundaries. When your horse snarks at another horse, re-establish the boundary through which he snarked . For instance, if he kicks out, move his haunches sideways from your leg on the side he kicked. If he lunges his head toward his neighbor, back him up. Don’t respond to emotion with emotion. Doing so is adding kindling to your horse’s smoldering fear. Just promptly but calmly make him yield to pressure, deferring his own space for every threat to another horse’s space.

I know some people with red ribbon personalities…

1. The red ribbon PRICKLY personality. The one you‘ve learned to avoid. Easily offended. Overly sensitive.

  • The gossip. (Will I be next on their gossip list?)
  • Bitter. Still rehearsing hurts, vowing never to be hurt again.
  • Negative-lots of complaints but not many solutions.

2. The red ribbon WINNING personality.

• Grateful. Earning a few of life’s “pink ribbons” makes one savour the red ones!

• Gracious. They assume the best about people until proven otherwise.

• Curious. Interested in people and interested in the world. They ask questions. They remember names.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. “ From the letter to the Corinthians, The Bible