If you have nothing kind or constructive to say – don’t say it! I’ve had a string of students feeling judged and unsupported within their respective sports and it makes me sad. No. Let me be honest with you – it makes me cross.

The darling Tar says – kindness counts! pc K. Larson

Petty comments about training or a perceived lack of training suggest to me that you may not have all the information you should consider before weighing in. Comparing the “hard” sport you play to someone else’s “easy” sport further suggests that a blinkered viewpoint is in play.

You’ve heard me on the concept of differentiation before so I’ll try not to harp on it but truly – if you can wrap your head around this thought life will get better  – for you, for your friends and for animal partners around you ..  your view of dog, or horse, sports is not universal – Truths you hold dear to you may not hold true for others. 

Here are some examples of comments I have heard or seen made

  • Relationships with pet dogs are less important, or valid, or strong as with sporting dogs
  • X sport needs little or no  training, it’s instinct (I’ve heard X as dock diving, scent work,  herding, barn hunt and more!)
  • A specific formula to train (every day, 3 times a week, no less than 20 minutes a session, no more than 30 …)
  • you only did well because you had X dog (breed, age, temperament)
  • That breed (pick one) always excels in that sport
  • you don’t deserve that dog/win
  • That breed (pick one) will never excel in that sport
  • That win was a fluke/ you would’t have won if so and so was judging or so and so was competing

You’ve got the gist of what I mean I am sure …  there are many many more I hear, and see, far too often.

Let me be blunt – you are welcome to think your thoughts; that’s fine. The problem comes when you decide to share them. Either with the person you are referring to or in such a way it will get back to the person.  (Didn’t realize it would? you haven’t been on social media or in social circles much eh?) Don’t be a joy thief – punching holes in self esteem and self confidence with nary a second thought. Courage in the animal sports world is fragile enough – it doesn’t need you running around taking pot shots in any direction. You might think you are funny – you aren’t. You might think you are helpful – unless you are asked a direct question or are being paid to help you may be most distinctly unhelpful.

How can you stop yourself? Write a letter to never deliver, complain to someone who doesn’t play with dogs or horses the way you do,  whisper the tale to your dog or horse, mull and turn your thought over and over and over in your head. If it’s an unkind thought it’s not doing you much good taking up space – so  process it, then discard it when you can and fill your mind with something  more positive.

What about if you are on the receiving end? Understand that the comments, no matter how hurtful or aggravating, speak much more about the person making them then they do about you. They feel so very personal  – they really aren’t. They often reflect an ignorance, thoughtlessness and are based on assumptions that are way out of your control.

First let it go –

then celebrate your victory, or success

Consider limiting your contact with the person who made the comment – unless they contribute something positive to you  you may want to unfollow them in social media and spend less time with them

Contemplate discussing how the comment made you feel …  they may not care but they may be horrified – even if they don’t get it depending on your personality type you may feel better for stating your position.

What you are doing has value… you won, trained, earned your good feelings and happy thoughts. Your success was valid and important. YOU DID GOOD. YOU GOT THIS!