Blog by: Kory Kumar
The concept of developing a positive relationship with the world around us is nothing new. A simple internet search will show countless articles, programs, and seminars to help individuals develop and maintain positive relationships in schools, the workplace, and within their personal lives. The idea of cultivating and fostering positive relationships is part of what gives individual meaning to our everyday lives and what drives us to be productive members of society.
The competitive equestrian community in which we reside is just another branch on our tree of personal relationships. My fellow equestrians, cultivating and maintaining positive relationships in this industry is a vital component not only to your own positive outcomes, but also to the positive outcomes of shows, clubs, and breed organizations as a whole. My hope is that your view may expand just a bit, and perhaps the extension of my personal branch to you will help to build yet another connection.
There are not many industries in which the producers are also the consumers. The connectivity of all the different levels of stakeholders within equestrian sports are so intermingled. A single person may have knots of branches that tie and cross many different layers of trees. “Pull a thread here and find that it’s attached to the rest of the world,” said Nadeem Aslam.
In 2018, Mailek Proctor wrote an article about how showing kindness to others, and taking the time to build positive connections, can actually provide a boost to a person’s career. While Mr. Proctor’s article wasn’t written for competitive equestrians, per say, his words are highly correlated to the outcomes we desire as well.
1. Showing kindness and developing positive relationships with people in the equestrian industry promotes networking opportunities.
If you think about it, a single competitive equestrian event is a giant opportunity for networking. Think of all the people from different professions, geographical locations, and education levels in your extended circle. There is a whole world of possibilities around you.
2. Being kind and developing positive relationships in the industry maximizes collaborative success.
We, the equestrians, are the producers and consumers of our own products. So, many of us are involved in show planning, as well. When we come together, and promote kindness and positivity, the doors of collaboration are wide open. I can’t even begin to count the number of events I have worked on while at a show.
3. Being kind and developing positive relationships within the industry creates a ripple effect.
People want to be around other people who are kind, positive, and fun. Think about it. We all seek out and want to be around those who are uplifting and energizing. We hide from the people who bring us down or who are energy zappers. What you put out there is what is brought back to you.
4. Being kind and developing positive relationships counteracts stress.
This is HUGE! I don’t know a single competitive equestrian who hasn’t felt stress at some point during a show. Whether we realize it or not, when we feel this way, we seek those people who help us to rebalance.
5. Being kind and developing positive relationships promotes attention from superiors.
The saying goes that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It is so true! Maybe you don’t exactly have horse show superiors, but you do have management staff, breed organizations, or other type of organizational leadership. Believe me when I say that these people know which people are kind and positive and which people they feel the need to avoid any eye contact with at an event.
If you’re working on show planning or hiring staff, word gets around very quickly. Judges and show staff will work hard to accommodate someone who has treated them with kindness and positivity. Another unintended consequence of positive interactions is that you gain the notice of others who you may never have realized were watching you. It’s possible that you are the very equestrian someone else is looking up to and hoping to one day be like.
6. Being kind increases productivity and efficiency.
We have all been in the show office when “that person” comes in and starts stomping around or yelling at people. People, I might add, who likely had nothing to do with what was upsetting them. Then, a person, who is kind and positive walks in, and asks a question, and you can see a whole new scenario unfold. Staff, officials, and management WANT to help those competitive equestrians who are positive.
So, here it is in a nutshell. Apply the golden rule that we learned in elementary school. When you adopt an attitude of kindness, and strive to build positive relationships with others in the equestrian industry, we all win. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
Positive relationships are enriching for our personal life story! They give us so much. They fulfill our individual need to belong to our equestrian community and also provide us with a strong sense of identity within it.
Respectfully and Positively Yours,
If you’d like to write a blog about a topic in the horse industry, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com for consideration.