Feeling bitter and twisted!

DabDab

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Well most things discussed on here aren't going to improve our performance. Those kind of comments may irritate you (they don't really bother me, apparent success can be a veneer over all sorts of life situations, because such a thing as a perfect life doesn't exist), but in the same vein, 'just try harder' type responses really irritate me, because it is simplistic, not particularly true, and can be really hurtful to someone who in that moment is struggling.

And so we are all allowed to take issue with the things that are our own particular bug bears. Such is life my friend.
 

milliepops

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I dont subscribe to the "just try harder" viewpoint actually, I think lots of people who reduce things to that do often fail to acknowledge the advantages THEY have (not having to keep your horse at livery, or having transport, or whatever it may be)
But giving up trying because of a childhood lacking in opportunity, or giving up because other people have it easier seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face, to me. That's all, I'm not irritated, I'm confused.
If the thing you're giving up is something you really want, that is. Obviously everyone is free to decide they don't care THAT much. I think that might be the case in this instance.
 

DabDab

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Um, I think that was pretty much my starting point when I first commented on Lammy's post 🤷‍♀️.

There are certain things in life that I'm really good at, in large part because of the type of brain that I just happened to fall out on the earth with. And I wouldn't for a second begrudge someone working hard at the same thing pointing out my advantages and saying it's not fair, because it's true, and there are other things that matter a lot to me but I have to work really hard just to be mediocre at them, so I totally understand. I would certainly never dream of telling them to get out there and work harder at it.
 

Lammy

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I dont subscribe to the "just try harder" viewpoint actually, I think lots of people who reduce things to that do often fail to acknowledge the advantages THEY have (not having to keep your horse at livery, or having transport, or whatever it may be)
But giving up trying because of a childhood lacking in opportunity, or giving up because other people have it easier seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face, to me. That's all, I'm not irritated, I'm confused.
If the thing you're giving up is something you really want, that is. Obviously everyone is free to decide they don't care THAT much. I think that might be the case in this instance.
Thank you, this is what I was getting at. The OP had stated that it was “too late” to bother trying to be better. My point was, along with the picture I posted, that it’s never “too late” to write yourself off. But you do have to want it. As MP said, sometimes your just not THAT bothered and that’s absolutely fine. Not everybody has the gumption to get up at the arse crack of dawn, train, train some more and train harder, I certainly don’t, at least not when it comes to horse riding. But that’s why you have experts because they have put all those hours in and sacrificed major parts of their lives to dedicate themselves to a particular field. They may or may not have had a leg up or financial stepping stone but they’re at the level they’re at because of hard work.

What I took exception to was the snarking on people who seemed to be better off and the digs at their riding skills and obvious lack of horsemanship.

But I meant what I said, if you truly, achingly, so desperately want something that you think you might burst there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals. And no that’s not just a “TrY hArDeR” message because that’s simplifying things too much. But you can make it happen, self belief is only the first step but genuinely you have to believe it first before anything else can happen. If you start out thinking it won’t, then it won’t and no amount of money or education will help 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

milliepops

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I'm still confused though DD, if someone told you they really really wanted to do xy or z but it wasn't fair because of some uncontrollable reason, would you say, oh yeah best not to bother then, or would you say its still worth trying for something if its important to you?

There are other threads on here saying you can't get on if all you have is a native, or you work full time or whatever. People put up their own imagined barriers all the time. There's no denying some of that makes it harder, but the evidence shows that its still possible to achieve stuff even with those disadvantages. It might mean sacrifices that people aren't prepared to make, on balance, and that is valid but also not the sport's fault. I dont get the defeatist attitude or the lashing out at other people who are just going about their own lives, thats all.
 

milliepops

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maybe there's a disconnect about what people's goals are. If I said I wanted to be world champion then I'd definitely fail and feel pretty hopeless 😂
I think you can have realistic goals that are stretching but achievable and satisfying. But they might not be winning stuff, so maybe thats part of the problem 🤔
 

DabDab

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Do you mean what do I think the OP was after/what would have helped? Probably something along the lines of 'yes, they are amazingly skilled aren't they some of them, but I bet you've come a massively long way, have you tried x y z'. Basically the sort of stuff the OP was getting before we yet again launched off into the reverse snobbery, jealousy, how dare you say anything other than glowing adoration for pros comments again.
 
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There are other threads on here saying you can't get on if all you have is a native, or you work full time or whatever. People put up their own imagined barriers all the time. There's no denying some of that makes it harder, but the evidence shows that its still possible to achieve stuff even with those disadvantages. It might mean sacrifices that people aren't prepared to make, on balance, and that is valid but also not the sport's fault. I dont get the defeatist attitude or the lashing out at other people who are just going about their own lives, thats all.
I suppose I'm past it now 🤫😉 I've been (and still am) very fortunate to be able to look back at my 'glory years'. (Yes, they exist, I'm proud of what I did tho nowhere near top level except in my little sphere of backing, schooling, and showing at national level).
Once upon a time I said I'd give up if I didnt have decent horses to ride and no way would I 'just' be hacking out most days.
I now couldn't give a stuff what others think, I'm too broken to attempt to vastly improve, but I try to at least maintain a reasonable level and standard that I can. I turn up at RC training on my native pony in my little box and take part, usually taking something away, whether its improving the pony or making new friends. I really just try to enjoy myself as I'm now not able to ride like i did 20, 30 or even 40 years ago.
I feel sorry for those who sneer at anyone else who appears to be enjoying a better horse, lorry, life etc.
Life is for living, it's too short for envy.
Good luck with whatever you do, everyone :)

p.s, I really like barrelling around, on gallops or round xc, makes me grin! But my nickname of galloping grandma haunts me 🤣🤣
 

McFluff

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Really interesting thread. If nothing else it confirms that the world would be very boring if we all worked the same way!
Jealousy and envy are interesting emotions. They can help motivate, can help you re-evaluate your priorities, but they can also block you. Stop you from doing something or (worse?) remove the enjoyment of something for you.

We all make choices - some intentionally, some through ‘least worse’, some without even knowing. Nobody has perfection. Everything involves compromise. We are all finding a balance between time, money, resources, opportunities, effort, talent.

My parents couldn’t afford to support my horse aspirations. They did encourage me to get a Saturday job, so I could then use my earnings to get lessons. I did it all myself, cycled to work, cycled to the stables. I then had to give up - no time, no money. Followed my Dad’s advice. He asked me to consider whether I wanted to work with horses, where I’d be unlikely to have the time or funds to enjoy my own. Or spend some time getting a higher paid job so I could get my own horse in the future. I couldn’t afford to ride again until my 30’s and finally achieved my dream of horse ownership in my 40’s.

I’ll never be a world beater, but I’d like to progress. Many people on here inspire me and convince me that I have a chance to achieve some goals. And that I still have 20+ years to work on them. And a fun horse filled journey to get there.

I’m also rather grateful that I seem to have an oblivion bubble (named by my colleagues). It’s great, I can go to shows and I see absolutely none of the issues referred to in this thread. I’ve never noticed or witnessed pushy parents, spoilt kids or anything. I just see people all trying their best. Think I like my oblivion bubble.
 

Cowpony

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I'm firmly of the opinion that life is what you make it, and I totally accept that I am in the very fortunate position of being white, middle class, with a well paying job, so read in all the huge advantages that that background provides.

My parents could have afforded to buy me a pony but chose not to. Is that better or worse than the parents who would desperately have wanted to buy their daughter a pony but couldn't afford it?

I have two options here:

1. My parents knew what was involved in owning and looking after a horse. They were not at all horsey, knew they had no knowledge and even less interest, and were responsible enough not to take on a sentient animal who would be the one to suffer it it wasn't looked after properly. They knew that if I was interested enough in horses I would eventually buy my own and would make that decision as an adult. They paid for my riding lessons and Pony Club subs, so supported me while I was learning enough to make the decision, and paid my uni costs so I could get a job that paid enough for me to afford my own horse. I have a fantastic, varied life with a husband, kids, a good job. I've lived abroad, been to uni and now have the huge good fortune of owning a horse. We aren't suited to dressage and aren't going to set the world alight, but we are doing our best. If I'd started sooner I'd be at a higher level by now, but I've been doing other things that were important to me at the time.
2. It's not fair! I wanted a pony and my mean parents didn't buy me one. I would have been the next CDJ if only they had given me what I wanted. They should have paid for better trainers for me. If they had, I'd be at PSG by now. I'm now in my late 50s so it's far too late for me to do anything worthwhile. I'm not even going to try any more because young people with rich parents are beating me.

I know which one makes me happier, if only for my own mental health.
 

Winters100

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. People put up their own imagined barriers all the time. There's no denying some of that makes it harder, but the evidence shows that its still possible to achieve stuff even with those disadvantages. It might mean sacrifices that people aren't prepared to make, on balance, and that is valid but also not the sport's fault. I dont get the defeatist attitude or the lashing out at other people who are just going about their own lives, thats all.
Totally agree. We have a wonderful pro at our yard. Of course I will never be in the same league, but then I did not choose to make this my career. to give up just about all other interests, live in a room at the yard..... Had I done so probably I would be a lot closer to his level, but I never even considered it, to me it would not be worth the sacrifice. I have other things outside of horses which he does not have, but neither of us envy each other, we are just each living the life that we choose.
 

LJF0664

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I had a slightly different take when I read the OP. I come across a lot of entitled kids that have had many more opportunities than I did as a kid, and as a result think they are much better riders, mainly because Mummy and Daddy tell them so all the time. This isn’t about having wealthy parents, more about having everything given to them without having to put the hard work.

I appreciate how lucky I was to have a pony, as we had non horsey parents, and not a lot of money. This meant we had tricky(cheap) ponies with no facilities, lessons or transport. I was lucky to be hacking distance to a venue that ran SJ comps though, so at least I was able to compete.

After having how amazing a rider one entitled teen is rammed down my throat for years, I have finally snapped out of it and realised that I may not have the perfect position or the confidence over big fences, but I am an experienced rider and can handle most horses. I have also realised that I was competing more successfully at 16 than said teen is at the same age, just without the evidence on social media! It is my fault as an adult that I’ve allowed a child and parent to make me feel like I’m not good enough, when I am happy if I make it round a 70cm course in one piece! It is fine to take advantage of the opportunities you have been given, it is NOT OK to make anyone else feel like they are not good enough because their experience is different.
 

milliepops

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It is fine to take advantage of the opportunities you have been given, it is NOT OK to make anyone else feel like they are not good enough because their experience is different.
no I completely agree. But I think it's impossible to just stop other people from being superior (if they are), the only thing you can do is concentrate on yourself which it sounds like you have done :)
 

frazzled

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I have been on both sides of this, growing up I was very lucky to have a pony , ok he was the most stubborn cantankerous thing ,half Shetland half exmoor.I had to hack to any event I wanted to go to and usually ended up falling off, had a saddle that could only be described as bright orange and dreamt of buying rugs. I loved him with all my heart and kept him until he was 25.
By the time my daughter was interested in horses I was able to afford the nice lorry and all the trimmings so yes she had really nice ponies and horses not necessarily the most expensive but the most suitable to her abilities but she still had to learn to ride them properly. She had good instruction and competed across a variety of disciplines. Sometimes she won, sometimes not but we always tried to have fun and some days were great and others best forgotten.Me, I was like a child in a sweet shop and she had lovely tack and rugs, all the things I could only dream of as a kid. Did it make me happy, yes it did. She stopped riding at 18 to go to uni but she still thanks me for all the time we had together with the horses but it’s always the actual ponies we talk about and not the fancy bits which whilst lovely to have were only a tiny part of the whole picture. She still had to work hard at both her riding and caring for them and it definitely made us very close. Some of my best memories with her are going for a late evening hack together and racing each other across parkland and then mooching back home on the buckle.
 

SO1

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I was incredibly lucky to have a pony as child and we kept it at home. My parents lived in a very rural farming area where land was in plentiful supply and cheap.

Ponies were considered a cheap hobby and kept me out of trouble as a teenager. I was very well behaved as my parents could threaten to sell the pony. I was not a great rider and my parents did not invest large sums of money into it. I was taught to ride by dad who had ridden as child and had probably had no lessons himself either. Riding really meant hacking and meeting up with other kids in the local area who also had ponies kept at home and either doing some jumping in field or going out hacking together. Occasionally we might go to a show and I was a member pony club and used to go to camp. My parents got a holiday when I was at camp. The dads all agreed that giving their girls a pony would help stop them getting into trouble with drugs, alcohol, boys for as long as possible and a price worth paying.

My riding experience as a child has not made me a better rider as an adult, in fact most people at the yard have come to riding as adults and are better riders as they have had proper lessons and been able to invest in good quality horses. I am probably the worst rider out of everyone despite having been riding for the longest amount of time (40 years). My pony is very long suffering and tolerant I do wish I was a better rider for his benefit really.

Am I jealous of those with fancy lorries and the means to have weekly lessons and buy and do what they please, yes of course a little but I would not have swapped my parents for richer parents to have got that experience either now or as a child. My parents are very nice and whilst not perfect they are great and I am lucky to have them. I am also lucky as an adult to have my own pony. I don't have my own horse transport so don't go to shows often, can't afford all the latest gear, but know I am very lucky. I think just having a horse sound and sane enough to ride is a privilege. I am also grateful to my parents who gave me this hobby, which has during the lockdown has been a godsend.

There are plenty of things about my life that could be better but I very grateful for what I have.

Of course there are kids out there who will want for nothing and I am pleased that they have these opportunities. If you have huge amounts of money why would you not spend it on those you loved to make their lives easier and more fun.
 
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Frumpoon

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I think what is hard is realising that your parents had the means but not only didn't want to help or support but actively went out of their way to make it difficult or unpleasant

To this day I have no idea why a person would bring a child into the world then set out to make that's life as hard as possible
 

Winters100

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I think what is hard is realising that your parents had the means but not only didn't want to help or support but actively went out of their way to make it difficult or unpleasant

To this day I have no idea why a person would bring a child into the world then set out to make that's life as hard as possible
Well it is not really an obligation to fund this hobby for one's children. I would not really worry about it. If your parents discouraged you it is probably because they felt it not in your best interests - maybe they were worried that it was too dangerous. Nice thing is that you have been able to choose this hobby as an adult:)
 

Henry02

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I think what is hard is realising that your parents had the means but not only didn't want to help or support but actively went out of their way to make it difficult or unpleasant

To this day I have no idea why a person would bring a child into the world then set out to make that's life as hard as possible
I totally agree with this. My parents hated horses, therefore I wasn’t allowed to like them and wasn’t allowed to go near them. If I wanted to take up either of my parents hobbies, that would have been perfectly acceptable.

we didn’t have pots of spare cash, but the budget would have stretched to a go every other month or so. That would have been enough for me, I knew we weren’t loaded.

instead I got left at home at the weekends with a baby sitter doing my school homework. Not very pleasant. Nor very pleasant when I asked for a specific day out on my 16th birthday that would only have cost petrol money. I didn’t get my day out, nor as far as I remember the (small) present I’d asked for. The local shop didn’t have what I wanted so I didn’t get it.
 

cornbrodolly

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An interesting thread . Seeing me as an adult , married to a horseman/farmer, it would look like I had all the advantages. However, as a child I was one of the bitter twisted ones - no pony , despite living on a smallholding , not allowed riding lessons , and just yearning to ride or even just to be around horses.
I do feel I never 'caught up' with those riding from an early age , or perhaps I m just not naturally bold! I fell into the trap of 'trying harder' which made me a worse rider , and being yelled at by various instructors did not help.
Eventually I came to the conclusion I just wanted to enjoy my riding and accept I d never jump high fences , or be interested in the finer points of dressage. Now, with a few hip problems , I m happy to be able to hack out and not much else, although still very involved with horses .
I get a great fix of mad dash hunting watching Youtube videos from 'Pearson Eventing', and I hardly feel envious at all, well maybe a little .....
 

milliepops

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Well it is not really an obligation to fund this hobby for one's children. I would not really worry about it. If your parents discouraged you it is probably because they felt it not in your best interests - maybe they were worried that it was too dangerous. Nice thing is that you have been able to choose this hobby as an adult:)
This was my parents. They did eventually give in but made it as hard as possible, still hoping to put me off. I think it was a combination of fear that I'd get injured and knowing what a huge tie on your life horses are. Im sure they thought they were doing the right thing. Fortunately for me I managed to get sort of adopted by someone who had horses and was less bothered about the stuff they were worried about 😂
 

Muddywellies

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I totally agree with this. My parents hated horses, therefore I wasn’t allowed to like them and wasn’t allowed to go near them. If I wanted to take up either of my parents hobbies, that would have been perfectly acceptable.

we didn’t have pots of spare cash, but the budget would have stretched to a go every other month or so. That would have been enough for me, I knew we weren’t loaded.

instead I got left at home at the weekends with a baby sitter doing my school homework. Not very pleasant. Nor very pleasant when I asked for a specific day out on my 16th birthday that would only have cost petrol money. I didn’t get my day out, nor as far as I remember the (small) present I’d asked for. The local shop didn’t have what I wanted so I didn’t get it.
Oh bless you. So where are you now with horses? Did you achieve your dream in the end despite this (or part of it)?
 

Frumpoon

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Well it is not really an obligation to fund this hobby for one's children. I would not really worry about it. If your parents discouraged you it is probably because they felt it not in your best interests - maybe they were worried that it was too dangerous. Nice thing is that you have been able to choose this hobby as an adult:)
Good that you know all about my parents!!!!!

I'm not sure you should spout off like this

Dangerous - I'm pretty sure that wasn't the concern given that violence was a regular occurrence in the family home and threats to kill came more than once

Suppose the nice thing is I can slap down patronising strangers on the internet without a whiff of guilt
 

Winters100

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Good that you know all about my parents!!!!!

I'm not sure you should spout off like this

Dangerous - I'm pretty sure that wasn't the concern given that violence was a regular occurrence in the family home and threats to kill came more than once

Suppose the nice thing is I can slap down patronising strangers on the internet without a whiff of guilt
I am sorry if you felt that it was patronising, it was certainly not intended that way. Of course no one is condoning domestic violence, but this discussion was about parents supporting or discouraging riding as a hobby, and I think we can safely say that the majority who discouraged it did so with the best interests of their children, or indeed the wider family unit, at heart. I am sorry that for you this was not the case.
 

Wishfilly

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I can see both sides of this. On the one hand, I do agree that top level competitive success is not equally accessible to all- although as a one horse owner, you can work hard to improve your own ability, but money and time will always be a factor. I do think having the chance to compete when young and access to high level training must help. Having access to well trained horses, so you are not training the horse and yourself when young must make a bit of a difference and it is not fair to say "just try harder". Having the time to do all the schoolmaster lessons, to train, to get out competing every week makes a difference. I also think having contacts helps massively.

However, I do also think it's interesting that many of the people I know who growing up were pushed to compete (mostly eventing and showjumping) no longer do so (apart from one who is now a pretty good professional jockey). There's one, who, despite having every advantage growing up, no longer rides at all really. Meanwhile, one of the best and most driven riders I know wasn't able to have lessons until she could pay for them herself at 14. She makes huge sacrifices to be able to do what she does with her horses, and I freely admit that I'm not that driven, either.

I was also involved with a program that gave disadvantaged children the chance to have riding lessons, for a while. These are kids, who despite living relatively rurally, never had a chance to ride. Often, the barrier was transport- their parents didn't drive, so they couldn't bring them to the stables. Their excitement at doing their first trot, or hacking independently for the first time, or tacking up on their own, or giving a horse a bath really made me realise how lucky I was growing up to have access to horses, parents who could drive me places, and the chance to ride and loan ponies. I had the chance to compete occasionally, too, but I've never really been that into it. I actually think in a competitive home, I'd have probably crumbled.

I'm now nearing 30 and looking to buy my first horse as an adult. I probably could have done it before now, but I always talked myself out of it and there were always other things I wanted more. Now, this is what I want, and I'm going to make it happen/work. Chances are I won't be able to compete at all, due to lack of transport- but if it gets to the stage where that's what I really, really want to do, then I think I'll be able to make that work too. But my real ambition is to one day buy my own young horse and train it from scratch- which I think will be achievable long term goal.
 
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