The Popularity Contest

Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is against me, but deep down I know that’s not true. Some smaller countries are neutral.

Robert Orben

Ever feel this way as a rider? As a representative to the equestrian community? Or even more simply, as a person? I believe we all face moments like these – sometimes they occur as small notes hardly worth taking notice and we continue on our way; and other times it is one brutal occurrence after another. These waves though, are normal.

When we experience the tidal wave effect – one brutal lashing after another – is it only because we too have become convinced by the opinions of others that what they say about us is correct? And those moments we barely register and quickly forget about, do they move along in this manner because they haven’t the power to pull us down to their level?

No one knows ourselves so well as we do – absolutely NO ONE. Not our parents, siblings, best friends. So why would those against us – our enemies – know us any better?

Popularity is a fleeting experience, just as being the enemy is. Our only endeavor of any value is not to gain the high opinion of those horse riders around us and across the globe. The only opinion that has merit is that of the horse we are working with in that very moment. That split second we have a choice – to be popular to the horse, or popular to the crowd. Usually it is the latter that wins out in public forums, unfortunately.

That is my goal, and I hope that of my readers – to win the popularity of the horse. Forget the fanfare of the crowd, that sort of popularity changes with the flavor of the week and the fad of the generation. It does not last forever, but having seen the wholehearted love from the horse you are working with is something that does not fad with time.

Erica Franz

I've been riding since I was 9, and in love with horses from the day I was born. Living in Washington with my husband Jason, 2 horses and our 4 dogs.