Last week, a picture of Tom Brennan and Rio Bandit was posted on the Facebook page of The Chronicle of the Horse,. The photo was taken during a round at the Gulf Sunshine Classic V, where Brennan and Rio Bandit received an impressive score of 88, earning the reserve championship. While the round was beautiful and professionally judged accordingly, some of Facebook’s so-called equestrian “experts” were less than generous in their opinion of Brennan and his ability (read “judge my ride”). Brennan’s response to his critics was classic, and very classy.
“You will meet many ‘experts’ in life…most of them sit on the sidelines where it is safe to say, ‘They are not good enough.’ The only one who can tell you ‘You Can’t’ is you—and you don’t have to listen! No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. We do not let anyone else make this sport unfun for us. The only expert opinion that matters when you ride is right underneath you. Listen to your horses and treat them with tact and kindness today.” (read the full article in The Chronicle of the Horse.)
Often it strikes me that, as equestrians, we could take a whole lot of “shut the hell up” with a healthy serving of “get over yourself” and a side of “mind your own business.” For some reason, we love to turn a casual and uninformed opinion into a feeding frenzy of so-called expertise. Jealousy and insecurity come in many guises, and belittling others is certainly one of these. Like many, I’m not always blameless in this game. 😦
Thank you, Tom Brennan, for being so secure in your expertise that instead of shooting back, you took this opportunity to remind us all that riding is a joy, and the only judge qualified to critique our ride is the one we partner with over fences, and on the flat.