In our equestrian world, like in the business world and in the school environment, bullying is all too often present on a daily basis. This is not something that only happens to kids, it happens to parents as well.
How do we deal with it?
In an ideal world, we would not have bullies or the bullied. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where everyone of us has their own struggles, their own problems, their own fears and insecurities. The way we deal with these issues and the way we have learned to express ourselves is often the cornerstone to how we become, the bully or the bullied.
Whenever I coach with people, kids or adults, I encourage them to find their inner strength.
We all have inner strength and for some it is already visible and for others they must discover it first.
Our horses are such great teachers. We all acknowledge how much horses mirror the rider and in the case of bullying or being bullied this mirror learning applies as well.
A rider who bullies their horse might get submission but will never achieve a partnership and trust.
A rider who allows their horse to bully them will never have the horses respect or trust.
As riders and people in general we must differentiate between aggression and strength. A bullied person can quickly become a bully and vice versa.
Being strong is not being aggressive and loud. Strong is being centred and confident. Strong is being brave, you need to be brave to say NO.
We can learn to say NO to people and to horses. This does not make us a bad person; it makes us a person who is clearly understood by others.
When we say NO to horses, it gives them boundaries, with clear boundaries trust can be developed and when there is trust, there is confidence.
Learn to say NO. Learn to say it loud and clear. Not shouting, not aggressive and defensive but with calmness and certainty.