Mean Girls

      10 Comments on Mean Girls
 
 
I remember the first time I met a mean girl.
 

 
It was third grade and I had just come to a new school.
 
 
 
My father was in the Army and changing schools was nothing new. The tight knit group of girls at the new school viewed me as a dangerous stranger.
 
The bullying was particularly vicious.

A very young Bad Eventer didn’t take the mistreatment very well and lunch time was definitely the worst. They would tease me & I would get MAD.  Then they would say things like, “Don’t give me that evil eye!” “Look at that lemon lip!”

 
 
 
Funny, I don’t remember half of my college experiences but I can still remember what I was wearing at lunch in 3rd grade while being taunted about my pouty “lemon lip.”

 

 
I developed a deeply ingrained loathing for mean girls.
 
 

 

 
I met someone once who used to say, “It doesn’t COST anything to be nice!”
 
I’ve always liked that. It sure doesn’t……….
 

 

 
40 years later, I was at the American Eventing Championships, and I was having a wonderful time.
 

 

 
I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the horses & riders. I was standing by the arena with a rider’s parent and we were commenting about how we could definitely tell it was the national championships. The quality of the riding was terrific. Horses were obedient and polished. Riders were accurate and poised.

 

 
It was a pretty noticeable difference from the average horse trial.
 
Later I found myself sitting at a lunch table with a group of women who were chatting about their impressions of the competition.
 
Immediately after introductions they started with some choice words about the ABYSMAL quality of the riding.

 

 
I was shocked and wondered if they were watching the same show………and learned in short order that NONE of them were competing…………

 

 
Then….. they started in on the cutest little girl in warm up. She was counting her strides loudly and praising her horse.

It was the cutest pair ever!

 

 
This group collectively thought she was ghastly.
 
“How could ANYONE count out loud??!!”
 
“What an idiot she was, and what on earth was she doing????”

 

 
I felt like I was in 3rd grade at the lunch table all over again.  
 
I looked at one of them and said, “What’s wrong with counting out loud?”

…….as I’m remembering vividly my last jump lesson………my ever-so-successful-4*-coach had told me to count every stride and, he admonished “it had better be loud enough for me to hear you!”

 

 
The reply to my query was something like, “I would NEVER EVER count out loud!! It’s sooooo stupid.”

 

 
………well, thank you honey for that affirmation……………..
 
I said something like, “For the record, I count out loud.”

And I’m not ashamed to admit that I BOLTED.

 

 
The derision and out and out meanness from a group of women……….. who were NOT competing in the championships drove me from the table in haste.
 
I briefly stood up for the young lady who was counting & having the time of her life……..
 and then I fled! 

 

 
I guess those mean girls from third grade…….. turned into mean adults.
 
 
 
 
And I’m pretty sure not one of them has jumped around at Intermediate.
 
 Bad Eventer & The Wonder Pony – Intermediate

 

 Seriously……..
It doesn’t cost anything to be nice!!!

 

 
 
 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Mean Girls

  1. Aoife

    I believe in treating others like we wish to be treated, nor for religious reasons but because it makes sense to me.
    I am not perfect and do find myself grumbling but whatevs I'm human & I try.

    Well done you for standing up for the happy kid ☺

  2. Austen Gage

    I hate mean people on the sidelines! I think the dressage world second only to hj shows with railbirds chiming in with criticism. Sure, comment about a riding style to your friend quietly. Whatever. We all do that. Don't loudly proclaim someone is terrible. Don't make fun of them. Don't insult their horse. If something is really off the rails and you can legitimately help, offer. If they take it badly, give them the crazy eye and walk away. If something is unsafe, talk to the TD or show office. If something is not unsafe, but just "not the way you'd do it," keep it quiet.

    Ugh. We beat ourselves up enough in the horse world, we don't need others to tear us down too!

  3. emma

    mean girls suck – and can be so soul crushing! glad you stood up for the rider – hopefully you got them thinking, even if it was just means they'll only be quieter next time. counting out loud is pretty much the bomb anyway – forces me to breathe when all else fails haha

  4. Karen Burch

    Girls are taught from a young age to treat other girls like threats. This behavior only gets worse as we age, until we become our own worse enemy. The horse world is filled mostly with women (I say mostly, because something like 90% of riders are women) in competition with each other for . . . . I've listened to trainers tear down their students to other students, to other trainers, and to complete strangers. It's like the jealousy becomes too much to bear or we are so accustomed to attacking each other that we know no other way.

    Mean girls suck.

  5. Bakersfield Dressage

    I wish I had been with you because I can KICK ASS when people are being mean. I LOVE to call people on it, and I WON'T tolerate it happening in front of me. I am proud of you for sticking up for the young rider. :0)

    My trainer says that only people who don't know shit criticize someone who is trying. If you know anything at all about riding, you know it's hard and that everyone starts at the beginning. A truly knowledgeable rider will empathize, but a jackass will criticize.

    Be nice, people!!!!

  6. Wendy

    LOVE this post! Good for you for saying something! People who actively choose cruelty over kindness completely boggle my mind. I used to be terrified of "mean girls" and would stay far away in my 'please don't look at me/say anything about me bubble', but as I get older I'm starting to worry less about speaking up (and then running for the hills too! :P)

  7. Kate

    Grown women should be ASHAMED for picking on a little kid, good grief. How insecure are they that any target will do??? Kudo to you for doing the right thing!

  8. Fiona

    I so enjoyed this post…way back in the day I rode my two barefoot, home trained appaloosa gelding in events. We were hicks…plain ordinary equipment and two loud colored western horses! I know there were comments…but the thrill of cross country set us on fire..it was so exciting…we did well! Some people do things to be seen doing them some do them for love…mean girl syndrome is a sad thing. Your so right about being kind!

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