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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2011
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    28

    Default Self-confidence and the opinions of others

    Hello Folks,

    I am writing to see what tips you all may have for me in developing a "thicker skin". I am an office worker full time, so Iride as a hobby and for fun and compete when I can.I take lessons and I practice my riding.


    I am very confident when it comes to my horse care, feeding, shoeing, dental program and all that.

    My problem is that I have a confidence issue with what I call "railbirds" which to me are people in my sport who are friendly to your face and then are also critical, look for your mistakes, talk about you behind your back, and that sort of thing.

    I want to be friendly to others in my sport, but this kind of behavior in others is un-nerving to me. How can I get a thicker skin on this? I believe that my horse is a wonderful horse and dont care what anyone else thinks about him. Its my ego bound up in my riding and performance.
    I have looked at my own behavior carefully to see if I am like that myself and I refrain from gossip, and try to encourage my "friends".

    Anyone else going through this? Thanks in advance!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by halter broke View Post
    Hello Folks,

    I am writing to see what tips you all may have for me in developing a "thicker skin". I am an office worker full time, so Iride as a hobby and for fun and compete when I can.I take lessons and I practice my riding.


    I am very confident when it comes to my horse care, feeding, shoeing, dental program and all that.

    My problem is that I have a confidence issue with what I call "railbirds" which to me are people in my sport who are friendly to your face and then are also critical, look for your mistakes, talk about you behind your back, and that sort of thing.

    I want to be friendly to others in my sport, but this kind of behavior in others is un-nerving to me. How can I get a thicker skin on this? I believe that my horse is a wonderful horse and dont care what anyone else thinks about him. Its my ego bound up in my riding and performance.
    I have looked at my own behavior carefully to see if I am like that myself and I refrain from gossip, and try to encourage my "friends".

    Anyone else going through this? Thanks in advance!
    Get new friends?

    Seriously, the first lesson in psychology class, the professor told us that, no matter what we learn, how many theories we become familiar with and how to apply them, one of the most important ideas we need to keep in mind is that, no matter what is out there, our thoughts is the only sure fire way to guide us and make changes.
    He called it "mental hygiene".

    Sounds like you are practicing that already.
    Maybe you need to give it a bit more weight and let that, keeping unnecessary thought away, be more active.

    You can't change how others are, some very nice, some not so nice, some that have their own unresolved problems.
    You can manage how you respond to those you really don't care for what they have to say.

    Listen to others, consider what they bring to the table, then keep doing what you think is best.
    Many times it is not about you, but their needs to say something.
    If they are really helping with their comments, thank them.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,743

    Default AGE WILL HELP ``` THE OLDER ONE GETS THE LESS ONE GIVES A $HIT ABOUT RAILBIRDS

    THE ANSWER IS "AGE" !

    THE OLDER ONE GETS = THE LESS ONE GIVES A $HIT ABOUT RAILBIRDS !

    PRETEND YOU CAN NOT HEAR THEM -- LISTEN TO IPOD IN ONLY ONE EAR ( RAILSIDE) EAR ...
    OTHER EAR "OPEN - LISTENING' FOR SAFETY ~
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"


    3 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zu Zu View Post
    THE ANSWER IS "AGE" !

    THE OLDER ONE GETS = THE LESS ONE GIVES A $HIT ABOUT RAILBIRDS !

    PRETEND YOU CAN NOT HEAR THEM -- LISTEN TO IPOD IN ONLY ONE EAR ( RAILSIDE) EAR ...
    OTHER EAR "OPEN - LISTENING' FOR SAFETY ~
    That too, the older you get, the more self-confidence you have, as you have already made many mistakes and learned from them.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2010
    Location
    Catharpin, VA
    Posts
    1,062

    Default

    Take up mounted shooting. The Rail Birds don't have to know the balloons are being popped by blanks. They may just decide to quit pecking before they become targets.

    It's hard, but what Zu Zu said is true. (though I still have trouble with it, fortunately the bulk of my riding is done when no one is present)

    Or regress to playground tactics. Sticks and stones may break some bones but words will never hurt me. Or the rubber and glue one.

    Funny thing about words, though. They DO have the power to hurt, but you have the power to not let them. It's there, I promise. If I can find it, so can you. If they don't have the brass ones to say it to your face, they're opinion is invalid. If they want to offer sound, constructive advice it's one thing, but the whole "Oh...my...gawwwd did you SEE her try to sit that trot? boinga boinga boinga" does no one any good and just makes them look petty and insecure about themselves in the end.
    Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
    RIP Scoutin' For Trouble ~ 2011 at 10
    RIP Tasha's Last Tango ~ 2010 at ~23
    RIP In Sha' Allah ~ 2009 too young at 5



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2010
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    997

    Default

    I feel you.

    And Zu-Zu is correct, the older you get, the less you care.

    Most of the time.

    However, every once in a while, somebody will say something that either cuts you to the quick, or makes you second-guess yourself. When I find myself in a situation that leaves my self confidence somewhat bruised, I ask myself a few questions:

    1. Am I PMSing? Hormonal fluctuations can make one slightly more sensitive.
    2. Is there SOMETHING to be learned from their statement? If so, learn it and move on. If not, ignore it and move on.
    3. Consider the source. Is this someone that knows their stuff or just likes to hear their own voice? If it's the former, glean something from it. For the latter, IGNORE.

    At the end of the day, the biggest questions are: Is your horse happy and healthy? Are YOU happy with your and your horse's performance? If the answer to those questions are "YES", then just walk away with a smile on your face knowing you did right by your horse and yourself. In the end, that's all that matters.

    You can't control people and what they say, or where they say it. What you can do is continue to build your confidence and your relationship with your horse, which will speak volumes without saying word.

    Good luck with it. (hug)
    Alis volat propriis.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 17, 2004
    Location
    Rixeyville, VA
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    6,605

    Default

    If you have the money, go see a sports psychologist. There are cognitive behavioral techniques that work very well in competitive environments. The railbirds are present in every sport. You need to find a way to develop your personal ignore button. A sports psychologist is a good place to start.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com


    2 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2010
    Posts
    2,591

    Default

    be constantly harrassed as a child by your classmates?

    OK hard to go back in time, but it sure helped me grow up into a person who really doesn't give 2 s&*ts about what anyone else thinks.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
    Posts
    4,598

    Default

    I think it helps to remember that those people are only criticizing you and looking for your faults because they know that they are also not perfect.

    It's not exactly the same thing, but watching a bunch of Rolex riders make mistakes, several of which resulted in them coming off, pulling rails, etc. does make me feel better. Not that I want them to fall, make mistakes, etc., but it helps to be reminded that, hey, people at the very top of the sport sometimes wind up hanging off the side of their horse through a water complex. I think none the less of them for it - it just makes me realize that it is unreasonable to expect perfection from myself in a sport that doesn't lend itself to perfection.

    When I watch other riders around my same level make mistakes, I am certainly not happy about it and I certainly don't talk smack about them for it...but it does comfort me in a way to know that I'm not alone in my imperfections. It can also be helpful to watch someone miss to a big jump and live to tell the tale, you know?

    I think everyone feels this way to some degree. Sort of a "you are not alone" thing. The talking about it and making other riders feel bad about their riding part of things is just a character flaw in those individuals - they are taking the it-is-comforting-to-know-that-others-are-not-perfect thing way too far and attempting to make themselves feel better by creating the mental image that others are even less perfect than they are. Don't take that personally. It's just poor character and not a reflection on you at all. Don't let it bother you.

    Go out there and ride. Know that everyone makes mistakes, even those who are criticizing you.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2010
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    Harpers Ferry, WV
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    2,813

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zu Zu View Post
    THE ANSWER IS "AGE" !

    THE OLDER ONE GETS = THE LESS ONE GIVES A $HIT ABOUT RAILBIRDS !

    PRETEND YOU CAN NOT HEAR THEM -- LISTEN TO IPOD IN ONLY ONE EAR ( RAILSIDE) EAR ...
    OTHER EAR "OPEN - LISTENING' FOR SAFETY ~
    Perfect Zu Zu, and so true!
    www.Somermistfarm.com
    Hunter Ponies & Quality GSDs
    www.UnleashedK9.net



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 30, 2011
    Posts
    28

    Default Thank you

    Thank you everyone for your swift replies and excellent words. I am working on these things, and will remember what you have said here. Crazy that this stuff bugs me, I know,I am almost 50 years old, darn it! (50 is looking younger all the time BTW)

    It helps a bunch to know that you understand what I am talking about. These people have really seemed to want to be friends with me, but then use my friendship as a venue to be catty. Distancing myself will help, I will have to be independant and rely on myself more. I would love to talk to a sports psychologist, but my budget is more in line with finding a good book on the subject!

    Thank you again.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2006
    Location
    Southern Finger Lakes of NY
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    Default

    Girlfriend, every horse looks easy to ride from the ground. So railbirding is a fun sport for everyone-- those who can ride, who do ride, who will ride, and even more so for those who can't, don't, and won't. It is, unfortunately, part of the horse world.

    You've gotten some really good responses here, and I don't suppose I have anything further to add, other than that I hear ya, too. Some days I don't give a hoot; some days, it knocks the wind out of my sails. I generally try to think what would Sherman do? and usually feel better as I remind myself to take some confidence and self-satisfaction from him. If you got some fancy in your pants, well then, it's all alright after that.

    Let those who dwell on the negative do their dwelling; we've got horses to ride.
    Last edited by Bayou Roux; Apr. 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM. Reason: I forgot a comma-- can you believe that?!
    Foxwin Farm
    Home of The Bay Boy Wonder
    and other fine Morgan Sporthorses


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2010
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    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bayou Roux View Post
    Let those who dwell on the negative do their dwelling; we've got horses to ride.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this.... may I please "steal" for my signature line?
    Alis volat propriis.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Nov. 10, 2006
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    Southern Finger Lakes of NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluemooncowgirl View Post
    LOVE LOVE LOVE this.... may I please "steal" for my signature line?
    Sure!
    Foxwin Farm
    Home of The Bay Boy Wonder
    and other fine Morgan Sporthorses



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2000
    Posts
    4,705

    Default

    IME the less experienced riders are the more vocal (in the railbirding sense). The longer I am around (and it's been a while), the more respectful I am of people at ALL levels. I remember the challenges of getting started--and I know from watching that those challenges are greater for people who start riding as adults. I also know how difficult it is to move up the levels and that each horse, no matter how talented, has its own unique set of issues. Since I usually don't know firsthand what a particular rider is dealing with, it just makes sense to keep my mouth shut.

    This thread makes me think of that wonderful old adage, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Many of these railbirds are doing nothing more than removing all doubt.
    Charter member of the I-Refuse-to-Relinquish-My-Whip Clique


    2 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
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    Default

    Some really excellent words already from other posters, so I will just add one comment, courtesy of one of my favorite philosophers, Dr. Suess:

    "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus


    2 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
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    MD
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    Default

    What't that quote? 'Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people'.

    The trick to developing a thick skin is to try to determine where the 'railbird' comment is coming from. If someone says to me 'try this' or 'he looks like he's struggling with such and such', then I think about what they've said and try to determine if the comments are coming from a knowledgable person with a sincere desire to help.

    When I hear "OMG, I can't believe she's blah, blah, blah" or "Did you SEE so and so?" the comment goes into the 'small mind' category and the ignore button is pushed.

    The trick is to also recognize that sometimes the 'great minds' will have a 'small mind' moment, and the 'small minds' may also sometimes have a 'great mind' moment. I try not to bring my own unnecessary assumptions of motives and personalities into it and just rely on my own filter for what might be good or bad material coming from an outside source.

    So continue to be friendly and encouraging to others and use that filter on the 'incoming' messages. It takes practice, but eventually you'll get the hang of it.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    9,587

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayou Roux View Post
    Girlfriend, every horse looks easy to ride from the ground.
    Let those who dwell on the negative do their dwelling; we've got horses to ride.
    Yup - What Bayou Roux said

    I remember years ago clinicing with a BNT who had us switch horses for a "Grand Champion Master of the Universe Jumpoff"

    I lucked out and got a pushbutton sweetheart.
    I had watched his owner ride and she was always smiling...now I knew why.

    The gal who ended up with my horse got off at the end & told me:
    "I respect your leg"

    Eye of the Beholder, right?

    Ignore the railbirds unless they offer to get on and "fix" what they are sniping about.
    To quote Homer Simpson, they could end up getting edjumicated
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2007
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    2,169

    Default

    For a practical approach (it's always easy to say, "just don't pay them any mind," a lot harder to actually do it), get a copy of LOVING WHAT IS, by Byron Katie.

    She's got a very straightforward method of getting perspective on the big and little things that bother, annoy, frighten, hurt, enrage and terrify all of us.

    The fun part is, you get to start with "Judging Your Neighbor"--that is, you can sit down and write out all the things about anyone who's bugging you that you think they should change. "The railbirds shouldn't talk about me behind my back!"

    Then you ask yourself four questions. Among them, "Is that true?" "Can I absolutely know it's true?" "How do I react?" "Who would I be if I could not believe this is true?"

    After you have answered those questions, you turn your original statement around in several ways. For instance: "I shouldn't talk about the railbirds behind their backs."

    Then you write down three ways THAT is true. IE-"Here I am talking about the railbirds on COTH behind their backs."

    The point being, you look at what upsets you from a lot of different angles, and gain a good deal of perspective on it in the process--often the turnarounds will make you laugh out loud at yourself. And the grip that the thought has on you lets go.

    Kinda hard to summarize but well worth reading the book, in any case, to see if it works for you.
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2008
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    Da UP, eh
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    Default

    When I was a jr showing, I used to get flustered by people talking on the rail (what if they were talking about me???)
    My trainer told me not to be so selfish; most people have better things to do than talk about me. This is what I tell myself when I get flustered in front of an audience.

    For those times that the railbirds are talking about me, I ride wearing ear buds and usually listening to music so that I can't hear their 'helpful advice' anyway. You have a trainer for that, you don't need theirs.


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