The culture of bravery in the horse world can be overwhelming. Strength, just ‘getting back on’ and getting on with it, riding whilst injured are often celebrated. It’s easy, in that set up, to forget the power of authenticity and vulnerability. I believe that when we allow ourselves to truly open up about our struggles and fears, something remarkable happens…. As well as giving other people permission to be vulnerable too, people connect on a deeper level, and their willingness to support and uplift us becomes evident.
This truth was exemplified at Glastonbury when Lewis Capaldi, the Scottish singer-songwriter, showed us how vulnerability can lead to an outpouring of support. What can equestrians learn from Capaldi’s experience and can embracing authenticity create a more connected horse riding community?
- The Magic of Authenticity: Authenticity lies at the core of human connection. As horse riders, it’s game changing to allow others to see our vulnerabilities and struggles. Authenticity fosters trust and creates an environment where people feel safe to open up and share their experiences. By showcasing our real selves, we can break down barriers and cultivate genuine relationships with fellow riders.
- The Lewis Capaldi Moment at Glastonbury: At Glastonbury, Lewis Capaldi performed a heartfelt and emotional set, bearing his soul through his music. Amidst the performance, he shared his vulnerability with the audience, admitting that he was struggling with his mental health and Tourettes that day. This genuine display of emotion touched the hearts of thousands in the crowd, prompting an overwhelming response of support.
- The Power of Vulnerability: Capaldi’s vulnerability allowed people to see him as a relatable human being, not just a famous musician. This vulnerability resonated with the crowd, prompting them to step up and show their support. Similarly, as horse riders, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our challenges, we invite others to step forward and lend a helping hand.
- Creating a Supportive Riding Community: In the equestrian world, where competitiveness and judgement can sometimes overshadow camaraderie, fostering a supportive community is vital. By embracing vulnerability, we encourage others to do the same. When riders are open about their insecurities, confidence or health struggles and setbacks, it creates an environment where fellow equestrians can offer guidance, support, and empathy. This supportive community enhances the horse riding experience and makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
When I first started sharing my story, I remember receiving a message from someone saying that I shouldn’t share ‘this type of thing’ as my competitors would use the knowledge against me; winding me up in the warm up ring or making little comments to put me off my game. I am glad I took the risk and continued to share as actually I found the opposite to be true. I have connected with so many more people because of the vulnerability and been blown away by the support I have received.
There are some sensational equestrian examples of this
- JK Equestrian sharing her story of surgery and living with a stoma
- Evie Toombes sharing her health battles and the highs and lows she goes through
- Wimpy Eventer showing her most wimpy days whilst embracing a community of others that relate.
I find these ladies truly inspiring for their ability to be vulnerable and authentic, seeing the impact they have on others but also seeing the support and encouragement they receive in response.
Lewis Capaldi’s courageous display of vulnerability at Glastonbury serves as a powerful reminder of the impact authenticity can have on building connections and support networks. As horse riders, we should strive to create an environment where authenticity and vulnerability are celebrated. By sharing our struggles, fears, and triumphs, we foster a community that is empathetic, supportive, and united.
I am so lucky to be able to provide support through my coaching work both 121 and in groups. I am absolutely there for you. If you need support please reach out.
If you are struggling right now, please reach out to someone. Humans can sometimes amaze you in the support they are willing to give. x