This morning I had the privilege of being interviewed by Rose Cushing for a podcast. She asked me what advice I had for up and coming horsewomen.
I gave her my answer, but once the interview was over, I really got to thinking.
My advice to young women is to be yourself. To be an example of what you want the horse world to be, not to fit into what it accepts. To make this change, you have to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be soft, to be honest. Everyone advises hard work, and it’s true, you shouldn’t be afraid of hard work. But you have to have the gumption to say no, to walk away from places and people who take advantage or do harm. That is far harder than putting your head down and working more.
The truth is that opportunities don’t always come to people who work hard and are respectful- sometimes you get buried under a mountain of more work, and less respect. So work hard, but protect yourself. Say no, take a day off, take care of your body.
Don’t compete with others – lift them up. Encourage your peers, even if and especially if you think they’re on the wrong path. You never know what an outstretched hand can do for someone. There is plenty of success available for everyone. Don’t elbow your peers out of the way.
Young women, you don’t have to be as good as the men in our field. You have to be the best you- use your strengths to interact with horses in the most authentic, real way that you can. You will always fail at trying to be as tough, as charismatic, as showboating, or as strong as the men on a pedestal are- and you don’t want to be brash, rude, and cold like many of the women who have made it to higher positions.
Be yourself – it will take guts, but there’s never been a better time to do it. The horse world is changing for the better. There is a place for you, you are needed, you are wanted.