Publisher’s Note: Tough

54

BY Piper Klemm

For longtime readers of this publication, you have heard me say ad nauseum that we need to be more helpful, more kind, more collaborative, and better people. 

We can make everyone feel welcome. We can encourage everyone to be lifelong learners and elevate where they are in the sport. We can respect where everyone is at this moment in their own progression. 

We also simply need to be tough. 

To accomplish anything of value in this lifetime, we have to be more impervious to criticism than ever. It used to be that critics had to write you a letter or call you on the phone or stand up and speak to you. Now, they don’t need much. Wrapped in their hurt, 24/7, no matter their location or mental place, people can attack.

Most of you already know that I’m very sensitive. I have grown and matured and cry way less than I used to, and I hope to never lose how easily I laugh, love, and invest energy in horses, people, and honestly pretty much every animal I meet. I write this as I am still in the recoil from an online pierce through my armor. I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m hurt, and then I’m mad that I’m angry, frustrated, and hurt. 

I feel for me, but mostly I feel for young people to whom we are exposing all this negativity and hatred. The anger and hatred will only serve to slow down progress. These posts will make them focus on the wrong things—the stuff that doesn’t matter—instead of what we know counts. We will scare people and make them think that community and love and risk aren’t worth it. 

We have to all work together to help build ourselves and each other to be stronger. There is no avoiding the negative in our lives. We will all be emotionally hurt so much in our careers, by the people we love, the horses we love, and all the people who are bitter that they can’t hang. 

Today, I hope you read this and share one coping mechanism with someone around you that helped you emerge from a bad situation. Whether it’s something small—someone shared a kind word when you really needed it—or something large, like that surprise horse who changed your life. Let’s talk about what made things better. Let’s talk about constructive improvements. Let’s experience life and develop callouses that protect us and also are perforated enough to let beauty in. Let’s appreciate all we have going on and celebrate with our community. Invite people, include others, and enhance your circle. We all have so many compliments to give and so much healing to impart!