Eventing Nation put out a blog post a while back about each rider being their own brand. Thinking of yourself this way will make a lot of other concepts fall into place. Equestrians need to advertise themselves the same way a business would advertise themselves.
You wouldn’t expect a CEO to show up to a meeting in jeans and a tee shirt. When you show up to a lesson, clinic, or show you want to look professional. If you do decide to wear a tee shirt instead of a polo, make sure to tuck it in and look like you planned your outfit ahead. Conservative colored polos look the best with clean breeches.
Schooling by yourself or just hacking the day before a show is different. A casual top, which is still modest and tasteful, is perfectly fine.
Who would you want representing you at a business meeting:
A person who swears, calls everyone names, and has a horrible attitude, or
A person who is polite, upbeat, and is respectful to everyone in the room.
The second one right! Generally, type A doesn’t last long in the horse world. Companies don’t want them as a representative, trainers don’t want to teach them, and other riders don’t want to be around them. Being at polite and “G” rated even when frustrated will help you in the long run.
Social media is huge now. Companies look for ambassadors with a large social media following. Each post is like an ad. Even when you don’t have the best ride, NEVER call you horse names and blame them. 99.9999% of the time, it isn’t just the horse’s fault. I have seen people blame their horses time and time again when they were actually causing the problem.
Think of every negative post as a bad ad. No company in their right mind would put out an ad telling everyone about their product’s flaws. Now, don’t cover up your flaws, tell them tastefully.
“Not the ride I was hoping for, but…..”, “Not our best, but….”, and “We have a lot of homework after this ride/show/clinic, but….” are good ways to do so.
Always counteract the negative with something positive. Did you finish? If not, are you alive? There that’s a win! Some people don’t walk off the course or the arena. You were lucky enough to go home in one piece.
Always try to be happy, professional, and respectful in everything you do, in and out of the saddle!