By Real Riderz
Especially not in the world of sport.
Word of notice: this is not an anti anything post, read until the end.
Woke doesn’t work when people cry out for change that shouldn’t be happening in the first place. For instance, normalizing people who are out of shape to be competing in any sport. Now, we’re not talking about just being too fat, we are also talking about being under muscled. We all (probably) know by now that horseback riders are not the most buff out there, but when it comes to conditioning, most riders tend to skip this step. Conditioning will look different for every rider (just like it looks different for every horse), but it must happen for everyone, no matter the level you ride at.
If we look at the scandals happening in the Russian figure skating team, we can see that their trainer uses methods that work based on how skinny you are. This is something that we see in the horse world too, but it is less talked about. If you are American, you know it as the infamous Big Eq Diet, everyone else just knows it as eating disorders. When we rely on skinniness or fatness to achieve certain results, we produce results that don’t last in the long run. Just like killing a horse when you compete it at a level they are not fit enough for, you can kill your body.
Another way woke doesn’t work in the horse world is normalizing mental illness (whether that be in connection with physical illness or not). Riding is a mental game, and when we normalize the idea of illness in the mind, we normalize performance weakness which in turn puts stress on the horse. Horses rely on us for confidence and safety, if you feel as if you have a problem, get help now and don’t let social media tell you that it’s normal to be sick and not do anything about it.
Transgender in sports is a whole different story which doesn’t touch horseback riding as it is already an “equal sport.” This is one part of woke culture that horseback riding embraces naturally. Unfortunately however, horseback riding is a really elite sport, which also happens to be predominantly white. Thus, inclusivity is one area where the sport can improve an move forwards. Otherwise, let’s keep treating riding as a sport and take care of ourselves (and our horses) as real athletes.