Friday, November 20, 2015

Socially Awkward Equestrians United

non horsey people don't understand
Because I've met some of you, I know that I am not the only socially awkward equestrian out there. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the reason most of us manage to blend in to non-horsey society at all is because we have online pony friends and blogs that let us scratch the itch so we can have occasional non-horsey conversations with co-workers and relatives and neighbors. 

But that still leaves us as a little socially awkward. 

For example: you possibly remember when I signed up for a dressage clinic at the fanciest barn in the area with a VERY BNT this spring. 

And then Courage wouldn't get on the trailer and I had to make this super-humiliating phone call (yes, AFTER introducing myself to the clinician while auditing) to say we weren't coming. 

Ahem. 

So I ran into the host trainer a few weeks back. She'd just hosted another clinic with said VERY BNT trainer that I was kindly invited to but was still too humiliated to show my face at. 

She says hello and is her usual super-polite self AND DIDN'T EVEN MENTION THE CLINIC and I'm all like "oh you just had another clinic. so sad it didn't fit into my work schedule so I couldn't come audit".

Which like.

Was a bald-faced lie. 
we do dressage better now
It didn't really fit into my work schedule, but that was 100% not the reason I wasn't there. I wasn't there because just thinking about it makes me want to sink through the floor and I hope that very kind gentleman who teaches the clinics forgets I ever existed. 

BUT WHY DID I BRING IT UP.

I don't know. Just awkward. 

cute Courage pic to cut the awkward a little
That's possibly almost as bad as the time I audited a Jimmy Wofford clinic. It was literally the week after he got turned down the the position of US Eventing coach, which was a basket he'd kind of put all his eggs in. Someone asked him about it and yeah, REALLY SORE SUBJECT. He did.not.want. to talk about it, which is fair. 

So all the riders go get ready. The friend I'm auditing with goes to get Jimmy coffee. It's just me and Jimmy Freaking Wofford, standing under the eaves of a house in the pouring rain. Side by side. 

And for the next 5 minutes, all I can think is "don't talk about the eventing coach position" and "don't say anything stupid that he might remember". 

So we stood there. You could cut the awkward with a Mack Truck. No knife required. To this day, I don't know what I could have said to him, because just thinking about the experience makes me so uncomfortable that I want to die. Oh, and yes, a trainer I rode with knew him and called him one time to ask about attending that clinic in another year. And he was like "please come. the people there are so weird".

same facility. no j wo.
And yeah, I know EXACTLY who he was talking about.

...which is why I'll probably never audit another  J Wo clinic. I bet he remembers. That was super weird. 

Ahem. 

So yes. Socially awkward. Any one else have a story to share? Please tell me I'm not alone.

53 comments:

  1. I'm really good at talking about the weather. And also BBQ. You can't go wrong with either of those subjects in Texas.

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  2. Ha! So good to know we are not alone in awkwardness :)

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  3. You're far from alone. I don't know very many horse people and don't really hang out with the ones I do know. I've come across some clinics I've wanted to audit but don't want to go alone, but don't have anyone to go with either....I feel like it's a social catch 22

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    1. You could always be the awkward person who goes alone and hopes to meet someone. I've done that. It's awkward.

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  4. I identify so hard with this. When I am around BNT's or BNR's I always end up super-awkwardly name-dropping people I know from when I worked at USEF.. because I start out thinking "Oh we must know some of the same people! That's a thing we have in common! Good conversation starter!" and then it just ends up being SO AWKWARD and like borderline pretentious. UGH. Sometimes I hate myself.

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    1. OMG yeah. So something I would do if I had any sort of connections.

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  5. First clinic three days after buying my horse (long story) with a huge dressage bnt. After my first abysmally ineffective ride, I go to dismount, and the sticky leather seat of my brand new breeches adheres to the sticky leather cantle of my brand new saddle - and I'm stuck there - dangling - for what felt like forever, but was at least long enough to hear as I struggled, the trainer comment off mike about how lucky I was that my horse was quiet.

    Saving grace was no one was videoing that morning to preserve my humiliation forever.

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    1. Now that is amazing. Pity about the video. Best. Gif. Ever.

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    2. The painful memories are pretty much a gif in my mind - over and over... ;D

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  6. I audited a Jimmy Wofford clinic a couple of years ago and I brought a copy of "Training The Three Day Event Horse And Rider" in hopes that he'd sign it. At the end of the clinic, I approached him while he was getting a cup of coffee and blurted out "HI WILL YOU SIGN MY BOOK IT IS MY FAVORITE BOOK AND YOU ARE MY HERO". He stared at me and said. "...Sure..." and signed it and I escaped before I could embarrass myself further.

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    1. What is it about him that brings out the worst in us?

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    2. At some point, the man is just going to give up on everyone west of the Mississippi River.

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  7. omg i relate.... so hard haha

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  8. We all have our moments....

    I had been reading/lurking on a yahoo group for driving. I gleaned a lot of information there, that I wasn't getting anywhere else. One of the main contributors was a woman who I found out would be judging our local show in a couple of months. After pinning us last in our first class, she comes over to offer a suggestion. I respond that, yes, I am aware of that from reading on the said yahoo group where she posts.... you know, hoping to 'win points' or something in her opinion of me??? That was a rather awkward moment...

    She placed us LAST in every class throughout the day. Several of these placing's that left me and many others with major WTF??? moments.

    The next day for our dressage test, I showed with the idea of "You hated us yesterday, probably hate us still today. I don't give a rip what my scores are because they are probably going to be low anyways." We received 6's all the way down the page for everything. No more, no less. Something awkward that turned into, I will never show under her again.

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    1. Wow, that sounds incredibly unfair and unprofessional of her!

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    2. At least you were only mildly awkward. That one is mostly on her.

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  9. Yes, me. I am the person that stands just on the outside of the circle listening to everybody chat and talk cuz everybody has always known everybody else for years. And I stand there not knowing anybody, and wanting to engage in the conversation, but not really knowing how...

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    1. Hey, that's me! Wheeeeeee!

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    2. Wow. I wasn't expecting someone else to write about me. Haha!

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  10. I let George Morris call me by the wrong name for two days because I was scared to correct him. I wish it stopped there. I was riding two different horses in the clinic (so twice a day) and he called me by the right name on one and the wrong name on the other, and at the end of the clinic he said something that indicated he knew it was me on both horses. So why two names?? I guess because I was scared to correct him lol

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    1. Ha! I've never been in the same state as GM, but yeah, I've done that. I'll answer to any old name. I'm not picky.

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  11. I work in Sales and am fairly extroverted, so I can usually make conversation in any context. Usually.

    I also lived and worked in NYC and had a few run-ins with legitimate celebrities, which never fazed me.

    HOWEVER.

    I contacted the North American Riding Academy when it was in its infancy to ask about administrative positions in racing. I sent in a random web inquiry, expecting a form letter response.

    Imagine my surprise when a week or two later, the receptionist at work announced I had a call from 'some guy who says his name is Chris McCarron'. I. Was. A. Blithering. Itdiot. A hall of fame jockey calling little old me??? I was gushing. I'm still embarrassed by how fan girl I became.

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    1. Haha! And this is why I try to avoid meeting/talking to famous people...

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  12. I'm awkward around everybody equally. I really want to be friends or at least be friendly, so could you just, like, speak horse or something? So, you know, we can, like, interact and stuff? No? Okay, I'll be over here, really quiet until I think I can add something to the conversation and then totally put my foot in my mouth when I do. Eep.

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  13. I am super awkward around horsey people I don't know well. I am also super awkward around BNR/BNT because I don't want to say something dumb, and by doing that, I'm pretty sure they must think I'm the strangest person on the planet.

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  14. I'm awkward around new people. I'm good with my own group that I already know. I don't have any stories I can think of off the top of my head regarding horses and awkwardness, but I do have a good non horse story. I once met a girl in college who told me her parents had died and their life insurance was paying for her college so she would graduate without the massive amounts of debt I was rapidly accumulating. I told her she was so lucky. I feel like Elliot from scrubs my be my spirit animal.

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  15. Yes, definitely a member of this club!

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  16. I'm socially awkward with everyone in all aspects of life. I just try to avoid eye contact if I have to go outside, but really just being a hermit is my go to life choice.

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  17. On the surface, I'm the opposite of socially awkward. BUT (huge but!), I have cultivated that skill like wine grapes. It does not come naturally to me and it's pretty exhausting, I need a couple days to recover after a social thing. I finally learned that there is a term for people like me, who seem like total extroverts, but are actually introverts, and now I can't remember what the term is. So, that was a super useful paragraph I just wrote.....

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    Replies
    1. Me. The term is me. I come home from work and collapse exhausted every. day.

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    2. Haha! Me! I usually go into any social gathering hoping that I don't have to talk that much.

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  18. I relate. I was recently in Aiken and a BNT was there with students. I ended up waiting for my turn in stadium next to one of BNT's students and BNT commented on how Pilgrim has such great form over fences. I've never seen this person outside of magazines and Rolex live streams so I blathered about how he was 5 and off the track...like the OTTB fly bonnet P was wearing didn't already broadcast that. But I couldn't stop saying that he was 5...like, what the absolute hell did BNT care? Ugh.

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  19. Oh yes, I can relate. I was at Twin Rivers with the Mitts once, and I saw a tall, no-nonsense, broad-shouldered woman who was clearly an upper-level rider. She was talking to someone right next to me, turned her attention to me, and I pulled the EXTREMELY GRACEFUL move of saying "Hi; I'm Lindsay. You must be one of the Ginas!" *facepalm* And it wasn't even like I had started out to say something else - that's exactly what I was thinking, and it just came out of my mouth. She paused, blinked, and said "Economou, yeah. Hi."

    Sheesh, self. I was able to keep my cool with Karen O'Connor and Hawley Bennett, but only because I remembered the golden rule: listen for an hour before you talk!

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    1. I hate when I realize my thoughts don't make sense ONLY AFTER saying them out loud to people.

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    2. My thoughts ALWAYS make sense in my head - but then people give me startled, alarmed, or just funny looks.

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  20. I live in fear that one day I will once again encounter the dressage clinician that I rode with once as a teenager. It wasn't her fault that my coach was insane and had me on a horse I was NOT suited for at all (long story, hello source of some riding insecurities), and I was a teenager, so she probably wouldn't even recognize me... but I swear to god, all I'd be able to think is, "Oh god, I sat on a horse and cried in front of you when I was 14..."

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    1. Oh. Trust me. Dressage instructors make people cry on the regular.

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  21. I get word vomit SOBAD. I just talk and talk and eventually I start talking about horses and then I really can't shut up. It's awful.

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  22. One time at WEF, I was in the VIP tent getting lunch. Because I was on vacation, I was basically all "fuck yeah... free cheese!" and putting a lot on my plate bc I didn't eat breakfast and was starving.

    Up pops Reed Kessler, all 15 lbs of her 18 y/o self. I can't figure out if it's her at first, so I just stare at her for a solid 15 seconds with squares of cheese in my tongs hovering above my plate.

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  23. Everyone of these stories is priceless!

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  24. I went to a horse expo thing with a friend once and talked her into auditing a big name dressage trainer I really admire. Because I am socially awkward, I wanted a friend there with me. We got there early and watched the horses warm up, friend was not dressagey at all and wanted a quick run down of the trainer. Just told her "he's really cute!" because I thought that might keep her interested in staying. When they did the intros, the person in the ball caps sitting on the other side of me got up. Yep, the trainer.
    Back story: previous year I watched every George Morris session and couldn't talk anyone into going with me. Final day after the final session he must have felt sorry for the girl with no friends and came over to ask me if I had any questions. I was like "no thanks!!!!" and pretty much ran away and left him standing there.

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  25. You are not alone... I actually think that this is why I ride horses... No need for small talk. I can do it, but it leaves me exhausted.

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  26. Ugh. All so me. And no horse here. Definitely not just a horse people affliction. When I was a teenager(had a horse then, come to think) I used to think that when I grew up I would be magically blessed with social skills and the ability to converse freely and be witty and lovely and engaging.

    Now that I'm 27 I'm realizing that it's not a magical age blessing and if I want to know how to be sociable I'm going to have to just dive in and practice. And dang it, I'm not sure it's worth it, haha.

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  28. I always mention things I don't like to horse people and they tell me they like it. Oops. "there is only arab dressage here in montana, I want warmbloods. "..I'm getting into arab dressage" oh..

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  29. I am a socially awkward equestrian who found a socially awkward instructor and we understand each other. We'll spend a whole working day together and exchange 10 words. And most of them will consist of variations on, "This is a really stupid horse."

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