Social Media at the Show
What are you looking for when you scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat before you ride at a show? A distraction? Validation? Information? Just doing it out of habit? Whatever the reason, it does not outweigh the potential downside. Research has demonstrated that social media may (and often does) lead to decreased self-esteem and happiness and increased feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression and envy. Hmmm, not exactly things that will help you excel with your horse.
Even if you are a seasoned competitor, there is a certain vulnerability in riding in front of peers, trainers and judges. The horse-show setting therefore asks for your most confident, self-assured and focused self to be present. The act of scrolling social media challenges your most proactive self because it is passive instead of active, often dulling your attention and taking you out of the present moment. You may also find that the evaluative nature of seeing others’ highlights, lives and opinions puts a freeze on your positive energy as you measure your life against your friends and acquaintances.
Ideally at a show, you will make the conscious decision to skip social media at least before you ride each day. If that feels too tough, then make it a goal to limit your scrolling to the morning and consider establishing a no-fly time limit on yourself before your ride. For example, choose an amount of time, such as two hours before your ride, that you will be 100 percent free of social media.