When I looked through the 1200+ posts here to re-organize before starting to blog again, one of the things that made me cringe was how much I wrote about tack/apparel. I’m talking wish lists, reviews, giveaways, shopping hauls… all sorts of stuff.
Now, some of this makes obvious sense. Popular blogs (whatever that means) often get approached by companies wanting to send product for product reviews and/or giveaways. It’s a marketing strategy for them, and for a time my blog actually had enough hits/audience to be relevant. I’m sure it doesn’t anymore. I’ve stopped looking at my analytics. That’s not why I started writing here again.
But the wish lists and “what I bought/got” posts are what bother me more. Calling myself a #tackwhore bothers me now. Y’all, the only thing I’m a whore for these days might be donuts. But you won’t catch me using #donutwhore anywhere (except oh crap, I just did).
Why did I focus so much on all of this materialistic stuff?
It comes from a deep rooted sense of feeling inadequate within the horse industry. My roots are humble. Blah blah backyard rider, minimal success at schooling shows, never done rated, fat rider, mediocre talent, no expensive horse. All of those factors contribute to this belief system I have that I will never be as good as other, “real” equestrians. It’s something I’m trying to dismantle, challenge, and remove these days. But it’s hard.
What does that have to do with tack? Well, for a long time I thought “If I can’t ride good, I can look good.” I associated having certain breeches (Tailored Sportsman) as belonging. The right boots (Equifit) would make me a better jumper. Part of the belief system that made me think I wasn’t good enough convinced me that having the “right” stuff would make up the difference.
In some ways, that isn’t wrong. Proper equipment is essential in this sport. And real talk, I love my Equifit boots. I have all sorts and they’ve held up well over the years through a lot of abuse. Tailored Sportsman breeches fit me well and look nice. There is nothing wrong with wanting, buying, and having nice things. Whatever that means for you. But what makes me upset is what, looking back now, reads as a desperate yearning for things.
I’m not sure what it’s like now because I’ve just recently re-entered the horse blogging world, but back in the day it often felt like a rat race of who got the nicest, newest stuff. A lot of blogs, at times even mine, circled around products. Showcasing the “you have to try this!” latest and greatest all the time is exhausting. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being passionate about product, it just feels… not great to read about that all the time. Especially when, behind the scenes, I was over-spending on stuff that really didn’t matter much at the end of the day. Credit card debt isn’t sexy folks. I know I’m not the only one who budgets down to the dollar to afford to ride, train and show my horse.
Today, I admittedly still like nice stuff. My bridle is an Edgewood, and I’m obsessed with it. I also bought it used from a friend, and would suggest anyone else looking for nice leather to hit up Facebook marketplace before dumping $600 on a bridle. But you know what? Dump $600 on a bridle if you want. No judgment. It’s not my business.
On my blog, you won’t see me pushing stuff anymore. If it’s something truly innovative that I haven’t seen much about, I may share in the sake of discovery. But fashion, product reviews, the search for more more more… I’m just not that much interested anymore. It’s okay if others do. I like looking at pretty things. But I’m trying to take myself out of a perceived need to compete with what me and my horse are wearing. No riding “#ootd” has ever fixed my equitation, and no tack purchase made me believe in myself more. True success in this sports comes internally. That’s what I’m interested in writing about now.