diffuse a bully simply by ignoring her altogether.
“The bully wants a reaction, so just by reacting, you’re
giving the bully more incentive to continue bullying
behavior,” says Hopper. “Depersonalize the situation.”
Unfortunately, neither confrontation nor avoidance
always resolves every bullying situation. When that
happens, it may become necessary to relocate to another
boarding barn or hire a new trainer.
Before making the move, Carroll-Cronin advises that
equestrians consider the cultures of both. “Ask yourself
what is the culture of the barn and what is the culture of
the trainer—are the trainer or other boarders there very
competitive? Then make a decision based on whether
that’s right for you.”
Finally, Hopper reminds riders that they’re not responsi-
ble for the bullying behavior that may be directed at them.
“It’s important to understand that bullies don’t want to
work things out; they are not collaborative people,” says
Hopper. “Ultimately, you have to remember that it’s not
about you, it’s about them. And you must do what’s best
PATRICE BUCCIARELLI is a freelance writer based in Florida.
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