I started this website as a personal project to learn about the local horse trails near me so I could go explore them. I used various resources to find trails, map trailheads, etc. To make things easier for me and to share with others, I built a basic website and shared it on social media so others could benefit too. In all this researching, I found a few other valuable horse trail sites... even one where the person was just several miles from me and had about 30 local horse trails documented. How exciting!
At this point, I had built a list of about 100 trails and was in the middle of riding all of them, taking photos, documenting, etc. I reached out to this person with the other trail site to see if there were opportunities to collaborate and help support each other in both of our similar endeavors of building a comprehensive list of local horse trails in the Denver metro area. Immediately, I was blasted in the face with her hostility and she even went so far as to tell me that my initial website was "ugly", "pointless", and "no one will ever use it". Wow....... really?!?
I was hurt.
I was blown away by the immediate rudeness.
I was nearly speachless at how downright mean she was about all of it.
It was completely unnecessary.
All I had done was ask if we could help each other out.
And all I got in return was a smack in the face.
I kept those emails to remind myself to never be that person.
The horse world is clique-y enough, so many unnecessarily nasty people in this sport...... it's just mind boggling why people are like that. They don't need to be. They choose to be.
As equestrians and especially as trail riders, we have enough challenges going on in our lives including the basic fight to keep equestrians actually on trails, lobbying for trailer parking at trailheads, educating others on proper trail etiquette, working with our horses, figuring out tack, gear, maintenance, horse care in general, our own health, vehicle maintenance, the cost of hay, having to get up early just to ride, and a million other things........... why would we choose to be a hinderance to other trail riders who are probably dealing with all the same challenges as us??? Why cause more problems for each other? Our own team? We're on the same side!!!!
To this day, I continue to get a LOT of nastiness and hostility when I reach out to other horse businesses, social media pages, Facebook groups, and more..... just offering to help, to collaborate, to support each other...... for FREE! The nasty-grams I could post from some of these horse people is astounding....... and shameful. We can do better - as a whole - to support each other. Even if it's just being NICE to each other. That goes for everything and everyONE in our lives - be kind - but even more so to our fellow equestrians.
But then there is the bright side.....
There are the AMAZINGLY AWESOME people who embrace this idea of supporting each other - they THRILL at the idea of working together, even if we're somewhat competitors. Shout out to Ride+Climb for being one of the most kickass 'competitors' to this site - Jessica and Byron, you guys are crushing it! Love your site and still recommend it to people looking for trail sites, even over mine because of what amazing people you guys are!
But that's the whole thing though, isn't it..... collaboration vs competition.
There is plenty to go around for everyone! There are a dozen or so horse trail and camping websites - shout out to Trailmeister for building one monster of a site to help so many - kudos! Livin' the dream right there! That doesn't mean no one else can build a horse trail site - there are plenty of trail riders out there who use websites, apps, tools and use them all very differently. They may prefer one style trail website over another - and that's OK!!!! In fact, it invites all of us building these sites to do better, to listen to what people want, to help them. No reason to be competitive - be collaborative instead - promote each other, support each other, maybe their stuff is more focused on trail education and your stuff is more focused on little known hidden gem trails. Everyone has their thing - ROCK IT!
So to all of you out there thinking about building a dream - DO IT!
To all of those that have people reaching out to them - COLLABORATE!
At the very least, can we all at least be NICE to each other......... even something as simple as "no thanks, but good luck".
Life is a struggle - let's be kind to one another.