intimidating fire

Why does intimidation work? wow, what an effective tool, huh? We see it everywhere in society, schools, governments, countries, cities, mafia, we can’t seem to get away from it can we.  I guess the monks in Tibet have less intimidation issues, they seem to be super focused on meditating, robes and  that whole seated leg crossed position, but the rest of us are not so lucky. Especially as horse people. We use intimidation to get our animals to do what we want, our relationships to go a certain way, training, handling, competing, to get our help motivated, and our organization uses it to keep us in line. It works, to a point.

What is the counter to intimidation, the balance, that allows us to tolerate a certain amount, but not too much? Charity? A pat on the back for a job well done? Applause? what, then? Is finding the balance between membership and an organization too hard to attain? The utopia that doesn’t exist?

Apparently people out there believe to stop intimidation, you have to counter with intimidation. . Sobering thought. Maybe that is why there are uprisings in society, people find the courage to jump up and down, wave their hands around, and scream ‘enough already’ They hash it out with the intimidator, and everyone calms down and eventually we all proceed again.

So have we placed too much value on what we think our organizations have to offer? Maybe. What is the importance of the highest standard of showing? I have no idea. Will people eventually put less value on those highest standards and also on the most intimidating force in our horse show bubble that seems to make people quiver in fear? Probably. The trend in society certainly seems to dictate exactly that when you look at trying to close those gaps, and people don’t make the connections. What we know today might look drastically different tomorrow when people start placing those values elsewhere. I wonder if it is possible for a whole new organization to be born out of the rubble when people shift attention to more core values that match their current lifestyles. nah. doubt it.

I wonder if kindness acts as a counteractive to intimidation? Would kindness dissolve the fear? Or is that just a sign of weakness. Have we seen it before in our organizations? What if the USEF was able to LISTEN to its membership, say ‘we hear ya’ and we are on board with making positive change, we are gonna start by taking action here. These small shows that are on the struggle bus and not quite making the numbers needed for a B rating? We are going to give you a couple years and drop that required number down by ten, let you recover a bit and recruit members into our awesome organization which herein promotes safe sport!! The arbitrary suspensions we love to issue out?  we are going to form a baseline so EVERYONE understands what the heck is going and gets fair treatment – maybe even create a chart based on percentages of banned substance in the blood test… Meanwhile we are going to show our faith and appreciation to our community by donating a huge chunk of money to all of the animals affected by wildfire!! Wouldn’t that be incredible??

This show standard stuff is mind boggling, I don’t even know how we got so complicated, show managers are working overtime to meet standards from the USEF and USHJA at the same time. You can look for yourself and try to figure it out here.

But how do we keep people interested in entering the sport when the introductory kids are juggle academics, a 5 day a week sports commitment, music lessons, and the countless demands parents are thinking will make them “well- rounded” . It is not possible, it’s nuts. But our show standards to protect our horses remains pretty high, even in a fluctuating sport. Seems like those horses I saw earlier this year were doing ok at an unrecognized competition. Maybe there really are enough people in this top group to keep these organizations going, but it is hard to see it, where are the new people coming from? Who is responsible for bringing them in and making them members? Where are the incentives to keep showing? Do you have to just be born into it to remain interested? High point horse is really that much of an achievement? Are those high point horses all stallions we are going to breed to? I think it is pretty crucial to think about ALL of the things happening in your sport today, not just the ones that you can connect with. Someone is going to have to see the big picture at some point, and question the health of our industry, and really consider why the USHJA is asking us for more money?

The USEF has a disaster relief page on it’s website. I called the number, but it was the voice mail of someone in marketing, not Josh.  I left a message about where I could send money to help out those suffering. I also remember a farm burning down in Roswell, Georgia earlier this year, did the USEF give her anything to help rebuild? Shockingly, I haven’t heard back.

I don’t know if that is just another place to store money for taxes or what, (non-profit?) but I haven’t gotten an email about how the USEF is sending aid relief to the victims. I did, however, get an email asking me to buy Christmas cards. Shouldn’t we be going green and sending those out online? Are they made from recyclable materials?

The wildfires are really scary. If you are not living in that area, I don’t know if you can really get a sense of how bad it is. These people are going to need some serious help. I couldn’t find a satisfactory place to send money so I started a Go Fund Me account to help Charlie and Macella. Give if you can, you can always remain anonymous as a donor.


soul searching


wild burro thanking fireman for saving him, they had to spray him off when he emerged from the forest. after that he stayed by their side.

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