In the world of horses we have created monsters and kings, and everything in between, and it seems this decade has brought every story right to our desktop, with the visual impact sending most of our animal community reeling. That loss of control of our environment is evident in our actions, and we have seen a lot more people wake up, look around and go wtf? It is hard to look at all the nonsense when you just want to turn your head to find an attractive face with perfect ears, and a big round eye staring back at you.
So when do you turn away? When do you give in, bury your head in the sand, and say ok, the devil wins today? Maybe I will find the strength next year to fight the poison that is destroying and dividing an industry and a way of life for so many people. The atrocities in the horse world will never go away, so waiting another year doesn’t seem so bad, does it? The overwhelming magnitude of people breaking the laws these days or breaking the moral code makes it really, really difficult for people NOT breaking any laws and trying to do the business correctly. More and more people question their own ability to stay in the business or to push for that positive influence. Major shifts need to happen here from the highest level of horse showing (like the Hampton Classic) all the way down the line to non-profit organizations stuffing animals in trailers and hiding the dirt and disgustingness in our own backyards. Money and greed is really taking front and center stage right now, and yes, I believe if that trend continues, we will wake up morning after morning to more horrendous stories.
As a society, it seems so much easier to go along with all of the seedy wrong doings in our world, because of the overwhelming anxiety it causes to speak up against it. Maybe it is too hard to be part of a positive trend, the one who believes in really correct equitation, and is not afraid to go up against the top names in the business and say ‘hey you are doing it wrong, do you mind?’ Is it too challenging to show horses without outside chemical advantages, and why try to stop now when it is obviously working for so many? Realistically, there are far too many hurdles people have to go through to make this industry start turning back to producing better horsemen instead of pharmacists, or plead with organizations that have no intention or incentive to work with their members, never mind the distractions from vile people that prove to be rather large road blocks. I would have liked nothing more than to be entirely on the other side of the world when I woke up yesterday to the discovery of what happened in Virginia, and turn my head and go what a shame, however, it would have been hypocritical for me to do nothing, just sit there and say I am so sorry for those creatures. So I spoke up, used awful language, looked at the pictures, scared the crap out of myself, filled out an application, and now wait for some miserable looking thing to arrive, stand next to my beautiful show horses and say ‘hi! I am here and I am hungry!’…. I certainly have no business taking in another mouth to feed right before winter, stressing my family, friends and helpers, but it happened. What those people did was wrong, and we, as a community, are paying the price. Half an hour down the road, one of the biggest horse shows in the country is taking place.
If you see something going wrong at a horse show, yet do nothing, are we all going to forgive you for it, because our tolerance for abuse is too high? And who is to judge what kind of abuse is tolerable and what isn’t since there are few guidelines for people to follow? Is it justifiable to shield yourself from all of the awful things, just because you can? I often wonder about the people that rise up in the face of adversity, and what kind of life they are coming from, affluent? middle-class? stretching the almighty dollar? Who are the people offering to help, and offering constructive advice to the future of our industry. The role models. Do we have enough of them?
I would love some answers, I would love to see more people actually understanding the sport rather than critiquing anonymously, would love to bring education and courage to the table, and I get excited when I see other people sharing my same beliefs also encouraging change, promoting horsemanship, and I am going to going to refuse to let the vile people have too much power inside my head and give them more credit than they deserve. I hope to acknowledge their actions as speed bumps, not road blocks, and for the people that disagree that change is needed in the entire horse world, I hope you have good enough reason for thinking this way. You are going to need it.