Having been sick for the last two weeks, I have had no contact with anyone other than my horses, my cats and my boyfriend… and of course, Face Book. At the end of week two, I realized once again, just how much I can’t stand people. These days, everybody is an expert. At everything. And any opinion is as good as another, and you can never tell someone that they are dead wrong.
I am a member of a few horse groups on face book, mostly I joined because I was added by friends, (thanks, owe you one,) and I stayed because I figured it might not be a bad idea to keep up with the local equestrian world. Only now, because I have deleted half of my friend list, (sorry, had to, there was some seriously dangerous people on it, it turned out,) these horse groups turn up in my news feed and they are driving me crazy.
Of course there are those kind of people that just have no moral, who would sell a lame horse to a child if they could make a bit of money on it. Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t been kicked off some of those pages… perhaps I say what most people are thinking and that is my saving grace, I don’t know.
Anyway, this whole thing about freedom of speech for instance. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for it, but some people don’t quite grasp the concept of how what you say, must be true, otherwise you are in a lot of trouble, even when you think you are hiding behind your computer screen. A Danish politician recently sued a woman for calling her something that translates loosely into “a dirty sack of shit” on the politicians wall. Now, I don’t like said politician, but that would never give me the right to name call anyone like that, and what people tend to forget, is that even online, you are accountable.
The woman who did the name calling lost and had to pay a fine. Here is where she should have realized defeat, apologized to the politician for crossing a line and really, just learned her lesson, but no. This woman made a big deal out of it, and people joined her in sharing pictures about how you couldn’t “say it like it is” anymore, without getting in trouble.
If I had been the politician, I would have dragged her sorry ass back to court in an instant…
What people seem to forget is that, even if you don’t like someone, even if their political believes offend you, you do have freedom of speech, but you do not have the right to abuse that right, by calling someone a sack of shit, and then, after it was settled in court that the politician was in fact not a sack of shit, insist that she so was!
It is so childish, so disgraceful, so undignified, one wonders how grown up people cannot see, how wrong it is? Yes, everyone is entitled to have their own opinion, of course, and the woman who did the name calling can think that the politician is a sack of shit as much as she wants, but since it simply isn’t true, it is a wrong opinion, and no, it is not as good as the next guys.
In the equestrian world it is an ongoing battle about a lot of things, one of the matters close to my heart, is the racing industry. I will always maintain that a two year old should not be ridden and any “sport” that endorse making these babies run as fast as they can, until their bones shatter and they are euthanized, is not a sport and should be illegal. It is simply a matter of animal rights, not of keeping a sport alive that died way, way back in the 1600th century.
Still there are those who fly off the handle when you point out that more than one horse dies on the track, every single day of the year, worldwide. In what other sport does the athletes drop dead on a daily basis?
And I always get the same response. “My race horses don’t! My two year old trotter can handle being driven! Are you calling me a horse abuser????”
Well, I was attacking the game of horse racing, (because that is what it is, a game, not a sport,) not you, but if you openly admit to me that you race your two year old, then you know what, that is abuse, plain and simple. I would never call you names, but what you do is not alright. There is a fine line, between explaining your point, and throwing mud at each other.
And then we have the never ending Rollkur, LDR, dressage saga, or sometimes, the horrifying lack thereof. I keep seeing people setting up sales adds for instance, displaying three year olds, necks bend, legs spastically raised, backs locked, the kind of pictures where I feel sick in an instant, but to my surprise, people want to buy these horses and all I am thinking is why is there no one commenting on how horrible that horse is being treated? How it will break before it grows up, just like the race horses, if you keep that up? Why are people impressed?
Because they are entitled to have their own opinion and everybody is an expert.
If they think that is what dressage looks like, then you know what, that is what dressage looks like. Even if it is killing the horse and the integrity of the sport. Who the fuck am I to argue?
No one. Because here is the dirty little secret. Not everyone is allowed to have an opinion. Those who disagree with the masses are so not allowed to be experts or to speak their minds, and their opinion does not matter as much as everybody else’s does.
A friend of mine is riding a young horse these days, and she posted some pictures of it, bucking like crazy, while she tried to make is canter. I have been watching that horse in silence, wondering how anyone in their right mind would ride it, because it has no top line, no muscles, no neck, nothing to carry a rider with, and now, it is clearly telling them “NO!” It cannot canter. It’s body is simply underdeveloped and unable.
Usually I stay out of most of those kinds of situations, but this girl I figured, just might listen, and this horse was screaming for help, so I wrote to her, a simple comment amongst all the others, busy laughing at the horse, what I just wrote above, that a horse like that should not be ridden and it was most likely bucking because it simply couldn’t comply.
My comment was more or less instantly deleted, and my friend wrote me a private message, saying that the horse was for sale, so it had to learn to canter and the owner of the horse didn’t like my comment, so it was removed.
Well, what do you know. So the truth is, no one really cares about that horse. Not the owner, who doesn’t want to hear it, who just want the horse to learn, so it can be sold. Not the rider, who easily removed my comment, gave me an excuse for the horses lack of muscle, which was that it was growing like crazy at the moment, and stopped talking to me.
And here is where she could have just as well shown me a picture of this old, battered, faded, frizzled, Twilight and said, “this is a nice, perfect pony!”
And that would have been her opinion and she would have had the right to think so, and she does have the right to not listen when I say well, no it’s not. This is what it should have looked like.
(Picture from Wiki)
Of course it is a matter of opinion, of the eyes that see, but that whole trend these days, of how no one is ever wrong, and how everyone is entitled to know best, is kind of horrible, because sometimes you are wrong, but if no one can tell you, how will you ever know?
For instance, telling me that the horse is growing a lot at the moment, is only making things worse in my world. Then it should not, really not, be ridden. And I have never, ever heard of a young horse, who lost muscle because it was growing, unless it wasn’t being fed enough. My own Marble has been growing like crazy, so much that all her ligaments tightened up and she was lame, lame, lame for almost six months, going through x-rays and you name it, to keep an eye on her progress, but she never lost muscle because of it. That is not an excuse, or an explanation and as soon as you allow it to be, then… your opinion is as good as mine, I know. And they are pretty Twilight’s both of them. One can hardly tell them apart…
It gets worse though, once people start overwriting their experts. There was this girl, online, who had two geldings, and the old one became sore footed. Now, here is where I would just say, call your Ferrier and get it some shoes… But no, the girl was sure her horses, both of them, suffered from a mistake made while they were being gelded. She had two independent vet’s look over her horses and they both denied that there was something like that wrong. She just felt it, in her heart, and all respect for that, sometimes you know more about your horse than the vet’s simply because you see it every day, but still… the vets do have the education…. they are the expert here, and their opinion should weigh a little heavier than your own… Anyway, she had an alternate therapist look over the horses, and this person told her that she was so right! So she had her horses submitted to a hospital to go through surgery, being gelded all over, this time, as high up as possible.
Here is where my head was exploding. How far do you go, to prove that you are an expert and that your opinion is just as good as your vets? Gelding horses is dangerous, doing it again, opening the abdomen, seems like suicide. A lot of people told her so, online. She didn’t listen. Both her horses died, post surgery. I am wondering most of all, what kind of a vet, takes in two healthy horses and operates on them, just because the horses owner wants’ it? Is that where we are? Where even our true experts, the ones with the education and the knowledge, to prevent something like this, believe that any opinion is as good as the next one?
In which case, doesn’t that sound a little dangerous?
How about we, once in a while, admit that we don’t know everything, and listen to those who spent years of their lives, learning?
I know I am glad I found the “archive group” button on face book. No more of this, popping up in my news feed, driving me crazy. People can be experts all they want. As long as they don’t bother me with it. And no, I am not going to JBK horse festival this month, even though it is held practically in my backyard.
I am tired.
Tired of watching abuse and not being allowed to call it that, because it is not, you know. It is simply a matter of opinion.
And no opinion is ever wrong, because we are all experts.