Everybody Is An Expert

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!”

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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.

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(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.

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I am tired.

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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.

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And no opinion is ever wrong, because we are all experts.

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Merlin’s Collectables

I realize that I have not been posting much lately, and I keep using the “I’m sick” excuse, but I truly have been… Anyway, I realize too, that a lot of my posts lately have been pictures of My Little Ponies, and I don’t think they really belong here so I am giving them their own blog, along with my Barbie’s and other collectables. It is just starting up now, but give it time, I think it is going to be great.

http://veronicamerlin.wordpress.com/

Well met!

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Ninja Foal

I was in my bed all day yesterday, having my boyfriend take care of the horses on his own, so I could get a chance to recover. (I’ve been sick on/off for about two weeks now.) Anyway, lying in bed is so boring, the cats and I ended up watching TV series all day, and we even ran out of X-files, so what is a girl to do…

Anyway, I am always a little unsettled about letting my boyfriend take care of the horses on his own. Usually I would say that it was because I am afraid that Marble will accidentally kill him, since she has been biting and kicking a lot, but that’s not it anymore. He handles Marble very well and she has come a long way, most of the time, she is not a fire spewing dragon anymore.

No, my new problem is Ablaze. Not that I am afraid that Ablaze will kill Aston, because he won’t. I’d trust that foal to the end of the world and back. No, my problem with the two of them, is that Ablaze is my wild little foal, and he gets on Aston’s nerves.

Aston thinks he is too violent, too untrained, and generally allowed to misbehave too much.

And I get that, from watching the two of them together. Abalze is a bully towards him and Aston doesn’t read him too well. Aston keeps playing along, right until the foal does become dangerous, and then he gets upset with Ablaze, for biting him for instance and all I can say, is really, you asked for it.

Ablaze is a very sensitive young man, he responds to the smallest change in your body language, the pitch of your voice, anything. Aston always had this idea that he could wrestle the boys, like Apollon for instance, or Apocalipse… I have tried to tell him than Apocalipse is a very special young man, and yes, with him, you can win by pushing at him. He will move away by touch. But, what I want, is for my horse to respect my space, and “wrestling” them, letting them play on their brute strength, is just stupid. The only reason why he usually got away with playing with Apollon like that was because I had had the horse for ten years before they met, and I hat trained it.

Apollon was insanely dangerous as a colt, and so is Ablaze, if you encourage him.

It’s just…. I love Ablaze, the way he is. His untamed spirit. And 99% of the time, Ablaze is very careful with me, very attentive and  not dangerous at all, simply because I never play with him, unless I am in charge of the game. I never start something with him, where I won’t come out on top, so to speak.

If he comes up to me, with that twinkle in his eyes, saying “let’s play!” I set the rules for the game. Even if I let him run of with one of my shoes or something else, I give it to him and say, “This, you can bully. When you are done, and can be nice, you come back.” It works for us. He has got charm, charisma, a great sense of humour, and yes, he is a hot head, but he is exactly like I want him to be.

The only problem is, my two boys don’t get along. So, how do I fix that? How do I explain to Aston that when that foal comes up to him with that twinkle in his eyes and says, “Let’s play,” you don’t just run off with him, and starts playing with him. You don’t rely on him to keep your space, if you invite him in, by accepting his invitation.

How do I make them work out, so Aston can read that foal, and handle him, when I am sick? Yesterday, all he had to do was groom Ablaze and he said Ablaze started kicking at him with his front legs, and biting him, so it took a very long time to get those hooves cleaned.

First off, that is of course completely unacceptable behaviour from our foal. My first instinct was, well, get him in a halter and tell him to stop, if you cannot handle it any other way. Do not keep picking a fight you will keep losing. And second, why? Why would my perfect little foal suddenly start behaving like that?

My only explanation is that Aston simply doesn’t read him too well, and accidentally pushes his buttons somehow, just like Ablaze sure pushes his… Because we can all agree that Ablaze is an explosive young man, but the thing is, he is also very, very gentle. Inside Ablaze there is a soft little teddy bear who gets upset when you tell him “no,” who feels severely mistreated when the other horses bully him, and who is acting out, to hide how mellow he really is, which is very needed when you are growing up amongst Saleem, Apocalipse, Marble and Tardis. All horses with huge personas and explosive tempers. Ablaze is keeping up and his best defence is always, to just become wild and if that doesn’t work, hide behind mom…

He has a very short way from bucking, rearing, kicking, biting, wild, wild, wild foal, to baby Ablaze, withdrawing into his shell, like a snail, seeking refuge with Tadis. And I know, he is not a foal anymore, he is a year and a half by now. But in so many ways, he is very young and very unable to handle Apocalipse for instance, once he explodes once in a while. It is only natural that he would take it out on Aston, he is even bullying Marble these days, because she lets him get away with it. Don’t get me wrong, Aston doesn’t let him get away with it. But he does… encourage it, simply by not reading the horse fast enough.

Now, I don’t know what happened yesterday, I wasn’t there, I just know that I feel very protective of that foal and his wild heart. When I ask how Marble was, it is always because I fear that she may have hurt him and it is truly a relieve to find that she is getting better. When I ask how Ablaze was, I am really asking, if they picked a fight again, not because I am worried for Aston’s safety, but (I know how this sounds,) but because I worry for my foal. For that precious, precious spirit of his. I never want to see that light in his eyes go out. I never, ever want him tamed and broken.

Oh, and here he is, wearing my old TMNT cap, (Teenage mutant ninja turtle), that’s a worn down Raphael that’s on the cap. Does it get much more awesome than this?

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Super ninja awesome foal, with a Raphael cap. How trusting, how full of humour, how perfect he is…

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And I know, he must behave around other humans than me. Thing is though, I am not the kind who blames the horse. It takes two to start a fight.

But I will go talk to him about it today, and ask him kindly if we could not kick people when they try to clean his hooves…

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Father And Son

Just a quick video of the boys, Apocalipse and Saleem, playing last night, right before sunset.

 

I apologise for the lousy video quality, the camera in my cell phone is pretty useless. Only, this video shows how I always get those violent pictures of those two, rearing up against each other. And it kind of proves what I keep saying; they don’t touch each other.

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I am pretty sick at the moment and more or less unable to sit in front of a computer so, please excuse if my blog is at a bit of a stand still at the moment. I will return…

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Gravel

As some of you may recall, I totally wished for gravel for my birthday, because I am sick of mud in front of my horse – houses all winter and nothing else stands a chance against the Danish winter and the weight of the horses. Mud is everywhere in Denmark, once the rain sets in, and it is impossible to keep the horses hooves dry, bringing with it lousy hooves and skin infections. I have been told by wiser people than me though, that gravel, placed on dry ground, should keep the horses from muddying up the place too badly, so it had to be tried. Only, gravel does not come cheap, so when my mother in law asked what I wanted for my birthday, what could I possibly want more?

I know, I am a strange kind of person. But really, it is something I desperately need to make our lives easier every single day of the year.

And it arrived today. What I had not expected was how totally awesome such a pile of gravel was for playing in, rolling in, digging in and did I mention, playing in? I should have brought my camera… As it is, I only have a few lousy cell phone pictures, but you will have to take my word for it.

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Ablaze and Marble kept running through it at top speed, bucking and rearing and I swear, laughing. Apocalipse instantly climbed the hill and started digging in it and when Saleem wanted to join him, Apocalipse discovered that he was much taller than Saleem on the top of the pile, without rearing up against him. Perfect, ha?

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Saleem did win the pile in the end though…

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And Tardis, she just rolled in it as much as possible. All in all, I don’t think I have seen the kids have so much fun since I set up that water basin this summer, and they played in water for a few hours, until it broke. This gravel, it should last longer…

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The guy who delivered it was a little skeptic about driving into the pasture with the horses on it. He thought they would get scared of his huge truck, at least when he started unloading it, right?  Yeah, not my horses. My horses are curious. They poke their noses in everything. My boyfriend and I ended up putting them in halters and dragging them away from the truck, to keep them from being underneath it when it unloaded.

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I love how open minded they are. I love how trusting, and curious they are. Seeing my five youngsters look at a huge truck and wonder how it could be used for playing, rather than being afraid of it, is just… priceless. I couldn’t ask for more.

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The truck driver even said that he was impressed by how cool they were, since he had just delivered gravel to another place, with Arabians, and you know, they are crazy… running around in circles, spooking over everything… I couldn’t help but point out that aside from Marble, my horses are Arabians too… And no, they are not crazy, it’s all in how you train them and what they see on a daily basis. The guy who owns my stable has a lot of heavy machinery, they watch him drive it regularly.

He does usually want to you know, use my pasture to wash off his machines when he is done with the harvest for instance, and I kept telling him not to drive anything on to my pasture without me being there, because my horses would not just let him place a harvester within reach. He did laugh to begin with, but he doesn’t anymore. These days, my horses has taught him to call me and ask when I’ll be there, because my horses are everywhere, swarming anything he drives onto the pasture in an instant and he doesn’t like teeth marks in his harvester…

So, what I am saying, is that I love these five youngsters, I keep being impressed by their courage and their spirits and they are such a happy little gang, one has to smile just to be around them.

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And, thank you, thank you, thank you, mother in law. We already love our gravel.

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Market

My friends and I were at a market place yesterday. That is always dangerous, but luckily there wasn’t a lot of people selling horses, in fact, only a few sad ponies stood there, tied to the fence all day. Even the shops selling equestrian equipment were hardly present. All in all, I was happy to see how horse trading at a market like this, is dying out.

Anyway, we did have a rather amusing day, looking through peoples stuff, most of which was utterly useless. I was pony hunting, to be honest, My Little Pony hunting, but only one person had thought to bring her kids sad looking My Little Ponies. A G3, Pinkie Pie, with the kid’s name written in instant marker down the side. You would be surprised what you can get off plastic… She turned out pretty nice once I was done with her.

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And the most horribly mistreated Applejack I have ever come across. I even wondered if she was worth the symbolic amount of money I paid for her.  I did bring her though, because like I wrote in a previous post, my own Applejack had his eyes repainted when I was a kid, but I could swear he had blue eyes to begin with, only any other Applejack I have some across since, has had green eyes… This sad looking Applejack at the fair, she had blue eyes.

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So I took her home, and here she is. I know her tail is still discoloured, but it was BLACK with rust, so I have to say, she made an amazing comeback. Whatever this little girl has been through, she will now join my Applejack family and retire.

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My friends always wanted to turn me into a girl and somehow they managed to get me a pair of high heeled shoes and a dress to match…

I found some awesome wigs for the Dark Mare Pictures firm, and of course my friend and I had to spent the evening playing with our new dresses and the wigs and on my part the shoes and my new pants… Here is a selection of us, and rare proof that if you get me a wig, you might get me into a dress as well… (Click on them.)

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And yeah, not my usual picture quality, we took them at her place and I snatched them off Face Book and as we all know, face book ruins pictures… Still, awesome wigs.

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Baby Applejack

I am lousy at updating my blog these days… Apologies. Loads of stuff has been going on lately.

Anyway, my boyfriend has been sick, and as such, I had to buy him the last two pillow pets turtles… of course I will be stealing the Michelangelo most of the time, since that was always my turtle (not too big a fan of how stupid they are making him these days, but I stay true to my old hero), and here they are. I have to say, I love how different they are.

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And at long last, I managed to get my slimy hands on a Baby Applejack, the undisputed star of my My Little Pony collection so far, the pony I always wanted;

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Applejack was always one of my favourites as a child, (the only one with a male voice in the Danish translation of the movies, clearly someone thought Applejack was a boy, and every Danish child grew up thinking that, because of the Midnight Castle movie.) So, my Applejack has been played with. His eyes are drawn on with instant marker, in a blue that is way too dark… But I swear, before his eyes were rubbed off, his eyes were a light blue. Only every Applejack I find now, has green eyes, just like the baby. I will be looking high and low for a blue eyed one, just to prove that I remember correctly…

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Baby Applejack completes my baby pony set at long last, the play and care set;

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And of course I forgot to add Baby Lemon Drop to the picture, because I managed to get sick myself and I simply forgot… I’ll have to take another picture of them…

Anyway, I came across a Baby Katie as well, completing my collection of Best Friends, (to the extent that none of them have the little animal they originally came with, but these are the three ponies.)

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Wup, wup, I love wrapping up a series… It gives you a sense of actually going somewhere, not just collecting in a hopeless sea of ponies where it will never end and you will never own them all…

I have to say though, I do own the ultimate My Little Pony, since Ablaze is never growing up and he still runs off with my shoes any chance he gets…

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And as much as the turtles make me smile and a Baby Applejack makes me sing and dance even when I am sick, there is no place I would rather be, than on my pasture, watching my horses eat…

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Still waiting for the biopsy result on Tardis. I removed her stitches the day after the vet had placed them. I didn’t want it to heal like that, and if it is sacroids, I would prefer not to bother it more than I have to… they do tend to get mean if you keep pestering them… And so now, I am wondering what is taking the lab so long, and if I should call the vets and ask, but at the same time, I do like not knowing for a little while longer…

So it’s Monday tomorrow. I’ll call and ask then. The lab shouldn’t be that slow. The times we did blood work on Apollon and Saleem, it never took them more than a day… a biopsy can’t be that much longer, now can it?

And in the end, I am reading through a very scary story at the moment, one my friends sent me, of the oldest internet scam in history; the one of the long lost relative and how you should never, ever talk to people who suddenly start telling you stories like that. Let’s be realistic, most of us are not the long lost brother or sister of someone rich and famous and anyone trying to convince us otherwise, is up to something… I just never understood what they could gain from it, until my boyfriend told me that it is a very common scam, and what they are after is simply personal information.

Still, reading this story, I have to say, it ought to cure anyone of the internet. Which is mainly why I am having a hard time these days, being online, and updating my blog. But I’ll get over it. I just have to take a little time at the moment, to be stunned.

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