Equestrian Cyber Bullying…

6 thoughts on “Equestrian Cyber Bullying…

  1. I completely agree – it’s one thing to put yourself into a competition you aren’t really ready for but it’s quite another to do it when it involves a horse in discomfort. Maybe the rider really wasn’t aware of what she was doing or maybe she was just having a very bad day but either way I don’t think she should have gone, or been encouraged to go, into the ring on that occasion.

    And re: the photo you posted – I don’t think it looks bad at all! Yes, the horse is minutely behind the vertical but he looks happy, his tail is held nicely and there’s nothing to suggest that he isn’t comfortable.


  2. Bravo, Sarah! A well balanced address to the situation. We all fail if we do not look out for the horse. Like you, that is my barometer as to whether there is a problem. I also agree completely that putting yourself in the public view is opening the door to criticism … it is not only the way we safe guard the horse, but it is also the way we all learn – critic and object of criticism. We just need to keep it constructive, not destructive … and we need to hold the system accountable! Bravo, once again, for taking a constructive role!


  3. Well said ! I resent being labelled a keyboard warrior -and by extension, a bully- when all I want is for the rules to be respected ( ie the rider should have been disqualified the moment she took a hand off the reins to use the whip, and asked to leave the arena) and the horse’s welfare to be put FIRST. If the rider did not want to be seen , what was she doing at a public show ? Did she really expect no one would see the live stream ?


  4. Great article, reasoned, articulate, and above all, standing up for the horse. As I would have expected of you!! You have home up still further in my estimation Sarah. Good on yer, mate!!


  5. Bravo! In the US riders are not required to enter and qualify at the lower levels. A rider could start out with the goal to earn their USDF Gold medal, eschewing the Bronze and Silver. I did comment on the ride but did not attack the rider. A trainer told me I had no right to comment because I don’t compete. Isn’t that a form of bullying? Many horse people have well-educated eyes for what is correct as far as the horse’s way of going even though they don’t compete. Perhaps they don’t have the means to do so. Perhaps they enjoy riding and do so quite well but choose to focus on training and teaching.
    I find the bad sportsmanship I have observed at rated shows to be far more discouraging than online criticism. I have witnessed adult FEI riders throw a tantrum when they pick up their score sheet from the show secretary, loudly exclaiming that the judge doesn’t know anything and dramatically take their 4th place rosette and throw it in the trash bin! And the same person may ignore etiquette in the warmup ring in an effort to intimidate their competitors.There are trainers who tell their clients what they want to hear and never disagree with them. They soothe the rider’s ego at the expense of the horse’s well-being, resorting to harsh training methods in order to make the horse rideable for the client. If the rider has a bad show, they blame the judge and the horse.
    There are riders who compete solely for the accolades. And there are riders who compete to display what they have accomplished with their equine partner and gain feedback from the judges. They view the collective remarks to consider areas in the training that need improvement.
    Thr rider in the video could have asked to be excused when the ride started circling the drain. She decided to continue which is her right. She decided to take her hand off the reins and whip her horse at an event that was live-streamed. She needs to take responsibility for her actions. Will she reconsider her decisions? Or will she complain about being bullied and be soothed by her trainer and others and continue to punish her horse for her shortcomings?


  6. Our daily lives have turned into public arenas – there is no escaping the fact that the person next to you has a smart phone with the capability of taking photos or video of you, even without your knowledge or consent. So, whether or not someone is in an arena competing with a horse and a trained judges eye is watching closely, or they are on a leisurely trail ride with other riders – every rider is being judged, criticized, or critiqued by whom they are riding with. Criticism is everywhere – and most of it is done in an instant, and attitudes, whether positive or negative, are created just as fast.

    The seriousness of this problem that I see the most of is this: Armchair horse show judges (or horse warriors) sitting behind keyboards whom have never set foot in arena, let alone ridden or trained a show horse for any discipline. Yes, there are levels for good reason, just as there are grades in school, and I agree there should be. And those levels are in every riding discipline, the rules of which should be adhered to, which is why there are judges and ring stewards, awards, and also the possibility of being asked to leave the arena.

    My point is simply this: Let those trained in the disciplines judge and critique the riders according to their discipline’s standards. Let the armchair or horse warriors sit back and watch how it’s done so maybe some day they might want to actually become a judge and stand out in the heat and deal with kids, parents, and trainer’s judgements on them. Let those learning, learn. Let them learn what is ethical. Let them learn what is humane treatment of the horse.

    But remember this, when we step outside of our own comfort zone – people will judge us, and that criticism may come with a suggestion on how to improve upon what was done unethical or misleading – or that suggestion might come with an uneducated demand to cease-and-desist simply because of the onlooker’s ignorance or intolerance.

    Everyone here has something to learn. Everyone.


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