Not being negative…just honest. (What?)

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Recently, in a horse industry related Facebook group I am part of, someone essentially made this statement.  This was in response to a conversation about Western Pleasure horses, that (as such conversations typically do) had spun wildly out of control.  In a big fat hurry.  For whatever reason, the only part of the whole sordid affair that actually stuck with  me was this comment…”she wasn’t being negative, just honest…”  I’m sorry.  What?  Is this what our world has come to?  People can say whatever they want, anywhere they want (including social media), about anything they want, because they are being HONEST?  I beg to differ.

First of all, one can be honest and negative at the same time…people do it frequently in this “reality show” world we live in.  For whatever reason, folks seem to like to make wild, uneducated statements, or take perfectly good and civil conversations off the rails, and then wait to see how many “likes” they get for being a jerk.  Unfortunately, they often do it in real life, where there is no actual “Like” option.  Oftentimes their friends (or groupies) will chime in for the desired effect to some degree, but there is another group…anyone else involved or in ear (or eye) shot.  At minimum, someone might lose a few Facebook friends…but sometimes depending on how they choose their words, they quickly lose the respect of people that don’t even know them.  Not really something you want to do in the horse industry very often, because while it’s big, it’s not that big.

What the horse industry needs is for people to realize that we are all part of the SAME industry, and we need to present it as something in which others would want to participate.  No matter your breed, association, level, discipline or activity.  Equine activity participation numbers are dropping in many areas, and that is heartbreaking.  Maybe it’s the economy and maybe it will turn around, but NOT if we continue to treat one another (and one another’s horses) with disrespect.  Let’s face it, horse people…”horse people” have a reputation for being difficult to work with…truthfully we come by it honestly sometimes.  And that needs to change if we want to bring others into the fold and continue to have a successful industry in the long run.  People spend enough time bickering at work or school, and dealing with bullies or other forms of stress and tension…for the vast majority (though not all), horses are supposed to be a stress reducing, quality of life improving outlet. For others, they are one’s personal livelihood. (Rewatch that Tom Cruise classic Risky Business for a refresher on what you DON’T do to another man’s livelihood) If we want our industry to succeed in the future…we need to come up with more positive ways of doing things.  Recently, Laura Stevens had a great article on GoHorseShow.com on random acts of kindness at the horse show .  These are the kinds of things we need to think about, and do…maybe you could even some up with a few more….

Not being negative.  Just honest.

14 thoughts on “Not being negative…just honest. (What?)

  1. It is like you have taken my exact thoughts and put them in writing! Thank you so much for sharing, hopefully this will have the impact necessary with the right people. Kudos to you!

  2. I asked my mom once why I didn’t get asked to move to a very popular and winning show barn in our area. She told me because we weren’t rich. Did I think it was negative no it was just her being honest. We were a poor man in a rich mans sport. The truth hurts sometimes I’d rather hear honesty and anything fake or sugar coated. I’m just being honest

    1. Your comment seems to further confirm the point of the post…we don’t always know the difference between being honest and being negative…or somehow we equate honesty with negativity. Honesty is often called for in the horse industry (or life), without a doubt. That’s not sugar coating, especially when you’re trying to help someone. Being intentionally nasty to someone else, to build your own self esteem, and then trying to justify your behavior because you were “just being honest” is uncalled for.

      1. Or the now over used, “Just Sayin”!
        This post reminds me of the article last month about cyber bullying. We see some horse professionals be down right nasty with people over business dealings, even when youth kids are involved. These kids see what’s going on and decide they want nothing to do with our industry any more…it’s like mean girls. Shameful really.

  3. Something similar that I’ve run into on facebook and some public forums are those who profess they simply have to “speak their minds”… really??? Oh, so that gives you the green light to be rude, uncaring and snarky in your responses?? Sorry, but that’s the poorest excuse for your inability to curb your tongue and have any sense of social graces. That’s the trouble with internet, people can become monsters without having to face those they offend. Some people are simply, just not nice!

  4. Exactly. Only, I’m part of the dog show world. You could literally take out the word horse and replace it with dog in every spot in your article and it would apply perfectly.

  5. That said, I don’t agree with ‘…present it as something in which others would want to participate.” The truth is, one reason numbers are declining is because we DO turn a blind eye to the things that are wrong. We can state our truth with gentle words and compassion, but we do need to call out the wrongs and not bury our heads in the sand

    1. What would probably be best would be if people could learn to state their opinions honestly, including those things that might be wrong, buy “emphasizing what we love, not (always) bashing what we hate.

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