How do you handle difficult topics to discuss in our industry? Let us know. Photo © GoHorseshow

How to Deal with Taboo Topics in the Horse Industry – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the taboo topics series. In case you missed Part 1 or want to refresh your memory, click here before continuing.

There are topics in the equine world that we sometimes choose to ignore. This method may work once in a while, but ignoring problems only allow them to worsen over time.

Our equine industry is mostly comprised of honest, kind and hardworking exhibitors and professionals. Let us not hide the fact that there are bad seeds in every bunch. You know who you are. We are talking about the dishonest, solely money driven individuals that give us all a bad reputation. This is a sad fact of life not only in horse showing but in general.

The best way to combat these ongoing issues is to open up the discussion. As previously stated, this horse world is a beautiful environment for people of all ages to grow and develop their roots. That is why positivity, encouragement, and kindness are becoming such emphasized topics nowadays.

What can we do to spread kindness rather than hate? How do we deal with certain situations and topics that are not often discussed? How do we deal with selfish people who burn us? These are the many topics below that are now exposed in part two of our series.

7) Online haters

Facebook group fights, Instagram brawls…the list goes on. We have all seen a few arguments or two via social media. Sometimes you sit back and watch, other times you join in. Online haters are merely individuals who do not feel great about themselves, so they find others to pick on. It is just like the middle school bully stuffing you in a virtual locker. All haters are just people who are jealous of who you are and what you have.

The best way to deal with them is by ignoring them. Act like they do not exist. Do not go out of your way to start an online war with someone across the country just because you feel upset. Use the 24-hour rule and let yourself calm down. Then 24 hours later, if you are still upset, reply respectfully.

8) Illegal drugs

Drugs are another topic we all know about, but sometimes choose to ignore. Drugs are hazardous, for both horses and people. There are rules against illegal drugging of horses in AQHA, but somehow, some people find a way. You see everything from trainers drugging horses to make a sale to doping the animals so they can show. It is not okay. It is not ethical, honest or right in any sense.

When drugging a horse, you are presenting a false representation of the animal while also adding severe health risks. These are living creatures, working as exhibitor’s teammates; you have to treat them respectfully. When selling a horse, you must realize that people are using their hard-earned money to purchase the perfect show partner. It makes the honest, hard-working individuals of the industry disheartened. Remember the truth is going to come out when those drugs wear off. Just be honest about the horse and its’ capabilities. If you see anyone partaking in this, do not be afraid to report it to someone else or AQHA. If you see an individual struggling with addiction in the industry, please talk to them about it and try to get them help.

9) Suicide

This is a problem that is all-too-common in our modern-day society in everything from mundane life to the equine industry.

The most important way to deal with this sad topic is through kindness. Be kind to everyone, no matter what. You never know what kind of struggle someone is going through. Be a friend to all. If you are struggling with depression, do not be afraid to seek help. You have so many people who genuinely care about you and want to see you be happy.

10) Drama

When you are in an environment filled with passionate individuals, there is bound to be some drama. In the horse world, this is extremely prevalent. There seems to be drama about everyone in every barn and at every show. Gossip runs ramped through the aisle ways and arenas. This is a sad reality, but one we, as an industry, choose to turn a blind eye toward.

Feeding into drama is not going to make you a better exhibitor or person. It is just going to make you more bitter to the world. Maybe instead of spreading rumors, actually talk to the person and get to know them. We are all imperfectly perfect humans. The important takeaway is to not start or feed into the spiral of drama that we experience in this industry.

11) Warm up pen arguments

Horses bumping into each other, someone cutting you off, another rider interfering with your pattern…these are just a few examples of how warm-up pen arguments begin. The scale of these fights goes from simple muffling of words to complete brawls.

At shows when tensions run high, it is important to be forgiving. If someone is rude or pushy, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself – do it in a classy, professional manner. The only way to prevent these arguments is by being alert and respectful in the pen. If someone is practicing their pattern, do not interfere. Be aware of who is riding around you to avoid cutting the person off. It is not hard to be a warm, decent human being.

12) Barn brats

You know them. And you do not love them. The stereotypical barn brat is the teenager who expects the world to be handed to them on a silver platter. This may be very true in most circumstances, but the “barn brat” could also be someone of any age. These overindulged, self-centered individuals expect everyone to fawn over every breath they take. When the other person does not bow down to them, the barn brat unleashes their inner brat.

The best way to deal with these types of people is to ignore them. Do not let their unhappiness with themselves change your love and passion for horse showing. Be polite with a “hi” or “how are you?”, but do not go out of your way to socialize with them.

Work hard and be successful, that is the best revenge you can get.

About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a senior at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She has been riding horses for almost nine years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She plans to attend Michigan State University in the future to study veterinary medicine and possibly also business. Cat is excited to show the all-around classes in 2019 with Zippos Kat Man Do aka Teddy.