Facebook Wars on Horsemanship Values

Animated Snowball Fight

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is better to light a candle, than curse the darkness”.

I am hoping to quiet down a bit of the conflict that I have noticed on my Facebook comments, in general. Blame games remind me of snowball fighting gone wrong. I feel that Facebook should be about sharing with like minds.

The story I am about to share with you I hope will help Facebook friends in how to communicate better with each other. Frankly the conflict and sorrow expressed and the finger pointing is over the top.

Finger pointing will not make change. Facebook is meant to bring people together, but instead it is causing separation and creating factions that are behaving like cyber bullies toward this and that. How is anybody going to learn anything? Everyone has become a “judge”, so idea sharing is not going to happen.

I am sharing this story to show an approach for making changes without having to finger point. This story is about handling a tough horse and an even tougher child.


I was at a horse show with six of my students. It was at night and only one person was in the warm up area, so we stopped to watch. It was a young girl about 10 years old with a green horse. She was fighting with her horse over something we could not figure out. There was leaping, bucking, rearing, jerking, and whipping. I could see that she was green, but she had a great seat. Her horse was also green. I could tell that the little girl was proud of herself. I think what she was doing was enjoying the fight because the horse could not get her off. This went on for about 30 minutes.

My students were waiting for me to land into her because I am all about the nice stuff and focusing on a kind and gentle way. The young girl came up to us and by that time no one else was left at the show grounds. What she was looking for was praise and this is what I said to her, “Nice horse and you are a talented rider. I am a riding coach and trainer. Could I adjust your bridle for you”? She was pleased for she got a complement and, in her mind, from a respected coach. I adjusted her tack giving me time to make a connection with her. I then said, “I see your horse is green. Would you like some help with your horse on a once a week basis? I would like to coach you because you show some talent”. She was very happy and honored.

Now, this is what was interesting - she exhibited no aggression with her horse when she had proper guidance and there was not a mean bone in this little girl’s body. I never pointed out what not to do, only what to do. I developed her talent and she went on to become a horse trainer that I could be proud of. I do believe that many horsemen are aware of the changes that I have made from offering methods that work, that are giving horses better deals and a voice.  It never came from blaming or finger pointing.

My students were shocked by my response to the little girl and they learned something that night. You want to treat everything with respect and kindness. If you do not, you still have some part in you that you do not like in others.

happy face
happy face

I hope this will inspire you to walk softly and consider throwing the preverbal stick away. When you do you will grow your ability to be a kind person in all that you do.

Here are some ideas to follow:

  • Replace opinions with ideas.
  • Instead of pointing out was is wrong, share the approach you use.
  • Everyone has no fault insurance.
  • Do not gossip.
  • Treat people with the same respect that you would give your horse.
  • Do not listen to any advice if it does not make sense or you do not like it.

If you are looking to make changes, then get involved in groups that are making changes rather than criticizing others. Change the system not the individual. The more you point a finger, the less you will take action for making change for the embitterment of horses. You can also send money to charities that are making laws to protect the treatment of horses. I do all the time. If you own a horse, it is a good idea to support these charities any way you can. I believe it is my obligation that I do with pride.

Simply put - please go back to sharing and give up criticizing. The more we share with like minds the stronger our influence and the quicker the changes we want to see will happen.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend! Be on the lookout for new horse and human adventures. May the Horse be with you.

Warmly, Carolyn




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