Ya know how sometimes you can’t help but get involved in big social media “debates”, but other times you’re like oh boy here we go, grab your popcorn, and settle in to read? This week I’ve been the latter.
It really started on Sunday, as everyone began posting their opinion of the LRK3DE cross country courses. Although no one was injured, there were more horse falls that we’re used to seeing from a Derek di Grazia course for sure, and then of course there was the fact that only a little over half the 4* field actually made it through cross country (and with only 14 clear rounds out of 40 starters). Everybody had opinions, and that’s fair. But then some people had opinions about everybody having opinions, and ya know how that always goes on social media. It devolved into bickering pretty quickly – the age old debate of “if you’ve never ridden at this level then you have no right to criticize” y’all know how much I love that one.
Amidst all the drama there was one post that generated some useful and interesting conversation though, and that was Kyle Carter’s. The comments were actually good to read through, and I thought his observations were fair and useful to hear. Worth a read through if you haven’t already done so (there’s also some really interesting pics of the different stud setups that people were using, which is always fascinating to me).
I do agree that there were too many horse falls in the 5*, although I admit that the only jump that really bothered me initially from what I could see of the course was the upright gates (where Favian fell and the MIPS clip did not break because of how he hit it – a scenario we saw over and over again with that exact same type of jump at Burghley in 2019. I HATE upright gates on courses like this can we please stop using them?). I think we’re so used to DdG’s courses being very horse-friendly that this many falls was a bit unexpected… more like shades of Mark Phillips. I also have no doubt though that he will analyze and reanalyze this until the cows come home, learn a lot from it, and make changes accordingly.
The other big thing happening on social media this week has been watching the eyepopping racism of some USEF officials and judges come to light. Like wow. Imagine being this triggered when told that the organization you work under is requiring everyone to complete a Diversity and Inclusion course.
People who think that racism doesn’t exist in equestrian sports need to take a wide-eyed tour through those comments and take note of who’s saying what. My god. Imagine thinking that Diversity and Inclusion training is “violating” the “safe haven” of your sport. Holy Christ Peggy that’s a lot to unpack. She’s not the only one who feels that way, though. Seems to be a loooot of the anti-Safe Sport crowd. Huh. Curious. I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few years it’s that maybe we’re past due for a bit of a changing of the guard, so to speak.
And then of course there’s the continuing drama between WEC Ocala and USEF and NSBA.
I admittedly haven’t really even begun trying to wrap my head around that one, because my brain is already at capacity. It doesn’t really effect my world yet, but damn it’s interesting to see this go down.
Have y’all been watching or joining in on any of the drama in the horse world this week? Opinions on any of the above topics? It’s a lot for a Thursday…
12 thoughts on “Here for the Comments”
You know those people 100% would have an aneurism if they had to work a ‘real’’ job. My annual training list is like a page long and includes diversity, inclusion, AND sexual assault! The brainwashing we all must be experiencing!!!
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This. Perfectly said.
The horse-world bubble is popping among the younger sport demographic. They do not seem to have grown up separated from real-world issues, as perhaps some in earlier generations did.
But there seems to be quite a few at a more senior layer that has somehow escaped the real world for most of their life. They are having a hard adjustment. Or something.
Totally agree that there need to be some changes of guard.
There was even worse comments from a former HITS employee/USEF steward than Peggy’s. Flat out saying watching fat riders is disgusting, people showing who look like refugees, and how awful everything has become since GM was ousted. And that because there’s now trans riders showing, we don’t need anymore diversity? I emailed HITS because her profile indicated she still worked there but they quickly replied that she’s been retired for two years. Waiting to hear back from USEF.
I saw that one!
I don’t know enough about eventing to join in the convo, but I sure did join into the other two! Holy smokes,I just can’t believe people still think, much less SAY/WRITE those things! And the “I know such and such person who wrote something awful and they are really a nice person.” I’m sorry. No one who actually thinks/writes those things is a nice person. Because they are clearly only nice to upper middle class white people who are straight and thin. Barf.
On one hand, it’s all pretty appalling. On the other, I’m so happy that people are calling it out and advocating change rather than continuing to gloss over or bury issues.
Riders can make their own decisions about their personal safety, but I don’t think horses falling or getting caught up in semi sold obstacles should be an acceptable risk of any course design or rider error/lack of experience. Even one is too many, although I suspect the comments then would be about how the course ‘was too easy’ 😦 I love the idea of upper level eventing, but these days I just watch the replays of the rounds I know went well.
I don’t see how diversity and inclusion training can be anything but a good thing and I’m happy those objecting are being named and shamed.
The horse world is a hot dumpster fire at the moment. good god. I did like Kyle Carter’s comments though! I think he is probably spot on, but this is coming from a DQ with ZERO XC experience. ha
I agree with the comment above that the horse world seems to be a dumpster fire atm and honestly it’s pretty demoralizing and unmotivating.
The continuing lack of inclusion, racism, etc at the top levels of the sport, including officials and show producers is gross. I can’t watch xc live anymore as my anxiety level anticipating a horse fall is too high (I watch replays later). The horse abuse and lack of real punishment in all areas makes me sick to my stomach.
I haven’t competed in over a year (COVID) and to tell you the truth right now I have very little desire to return. I will continue to ride and lesson and enjoy my horse (and eventing), but showing is definitely on the back burner for now.
I think it’s beyond crazy that our sport has talked for so many years about “growing the sport” and “ increasing the fan base” when from my point of view they can’t even keep the people who are in the sport active. I really think if the decision makers don’t wise up and make some real changes the sport will have real trouble in the near future.
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I haven’t been on social as much, and clearly, I’ve missed a lot! A friend of mine did link Peggy’s comment to me yesterday though. Can’t say it’s shocking in this climate to see people think the way she does. But it’s still disgusting. On the bright side, all these people are just coming out and letting the world know how racist they are, so it’s easier to spot them and not do business or interact with them.
Does it take another generation before we finally shed that layer of “leadership”? Or can we find a way to make some hard changes now?
In society generally, this is an era of division, change and upheaval. No surprise it is also showing up in horse sport. It’s going to take some commitment, action and maybe some activism to push our sport in healthier directions.
The horse world – in all its various factions & disciplines – has been one of the most insular bubbles in our society, probably since horses were no longer the default public transportation. What happens to this world now, and who takes the lead on these issues?
EN may be making people on all sides u ncomfortable, and people on all sides may have problems with some of their approach. But at least they are doing SOMETHING. Maybe more of us need to follow EN’s lead to do what we can, whatever that is. Even keeping the issues alive in public discussion.
My barn owner responded to one of the super fat phobic racist stewards and the steward has now been… relieved of duty thanks to a screenshot going viral within the community.
I saw that go down yesterday. I’m glad they’re willing to take action with these people!