A couple of weeks ago, I received an early morning Facebook message from a stranger. This person ended up telling me that it’s people like me who end up hurting the horses. It all started when someone tagged me in one of those “bail the horse from the dealer before they ship” ads. I simply and politely replied that I choose not to engage in these transactions anymore. (My conviction on this matter, with this particular poster, was solidified knowing that, the week before an old owner had been contacted about a gelding in the same situation and said owner found not one, but two direct buyers and said poster never bothered calling the owner back.) I was not mean in my comments. I said nothing derogatory. I would screenshot the conversation in question, but I was berated and then blocked by the poster. It was a lovely way to start a day! But it left wondering, WHY THE (INSERT YOUR FAVORITE EXPLETIVE HERE) CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
ROC the Standardbred has members from various backgrounds and belief systems. But we’re all here for our love of the breed. We have race owners and trainers. Some have probably Amished horses in the past, maybe by choice, perhaps by forced hand and maybe due to a soured business relationship. And, some of these owners and trainers keep them when they can no longer race. Some actively place their horses to keep them from going to the Amish, GASP! (Side note - I actually had someone comment on an ad I placed on behalf of an owner trying to do just that. She said it was sad that he was getting passed along now that he was no longer of use to them. I had to correct her and inform her that these owners have carried this horse for over a year of his retirement. He’s only 14, why shouldn’t he move into a pleasure home where he can get the love and attention he deserves, in addition to his basic needs?) We have people in rescues who actively attend auctions and bid on horses before the dealers can get them. We have people who have purchased Standardbreds directly off the track and some who have adopted them from rescues. We have people who bail horses from dealers. Personally, I do not give my efforts to the “bail from a dealer” system anymore. I did that and it didn’t end well for me. But, it left me with a fire to advocate on the front end, instead of chase the problem on the back end. But this by no means indicates that I don’t feel a range of emotions every time I see some pathetic, used up Standardbred pictured online needing bail. And this does not mean that I discount the very hard work that people who choose to fight this issue put in. And to the owners who have Amished horses, while it makes me sad, I understand the business aspect. To me, this means we need to do a better job creating a market for the horses!
Get where I am going here? We are all here for our Standardbreds. And the more we can respect each other and play nice, the better it’ll be and the farther we’ll get. You can choose to expend your energy fighting or you can choose to expend your energy in a productive manner. We don’t all have to agree, but we can all be adults. Which will you choose?