Why are So Many Horse People...Jerks? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Why are So Many Horse People...Jerks?

My question:

It's been about 8 months since I started working with horses. In that time I've noticed a lot of horse people seem to enjoy looking down their noses and people who know less than them.

Case in point: I made this little video. The first clip is from 8 months ago. I knew exactly squat about horses when that was shot. In the clip, I am messing around with a horse I care for deeply. You would not believe how nasty the responses have been from "knowledgeable" horse people.

One lady posted such a nasty response, even she thought better of it and removed her post. She called me an idiot, a jerk, a moron, and a jack*** after watching this video. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way...a lot.


I don't intend to sound like a snowflake about this. It has just made me curious about horse people.

Are there a lot of particularly opinionated and judgmental horse people? Are boarding barns super cliq-ish and nasty? Is it a stuck up arrogant thing or is there some style war going on between different schools of thought and training or both?

Will someone let me in on the joke?

My comment
A big part of my professional life is teaching people stuff they don't already know. 1) I have found one of the only ways to guarantee that my students don't learn anything is to start the conversation by insulting their intelligence. 2) Name calling is the refuge of the ignorant and the lazy...It takes actual effort to be constructive and respectful.
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post #2 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by carp614 View Post
It's been about 8 months since I started working with horses. In that time I've noticed a lot of horse people seem to enjoy looking down their noses and people who know less than them...

...Are there a lot of particularly opinionated and judgmental horse people? Are boarding barns super cliq-ish and nasty? Is it a stuck up arrogant thing or is there some style war going on between different schools of thought and training or both?
I guess I'd say people in general can be like that. My personal opinion is there is not a larger percentage of unkind people among horse people, but new people probably notice them more because a new person is a draw for unkind people. Kind of like a new kid in school will draw interest from bullies. Even on this forum I've seen people ganging up on others.

When it comes to boarding barns, I consider the culture of the people there when I think about if I would fit in. I'm not the type that wants to hang around very competitive people who are trying to prove something to each other. But you can find barns where people are casual and ride for fun, or where they are trying to focus on horsemanship, or even kind of (not to be insulting) "hippie" barns.

Of course everyone believes their way of riding and training is correct, and it may not be a style war but maybe people talking about what they know either to share, or to affirm whether their own beliefs are correct or not. Or they might just feel better about their own insecurities if they can tell you where they think you are going wrong.

If you were to ask me about your video, I'd want to hear about your horse, where he came from and where you came from, what his personality is like (seems a congenial and forgiving type) and what your goals are. I'd ask about what kind of instruction you are getting, and give you some tips for safety and about assessing your horse and how he is doing with your riding and tack. I'd encourage you to discuss what, why and how you are using the type of head gear on the horse. I'd talk about what, why and how you are using this particular saddle on the horse.

If I were just watching you riding in my own barn, I'd find a way to talk to you and give you some tips to ride a little more safely and communicate better with your horse. Then hopefully you'd want to come out and ride with me and learn even more.
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post #3 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:36 PM
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Agree with gottatrot. Horse people aren't unusually unkind, but there are several factors that make them seem that way. One is that people get real weird about pet or quasi-pet animals. They get them mixed up with our natural emotions about children. Then there is no reasoning with them.

Another is that for many people, a main reason they ride is to compete at something. I have noticed that few things bring out the worst in people faster than a passionate desire to win. And then, the majority of riders these days are either children, who are inherently insecure and easily led to be nasty if it helps them fit in, or women, who, I hate to say this, aren't called catty for nothing.

When I was complaining about this phenomenon (it was a dog thing, not a horse thing, but it's just the same there) to someone and she said, "if you think that's bad, you should come to one of my quilting club meetings!"

You will meet some fine, generous people people too, if you stick with it. Blow off those others, they are not worth your time or your energy. Enjoy your hobby!

Short horse lover
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post #4 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:37 PM
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there ARE a lot of 'jerks' in the horse world. it's an undeniable fact. you just have to learn to not let them get under your skin.
by the same token, there are a lot of great people in the horse world, and just be sure you don't place them in the former category just because they tell you something you don't want to hear, I mean, regarding horse handling safety or horse keeping skills.

when you're new, it's hard to know who to listen to, so I'd tend to not want to assume they are clueless, even if they ARE rude.

nonetheless, I agree with what you said ; the quickest way to shut down learning or cooperation is to insult or mock someone.

PS I commented on your video on your journal, for better or worse.
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post #5 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:39 PM
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I have met quite a few that qualify for jerks.. usually the expensive show jumper teenagers who mom and dad pay for it all, I have had a few people make me feel like if your not jumping or barrel racing your not riding, I just smile and nod and go on my way
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post #6 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:39 PM
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I can't answer why people would get mean and nasty. As someone who got back into horses as an adult, I agree with you that I have found that many horse people have strong opinions about The Only Right Way to do things. Some people are open to learning about alternatives to The Only Right Way (or at least acknowledging there are other options), others are not. I don't find the ones who have only one Right Way to be very good teachers, regardless of how many years of experience they have. I can't learn from people who aren't open minded and curious and can't talk through the "why" of what they do. I don't mind being wrong- I just need to understand why.

I'll comment on the video from a slightly different perspective, not necessarily the horse-community perspective but from the perspective of someone in your potential audience. If I understand the purpose of the video, it is to encourage interest in the adopting the horse on behalf of the rescue that hosts him? I will say this as a person affiliated with an equine nonprofit: I am hyperaware of the image our nonprofit projects in the community. Any materials we produce or publish, I would expect to show all the horses, instructors, and volunteers at their best, and working safely and happily. I agree with gottatrot that Patio looks like a horse with lots of great qualities, and I'm not sure if all your footage shows him off in that way.

I certainly don't think the words "jerk, idiot, moron" when watching the video! It's clear you enjoy your time with Patio (and I have read some of your other posts so know how much the rescue has become a welcoming place for you). I would love if we had a volunteer like you right now who had time and interest in helping us with producing promo video clips and social media. Before I would ask someone to do that, I'd want to come to agreement with them on content and production and be able to weigh in before anything was published. Funding and community support for nonprofits these days is so competitive, the wrong person seeing something that they don't agree with can cause long lasting damage, particularly in small towns. So I guess if you were asking for a "critique," I'd say there might be a way to go through your footage to find a way to highlight the before to after transformation of Patio from nervous to calm, and to show him being ridden by both beginners and more experienced riders to show his versatility. Something that really sets up a preview for the person who can take him from where he is now and help him continue to grow.

Bottom line though, I hope this doesn't discourage you from continuing to learn about horses and work with this organization!

PS- will you come teach my horse how to drink out of the hose? I can't convince her she'd love it if she'd just try ;)
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post #7 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by egrogan View Post

PS- will you come teach my horse how to drink out of the hose? I can't convince her she'd love it if she'd just try ;)
Me too I try and mine acts like I'm trying to gas him to death..LOL
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post #8 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 09:47 PM
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@egrogan . . great post, well said!
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post #9 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 10:04 PM
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Over the many years I have worked with horses I discovered that those who are most critical of others rarely know much themselves.

Long ago, criticism used to upset me. But when I finally got to where I could tell who was a good horseman and who was "blowing smoke" I started hanging around the ones I admired more.

I often had to work my way in by offering to sweep an alley way, working UP to mucking stalls (good horsemen can be picky sorts), and eventually handling and riding their horses.

On ranches, good ranches, I nailed boards in corrals, knocked down cobwebs in barns that had more history than the state where I live. And would eventually get on the crews as a day worker, which is what I want. I have my own cows and a town job to look after.

I've seen really good horsemen interact with the jerk types. And, amazingly, the pros are nothing but polite. They politely listen, compliment if they can find any little thing, and go on their way. They don't trash the arrogant ones once they are out of hearing distance.

When I was much younger, I used to take the meanies head on. It never did any good, but sometimes I felt like I won some kind of argument. I don't do that anymore.

Good horsemen haven't just taught me some about horses, they've taught me manners.
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post #10 of 74 Old 01-09-2017, 10:31 PM
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There are jerks and mean people in any way of life. Dirt bikers, mountain bikers, ball players, poker players, even nerdy types! Learning and loving to learn is important in life. Yes, I saw a myriad of things in your video I'd be concerned about, however, the joy comfort in your video was obvious. And that horse looks like one in a million that you could learn with. Disregard the rude people and learn and enjoy.

I didn't see your video several months ago, so let me ask now. Are you getting instruction? Are you loving the horse life?
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