Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

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Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:33 pm

By now, I expect many of us have at least heard of what happened with Shelley Browning at the Del Mar show. There was a very long thread about it on COTH. And Axel Steiner has weighed in on his facebook page calling the COTH stuff bullying.

I disagree. Was it over the top? Probably. But, we need to stand up for the horse. I watched the "bad" ride. And I saw her hit the horse one handed with the whip and the spurring. Actually, during the ride, I thought she really shouldn't be wearing spurs as her leg was a little too loose. I didn't think necessarily that she was being abusive with her spurs. She was uneducated (doesn't make it right) but probably NOT deliberately over spurring. But at the end of the ride, when she grabbed him in the mouth with the reins several times, that did it for me. That horse tried his heart out for her. And she repaid him by yanking the reins after they were done.
The one handed whip, meh. I don't think it was that hard but to be honest, I didn't pay too much attention to it except to see she did it and it IS against the rules.

People on Axel Steiner's facebook are claiming that since Big Lick Tennessee walkers are so much worse, that this wasn't really abusive. I disagree. Just because there are shades of abuse, doesn't make this not abusive.

Your thoughts?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:15 pm

I'll express some hopes, which may not be realistic:
-I hope the rider-owner understands the problems with her behavior and changes in the future.
-I hope the lovely horse is treated on a daily basis with more appreciation and kindness than was exhibited in those rides.
-I hope observers (whether judges or spectators) understand and speak up on the differences between harsh/abusive aids and challenges of an amateur riding at a high level/learning GP. One can struggle to perform a challenging test and still not be overly harsh or do actions which are against the rules.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Josette » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:06 pm

It saddens and disappoints me that this behavior was not stopped during the test. It is unacceptable IMO. I could care less if the rider is ammy learning to ride higher level or a professional. Frustrations of the rider are not to be taken out on the horse to be treated this way. Shame on the judges, rider and trainer.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:25 pm

Yeah, I don't really understand why this makes a difference that she was an amateur as opposed to a professional.
Frankly, I would think an amateur would be MORE sensitive to their horse since it is theirs as opposed to "just a ride"

In the meantime, can I have that horse?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby musical comedy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:23 pm

I would agree with most of Chancellor's initial post. I don't think this is bullying, if we are to use the definition of bullying. It comes close to (or is) a personal attack on the rider (and in some cases the judges).

Chancellor, if one of this board's member's video was ridiculed by another member, would you allow it? I don't think the COTH mods would, yet they permit attacks on riders that aren't members.

There are degrees of abuse. If the horse is enduring pain, then to me it's the same if a little novice kid is accidently inflicting it or if it is some rich AA that can't ride or is pissed at her horse. Bottom line for me in this case is that I think the rider is overmounted, has a weak seat, and used aids ineffectively and inappropriately. The horse was confused, but I don't think he was put through the hell that most people are claiming. I'll bet he didn't come out with spur marks or a bleeding mouth, like so many of the horses ridden the top bnt's. The ride was an outlier, and I think too much is being made of it. Some people, especially that group on coth, seem to delight on picking on people and beating a subject to death.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:51 pm

Of course it's bullying. Even if it was clear abuse, which I think it was not, but even if it was clear abuse the response was bullying.

What you are saying is that if society has decided that someone behaved poorly it's okay to bully them.

No one did anything to help the horse. If one fucking person who was willing to attack the ride and rider online was truly concerned for the horses wellbeing did you submit it to the USEF? I bet not because as vitriolic as the online bullying was, nothing was clear abuse. If there was clear abuse it would have been more easily stopped.

It's the Salem witch trials. Or if you like Nazi Germany. Or animal abuse terrorists.

Well done social media. Well done Chancellor. Congratulations on providing such an excellent example to teens. You should be so proud of yourselves.

Let's say some teen has sex. And social media decides they are a slut. Then it's OK to attack them? Hey they had sex, everyone knows they had sex, so they are guilty and must be shamed? That us the logic you are applying.

The woman rode poorly. Therefor it's okay to publicly share shame and attacked. Really?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:04 pm

By the way, I believe if the rider taps three times in a row with the whip and then stops, it's not a technical. If there is no blood on spur or mouth, it is not a technical.


Those are specific guidelines. Now, let's say a rider is jumping and taps the horse three times at every jump, it's not a technical because each time us a restart.

I did not watch the ride with a view to counting, but it seemed to me there was not an excess of more than three taps with the whip, and I recall the horse moving forward out of the false piaffe each time.

I also too the effort to watch the better ride, which even the crucifier admitted was not abuse, if not the best riding.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Sunshine2Me » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:10 pm

I don't know the horse or the rider. I didn't watch the entire video (if I was looking at the correct one) but I saw a woman who was over-horsed, and a saint of a horse that appeared to be a schoolmaster who was trying his very best to read her cues, which were not obvious or clear. The woman appeared to just be trying to stay with the horse, as best she could, and giving cues sporadically when she was not in danger of coming off. It was not pretty, but if I were to ride that horse, I'm sure I would look very similar. That horse is way beyond my skill level. I would not have been able to stay with him.

Do you think the rider knew it was not pretty. I'm guessing probably. I don't agree with jumping all over her as has been done through social media.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:18 pm

Chisamba wrote:Of course it's bullying. Even if it was clear abuse, which I think it was not, but even if it was clear abuse the response was bullying.

What you are saying is that if society has decided that someone behaved poorly it's okay to bully them.

No one did anything to help the horse. If one fucking person who was willing to attack the ride and rider online was truly concerned for the horses wellbeing did you submit it to the USEF? I bet not because as vitriolic as the online bullying was, nothing was clear abuse. If there was clear abuse it would have been more easily stopped.

It's the Salem witch trials. Or if you like Nazi Germany. Or animal abuse terrorists.

Well done social media. Well done Chancellor. Congratulations on providing such an excellent example to teens. You should be so proud of yourselves.

Let's say some teen has sex. And social media decides they are a slut. Then it's OK to attack them? Hey they had sex, everyone knows they had sex, so they are guilty and must be shamed? That us the logic you are applying.

The woman rode poorly. Therefor it's okay to publicly share shame and attacked. Really?


No, that is not what I am saying at all. I am saying that it is NOT okay for her to have grabbed his face at the end of the ride. I think that WAS abusive and also not necessary. Did I report it to USEF? No, because I was not present. And therefore, I cannot. But the judges could have. The TD could have.

Let's say I see a person setting a pressure cooker down near a crowd and walks away. Should I just let it go because hey, I don't KNOW that is a bomb.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:19 pm

By the wayside.... I got called into the office when my son was in high school. Apparently he had "frightened" aka bullied some one.

So principal, school counselor, me and son sat together. I asked, what happened. Do was sitting in cafeteria and one student called another student a nigger. My DS got up, told him it was not an appropriate word and made him apologize.

Principal and I looked at counselor. Counselor said, we'll they were friends, the term was used in jest and my DS misunderstood the circumstances.

I turned to my DS and said I will stand up for you to my last breath. What you did was right. The term never has a place in a school cafeteria and I find it shocking that they would bring you here and not the person who used the term.

So maybe I, like my son, am too definite in my judgement and opinion. Social Grey area is not my Forte.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:19 pm

I see attacking people online as cowardly. Especially if you're hiding behind a handle.

In my interactions online, I try to act the same way I act face to face. I often wonder (and not just with the Del Mar thread) what these people are like in real life. Would they behave that way in person? Of course not. If you truly believe something and want to go after it, then do it in real life. Don't hide behind a handle and exclaim loudly to the online world about how terrible someone else is.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:20 pm

By the way regarding reporting. The video is there. Submit it with your name.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby piedmontfields » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:21 pm

Sunshine2Me wrote:Do you think the rider knew it was not pretty. I'm guessing probably. I don't agree with jumping all over her as has been done through social media.


I don't know if she knew. Or what version of reality she knew. I guess that is why for amateurs trying hard things, I would hope that a learning experience emerges from the judges for that amateur that will have a positive impact on the horse and rider in the future. With a pro, it is just immensely disappointing.

I do think it is much easier to critique a bad ride--especially online and behind a persona--than to ride GP! :D

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Ponichiwa » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:32 pm

I think the rider was being extremely unfair to her horse, especially w.r.t. her use of the whip and reins.

I also think the reaction to it is at least in part magnified by the perceived income/status of the rider and the fact her horse looks like a saint. I don't think it would have gotten the outcry it has if it was a 1st level test, for example, because then the narrative of "She bought her way in and can't even ride!!" wouldn't be as powerful.

I am also very uncomfortable with social media "justice". It probably feels good to be in the right, and to be decrying bad behavior, but functionally does anything change as a result? Yeah, what she did is wrong. Does it need to be enshrined in history? I don't think so.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:35 pm

In my riding career at shows I have had two situations, years apart, when I got in my horses mouth strongly.

Large young OTTB. First show, cat and peacock got in a fight beside the judges box. Pure being bolt from horse. Really strong bending rein, nose toward knee til horse stopped. Judge rang me out, to examined horse. I was allowed to continue showing.

Second circumstance was a jackhammer. Someone started one just beyond the fence as I was doing a medium trot. Better trained horse, double bridle, I simply did a hard half halt. Judge remarkable unreasonably harshly in my opinion.

However both instances were addressed by those in charge.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:43 pm

Just one more thought. There are people who believe owning a pet is abuse. There are people who believe any kind of riding is abusive.

It's hard to define.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Srhorselady » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:08 pm

My .02 cents. The original criticism of the Del Mar ride was accurate, harsh, and probably deserved. The continuing pile on person after person, day after day, was bullying. Nothing new was being said. It was like mob violence, growing with each addition. I stopped reading that thread. There have been other similar threads on COTH. These threads start out with deserved criticism then continue to take on a life of their own and sometimes become as bad as the original subject. BTW I'm with you and your DS on the high school incident Chisamba.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Moutaineer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:59 pm

Chisamba, I'm torn on this one.

As ever, the facebook flying monkeys have completely gone over the top. It's like people invoking torture and the death penalty for any reported criminal behavior. completely inappropriate.

But, I'm sorry, I'm not going to condone inflicting deliberate suffering on an animal, which was what this was. If we don't call it out and hide it behind not wanting to make dressage look bad, then we are condoning and normalizing this behavior--and that is what will get us into trouble with the RARAs. Discussion of this and how to prevent it is valid (and what I've largely seen) and not bullying unless it gets into the flying monkeys realm, which is entirely unproductive.

I am talking about the FRIDAY ride now, not the Thursday, which was just a rotten ride by someone in over their head, and well, that's unfortunate, but when someone has enough money to go out and buy equipment above their level of competence, it's going to happen from time to time. My feelings about that at the time were that it was ugly, poor horse, I hope he gets lots of carrots, but at least she wasn't trying to jump over solid obstacles, ski down a giant slalom or drive an F1.

The fact that she had a bad ride--well, who hasn't? That's not the issue and is being used to cloud what outraged me. For me, the tapping with the whip was bizarre, but wasn't really the issue either--apart from the fact that the way she was doing it was against the rules (not the number of times, but the one-handedness of it. Apart from the salute, you've got to keep both hands on reins, that is written in stone.)

No, the thing that truly raised my ire was what happened after the final halt on the FRIDAY ride, which was in and of itself very much more unpleasant than the Thursday ride, (and this has been cut off the currently circulating videos, which I think is where there is some confusion about why those who witnessed this display on the unsanitized live stream were so upset) She just smashed that horse in the mouth three times and booted him violently with her spurs as they were walking out of the arena. that was just spiteful and cruel, and made me speculate on what that poor horse has to put up with at home if she'll lose her temper in a very public arena enough to do that (but that's pure speculation on my part.)

Do I think the ride should have been stopped? Yes. Do I hope that this controversy allows for the judging rules to be re-written so they can have some more teeth to stop a ride in progress? Yes. Do I hope it opens some eyes about riding so far above your level of competence? Yes. And do I hope that it makes some people reflect on their behavior towards their horse/s and what is and is not considered acceptable and the norm? Yes.

Your two cases are different. One off safety situations vs. constant misery. When it comes down to saving my skin vs. the horse's skin, all bets are off.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Racetrackreject » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:49 pm

Moutaineer wrote:
No, the thing that truly raised my ire was what happened after the final halt on the FRIDAY ride, which was in and of itself very much more unpleasant than the Thursday ride, (and this has been cut off the currently circulating videos, which I think is where there is some confusion about why those who witnessed this display on the unsanitized live stream were so upset) She just smashed that horse in the mouth three times and booted him violently with her spurs as they were walking out of the arena. that was just spiteful and cruel, and made me speculate on what that poor horse has to put up with at home if she'll lose her temper in a very public arena enough to do that (but that's pure speculation on my part.)

Do I think the ride should have been stopped? Yes. Do I hope that this controversy allows for the judging rules to be re-written so they can have some more teeth to stop a ride in progress? Yes. Do I hope it opens some eyes about riding so far above your level of competence? Yes. And do I hope that it makes some people reflect on their behavior towards their horse/s and what is and is not considered acceptable and the norm? Yes.

Your two cases are different. One off safety situations vs. constant misery. When it comes down to saving my skin vs. the horse's skin, all bets are off.


What Mountaineer says above. Not only that but she removed her hand from the reins to hit him with the whip, which is not allowed and she should have been rung out then. That's why the commentators were confused. She was later disqualified under that rule, but she had ridden other tests the day before that were not so great either.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:01 pm

Srhorselady wrote:My .02 cents. The original criticism of the Del Mar ride was accurate, harsh, and probably deserved. The continuing pile on person after person, day after day, was bullying. Nothing new was being said. It was like mob violence, growing with each addition. I stopped reading that thread. There have been other similar threads on COTH. These threads start out with deserved criticism then continue to take on a life of their own and sometimes become as bad as the original subject. BTW I'm with you and your DS on the high school incident Chisamba.


See, to me, I don't think it is bullying or even piling on. I think it is discussing it, new people come on the thread and make their statements. And I think this is what needs to happen.
Discussion over what happens the NEXT time this happens. Can judges ring them out? Although like rtr, it was the slamming him in the mouth that bothered me so technically she was done.

I read most of the thread on COTH. I think it is important to have reasonable discussions. No, threatening the woman's life is not a reasonable discussion. But what do we do the next time this happens? How could this have been handled better? THAT is what I am trying to start as a discussion.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Flight » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:23 pm

I saw the vid of the ride, and yes I think it is close to bullying with the length the COTH thread got to. I do however, think the judges should have spoken to the rider or at least written enough in the test to tell her clearly that she wasn't capable enough to ride at this level. She did scratch from further tests??? So maybe they did?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby musical comedy » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:42 pm

Flight wrote:I saw the vid of the ride, and yes I think it is close to bullying with the length the COTH thread got to. I do however, think the judges should have spoken to the rider or at least written enough in the test to tell her clearly that she wasn't capable enough to ride at this level. She did scratch from further tests??? So maybe they did?
Last year, she had three scores at I2 on this horse that were satisfactory: 63.553, 62.763, 63.684. Those are respectable scores for an AA at I2 and sends a message that the rider is capable, imo.

I don't like the idea of judges being able to excuse riders just because they don't like the way they ride. As Chisamba wrote, abuse is hard to define. Heck there are people on these forums that would excuse riders like Ed Gal and Isabel Werth, and other BNT's whose riding they consider abusive.

It never ceases to amaze me how dressage people see things so differently. That was never the case in hunter or eventing when I was doing it.

Edited to add: Those COTH threads will go on for more than a month. Maybe longer.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:50 am

MC, you make good points IMO. I do think there is quite a difference between "style"/how they ride and not acceptable to the rules (one hand on reins) or unnecessary behavior (post-ride jerks and kicks). Sportsmanship should matter.

On a slightly different note, I do feel in the US that we are in an era where critique = bullying (which is not fair IMO). Given that one of the major bully-rallyers on the COTH thread is someone who cannot tolerate any critique, it does make me go?!#!

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:02 am

I think people forget that the subject of their outrage is a person too. A person with feelings and emotion.

We are all human, we all make mistakes, and I would challenge the person who has *never* treated an equine unfairly at any point in their life to throw the first stone. It sure as hell won't be me. In no way am I condoning the riding shown in that video, but for those of you who participated in the pile on, think for a second how reading that about yourself would make you feel.

I have read threads on the old UDBB where someone (who incidentally is very active and outraged on the Del Mar thread) posted a video of themselves for critique, received a critique they didn't like, and responded by flying off the handle with a post full of F bombs which was very quickly removed. That was just one opinion. Now imagine if there were thousands. There have been multiple instances of this over the past few years (unrelated to the horse world) where there is a social media pile onto a particular individual, and the person in question is so damaged by it that they choose to end their life.

This kind of thing is NOT trivial. She does NOT deserve it. It IS bullying, on a scale that's previously been inconceivable.

Shame on anyone who adds fuel to that fire.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:30 pm

Let's say I see a person setting a pressure cooker down near a crowd and walks away. Should I just let it go because hey, I don't KNOW that is a bomb.


This is a nonsensical analogy. On the one hand you're comparing a failure to take action in the present moment that could cause loss of life and limb to a large number of people and on the other hand you've got griping about someone after the fact about something that doesn't represent a danger to anyone or anything's life or limb.

Anonymously posting negativity and judgement against someone on social media is NOT taking action. Taking action would be filing a complaint with whatever governing body is in charge. Writing a letter. Starting a petition. Opening a mature dialogue about what the gaps are in the system that allow this to happen and identifying how to close them.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:18 pm

Rosie B wrote:
Let's say I see a person setting a pressure cooker down near a crowd and walks away. Should I just let it go because hey, I don't KNOW that is a bomb.


This is a nonsensical analogy. On the one hand you're comparing a failure to take action in the present moment that could cause loss of life and limb to a large number of people and on the other hand you've got griping about someone after the fact about something that doesn't represent a danger to anyone or anything's life or limb.

Anonymously posting negativity and judgement against someone on social media is NOT taking action. Taking action would be filing a complaint with whatever governing body is in charge. Writing a letter. Starting a petition. Opening a mature dialogue about what the gaps are in the system that allow this to happen and identifying how to close them.


Any posting, anonymous or not, on social media, is not taking action. I
I liken it to the photos people post of a car license plate with the heading, these people locked their dogs in a hot car.

If the dog was in danger call the police and save it. If the case was not clear enough for you to stand behind your witness to an official, but you post on social media, I call it bullying.

Perhaps the judge at C was remiss. Hindsight is easy. I cannot with confidence say what I would have done if I had been there beyond feeling uncomfortable.

A professional would probably have gone into warmup and 'schooled " for half an hour. Horse was probably lucky to get a jerk and a flap.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:01 pm

Rosie B wrote:
Let's say I see a person setting a pressure cooker down near a crowd and walks away. Should I just let it go because hey, I don't KNOW that is a bomb.


This is a nonsensical analogy. On the one hand you're comparing a failure to take action in the present moment that could cause loss of life and limb to a large number of people and on the other hand you've got griping about someone after the fact about something that doesn't represent a danger to anyone or anything's life or limb.

Anonymously posting negativity and judgement against someone on social media is NOT taking action. Taking action would be filing a complaint with whatever governing body is in charge. Writing a letter. Starting a petition. Opening a mature dialogue about what the gaps are in the system that allow this to happen and identifying how to close them.


You may consider it a non-sensical analogy but I don't. Does that mean you are bullying ME now since you are arguing with me? And insulting my analogy? No, you aren't. You are telling me YOUR opinion of things. It's called DISCUSSION. And it can and should be done in this case.

Discussion can contain many different opinions. Just because YOU don't think it should be discussed does not mean others shouldn't think it be discussed.
Why is it so difficult to hear an opposing opinion today and not call it bullying?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:25 pm

You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

Fact: No one's life was in jeopardy.
Fact: Posting anonymous negativity about someone on social media is NOT the same as warning a crowd of people of a potential and imminent threat to life and limb.

If the person on whom the attention is focused is not involved in any way, and the majority of the opinions expressed are strongly negative and are focused on the individual rather than the issue, how can you call it a discussion? In my opinion, that's where the line is crossed and where it becomes bullying.

I agree though - what you and I are engaging in is a discussion. I am all for discussion. It's important to discuss issues, causes, and potential resolutions. It's important to discuss ideas. However, it is my opinion that a thread that contains slam after slam after slam on a particular individual is not a discussion any more, and should not be passed off as such.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:58 pm

How can I call it a discussion?
Because, in my opinion, the discussion on COTH was also about what to do to stop it from happening. And that IS important.
No one's life was in jeopardy but that horse's quality of life was in jeopardy which is very important. That horse did not ask to be an I2 horse and did not ask to be competing in that show. He was doing his best and suffered some trauma despite that.
The "slam after slam" on COTH happened in large part, because people did not know what happened. And saw the earlier ride and didn't think it was abusive. Neither did I. The ride in question WAS abusive.
AND, given that I am the owner of this board and anyone in the world can look up WHO I am, I am NOT posting anonymously.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:23 pm

Agreed there were some good points raised in that thread. Unfortunately they were in the minority.

And there is absolutely grey area there. At what point does it go from people expressing opinions to bullying? I can't answer that question without a great deal of thought, and in the end that would only by my opinion.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby piedmontfields » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:27 pm

What do you all think are positive actions to take with the show management? With USEF? USDF?

For ex., who specifically should be contacted to express concern/complaint/advocate for better practices etc.?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Sue B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:32 pm

I wrote a much longer response, but here's the short version.

I did see both rides, the second I saw live on the live stream. In that ride, I saw a rider lose her temper and take out her frustrations on the horse--not ok. In h/j land, when a well-healed rider fell off at some big show and subsequently kicked her horse in the belly, she was yellow-carded and eliminated from further competition that day. A storm started, but she was quick to submit a written apology which shut it down. I humbly suggest that had SB done the same (issued a public apology) this tempest would have very quickly dissipated and we wouldn't be discussing it now! I do not facebook, so I don't know what when on there. I am only referring to COTH.

ETA: I do think the attack on SB's trainer was unwarranted. SB alone is responsible for her actions that day. I also hate it when people ridicule a rider's seat or ability to sit big trots cuz I suck at it too!

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Rosie B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:36 pm

I haven't ever seen anything in person that I felt needed to be addressed that wasn't handled by the judges, stewards, or show management. If I did, I would probably talk to the show management to understand how to make a complaint with Dressage Canada. I am not familiar with the systems/bodies in the US so I don't know what the best course of action would be there.

If I felt passionately that something needed to change in the organization, I'd probably contact Dressage Canada directly to discuss the issue and what would be required for them to make a change.

I am concerned that the outcome of this will be that they will reconsider doing live streams. I watched A LOT of footage from there and enjoyed it tremendously. It was a fantastic opportunity to watch dressage of a caliber not usually seen in my parts.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:49 pm

Totally agree Sue B. If that were me, I would issue an apology. Would an apology be enough? Probably not but it would go a long way. The yellow card given to the rider in H/J land was discussed on the thread in question. No yellow card could be given here as it was a national class not an FEI. The woman's trainer should not be attacked either. For all we know, she DID tell the woman she shouldn't ride at that level. The woman in question is responsible for what she did.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby kande50 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:04 pm

Rosie B wrote:I think people forget that the subject of their outrage is a person too. A person with feelings and emotion.

We are all human, we all make mistakes, and I would challenge the person who has *never* treated an equine unfairly at any point in their life to throw the first stone. It sure as hell won't be me. In no way am I condoning the riding shown in that video, but for those of you who participated in the pile on, think for a second how reading that about yourself would make you feel.



I tend to be a free speech kind of person so feel that if someone feels they're being bullied on social media then they need to leave the conversation instead of reading it and then crying that they're being bullied. After all, it's not as if they're surrounded in the school yard and have no way to escape.

If I did that to my horse then I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pile on from the outraged, and would accept it as the price I'd have to pay for indulging myself in my frustration. I would however, just ignore it and let the twits rattle on, which may be exactly what the recipient is doing?

IMO, the outrage a good thing, because it helps make it much clearer to those who may be confused or unaware, that even though it's accepted practice to pressure horses, there are limits to what kind of pressure and how much.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Koolkat » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:49 pm

I think "bullying" would require a case by case analysis of each poster and their motivations (and I wouldn't be surprised if some weren't even aware of their inner motivations. . . ). It's perfectly reasonable for someone new to the conversation to have an opinion, although you could certainly make the argument that if your opinion has already been stated, it doesn't need to be repeated. And if so, why?

You could certainly make the argument that it was the rider that was the BULLY, she had a horse that allowed itself to be unfairly treated (probably why she owned the horse in the first place....), and bullying of helpless animals can put a lot of people through the roof. Which is why I'm not looking. . .

I do believe her trainer/instructor has some culpability here. . .

Just some from the hip comments while we're waiting for it to stop raining here.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Moutaineer » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:59 pm

I don't understand why she couldn't be yellow carded. I've seen it happen at a regular USEF/USDF show. (In fact, my trainer was the unfortunate recipient, but she lost her temper with the ring steward, not her horse. Maybe that's the difference?)

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chancellor » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:10 pm

Moutaineer wrote:I don't understand why she couldn't be yellow carded. I've seen it happen at a regular USEF/USDF show. (In fact, my trainer was the unfortunate recipient, but she lost her temper with the ring steward, not her horse. Maybe that's the difference?)


Axel Steiner mentioned that because it was a National show she could not. He said that I think twice

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Moutaineer » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:15 pm

I wonder if it's because the TD issues yellow cards, and their rule does not extend to inside the little white fence. I'm curious now... I'll have to look it up over the weekend.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby redsoxluvr » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:27 am

I will be the first to think that the riding was horrid. The TD could have given her a yellow card for the actions after the salute. In fact, they should have, as the judge saw it happen and can give testament to her actions. If it isn't possible due to current USAE rules, we as USAE members should petition to change it.

As far as being overhorsed, etc, etc that may be true. But I think every person who has ever sat on a schoolmaster who has scored in the high seventies at GP is overhorsed. The horse in question had a hugely successful FEI career with a top Dutch rider. These types of horses can be very,
very difficult to ride. I don't know what caused the rider to behave as she did. She has chosen not to comment, so it is her choice to remain silent.

That being said, the repeated threads making comment after comment after comment on how horrible the person is, how she doesn't deserve the horse, etc, etc, etc are out of line. This is still a human being with feelings. Should she have mistreated her horse? Of course not. She should be sanctioned for her behaviour. Should we, meaning the social media community continue to mistreat her by detailing her source of employment, the size of her finances, her trainer and his/her failings, etc? Absolutely not. It is indeed bullying, regardless of the motivation behind it and we all need to stop.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Benatus » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:06 pm

I saw a woman with too much money and too much ambition and not enough time in the saddle.
It was painful to watch her, she was like a stuffed doll she was so rigid.
Then to yank and kick at a horse who was trying with ineffective aids.

Sad. I see better riding from the kids who show sale stock off not this presumtive arrogance by riders who throw money at well trained horses.

I guess behind the bit is just the new normal.

Just gross to watch bc she’s not able to ride at that level, but has the money to co-opt the experience.


Eta point and shooters were common in HJ, but kids knew they had to look good so they didn’t jab the horse’s sides and clock them in the fawking face. You make the horse look good.

Also: screw her feelings. She expects to whip and jab a horse who can out-finesse her, then cry bullying over it.
What about self respect at one’s own skills and the respect for the horse?
The temerity if her to show at this level needs a clocking.
I rode with ppl who made you prove what you could do. And readily told you what the hell you were doing wrong.

Clearly she pads this process with lots of money.

It’s no longer sport, but indulgence. Yuck.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Josette » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:15 pm

I agree - I also could care less about her feelings. This saint of a horse was the bullied victim.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby amygdala » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:07 pm

personally, i think any horse who is consistently behind the vertical should be disqualified.
i'm not holding my breath for this to occur

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:17 am

I want to know how you know how much money she has and how many hours she has spent in the saddle

I know you've all seen worse rides. Actors in movies, kids learning, riders frightened by their horses, silly tourists on trail rides. An eventer kicking their horse over a jump on a shattered leg, a show jumper losing their seat and balancing with all their weight on a horses mouth, a jockey pulling up because the horses leg was flailing around below the knee. An endurance rider galloping their horse into a tree and killing it. A famous clinician beating a horse in the face with a rope. Yes I agree, because there are worse does not mean this ride was not bad and this rider was unfair. It was and she was. But.....

Many. Of the top dressage riders in the world have been seen in bad moments. German riders, British riders, Danish riders, Dutch and I cannot remember which US riders horse got its tongue over the bit.

If you haven't seen a horse vigorously spurred and rapidly stopped in warm up by top riders, to "get them alive" to the aids you've been wearing blinders.

As for me, myself and I, I think it would be a rare human who has not, at one time or another, been unfair to their horse. However even if you have been a perfect rider, have never been unfair to your horse and have always been above reproach, piling on on social media says more about what type of person you are than it says about the incident.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:21 am

Sue B wrote:I wrote a much longer response, but here's the short version.

I did see both rides, the second I saw live on the live stream. In that ride, I saw a rider lose her temper and take out her frustrations on the horse--not ok. In h/j land, when a well-healed rider fell off at some big show and subsequently kicked her horse in the belly, she was yellow-carded and eliminated from further competition that day. A storm started, but she was quick to submit a written apology which shut it down. I humbly suggest that had SB done the same (issued a public apology) this tempest would have very quickly dissipated and we wouldn't be discussing it now! I do not facebook, so I don't know what when on there. I am only referring to COTH.

ETA: I do think the attack on SB's trainer was unwarranted. SB alone is responsible for her actions that day. I also hate it when people ridicule a rider's seat or ability to sit big trots cuz I suck at it too!

The Hunter rider at the Hampton Classic was not given a yellow card. She was spoken to but neither carded not disqualified. The judges and TD felt they felt with it sufficiently until she was lambasted on social media, also, it seems, because she is rich.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Josette » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:54 pm

IMO there is a huge difference between being unfair versus abusive actions. All the examples you sited should have people speaking up for better standards, showmanship, horsemanship and common sense. I will speak out against abuse in defense of a horse. That is the type of person I am.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Hayburner » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:26 pm

I wish I could add my 2 cents, but I have seen the video.

Where I can view the video?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby redsoxluvr » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:09 am

Chisamba wrote:I want to know how you know how much money she has and how many hours she has spent in the saddle

I know you've all seen worse rides. Actors in movies, kids learning, riders frightened by their horses, silly tourists on trail rides. An eventer kicking their horse over a jump on a shattered leg, a show jumper losing their seat and balancing with all their weight on a horses mouth, a jockey pulling up because the horses leg was flailing around below the knee. An endurance rider galloping their horse into a tree and killing it. A famous clinician beating a horse in the face with a rope. Yes I agree, because there are worse does not mean this ride was not bad and this rider was unfair. It was and she was. But.....

Many. Of the top dressage riders in the world have been seen in bad moments. German riders, British riders, Danish riders, Dutch and I cannot remember which US riders horse got its tongue over the bit.

If you haven't seen a horse vigorously spurred and rapidly stopped in warm up by top riders, to "get them alive" to the aids you've been wearing blinders.

As for me, myself and I, I think it would be a rare human who has not, at one time or another, been unfair to their horse. However even if you have been a perfect rider, have never been unfair to your horse and have always been above reproach, piling on on social media says more about what type of person you are than it says about the incident.


The internet police have debated these details to the point of being ridiculous. Her source of employment and trainer have been outed elsewhere. I will not do it here, because I do not agree with it. Yes, the ride was awful and her behaviour was reprehensible. Doesn't mean that it's OK for people to harass her place of employment because she is a horrible rider.

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby Chisamba » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:22 am

so she has been "outed" and "harassed" and there are people who still claim its not bullying? really?

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Re: Bullying, Del Mar riding etc

Postby galopp » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:26 am

(The Hampton classic rider was suspended and fined $5000.) The Del mar rider has her own agency, it's not outing, it's pretty easy to investigate. For me, it is the judging criteria is what must be under serious scrutiny. Meanwhile, who protects the horses???


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