For the many years I've been in this horse business there have been stories and horror tales of the low side of the horse world. Some were statements from trainers, such as "oh she's a nice mare but so and so has one that is much better," so essentially go on home you're already beat! Or "so and so is always paying off judges so that is why they win all the time." You know the story. Its like a natural part of any industry and especially where there's competition. Yes, we know that these things do happen from time to time. I prefer for myself to promote words of confidence in this horse world. New and old owners and exhibitors have plenty of real backyard problems to worry about. Right now I'm worried my mare isn't getting sick since she's slightly off her feed. I choose to leave the drama at the door because if I get sucked into the bad I'd think more about giving up. I choose to realize that the downside comes with the territory and not to let it be the boogie man. You won't hear me in public talk about or raise drama and generalized worry or doubt about the horse industry. It is my choice and belief that it serves me and most people the best to be positive, optimistic, and realistic. There are avenues to have discussion and report real violations, simple speculation and gossip only creates an industry of distrust and will discourage folks to enter the business or continue.
I respect the right that people have to verbalize the negative, and that they may strongly disagree with my position, but negative peer amateur horsemen have really been the most draining part of having horses. Whether its attacks on HYPP horses and now PSSM, or negative speak about unfairness and politics, and I believe equally damaging is highly judgmental and mean spirited statements about each other, all and all negativity statements that discourages participation in the industry. I have spoken up to some individuals that I have observed being mean on Facebook, where it happens a bit. I delete those folks when I see continued bashing. I've opted out of the PSSM forums as I see it as highly slanted and biased. It appears more self-serving for those who are lucky enough to have ended up with non-PSSM horses.
Many forums ask, "what can we do to improve the halter industry?" I would argue it starts with each of us, for me it starts with me! Imagine for a moment, if we just all supported and encouraged each other, and all just showed up in the pen and had a good time, and realized someone has to lose...that is the name of competition. Be a cheerleader and go for it. I worry for those new faces who might consider buying their first halter horse, how do they feel when they hear this stuff? I can't believe it will encourage new entry to this industry. Please be thoughtful of how your messaging hurts us all.
Raising and showing horses is the most fun and stimulating thing in my life. It is for so many people, and could be for so many more. We've put hundreds of halter points on horses that we've raised, fit and shown ourselves on a very moderate budget. So in my experience of 30 years it is a completely open playing field where hard work, and investment works! Look around and put things into relative perspective. This world is full of bad, choose to focus on the great and possible!
What do you think?
Christine Miller (Zoppi)
I love halter horses and have had a dream for as long as I can remember to have a World Champion horse that I raised from my own breeding program. I am a working person. I have had my ups and downs though life and have lived through some heart breaking moments with my horses and also times where I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I took a seven year break from the horses and in late fall of 2012 decided to get back into the game. I decided to begin this blog because I know Im not alone in this dream and journey. Im not a great writer, but I want to challenge myself to do something different, and be more open about the struggles, heartbreak, joy and utter heart pounding excitement that makes me want to successfully breed, show and sell horses, even though the bar is high and some would say only for those who have a lot of money.