Sunday, March 19, 2017

Will We Throw Stones from Afar, or BE A PART OF THE EVOLUTION OF EQUESTRIAN TESTS? - Full Article

We can throw stones, complain about them, stumble on them, climb over them, or build with them. — William Arthur Ward

By John Crandell

We’re high in the middle of yet another attention-grabbing season of endurance racing in U.A.E, and once again inflamed rhetoric is singeing the digital highways. I’d like to offer some perspective that might help keep these exchanges as genuinely constructive as possible, and in doing so will point out some specific reasons why some addresses have been counterproductive to the best interest of equestrian sports, and the respect our horses deserve.

Many stones are being cast from afar with little awareness of their actual effect at the point of impact, or the full perception of the recipients. There is an old Arabian proverb that translates something like: “I against my brother, my brother and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against the world”. In this is a reminder of the necessity of respecting social proximities when attempting to settle disputes and share challenging ideas. There are always a few in every large group of people that will have an open mind to our own perspectives. Those people are always the essential element of any lasting change. Change brought by force from the outside is never heartfully and durably absorbed. It’s nearly impossible to have an effective diplomatic discussion with someone while your associates are glaring through a pipe, overlooking their own vices, and throwing stones at his brother every time something offends them.

Those of us in the United States of America have the most to lose by continuing to act in this narrow field of vision. Our minds been bombarded with a century of hyper-anthropomorphism, amplified and fed back to us by a commercial entertainment media all too willing to capitalize on the allure of animations and illusions of animals that have exactly the perceptions and values humans have. Our own naivety and arrogance is fed back to us in volume, and our animals suffer for it as we cloud our ability to objectively learn their perceptions, their ethos, their needs for happiness. Stan Eichelberger DVM, once pointed out to me in the lobbies of an American Endurance Ride Conference convention that “Walt Disney has been the cruelest thing that ever happened to animals...”

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