So, I got finished with my work, and went to putter on facebook a bit. When I did, I came across a link to this video:
If you watch it, you will see an amazing young horse woman in training. You will also likely notice her brilliant red hair shining with no helmet there to cover it.
And so, the subject of my rant starts. Rude people. (Edit because so many people overlooked this: This entire post is in support of helmet use, and the theme is HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO WEAR ONE).
to shattered helmets, to a proud supporter of the "brain bucket". I've never been opposed to them, but I've been honest about my lack of attention, and how easy it is to grab a horse and not the helmet.
Will I ride with out a helmet? Sure... but it's a pretty rare thing now-a-days. I do not recommend it either. I try to always have my helmet, but I admit, it has happened, and will likely happen again. At least I'm honest about it.
At any rate, today is not about IF you should wear a helmet. I think we can all agree that it's pretty much a good idea. Rather, I want to talk about how you (meaning the vague people on the internets) react to people who do NOT wear them.
So often, especially on facebook, but also other social media places (forums, youtube, and such) the typical way to reply to an image of a person or a child with out a helmet is to make derogatory comments. Now, I apologize if I offend any one, but the people who do that are STUPID!
So why do people act like this?
Do the people who do this think they are going to shame someone into changing their ways? Or is it more likely that the brunt of your attacks will simply refute your comments, an interwebs debate will ensue, and a whole group of people have a bad day? I am pretty sure that some people enjoy the feeling of "power" (however false it is) that making someone feel bad on the interwebs gives them. Mostly though, I'm sure that people are simply oblivious of how rude they are coming across to others.
You see, there's this art, called persuasion. If you want to achieve an outcome, you must make the person involved want to do things the way you are suggesting. In real English that means, makes people want to wear a helmet, not want to yell at you.
Case in point, by making it so common for riders to wear helmets here, and conversations about helmets and helmet quality, we have gotten 2 more of our riders to become helmet fans. Rachel and Chris both now own helmets, and use them every time they ride. Never once did any of us belittle them, ignore them, or get all snitty with them, and the result was a positive change. By our kind and understanding behavior, we have increased the brain protected crowd by another 2.
And so many of the people making these comments are mothers, about someone else's kids. Well "moms" out there, how would you feel if someone like me, who has no children, and limited interactions with kids, who admits openly that I just don't understand children, was to come up and start telling YOU how to raise your child? I bet you'd be livid, right? You'd think something along the lines of "you don't have kids, how could you even know". So how is that any different then YOU telling THEM how to raise their child? You don't know the child, the horse, the situation.. You only have access to a small snap shot in time, captured on "film". From that brief moment, you make huge leaps in assumptions, and then rant like a lunatic for all the world to see. And as most of us know, once it's online, it never really goes away.
None of us wants to keep children from horses! How would you feel if someone screamed at you for "risking" your child by allowing them to be near horses? Well, think about that feeling the next time you want to recommend helmet use to someone, and try to phrase your words accordingly.
And if you're looking for something kind to say, try this "What a lovely young horse person. She looks great with that horse, and look at how kind the horse is. With that amazing red hair, can you imagine how adorable she'd look in a bright pink helmet and matching boots?"
My mother always said, you get more with honey then vinegar. It's true. Be kind, and you might be shocked at the results.
A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.