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.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A RANT on Rude people

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).

You see, I grew up with no helmet.  I believe in the freedom to do dangerous things (I ride horses after all) and I wear a helmet now.  For those who have followed my blog here, you can follow my progression from topless, 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!

I mean, seriously, are you going to change your ways because someone came online and acted like a complete ass to you?  Are you going to meekly reply "oh you're right, let me go out and buy a helmet now so I can be just like you.  You know, all rude and stuff".  Or, being human, like the rest of us, are you more likely to think "what a dumb ass" hit the ignore button, and continue on with your topless ways?

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.

A friend of mine, Carrie, once mentioned to me that she hoped I'd wear a helmet more often, because she worried about me.  Another friend, Leah, said that she really thought it would be a good idea, but didn't want to be pushy.  Eventually, I asked my barn buddies to remind me to grab it... and now it's a habit I have.  All of these people were kind, considerate, and while they spoke about how they felt, never once did they make me feel bad about not wearing a helmet.

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.

The next time you (any of us) want to smart off about people, their children, and a lack of protection, just stop and think a second.  Can't you make the exact same argument about the thought of even letting a child NEAR a horse?  Are you truly any better?  Horses can cripple a person wearing a helmet in many ways.  Broken backs, arms, severed limbs... c'mon, we've all heard the stories.  Why take the chance?  Shouldn't you just tell your child no horses?  The most famous horse injury ever was Christoper Reeve, and he was wearing a helmet.

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.


  1. Sorry, but it is not rude or stupid to be a helmet proponent, especially when you have seen first hand the results of not wearing a helmet. Yes, I have personally encountered a situation where a person DIED because they didn't have a helmet on. Do you think it is rude and stupid to make sure someone buckles their child in a car? Or puts an infant in a carseat? I survived an era of no carseats or seatbelt laws, but if I saw a parent even attempting to drive with an unsecured child I would call the police so fast their head would swim. It's worth being rude to keep a child alive. As an instructor I'm absolutely fine with practicing what I preach and preaching to the masses. It's about safety, not being all nicey nice to avoid hurting someone's feelings.

  2. Awesome!! Exactly how I feel!! You persuade more people by being kind about it!!!

  3. There is a way to approach and reproach a person about safety and safe choices, but I guarantee rudeness is never the answer. You can be passionate about helmets, safety, anti-smoking, drugs, etc. Flat out rude, never works. Cajole, tease, guilt, use humor, but rudeness won't work. However, if it's your facility and your rules, "No helmet, no ride." but even that can be done with manners and polite firmness. Period. There is no place for in your face rude, on anything.

  4. Yes when ever there is a picture or video of person riding without a helmet people now feel entitled to be rude and comment on it.  Sure they should wear a helmet .. but they didn't ... NO ONE needs someone else to be the safety police and yell at them.  Ever since the Helmets for Rider's campaign things have gotten out of hand with strangers telling people what to do- and not always politely.

  5. No offence, but that video really isn't cool to me. I'm sure the comments on it were not nice, and I'm not justifying being rude or mean or even commenting at all, but that little girl is 3. Three. Most three years olds are still top-heavy and are learning to form sentences. They don't need to be lunging 15 hh horses by themselves and cantering said horse with out a helmet...or at all. Especially considering mom has a video camera in her hand and is not anywhere near close enough to do anything if that horse decides to just be a horse. These type of videos are frustrating to me. That kids needs a pony, a helmet, and her mom to be more responsible.

  6. But Tracy...

    I have yet to see ANY horse breed association promote helmet use.  Do they not care about future riders.  When the horse show industry makes helmets mandatory, I'll believe that those in charge care.I too have seen the results of not riding with a helmet.  My best friend was thrown off a horse and suffered a double brain bleed.  She has permanent issues from the accident.  She still won't ride with a helmet.  I have chosen to NOT ride with her. Cajoling, reasoning, logic, teasing...none of it worked.  She is aware that I will attend her funeral.  If the individual is an adult, I allow them to make their own choice.  I may ask if they want to wear a helmet, but it's their choice to die.  

  7. I weigh in heavily on the side of helmets....on everyone.  Had a saddle slip(no, it was my fault, did not check the girth) and without a helmet I would not be here to tell you about it.  Landed butt, back and head.  Wear the damn thing already!!!!

  8. Hi Folks,
    I think some people have missed the point of this post.  It’s not weather we should require everyone (especially kids) to wear helmets. It’s how would you react if they chose not to? Would you chew them out, and rip them a new one? Or would you say “okay, that’s fine.. It’s your choice, but here are some examples why I wear one..”
    Pinzgauer stated that she’s a proponent for helmet use.  At her farm, it is REQUIRED for ANYONE under 18 to wear one, regardless of the parents’ feelings.  Over 18, it’s your choice, they’re available, and this is why we wear them.  Like she said, nobody belittled us if we decided not to wear them.
    Before this year, and becoming a regular up at her farm, I NEVER wore a helmet unless it was REQUIRED.  Like when I worked at a Girl Scout camp, ALL scouts had to wear the ookie velvet English helmets.  They were uncomfortable and NASTY, but rules were rules.  Plus, they looked dopey and would screw up my hair.  ;-)
    I watched some more of the kid’s videos, and saw a lot of what I had growing up.  (BTW, in other videos, Sianna was wearing a helmet.) The mother had her in the saddle with her as a baby (my mom had me in the saddle with her before I knew how to walk).  I had great times with my cousins playing with the horses (two of my cousins did trick riding around the farm)… I trained my horse, and went on countless trail rides running through fields and woods, being crazy, having a grand ol’ time..  None of us wore helmets.  My mom still doesn’t.   It’s never been a big deal to wear one.  I’ve never owned my own riding helmet until I got one for Christmas this year.
    (Funny thing.. I got a mountain bike at 16, and I wasn’t allowed to ride it until I got my bike helmet…but it was fine to hop on my horse without any head gear..  lol)
    Why did I change my mind and start wearing a helmet regularly?  The first time, it made sense, and then became habit.  When we came for our first visit at Pinzgauer’s farm, the helmets were offered.  I decided to accept the offer.. I didn’t know these horses, and we were riding English (I’m a western girl). My husband was a fairly new rider.. all the factors made me think “The extra protection might be a good idea… you never know what could happen”.  Now, I’ve been helping with some of the more green ones, so I’ve got my own helmet now. 
    Chris took a nasty fall a couple weeks ago off one of the green girls.  He’s bruised, but luckily doesn’t have a concussion.. because he wore his helmet.  I’ve seen other crashes where people have been lucky because they had their helmet..
    I’m a convert.. I’ll probably even pack my helmet in my luggage when I go home to visit and plan to ride.

  9. It doesn't offend me at all.  Your response was nice and polite, and framed in a logical fashion.  Hence... everything my post was about.

  10. I weigh in on them as well.  The topic is about how to get more people to use them.

  11. I think your post is spot-on. It is funny (and not in a Haha way) how 'brave' people are when they are behind the safety of their computer screens...free from the reality of a face to face confrontation. I guess it makes them feel better about their own sorry selves.

    I think it is asinine that people are deliberately rude and nasty and then try and justify their action/words by saying it's about 'safety'. Oh puuu-lleeezzzze...Acting like that has absolutely NOTHING to do with 'educating' anyone or even feeling a smidgeon of true concern for the safety of someone else or their child. Anyone with even a lick of common sense knows that. The real reason behind that kind of behavior towards people you don't know has more to do with an inflated sense of self importance and a touch of narcissism. 

  12. People are ESPECIALLY rude online. Youtube seems to be the worst of all. People are definitely not going to change their ways because someone is nasty and demeaning. I cringe watching this little girl on such a big horse with no helmet on, but it's not my place to tell her parents how to raise her. My kid would be wearing a helmet, and I might say something if I knew them in real life, but I certainly wouldn't be name calling about it. Sad to see people missing the point in your comments.