Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
yes, I am at an AA show this weekend...and thinking...dayum, if just the people at this show gave up their entry fees (we wont even go into what a lot of these folks PAID for their horses) for this one weekend, how many shelterboxes or meds that would buy....
I get it...but if I thought about it too hard, I couldnt get up in the mornings.
"You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
Yes. The thought that my horse is sleeping is better/safer accommodations than people in Haiti right now did cross my mind....
It is hard.... you try not to feel guilty, for the way things are, that you just happened to be born in the US and have the opportunities that we have... but it is hard not to feel guilty sometimes. When you see so much suffering elsewhere in the world.
My theory is all we can do is love our families and friends, take care of each other, be kind, give a little love/money/energy/time here and there when we can....
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
I know what you're saying. However, I feel like I already work hard to EARN what I have. Its not handed to me on a platter. I give back when I can, do some local charity work. Would it make me feel virtuous to give back to fellow man kind on a greater scale, like hopping on a plane and helping those in Haiti instead of my weekly riding lesson? Honestly, I don't know if it would. I feel for the people over there and I also whole heartedly support the people who do such good things for others. But its just not who I am.
Absolutely PP, I get it and I concur with you. I've had a rough couple of years, like so many other people have, but my idea of "rough" doesn't hold a candle to the reality of "rough" in Haiti, even before the earthquake hit. It's akin to a wealthy person citing being broke, but still finding the money to claim horses, build a summer home, etc. (yes, I know that person!). To me, broke is being inventive getting through until the "check in the mail" arrives. But, I still have a full belly, access to good medical care, a very nice rented home, etc. My lone horse is a luxury in every sense of the word, eventhough her expenses are bare bones now.
Yet, you're right that what we spend on horses would be a fortune to a family in Haiti. Our perspective needs to be tweaked once in a while, and I think that's what you're speaking to.
I have a frugal streak in me and I've tried to inculcate that in my kids. For the most part, I think they get it. I'm pleased that businesses that cater to teens, e.g. Hollister, Abercrombie, etc., have taken a hit because their demographic audience has lost their discretionary income and they've been forced to purchase items of the same or better quality for a fraction of the price of the once de rigeur labels. In my estimation, the waste of money spent on "things" just for the satisfaction of acquiring them, or enhancing status, is more disturbing than horse ownership. Preaching to the choir, I know, but my time at the barn is my time for contemplation and sanity. Raising my filly and getting her ready for the racetrack gives me an ongoing sense of satisfaction and allows me to focus on a goal that gives me pleasure.
So, if that sounds like making excuses, so be it. It's my weakness and my only indulgence.
I we didn't have horses with their attendant expenses, Haiti would still be poor and suffering from the aftermath of a major earthquake. As is often the case when calamity strikes, the world at large opens its heart and pocketbook to help victims. More often than not, events of this nature demonstrate that people are compassionate and caring and generous. Perhaps our connection to our horses, whose well-being is dependent on us, heightens our sense of compassion and benevolence. I'd like to think that's true.
I was having a lousy day the other day. My horse is off with an injury, I've been in a tight squeeze with money the past few weeks, and the live-in boyfriend and I have been bickering. I was crabby and depressed and just having one of THOSE days. And then I turned on the TV and watched some Haiti coverage and thought to myself, "I really don't have any problems." I have an apartment to live in, a car to drive, a job, health insurance, food and clothes and heat and electricity...and I own a freaking horse. A total and complete luxury. I really have NO problems.
If I think too hard over it, I seriously work myself into a major depression.
My church went on a mission trip to Haiti. I didn't get to go, but just seeing the video of it all and hearing about what they went through.. how horrible it is over there and how freaking HOT it is. I felt guilty for like 3 weeks because I have AC in my house! I also dont have to sleep on dirt floors.. Hell neither do my horses! How low do I feel after that? Pretty darn low! I have already felt bad about how I live even before this Haiti earth quake struck... it really is sad that these people have to live through this, but they are some of the nicest people! Our mission team said that even people they werent over there helping we so kind to them and welcomed them, more so then the other mission teams did. Makes me feel low....
~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor
I am going to stop whining, about ANYTHING.
I have given some money and I am going to have a fundraiser at my barn.
I am going to thank my lucky stars I live where I do, the way I do.
There is one clip that shows a woman sitting beside body... her pain is unbearable to watch.
But I still enjoy my babies.
PP, the thought that keeps me going is that we are keeping a lot of people employed and the wheels of commerce turning.
For instance, I make my living manufacturing and selling a luxury item that is just entirely irrelevant to most people on this planet. So I do have "what the hell..." moments about that, too.
Then I go out to the workshop and see the people working out there, earning a wage to be able to support their families, and I simply regard it as a redistribution process--the people I sell to have more money than they need, the people who work for me need the money.
I know how fortunate I was to be born where I was into the family I was.
I understand what you are saying... But it just doesn't work that way. What you spend on your horses are part the the US economy. And sick as it is at the moment, this economy has enough left over to send (as a start) 100 million dollars of our tax money, our hospital ships, helicopters, transport planes, thousands of military and civilian personnel of every specialty required and much, much more.
We can do that because we work hard, have a huge thriving country full of people who have a lot more than the bare minimum. You giving up your horses would not do one thing for the Haitians at the moment. Their biggest issues are logistical right now. This is the case for any disaster like this.
Give what you can. But don't change your life. Your life, our lives, our society is what it is and also what makes it possible for us, as a country, to respond as we do. Other countries do as well. Living like a monk won't make anything better.
As for long term poverty... That is a different type of problem. If you look at what the Gates' and Buffetts' of the world do with their multiple billions you can get an idea of why long term poverty is such a difficult problem. The root cause is the inability to be subsist or rise above subsistence levels long enough to build some wealth that can be used in case of emergency or disaster. Again, changing your life doesn't fix that. Nothing is fair, but that isn't your fault. All you can do, all anyone can do is live their life and share the "extra" they have for emergencies and disasters.
The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.
I agree with "give what you can", but am not sure I agree that the US *can* afford to send $100 million. Aren't we already a couple BILLION in debt? And the country with the most money right now, China, is only sending $1 million?
Don't get me wrong, I'm proud that we always step up and step up BIG to help. I just can't help but wonder if we're overdoing it this time to ease the guilt of not doing enough for folks displaced by Katrina.
That all said, I am wishing I could do something more concrete than contribute a dribble and feeling that if I didn't have my horse, I could do more, even though I'm unemployed. Then I wonder how much longer I can KEEP said horse if I remain unemployed and how far am I from being homeless and impoverished? A ways away, for sure, but I totally get PP's point. And I'll do everything in my power to keep my girl as long as I can because she keeps me sane during all the crap in life.
but people need to sit back and realize that although such tragedies like haiti or hurricane katrina are...well....tragic...its a force of nature that no one could do anything about. Its not preventable and it never, really, ever will be. yes, its terribly sad that so many people have perished in the earthquake, and its sad that these people are out there starving with no homes, etc. but honestly; theres only so much other countries can do and we as people can do. The haitian governement has no means to support their people in the wake of a tragedy, big or small, and right now, other countries are doing their best to step up and hep and i think that is a beautiful thing but in the end you need to think that everyone is doing their best to accomidate such tragedies.
While i feel for the families who have lost loved ones, etc I look at it in a bigger picture. sometimes i think of it as mother natures' way of population control; although, in the big picture, the world's population of humans is out of control. As sad as it is to see people suffering and people who have lost their lives in such a tragedy; theres really not much anyone can do right now other than donate some funds or some time to personally go there and help out. you cannot prevent natural disasters.
This is where i think the haitian government, and other 3rd world countries, will hopefully step up and realize that such natural, horrible, tragedies occur, they need to step up and have a plan set in stone if something where to happen within their country instead of rely on countries 1/2 way around the world for immediate relief. While im blessed to live in a country who has such plans ready to put in action at any moment; i'm hoping other countries, rich or poor, will begin to think about having immediate action plans instead of waiting for the other countries to organize supplies to eventually be able to ship there. while i think we can do the best we can to get relief there; if the hatian government had, had a plan ready....aid would've been applied much quicker
While i think having horses is a luxury i also look at it as a wonderful priveledge that i am thankful for everyday. not everyone gets to share their lives with such special creatures. While my horses live better than most people in 3rd world countries;
I look at it as though we have worked hard everyday to have what we have and to be able to provide for these horses and have them in our lives. they bring much joy to my life and i am greatful for that joy and my horses everyday. While its tragedies like haiti that make us all take a step back and realize and rethink how we live and what we cherish the most; i think that although a great tragedy has occured; our lives must go on. we can donate funds and suuplies we can afford after continuing to provide for ourselves but in the end your "luxuries" and hobbies in your lives are there because you worked your butts off to make the money to be able to keep something like that within your life.
And while you folks may think that this "luxury" of a horse is now a
"burden" of sorts; you are in fact NOT greedy so please don't think you are. these luxuries are found in the people of haiti too, although maybe not in such a perspective as we look at it. everyone has their own idea of what a luxury really is and what they really cherish in their lives. i consider my horses a part of our family so they are not so much a "luxury" to me.
Sure its depressing sometimes to think about what you might have in comparison to what others dont have but in the end; you worked hard for what you have in a great country that supports its people and you were very fortunate to have what you have and to do what you do everyday. and that my friends, is a blessing. keep your chins up. such tragedies always have a certain way of "healing" and "strengthening" in others.
The situation is awful down there. Stopping polictical corruption would do much to help many countries where poverty prevails.
A girlfriends husband left yesterday for Haiti with his cadavor dog. After Katrina he and his dog located the bodies of 100 victims. We're having dinner together Monday night and maybe she'll have an update from him. He is an awesome guy who can bring closure for families who have lost loved ones.
Wealth is not a scale that must be balanced ........if you have more, it does not mean that someone therefor had to take less.
I feel very bad for the people of Haiti, but if the government over there wasn't so corrupt, much of this could have been averted. We (and other allies) have sent them billions in aid that have never made it out of the presidential palace.
When I lived in Africa (20 years ago), the people were astounded that the government here would help you if you were down(welfare) and that schools were free. They questioned.......if everyone there can go to school for free and everyone is allowed to work, why isn't everyone rich? That fact that some don't want to work was a concept that they were unable to grasp. There, if you didn't work, you starved ....or worse.
Yes, often it seems absurd to me. Even obscene sometimes, especially in the last few years with the econonomy being so bad and knowing there are so many people losing their jobs and homes, many through no fault of their own.
I've tried to compensate by looking at my own spending habits and lifestyle and trying to eliminate as much waste and unnecessary consumption as possible, and dontating more. I'm far from perfect at it, but I keep on working at it and hopefully am improving. And I also discuss this issue with DD, and I'm actually impressed with her fugality.
Its not enough, I guess, when you consider what others are going through, but I just keep trying to get better and give more.
PP, I also think that the very fact that we 'consider' this issue, and feel blessed but not 'entitled' is what sets us apart from the corrupt governments that contribute to the poverty of so many people in countries like Haiti.
Last edited by Trevelyan96; Jan. 16, 2010 at 11:36 PM.
Pintopiaffe and others, boy do I hear you. I live daily in that tension of being in Haiti to help, but I'm living better than many Haitians. I and my cat live in a 25' by 40' concrete house which is tiny by US standards, but Haitian friends always comment on how big it is. I make my cat a wet cat food because it's much cheaper than buying wet food and he needs it - but quite a few local kids would consider that recipie a really good dinner for themselves. Ditto even for the corn supplement that the pony mare gets - pregnant/lactating though she may be, it is 'people food'.
Taking responsable care of our families and animals is an obligation we've taken on, not a luxury. And I am right with you, the cat and the ponies are my stress relief instead of much more destructive habits. And, the animals work to earn their keep! They are also God's creatures and their basic needs, managed in basic and responsible ways, are perfectly legit in my book.
I can't claim to be living hand to mouth because of what I spend on them/give to others. However, I do give quite a bit of my income to various projects in Haiti and abroad. I live very, very simply and don't do many normal things. That way I free up funds for the cat/ponies/church/ Rotary/local projects/IRA. There have been many threads here about people living dirt cheap so they can have a horse, and so the horse can have medical care. Or to build up an emergency fund beforehand. In those cases horses aren't luxuries, they are a part of our lives we've made space for with sacrifices. Some scrimp in order to show: I don't call showing an irrisponsible luxury in and of itself but those kinds of costs I don't consider essentials. Grant you, I'm not a pro rider making a living via showing!
My family went out to dinner at the local winery tonight - $120 total for 4 people. As I was eating wine and steak I was thinking of all those who'd love to have bread and water. But? I know from half a week of trying that there's no way I can get any more supplies into Haiti any faster than I'm doing for logistical reasons, so that wine and steak will never get there anyway. Not living in a decent house wouldn't have made it any more possible for poor people in Port to make cement blocks better capable of withstanding the pressures of a 7.0 quake. Let alone changed the geology of the Port au Prince mountains and plain (I'm a trained geologist, believe me I know!)
I've had to come to terms with the fact that there are two different planets on the planet, and I can't change that. I can do all I can to combat the results of that fact and to help improve the situation for Haitians how I can, but then I have to let it rest. The problems in Haiti are deeper than just ‘poverty’ or ‘corruption’ or ‘plate tectonics’. The possibilities for things improving are also stronger than they seem because so many Haitians do want things to change, if only they can find a way past the blockages of all kinds that make ‘living out the ideal’ give way to ‘living what seems possible’.
Long enough post.
Last edited by HorsesinHaiti; Jan. 16, 2010 at 11:30 PM.
LLDM and Iron Horse Farm said it. Especially about the Haitian government.
Honestly, I just don't worry any more about what I have versus what other people have. Life is not fair. And God help me, I agree with farmgirl--there isn't much you can do to stop a hurricane or an earthquake or a volcano or a tornado. I could lose my house to a tornado or an earthquake tomorrow (okay, earthquake is unlikely, hurricane is PROFOUNDLY unlikely, but weirder things have happened.) Though it's not the planet's population control, just evidence that the planet (not being sentient) does not give a crap what lives or dies on it. The earth is a volatile system and (not being an sort of thinking entity) isn't capable of caring about the organisms on it, any of them, human or otherwise. Any one of us could get slammed with disaster tomorrow.
I have enough money to own a horse. Giving that up because I feel guilty because other people have less is not in fact going to make them happier and it's just going to make me more unhappy.
While i feel for the families who have lost loved ones, etc I look at it in a bigger picture. sometimes i think of it as mother natures' way of population control
Did you really say that? Ouch. I won't even get started on that one.
Last night, I turned on the news immediately after I had made a deal and committed an ungodly amount of money for a 6-horse LQ trailer. Boy did I feel like an ass...SO and I looked at each other with the same thought: we're getting a luxury ride for ourselves and our ridiculously pampered show horses while these folks are trying to dig their loved ones out of rubble? The same thought occurred to me as I used my tractor/front end loader today - wow, I am using this equipment to move piles of show horse manure and drag an indoor arena, while the same tractor could be used to literally save human lives in another country. Nothing like a good reality check, eh? There but for the grace of God go I, and all that.
Then I remind myself that these ridiculously expensive things I have are tools to support my business, which in turn fuels our own country's economy. And as others have mentioned, these horses bring a richness to the lives of the people who love them that can't be measured in dollars. I am certainly motivated, though, to send what little dribble I can to relief efforts over there, which can be done by skipping some of the extra little things I've been planning, like an unneccessary dinner out, a haircut, or bringing my own youngster to the next horse show on my dime.