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Eventing Nation booted from covering Event in Unionville, PA

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    Originally posted by Horsegirl's Mom View Post
    .........
    But the issue here is whether the existence of white privilege automatically renders the landowner's opinion invalid. Yes, black people (or more accurately white people purporting to speak for them) have raised the concern that "plantation" reminds some people of slavery. Meanwhile the landowner has competing concerns that have to do with honoring his grandfather and, as some have suggested, the expense of changing the name (which someone on this thread calculated would dwarf the assets of the non-profit that runs the event). The landowner's concerns shouldn't be just thrown out the window because he happens to be white.
    ............
    Absolutely no one has taken the positions that I bolded. In this thread or elsewhere.


    Originally posted by Wingstem View Post
    ............
    To assert that anyone who doesn't fall on their knees and beg to whoever is making a demand of them is actually entitled, privileged, and selfish doesn't follow. Quite the opposite. As I've written before - the landowner does not owe you anything. None of you. That's not white male privilege. That's not classism, narcissism, or any other ism. He owns the land and you were his guests. You acted like jerks. He was harassed and a "journalist" targeted him. There's an easy way to fix that. He asked you to leave. From his perspective, the problem is solved. Which is true.
    .............
    "You acted like jerks." Who acted like jerks? No one has said that eventers generally were jerks. I thought that a tiny handful of people at EN were the only jerks, in this argument. (Two people, I think it was?)



    I have not seen where anyone has made demands of the type in these two posts.

    These types of extreme overstatements have made this conversation useless.

    All that these inaccuracies, fallacies and wild overstatements accomplish is to give people the feeling that they are 'standing up' for something grand, when that is not what is happening at all.

    Comment


      Nancy Jaffer wrote a solid article on Sept. 21st, that is on Horse Sport. I thought it worth sharing to those following this thread. But... that whole linking challenge is a headache as usual. So... I’ll just copy and paste it. It’s full of quotes from key upper level people. David O’Connor, Bruce Davidson, Phillip Dutton, etc. An interesting read for sure.

      “Will Semantics Spell the Demise of Plantation Field?”

      The cloud over last weekend’s Plantation Field International Horse Trials wasn’t in the sky.

      Picture-perfect weather for eventing ‒ crisp temperatures and sunshine sparkling down on an impeccable carpet of green turf ‒ underlined the special nature of the event in Pennsylvania’s horse country. But the occasion took on a poignant air with the knowledge that it could be the last time the competition is held at the scenic site.

      A controversy involving political correctness resulted in the landowner ending his lease with the organizer of the event. Cuyler Walker was upset by the implication that his family had a link with racism when the Eventing Nation website cited the event’s “troubling associations inherent in the name Plantation Field. Specifically the word ‘plantation’” and called for the event to have a name change.

      In an editorial, the website maintained that “Asking people of color to come visit, to spectate, volunteer, or compete, at a place called Plantation is insensitive at best and works against our efforts to implement more diversity in the sport.”

      The issue led to a headline and story in the local paper, another dagger to the landowner, who has been active in municipal governance and chairs the local East Marlborough Township planning commission.

      Then the U.S. Eventing Association got into the act, with its executive committee announcing the day before the event started that it would not use the name Plantation in press releases. After a furor erupted on social media, USEA walked it back, issuing a statement from CEO Rob Burk and president Max Corcoran that stated: “Having this historic competition close isn’t the right result for the sport, and the USEA is working hard to find a solution. The organizer and landowners operate exceptional events on a beautiful piece of land.”

      They noted “We are deeply sensitive to the history of the word ‘plantation’ and its connection to slavery; however, this property has no known connections to slavery. and was instead named after ‘plantings’ on the property.” As of midday today, there was no story about the event on USEA’s website.

      Riders interviewed at the event were saddened by the thought they may not be able to ride again at Plantation Field, with its wonderful terrain, testing cross-country courses and arenas.

      “It’s such a huge loss for us,” said Canadian rider Lisa Marie Fergusson, who is based nearby and came in 21st with Honor Me in the 4*-Short field of 53. “It’s the best event ever,” she observed. “It’s so much fun.”

      It was the first time at the venue for Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, who won the 4-star on Deniro Z and wants to return to the facility.

      “I think it’s wonderful and it just breaks my heart that it won’t happen again. I hope with everything in me that it does, because what a wonderful venue and a big proper course, which is great. Just an awesome place. I loved every second of it. I hope it happens again.”

      Announcer Brian O’Connor, noting he had been told that the property owner was quite emotional about the situation, felt at the very least Cuyler should be thanked for allowing the property to be used for the last 20 years. He suggested that if Cuyler, who had been staying away from the event would come over, the riders could thank him. But organizer Dennis Glaccum said that wasn’t in the cards.

      “What about if we bring the mountain to him? I’ll rally the troops and we’ll go do it,” asked Brian. So more than 50 riders were loaded into vehicles and went to Cuyler’s house. When the riders were all on his front lawn, he came out to accept a round of applause.

      “He was quite surprised and very moved,” said Brian, who told him, “What you’ve been reading on line is not what people think about your event. These are the people who want to thank you, these are the people, the boots on the ground, who care about this event.”

      As Brian recalled, “He was very appreciative. He said, “I’m sorry we had to make this decision. It hurts my family, that’s why we had to make this choice. We didn’t want to make it. It was basically an insult to his family history to have this miscommunication about the name and whether it’s racist.”

      Like others who know the history of the situation, Brian pointed out, “You need to have a conversation” about something like this. He explained the name was taken out of context and that the word Plantation “has nothing to do with Tara. This is not a plantation where that kind of thing happened. It was based on a history called a planting field.”

      The name, which is based on a dictionary definition of plantation, stems from the Boy Scouts planting trees there in the 1930s. There were never slaves on this acreage and it is in an area where the Underground Railroad worked with slaves who came north to seek their freedom. Plantation Field benefits several charitable organizations, including Work to Ride, a program for disadvantaged urban youths that offers them an opportunity to ride and work with horses.

      Canadian rider Holly Jacks-Smither, who said Plantation Field is “my absolute favorite event” was in the group that went to Cuyler’s house.

      “I think he was touched,” said Holly after finishing fifth in the 4-star on More Inspiration, who also got the award as the top-finishing thoroughbred.

      “It’s sad to lose this venue. I don’t think he was being hard, I think he was being hurt,” she said of the land owner.

      “He genuinely doesn’t want to be called something he isn’t,” added Holly, who doesn’t mind having to spend two weeks in quarantine on her return to Ontario as the price for coming to the U.S.

      “I want to thank him so much for having us here. I think we’re behind him and would love to come back.”

      Eventing legend Bruce Davidson, who lives in the area, was angry at anyone in the sport’s governance who “was supportive of this problem,” contending they, “should be dismissed…and find new jobs.” Their purpose, he said, should be “to promote the sport, not to interfere with it. To take some of the best sport we have in the country and do this to it is not a very intelligent thing to do.”

      As time goes on, Brian hopes there can be a real discussion about the situation “and maybe it can change.”

      His brother, former U.S. Equestrian Federation president and Olympic eventing gold medalist David O’Connor commented about the event, “Hopefully we haven’t lost it.” He thinks people have “probably learned a lesson, being a little too quick and hasty and aggressive. There are ways to do things. I think everybody lost in this one. Politics takes time, you have to convince people. But it’s up to the owner, it’s his legacy.”

      Olympic medallist Phillip Dutton, a member of the event’s board and runner-up with Z in the 4-star, said the property owner’s reaction is “understandable from Cuyler’s point of view,” but also pointed out it’s only a small number of people who want to change the name. He thinks the riders as a group may come out with a statement this week showing their support for the event and he added, “Hopefully, Cuyler can reconsider.”

      Dr. Kevin Keane, a veterinarian from the area who rode in the event, called the prospect of the competition being discontinued “devastating.”

      Then he added, “I think it’s probably all very early on. Why don’t we all just take a little bit of a deep breath and be hopeful for the future of this event?”

      Comment


        Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post

        Well, I haven’t seen anyone making the arguments that you are attributing to them. Nor have I made those arguments. Because they are obviously failing arguments.

        But I really don’t want to get in more “back and forth” stuff again. It’s so unpleasant.

        Do you have any thoughts with respect to creating a more inclusive and respectful sporting community for everyone, that you want to voice? I brought up the example of a conversation that I had with someone, and how they spoke about “Mexicans”... because it made my jaw drop. But... I don’t move in high end hunter circles, and that sort of commentary is not the norm in the eventing community. Nonetheless, there are horse farms everywhere in this country which do cut costs by employing undocumented labor. And I think that’s an equity concern, and awful.

        I invited anyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with me on a lot of what I’ve said on this thread so far to share their opinion on that issue. I thought maybe we could find some common ground on that at least.

        Any thoughts?
        Not saying you personally, but there are people out there who did on the threads and FB.

        And having a conversation with someone is a start, but by no means is it a solution - maybe voting for candidates in elections who support fair working wages, health care, and other [gasp] progressive policies will actually make a dent in the qualify of life for overworked and underpaid workers who are just trying to make a living. If business owners can't afford help that gets paid above the table, then they shouldn't be in this business. (Or, worse, they're wealthy and just cheapskates who only care about profit margins rather than economic equity. Sounds all too familiar...)

        In public health (my field), we talk about upstream and downstream determinants that play into equity and equality. The downstream factors, such as access to quality healthcare, education, food, water, etc. are directly affected by what happens upstream at the macro level (e.g., government). You can try and change the micro level, but true, lasting effects only happen from change upstream. You're doing the right thing by having a conversation with your friends at the micro level and [hopefully] will correct someone when they refer to "Mexicans," but real change will only happen when someone higher up - whether it be an organization or even a BNR - takes a stand. Sadly, Boyd's actions have had the same effect, but to a detriment.
        Blog
        Translation
        fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
        skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

        Comment


          Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

          And that posters in this thread are calling out other posters who are trying to point this out, trying to move the discussion in a broader direction about real inclusion. But some posters who are driving the thread direction are responding by calling them names; making personally disparaging remarks; even posting in aggressively hostile and shocking ways. Actively trying to drive them out of the discussion. And being praised for it.


          Or in short words, I don't think this thread discussion is going to age well.


          This conversation should be about inclusion. But it's not. For some strange, twisted, incomprehensible reason, it's about defending some people for not wanting to discuss inclusion, from a force that is no real threat to them. It's about vilifying some well-intentioned, if possibly misguided, people who wanted better for eventing.
          This is a good articulation of how several of us experienced this. After I was told to "REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THIS THREAD" you can imagine my reaction when that very same poster threatened to report someone for being personally aggressive towards her in this thread.

          I agree this thread is a bad reflection on eventing today. I don't want to see anyone doxxed - that's repulsive. But, as I said pages ago, if I were a young rider or parent of a young rider and read this, I would look elsewhere for a welcoming place. I don't think that's true of eventing - or at least didn't used to be. But if the bulk of the posts in this thread are indicative of what it is now, I am sad for the sport.

          I also found it rather odd that people were doing everything I bolded above, yet at the same time were carrying on about "cancel culture". Trying to silence opposing opinions, calling for people who supported the name change at the USEA level to lose their jobs, openly wishing to have an online publication somehow barred from covering public events (not just PF) and to eventually go out of business - that's as cancel culture as you can get.

          The whole thing was very disheartening.



          Comment


            Originally posted by Wingstem View Post
            I was surprised to find this still so active, so popped back in to look around. As someone a bit removed from the situation (and who has no vested interest in the outcome, the players involved, etc) I'll chime in. Ignore it if you want - I certainly won't lose sleep over it.

            I read a comment that this up and coming generation was taught to stand up, take a stand, etc. (So were previous generations - you're not special) No one is telling younger people to shut up and sit down and eat your meat or you won't get any pudding.

            But there are ways to broach difficult subjects - you don't get to just decide one day you're going to get into someone's face. First - you actually don't have the right to dictate to other people. Second, it's a good way to get punched in the nose (probably why there are so many "brave" people on the internet) Third - what makes you think you are right? Just by deciding that your opinion is the only right one and there is no possibility you could be wrong, everyone else is wrong but you doesn't actually make you right. Really. It's a great big world out there and incredibly rich in diversity of thought, experience, and perspective. Overlapped with different generations, ethnic makeup, nationalities, and genetics. But it seems there is this tendency to think there can be only one possible worldview. That's very narrow minded, dangerous thinking. It's also infantile.

            I was actually appalled by the actions of EN and their journalist. Because what they did was unethical. Yes, at the end of the day they acted unethically. Not because they aren't entitled to an opinion (of course they are) but because this publication and its employee decided to abdicate their responsibilities as journalists - and go on a PERSONAL attack against a landowner and a nonprofit. You don't actually get to do that - or - if you do - don't be surprised if you're out of business. What people do on their own time is one thing. I've certainly written scathing letters to the editor, picketed, and protested.

            But what I didn't do is use my employment as a cover to further a personal agenda. Unfortunately, this appears to more of a personal crusade than a professional one to EN. If I was the owner of EN, and this journalist was my employee, I'd fire her.

            Social activism is a wonderful thing. To use our words and actions to uplift others, to identify problems in our society and propose solutions. But you also have to acknowledge that engaging in figurative or literal destruction doesn't actually accomplish anything. As we see here.

            To assert that anyone who doesn't fall on their knees and beg to whoever is making a demand of them is actually entitled, privileged, and selfish doesn't follow. Quite the opposite. As I've written before - the landowner does not owe you anything. None of you. That's not white male privilege. That's not classism, narcissism, or any other ism. He owns the land and you were his guests. You acted like jerks. He was harassed and a "journalist" targeted him. There's an easy way to fix that. He asked you to leave. From his perspective, the problem is solved. Which is true.

            That isn't a white male right - that is a right all of us have. And if you're not careful - more landowners, sponsors, and organizers will exercise that right.

            It's called consequences.

            I wish you could read these posts from a more nuanced perspective. Do you realize that instead of old labels to identify minorities - you've just come up with new ones? Did you ever think to refer to your fellow human beings as just that? No - you have to stick them in a box and label them. In point of fact - by labeling them you diminish them as human beings. They're just an acronym. A "group". How dehumanizing. And you pretend to know all about this "group" as if these human beings are not entitled to diverse experiences and opinions?

            Are you truly concerned about being inclusive? Because it doesn't sound like it. From what I've read it sounds like some of you are trying to outdo each other on how "woke" you are. Using the latest buzzwords and acronyms. Frankly - the way I see minority groups being used in this way - I don't blame them for not getting involved in eventing.

            I can think of other horse sports that are more diverse and inclusive. Much more. Maybe the problem isn't the name of this venue. Maybe the problem is that many of the personalities in this sport are rich white women worrying about where they'll find a "Mexican" as a laborer. But only if he's illegal that way you don't have to pay him much.

            Lots of luck with the future of eventing. You're losing access to land, your horses and many riders are killed or severely injured, animal rights activists would shoot you as much as look at you, you can't manage to talk about expanding the sport without using dehumanizing language, and you've managed to piss off some of the most influential and dedicated supporters.

            May I suggest that is not a winning strategy?



            Again for emphasis

            Comment


              "animal rights activists would shoot you as much as look at you,"

              ​​​​​​That isn't limited to eventing. Their goal is for there to be ZERO animal ownership or use. They show up at agility events and insist the handlers are monsters for making the dogs participate. Meanwhile, the canine chorus of excitement and enthusiasm can merit wearing hearing protection.

              Comment


                Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                My problem with this thread is the way it is ignoring the actual subject of inclusion. Ignoring this opportunity to venture into that subject in a way that eventing has never done before. And, the influence that this thread may be having on the larger wave of feeling in eventing. And that this thread is a *very* *bad* *look* for eventing, as it ignores that opportunity, and instead is defending one or two people who do *not* want to have that conversation.
                Have you been not reading the thread or am I reading a different thread?
                There has been discussion here on how to be inclusive.

                This thread also points out that shutting down events makes them not available to anyone....the horrible rich white people or anyone else that you want to include.

                There have been lots of good suggestions on how the name of this event could have been changed with out pouncing on the land owner, with out making eventing look bad. But clearly the person who started this mess wanted it done their way and only their way.

                Comment


                  Having read the latest fb thread about Boyd's response, I can't believe that white people seem to feel that telling people of color to basically "take a seat, I know how you should feel about this and you need me, as a white person, to speak for you" isn't the most demeaning, disrespectful, and insulting thing they could possibly do.

                  Also, the current banner ad on EN is for Morven Park, which IIRC was actually affiliated with slavery, and we're good with that, apparently.
                  Last edited by soloudinhere; Sep. 28, 2020, 08:10 AM.
                  Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                  you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                  Comment


                    Boyd has made another statement on Facebook:

                    First and foremost, I want to be absolutely clear that I am one hundred per cent for diversity and equality in equestrian sports. At our farm here at Windurra I employ people from all different countries, cultures and religions. I have enjoyed training and competing horses with people from all over the world. The issue of race has nothing to do with my problem with Eventing Nation.

                    Being on the board of Planation Field International, it is my opinion that EN handled their questioning of the name “Plantation Field” terribly. They knew exactly what was going to happen when they pushed for the change just before our premier event, and I have emails to prove it. I am absolutely open to a discussion about changing the events name, but I would have preferred a calm, reasonable discussion over a cup of coffee with the landowner after the competition had taken place. I’m angry at their timing, and the fact that they knew it would be the downfall of PFI.

                    Over the years our community has spent many hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars developing Plantation Field. Many locals depend on this venue, from the grassroots horses and riders just getting started in the sport, to Olympic riders preparing for championships.

                    Yesterday I was successful at an event in Aiken just five days after the debacle at PFI and I was getting calls to be interviewed by Eventing Nation. I still have a very bitter taste in my mouth and I just feel like it would hypocritical of me to shrug my shoulders and self-promote my performance on their website.

                    I fully support equality in sports and bringing the sport of eventing to a wider audience, and I hope that we as a community can work together for this common goal.


                    Boyd Martin.

                    Comment


                      I borrowed this comment from FB. It captures my thoughts well:

                      I can BOTH understand the concern and dislike of the connotations associated with the word "Plantation" and yet still understand the venue / property Plantation Field has not had, and has never had, any association with such. And that the name is decades old.

                      EN handled this so poorly. There are mature, correct and non-self serving ways to promote change. If anything, EN's actions caused a LOT more hurt feelings, division, and embarrassment in the community than ever would have occurred if the landowner had been approached privately.

                      I know that sometimes change does require extreme (public) measure, but that is when all other attempts have been exhausted. Unless I am wrong, this did not appear to be the case. This seemed like EN using a platform to intentionally stir the pot and cause a riot for the sake of clicks.

                      White advocates (myself included) have to be extremely careful to think long and hard about why they are doing what they are doing- is it to really show support and promote change within our community, or to make yourself feel like a better, smarter person because you took a stand? Actions require introspection, and EN needs to look hard at its own motives on this one.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post
                        Boyd has made another statement on Facebook:

                        First and foremost, I want to be absolutely clear that I am one hundred per cent for diversity and equality in equestrian sports. At our farm here at Windurra I employ people from all different countries, cultures and religions. I have enjoyed training and competing horses with people from all over the world. The issue of race has nothing to do with my problem with Eventing Nation.

                        Being on the board of Planation Field International, it is my opinion that EN handled their questioning of the name “Plantation Field” terribly. They knew exactly what was going to happen when they pushed for the change just before our premier event, and I have emails to prove it. I am absolutely open to a discussion about changing the events name, but I would have preferred a calm, reasonable discussion over a cup of coffee with the landowner after the competition had taken place. I’m angry at their timing, and the fact that they knew it would be the downfall of PFI.

                        Over the years our community has spent many hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars developing Plantation Field. Many locals depend on this venue, from the grassroots horses and riders just getting started in the sport, to Olympic riders preparing for championships.

                        Yesterday I was successful at an event in Aiken just five days after the debacle at PFI and I was getting calls to be interviewed by Eventing Nation. I still have a very bitter taste in my mouth and I just feel like it would hypocritical of me to shrug my shoulders and self-promote my performance on their website.

                        I fully support equality in sports and bringing the sport of eventing to a wider audience, and I hope that we as a community can work together for this common goal.


                        Boyd Martin.
                        I think people also need to remember that Boyd has closer ties to this event and the landowner than most. He sat on the board for years and has horses funded by the owner. I would say that he might even consider Walker somewhat of a friend. It’s understandable that he’s a bit more emotional about how this all went down.
                        Talking to some people is like folding a fitted sheet.

                        Comment

                          Original Poster

                          Who made Boyd the God of eventing? Ironically it was EN, even though I am being cheeky in saying that. He sure seems to think he is lately. His behavior has been odd even before this started to say the least. The whole Boyd Martin for president joke going around seems even stranger now.

                          I'm not sure why the professionals think they own eventing these days. Most of these people would never have been even a smidge as popular if it wasn't for EN. EN has brought eventing front and center to the equestrian world and a lot of eventers would do well to remember that.

                          If he says he has emails to prove it maybe he should put his money where his mouth is instead of running it. Seems like he cares more about losing a facility that helps him and his career than he does about anything else. Not role model worthy so maybe it is better EN won't be covering him anymore.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                            Who made Boyd the God of eventing? Ironically it was EN, even though I am being cheeky in saying that. He sure seems to think he is lately. His behavior has been odd even before this started to say the least. The whole Boyd Martin for president joke going around seems even stranger now.

                            I'm not sure why the professionals think they own eventing these days. Most of these people would never have been even a smidge as popular if it wasn't for EN. EN has brought eventing front and center to the equestrian world and a lot of eventers would do well to remember that.

                            If he says he has emails to prove it maybe he should put his money where his mouth is instead of running it. Seems like he cares more about losing a facility that helps him and his career than he does about anything else. Not role model worthy so maybe it is better EN won't be covering him anymore.
                            EN did not make Boyd. If anything, it was the other way around. He was one of the first big name riders to support the site, and kindly shared himself back in the days when EN had 300 daily page views. It wasn't for his own benefit then, though as the site grew it certainly didn't hurt him. Until now. Thus he is no longer a friend of EN.
                            A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                            ? Albert Einstein

                            ~AJ~

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                              Most of these people would never have been even a smidge as popular if it wasn't for EN. EN has brought eventing front and center to the equestrian world and a lot of eventers would do well to remember that.
                              Let us say that everyone is willing to agree with the fact that EN made high up eventers popular and such.
                              The last part (would do well to remember that) makes it sound like you think because some media source does a little good then we should bow down and always just go with what they do, because they did that good?
                              Does this theory hold true for everything?

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                                Let us say that everyone is willing to agree with the fact that EN made high up eventers popular and such.
                                The last part (would do well to remember that) makes it sound like you think because some media source does a little good then we should bow down and always just go with what they do, because they did that good?
                                Does this theory hold true for everything?
                                No absolutely not, but in this case EN is fighting for what they believe is the better good, whether you agree with that method or not. Just seems ironic that one minute they are loving the attention and work EN is doing then the minute they think it negatively effects them EN is basically the devil? It does effect some UL riders, and I don't doubt for a minute it is stressful and upsetting but I think the point EN was trying to make is that the name makes some folks feel that way too (whether ppl think they have the right to be upset or not it doesn't matter). So to cry about how awful it is losing an event while at the same time saying sorry no - no one should be offended by the name is a bit rich.

                                Everyone is acting like entitled babies, including EN. Our sport looks terrible right now, and mr popular Boyds public stance is not helping. Why is he now inserting himself into this and creating more drama? If he has the emails that make EN look as bad as he says he should release them, not sit behind his computer and talk about them.

                                EventerAJ He might have given EN his time when they were new, but over the years his popularity has risen incredibly. He is a wayyyy bigger name now then he was when EN first started.

                                Comment


                                  I’m going to take this opportunity, and attempt to inject a little more levity into this discussion. Just because I like jokes.

                                  I wasn’t annoyed with the “Boyd for President” shirts. Mostly because we have an ongoing feud with a neighbor... for reasons I won’t get into... but it’s a nightmare and has now involved lawyers, etc. And this season... they have decided to plaster their yard with political signs that our driveway runs by, just to irritate us. They seem to suspect that they do not share the same affiliation as we do. And I suspect they are correct about that.

                                  I say that they are only doing this to irritate us... because we both live more than a quarter mile off a public road, and we share our private side street with only one other family, and our farm is at the very end of the street, so we are the only people who drive past all the political advertising.

                                  When it went up a few weeks ago, I told my husband that I wanted to spend on getting a bunch of yard signs made up, advocating for our dog for President in 2020. I got the idea off a funny meme that has been going around Facebook. I want to have full color photos of the dog, “Roofus for 2020” on the signs, “Nicest Candidate Ever” etc. And post them all along the private road we all share.

                                  My husband says it will only make the ongoing feud and tension worse. I think it’s really funny, and a little laughter might alleviate tension and bring people back together.

                                  Oh well.

                                  Maybe they should have made up a funny t-shirt about an upper level horse for President instead, and that would have been weird... but had more people laughing. If I had to vote? Bug. I’m obsessed with him... SUCH a cool horse

                                  Less politics, more dogs and horses!
                                  Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; Sep. 28, 2020, 10:26 AM. Reason: Typo

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by FrittSkritt View Post

                                    Not saying you personally, but there are people out there who did on the threads and FB.

                                    And having a conversation with someone is a start, but by no means is it a solution - maybe voting for candidates in elections who support fair working wages, health care, and other [gasp] progressive policies will actually make a dent in the qualify of life for overworked and underpaid workers who are just trying to make a living. If business owners can't afford help that gets paid above the table, then they shouldn't be in this business. (Or, worse, they're wealthy and just cheapskates who only care about profit margins rather than economic equity. Sounds all too familiar...)

                                    In public health (my field), we talk about upstream and downstream determinants that play into equity and equality. The downstream factors, such as access to quality healthcare, education, food, water, etc. are directly affected by what happens upstream at the macro level (e.g., government). You can try and change the micro level, but true, lasting effects only happen from change upstream. You're doing the right thing by having a conversation with your friends at the micro level and [hopefully] will correct someone when they refer to "Mexicans," but real change will only happen when someone higher up - whether it be an organization or even a BNR - takes a stand. Sadly, Boyd's actions have had the same effect, but to a detriment.
                                    Thanks for your reply, and working with me on trying to find if we can identify some “common ground” during the course of this discussion. I concur strongly with what I bolded from your original post. :-)

                                    I feel really strongly about the issue of undocumented labor in equestrian sports and on farms in general, as my personal experience is that everyone I know of who employs it, almost always does so, because they are trying to cut costs, and they can pay lower rates overall. The reality is that some of the folks with companies utilizing undocumented labor can skip paying things like workman’s comp, etc, and then undercut the competition on bids.

                                    My better half and I own a small farm and are in the process of retrofitting it, and have a significant number of projects going on at present... one after another, as we gradually turn it into our version of a “dream hobby farm.” It will be a several years long process. We have bid out multiple projects now, and almost never take the low bid... for a number of reasons. But one of which is that we do not like supporting any business, big or small, that treats their own employees horribly. And it’s a BIG issue with contractors in Northern Virginia... this is a very diverse area, and we have found over the years that even when you do your homework and hire a licensed and insured contractor, they can and do show up onsite with labor who are immigrants, that they are clearly treating HORRIBLY. And it is not something we will support.

                                    Many years ago, before we had a farm, we were replacing a deck at our home at the time, and it was a bit of a tricky project with code, etc. We bid the project out, and chose a contractor who was a Middle Eastern immigrant, but licensed and insured, and who had great reviews and portfolio showing good quality work. He was not the low bidder. When the crew showed up at the crack of dawn, however, they were dropped at our house, with tools and necessary supplies, but no water or anything else. Then the van drove away. It was the middle of summer and an outdoor project and brutal. The crew and their foreman spoke ZERO English. They were very polite, and the work was going fine and according to plan, so that wasn’t an issue for us. But we got worried about them by early afternoon, and started calling the contractor on his cell, to see if anyone was going to show up to take them to get some lunch. He didn’t answer his cell. We decided to provide them all gatorades and ice water, and showed them photos of pizza, just to see if we could order it for them, get them something they would like, and at least feed them something and treat them like fellow human beings while they were working in our backyard. They were baffled by us at first when we approached them offering to provide drinks and food, and the language barrier was a challenge. Then one guy stepped forward and pointed at the pepperoni pizza on the pizza menu and made a face, indicating “Please... not that.” And we smiled, and nodded, and got them some pizzas that had no pork products on them and they smiled and were really grateful, and took an hour long break to drink and eat and rest and cool off. And it’s a good thing we did what we did, because the contractor ducked our calls all day, and left the crew at our house until almost 10 pm. Then he came and picked them up, and we paid him out for a job well done (the quality of the work was excellent), per the terms of our signed contract. But we tipped the crew who had done the work all day individually, in cash. It was a tense situation in some ways, but we chose to not make a big stink with the contractor himself, because we were concerned he would retaliate against the guys working for him after they left our property.

                                    Anyway, the whole thing still upsets me when I remember it. And ever since then, whenever ANYONE comes to my husband and I’s property to do any sort of work, big or small, we always offer them a cold drink throughout the day while they work, or to provide lunch, or set out a box of donuts for breakfast if they get going early, etc. Because I’m our opinion... it’s the little things like that which can show kindness, sensitivity and care when it comes to fellow human beings in any number of situations, and make a difference in their day, and be part of a change in how we all interact with one another.

                                    Just my perspective. I do not disagree at all with what you are saying about the importance of “upstream” factors in terms of achieving positive societal change. But to be honest, I don’t have much faith in the government doing a great job at much of anything. Because big bureaucracies can move really slow, and screw stuff up with poorly thought out policy, for unintentional reasons... and then the “downstream impact” becomes a case study in unintended consequences. So I admittedly often focus intently on my ability to do something downstream, in my own small way in certain situations, just to treat other human beings, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their occupation and net worth is, with a certain amount of dignity and respect. I’m certainly not a perfect person though, and don’t mean to come off sanctimonious. Just to share a different perspective with you, in case it is of interest.

                                    When it comes to wealthy white female equestrians treating grooms poorly, or behaving as though they are invisible, for one reason or another, it bothers me tremendously. I’m not wealthy enough or good enough to have grooms of any sort. But for anyone who is reading the thread who does... and who wants to be part of a more positive, kind and inclusive sport that is less elitist, maybe consider offering those who work in the barn for you lunch more regularly, and actually sitting down and sharing a cup of coffee, donut, Gatorade or sandwich with them in the barn. Seriously... break bread with your fellow human being. No matter the race, creed, or socioeconomic background. Breaking bread together is an ancient human gesture of sorts. A simple thing that anyone can do, if they so choose, to be more inclusive, less elitist, and more welcoming. It won’t fix the world, but it might really make someone else’s day a heck of a lot less miserable.

                                    Sorry for going on too long. Just wanted to share that thought since I first raised the whole “Mexican groom” story.
                                    Last edited by Virginia Horse Mom; Sep. 28, 2020, 11:49 AM. Reason: Typos and clarity

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      Virginia Horse Mom I would vote for Bug too! Truly special guy there.
                                      ​​​​​​​

                                      Comment


                                        Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                                        No absolutely not, but in this case EN is fighting for what they believe is the better good, whether you agree with that method or not. J
                                        Except that's not their job. No one appointed this site or its employees the spokesperson for a sport or for anything else. Op eds and thought provoking articles? Certainly. There was a lovely article written by an African American gentleman that was thought provoking, and I appreciated and valued his contribution. But that will be the last thing I read on EN.

                                        That's different than a "journalist" deciding to go on a personal vendetta and rampage. Unfortunately, Boards are bound by certain rules - and board communications are private. But what we do know is that this "journalist" (and yes I'm putting quotes around the word for a reason), attempted to coerce, threaten, and intimidate.

                                        That's not journalism. That's extortion.

                                        And she made good on her threats by going to the New York Times - who of course put an election and partisan spin on her version of the incident, further embarrassing the landowner and the Board. If there was any possibility for detente - that evaporated when the journalist went to the press. I thought that was rather childish. "Oh, yeah? I can't have what I want? stomp stomp stomp get me the editor of the NYT, that will show them."

                                        A rather chilling comment by the owner of EN is that he knew the demise of this extremely important venue was a potential outcome. And he was fine with it. But again - who made him the arbiter? Was he tasked by the USEA to root out unbelievers? Was he given a list of venues to target? How about sponsors? I didn't call the guy up and tell him to sic the dogs on the landowner. Did you? Did anyone? No.

                                        Or did this publication simply take its own line, abandon some pretty darn basic journalistic principles, attempt to force a desired outcome that was impossible given the timeline they demanded, wave their di** around, and walk away after making good on threats and destroy a venue that is a pivotal one for everyone - from the beginning eventer, to the cash poor ammie struggling to pay entry fees, to newcomers from ALL walks of life who are interested in the sport.

                                        One of the ways you know you're dealing with fanatics is how they minimize and devalue the impact they have on others. If the person is willing to destroy other people for "the cause" - you're dealing with a fanatic. If the person is willing to engage in smear campaigns against innocent people, go on rampages, threaten, you're dealing with a fanatic. (right wing left wing doesn't matter). Or, at the very least, you're dealing with someone who may be emotionally unbalanced. Regardless - it's destined to be a disaster. And oh look. A disaster happened. Even the knuckle draggers on Twitter had a field day with it. Way to promote the sport!

                                        There is an art to diplomacy. If there was a serious issue with this venue, what was called for was tact, reason, respectful discourse, with a goal to arriving at a mutually agreeable outcome. Even if private discussions were strained or difficult - the most likely outcome would have been a compromise.

                                        And everyone would have come out of this a winner. For the sport, for diversity and inclusion, and for reputations. That's not the luxury of looking at this incident in hindsight, or Monday Morning Quarterbacking. That's basic common sense.

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by Wingstem View Post

                                          Except that's not their job. No one appointed this site or its employees the spokesperson for a sport or for anything else. Op eds and thought provoking articles? Certainly. There was a lovely article written by an African American gentleman that was thought provoking, and I appreciated and valued his contribution. But that will be the last thing I read on EN.

                                          That's different than a "journalist" deciding to go on a personal vendetta and rampage. Unfortunately, Boards are bound by certain rules - and board communications are private. But what we do know is that this "journalist" (and yes I'm putting quotes around the word for a reason), attempted to coerce, threaten, and intimidate.

                                          That's not journalism. That's extortion.

                                          And she made good on her threats by going to the New York Times - who of course put an election and partisan spin on her version of the incident, further embarrassing the landowner and the Board. If there was any possibility for detente - that evaporated when the journalist went to the press. I thought that was rather childish. "Oh, yeah? I can't have what I want? stomp stomp stomp get me the editor of the NYT, that will show them."

                                          A rather chilling comment by the owner of EN is that he knew the demise of this extremely important venue was a potential outcome. And he was fine with it. But again - who made him the arbiter? Was he tasked by the USEA to root out unbelievers? Was he given a list of venues to target? How about sponsors? I didn't call the guy up and tell him to sic the dogs on the landowner. Did you? Did anyone? No.

                                          Or did this publication simply take its own line, abandon some pretty darn basic journalistic principles, attempt to force a desired outcome that was impossible given the timeline they demanded, wave their di** around, and walk away after making good on threats and destroy a venue that is a pivotal one for everyone - from the beginning eventer, to the cash poor ammie struggling to pay entry fees, to newcomers from ALL walks of life who are interested in the sport.

                                          One of the ways you know you're dealing with fanatics is how they minimize and devalue the impact they have on others. If the person is willing to destroy other people for "the cause" - you're dealing with a fanatic. If the person is willing to engage in smear campaigns against innocent people, go on rampages, threaten, you're dealing with a fanatic. (right wing left wing doesn't matter). Or, at the very least, you're dealing with someone who may be emotionally unbalanced. Regardless - it's destined to be a disaster. And oh look. A disaster happened. Even the knuckle draggers on Twitter had a field day with it. Way to promote the sport!

                                          There is an art to diplomacy. If there was a serious issue with this venue, what was called for was tact, reason, respectful discourse, with a goal to arriving at a mutually agreeable outcome. Even if private discussions were strained or difficult - the most likely outcome would have been a compromise.

                                          And everyone would have come out of this a winner. For the sport, for diversity and inclusion, and for reputations. That's not the luxury of looking at this incident in hindsight, or Monday Morning Quarterbacking. That's basic common sense.
                                          Wingstem for President!

                                          May I suggest you choose Bug as your running mate? Such a neat horse. If he’s unavailable given his competition obligations, my dog says she will happily step in. She’s a sweetheart, and as kind and loyal as they come. But does have a troubling tendency to shove her nose in people’s private personal space, uninvited, and then take a long deep sniff... and that probably COULD be a liability on the campaign trail.

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