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๐—›๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐˜† ๐—ฉ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€!

We all know that horses are not for the faint hearted. The time, effort and money required to keep them healthy takes a strain on even the most resource-rich owner. We have all had moments where we wonder why we do it, and we've all had moments where we wouldn't wish to do anything else.

But why are we so divided as a community when we should be united in our love for horses?

I stumbled across a heated debate on Facebook the other day where one party accused the other of being "๐’๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’ƒ๐’–๐’• ๐’‚ ๐’‘๐’๐’๐’š ๐’‘๐’‚๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’“". I found this a really strange turn of phrase, and I pondered why the accuser thought of this as an insult rather than a complement. Surely we should all be pony patters? (or, more appropriately, scratchers!)

The discussion quickly became a textbook display of the ๐˜๐—ผ๐˜…๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—น๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ which brews amongst us equestrians. It is a culture which rarely forgives horses (or their owners) for having "off days", it is a one which thrives on one-upmanship, extrinsic motivators and unsolicited advice. And it is that same culture which stops many of us from enjoying our horses as much as we should.

Remember - we know only a ๐ญ๐ž๐ž๐ง๐ฒย amount of what is going on in someone else's life. We need to show kindness whenever possible, but we also need to work on ignoring other peoples opinions, even those which are seemingly well intentioned.

When you operate professionally in this space you get to see owners regularly and view yard dynamics from the outside looking in. You quickly get an appreciation for the fact that many owners are finding handling unsolicited advice, sly comments and unwanted feedback ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ . It's ruining their enjoyment of horses and (even worse) altering the way they show kindness to their horses.

Nobody should be made to feel less adequate because they are showing softness and kindness to another animal. We all must take a moment to remind ourselves why we came to love horses in the first place and give everyone their own space to be with their horses without judgement.

So in light of this Hallmark sponsored day of love, I have encouraged my Facebook following to share a photo where they are partaking in some good old pony patting/scratching!

If the post reaches over 100 combined likes and shares, we will choose our favourite photo to win a HWNE bobble hat. You can check out the post here:

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜† ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ!

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