As the end of 2017 approaches, I cannot help but look back and think what a strange year it has been. There have been so many amazing highlights, those stand out moments that feed your soul during the darker days, and that give you goosebumps when you try to describe them to a friend who has not been bitten by the Arabian horse bug. But then, there have been so many low points – and I fear that social media is at the heart of many of them.
Over the past month especially, we have all witnessed complete negativity and attack across social media regarding our beloved Arabian horse. So many, it seems, feel comfortable to say to someone on screen – where it is there forever, and can be viewed by thousands of people – what they would never dare say to their face. There is no self-check, just an instant, fired off response that you then quickly forget about – and that cuts the other person to their very core.
Imagine that you have spent years dreaming of your ideal Arabian, and your new foal is born. Overjoyed, you share your pride and joy on social media – only to be greeted with an onslaught of responses. Many are positive, but there are some who comment: its face isn’t typey enough; its ears are too big; if you like this kind of thing, that’s fine… ; or I don’t think much of the pedigree – why did you breed this again?
Every word that we say on social media is permanent. It can be downloaded, saved, screenshotted, shared… So if you wouldn’t say to a breeder’s face, “Not my kind of thing”, then why would you put it on social media for everyone to see?
Lately, however, there have been some positives. Sharing feel-good stories of people just doing their own thing with their beloved Arabian. Calls to stop targeting judges for the results at shows. And for those with nothing nice to say, to just say nothing at all. As the year comes to an end, and resolutions are made, what say we all just start a little early this year. The world is a hard enough place, and we all need to just be a little kinder to each other. For, after all, we are all talking to each other for one reason – because of our shared love for the Arabian horse.
So rather than having hate, envy, jealousy and bitterness come from this love, let us celebrate each other’s achievements. Genuinely congratulate a friend when they have reached a milestone with their horse – be it trimming its feet to winning the championship of their dreams, or going on a hack around the fields and their horse not spooking at anything to the arrival of that much-dreamed about foal. For really, who are we to say that others’ achievements are mundane? We have all been there, either at the start or somewhere in the middle, and we all need that helping hand sometimes to reach the next level.
So as I send the latest edition to print, I count the many blessings that I have in my life. When midnight comes on 31 December, I will focus on the positive things that happened this year, not the sad, and I will endeavour to carry that love, that attitude, into 2018 and beyond.
Wishing you all a wonderful festive season, and I look forward to hearing your stories in the New Year.