Social media has made it all too easy for people to speak negatively and indiscriminately toward others under the guise of relative anonymity. The breadth of cyber-bullying is boundless and sadly extends to our equestrian community — I’ve felt it here at Eventing Nation and have experienced the pain and anxiety of having been personally attacked on social media myself, and I’m sure many of you reading this have as well.
Despite anti-bullying campaigns like #NotOnMyYard which have gained momentum within our community, online assaults ranging from careless to downright cruel persist. Eventing Nation stands against bullying of any sort, and we salute those who are speaking out.
Among them: U.S. Dressage Olympian Robert Dover, who recently addressed the participants of his Horsemastership Training Week in January after learning that spiteful comments had been posted online about one of his students. He called on social media users to think before they post, especially when young people are involved.
“No matter what one tries to do that is good, there’s someone out there who’s a critic,” he said. “We’re looking for people to find their better angels.”
Equestrians of all ages and from all walks of the sport have voiced their concerns about bullying. A young rider, who posts on YouTube under the name JM Eventing, created and shared this video earlier this week:
We can all play a role in helping to “stop the hate” by being considerate and compassionate in how we choose to interact with others both online and in person.