Social media’s ability to facilitate communication cuts both ways. We’ve all seen comment threads driven off the deep end of rational discourse by rising tensions and personal attacks. But we’ve also seen threads where the comments work like building blocks, a constructive place for collaborative thought and a pathway to action.
In the wake of the latest horse and rider fatality as a result of a cross country accident, Facebook’s eventing community has been aflutter not only condolences and support, but with also with important discussions about how to make our sport safer. By and large — and I believe this is a reflection of the eventing spirit — they are positive and productive. Even though we may have differing opinions, we are all invested in working together to maintain the health of our sport. The comments on EN’s own Facebook page are an example of this.
Social media harnesses the collective consciousness, which can be so powerful when channeled in a positive direction. Jon Holling’s call to action for frangible technology fundraising was re-shared nearly 800 times. A Frangible Fences for Eventing in the U.S. GoFundMe subsequently established raised over $45,000 in the span of 24 hours, with donations still pouring in ($55,000 as of 5 p.m. Tuesday) and more being directed to the USEA’s Frangible Fence Research initiative. The generosity of our eventing community is incredible, but we wouldn’t be able to leverage it without social media connecting us together.
As we have said many times before, the issue of safety has many moving parts. The large-scale implementation of frangible technology is vitally important, but the conversation is so much larger and more complicated than just this piece of it. Here are three Facebook posts we found particularly compelling this week, and which sparked some thought-provoking comments.
I love this sport, but we have to do something. Yesterday on Eventing Nation, Maggie Deatrick put it all on the table:…
I’m for revolution. But I’m one voice screaming in the wilderness. “We need the attitude that all aspects of safety…
Safety is important and I along with many others will support the incredible Jonathan Holling in his…
Now it’s up to us to move those ideas from the digital arena into the real world. This, too, I believe we can and will accomplish, if we continue to work together as a united front.
What can you do to keep the discussion going? Email the USEA. Attend the 2020 Convention. Join a committee. Make a donation. Talk to barn mates, event organizers, your local combined training association, and the people in your barn aisle at your next event. Making eventing safer is going to take a collective effort, and we can all play a part.