Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Arabian Horse Owner and Blogging Jeopardy

I knew when I started blogging about my journey with Arabian horses that I was opening myself up for criticism. People have so many different opinions out there in the blogosphere and I was bound to come across people who didn't agree with me. I decided to take the leap anyway because there are so many things I didn't know when I first got started into horses. I thought if I could save anyone from some of my mistakes the risk would be worth it.

With that thought in mind I have posted about some issues that have been difficult for me. None has been more difficult than the series A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - Down a Rocky Road Of all of the things that have happened on this farm, that accident was by far the most disconcerting, the most heart breaking, as well as the most life changing.

I will probably always feel like I should have been able to prevent this accident. Despite the fact that I had never even heard of such a thing happening before, this will always weigh heavily on my mind. I don't need someone telling me it was my fault, I have an internal voice that does that job well enough as it is.

Thursday while Rachel and I were setting up at the Daffodil All Arabian Spring Horse Show, I received an anonymous comment on A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - Down a Rocky Road Part 2 telling me just that. The comment read:

What a preventable shame.

And bad writing to boot.

Get a hanky and feel sorry for yourself, but you really could have prevented this.

As you know, I have comment moderation enabled on my blog. I haven't really done it because of comments like this. I have done it to ward off the spammers that seem to love my blog. But in this case (and three others in the past) I used that moderation to "Reject" this comment because I think it is mean spirited and intended to cause harm, not to educate and help people find better ways to deal with their horses. I won't even go into how it felt to find that comment in my inbox.

Maybe I should have just kept this comment to myself but it actually struck a cord with a pet peeve of mine. That would be those "anonymous" commentors who say mean things under the guise of caring for the horse when all they really want to do is attack others. All four comments that have been made here that were "attacking" in nature were done by anonymous commentors.

But my beef isn't just with those who make mean comments without a user id, I also have no tolerance for those who set up a user id that is just a front for anonymous comments. Those established with no trace back to the person making vicious and mean spirited comments.

That is my number one complaint with FUGLY and other controversial sites. The majority of the commentors blasting their victims have user ids but are not bloggers. They have set up user accounts solely for the purpose of their little cliques knowing who they are but the rest of the world not having access to their information. They don't want to be culpable for what they post.

These people go off half cocked with very little information assuming they know everything there is to know about the subject at hand. Yet many times all they know is one very slanted side of a story. They hear what they want to hear and take that as permission to launch their assault in the name of their opinion.

I certainly agree that we are all entitled to our opinions no matter what they might be. However, if you have an opinion that is truly important to you, I think you should have the convinction to stand behind that opinion.

It doesn't take much courage to hide behind the cloak of anonymity and tell others they don't have a right to breed their own horse, that they are too stupid to even own horses, that it's my fault that my mare died or any of the myriad of other rude and judgemental things that are bestowed upon an assortment of horse owners and trainers at the hands of such people. Those comments are not made in the interest of fairness or education. They are made solely at the expense of another human being and so the commentor can feel superior.

Those commentors need to remember that we are all human, after all. That means that we are ALL flawed. We all make mistakes whether we want to or not, it is unavoidable. All we can do is try our best to be good people and good and responsible horse owners.

Tearing someone to shreds over mistakes and poor judgement isn't going to stop those kinds of things from happening. Not only that, it makes it hard for the person attacked or others like them to even hear the message these people claim they are trying to convey. No one can learn anything productive from being attacked except maybe to protect oneself.

If I was to do that, I would quit blogging altogether. While that might be exactly what the anonymous commentor would like to see, that's not about to happen anytime soon. My reason for blogging has always been about overcoming ignorance. That means in all of it's form including that ignorance that causes one human being to attack another.


  1. ((HUGS!!)) Some people get a total high off of behaving in such a manner...too bad they can't find others like themselves and have at each other rather than attacking wonderful persons such as yourself. I'm glad you aren't going to quit blogging because of comments such as those. I (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) absolutely LOVE reading your blog and am here nearly everyday...whether I comment or not...I'm still reading...and learning. I can't tell you how much I've learned from reading your blog and there aren't enough words in the english language to thank you enough for sharing that knowledge. Thanks so much and ((HUGS!!))

  2. There is nothing worse than 'anonymous' venom in comments. You were right not to publish that comment. Anyone who would send a comment like that is only doing it to make you feel worse than you already do. It was a cruel,cowardly and unnecessary thing to do. If you have an opinion and feel you must post a comment, at least be tactful and back it up with a legitimate blog name or keep it to yourself. There is never a time it is alright to be cruel.

  3. They are cowards. No one likes cowards.

    Personally I love your posts and I always learn something new from you.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. MiKael, you couldn't have said it any better. And with GOOD writing to boot! ;) I mean really, didn't we all learn it in Kindergarten? "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all"?? What is the point of making such a negative and hurtful remark, and like you said, not stand behind it? You shared a personal and painful story. It was a learning experience. We can all relate to each other's horse experiences, that is why we are here reading and talking to each other. Anyone not willing to play by fair rules just needs to gallop off into the sunset (that is the polite way of saying what I really meant!!) Hang in there, MiKael. For that one nasty comment, you've had hundreds of positive ones from people who absolutely love reading your Arabian horse stories.

  5. Sometimes we have to separate the wheat from the chaffe. Don't let the b@#$ards get you down.

  6. Amen MiKael.
    I have only been blogging for a short time but noticed the same thing about people that post on FUGLY. I read and have commented on that site a couple of times but I realized that those people really aren't trying teach or educate(no matter what FUGLY says)they just want a place to make themselves feel more important and better than others.
    So I read mostly because I believe that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

    Blog on Sista...

  7. And that is exactly why my blog is closed except by invitation. People really think my humorous tales are actually not funny at all and take joy in copying and posting them around the web, making fun as they go... To each their own.

    I personally would rather laugh than cry (and believe me some days I would really love a good cry lol).

    Bottom line is that people can be/are ignorant jerks. They have so little self respect that they take delight in being deragatory, insulting, and plain mean towards others. It's very cowardly, cruel, and totally unnecessary. They have no respect for themselves nor for other human beings.

    It's one of the things that make this world hell to live in.

    Just imagine how much better we'd all be if we could simply respect others. I know my Mamma raised me correctly and that was one of the first things she taught me.

    Keep up the good work MiKael and never let those with low self-esteem get to you.

    You have and will continue to accomplish your goals with this blog. I have learned plenty since you began. Please don't stop. :)

  8. That's a shame someone had to feel the need to be that hurtful, when you were sharing a horrible & sad incident in your life with horses. I'm also very appreciative that you're blogging in a way that educates. I've leaned a great deal more about horses in the past few months reading your blog, than all the years I read horse books growing up! I enjoy your posts daily, even though I don't always comment. Keep up the great work and know that you have a LOT of blogger friends who care! Maybe some day we'll be reading your published memoires! :)

  9. Oh but yours is like my favourite blog eh. Before that series I had never even heard of geldings attacking mares. We have always switched the horses around and had the boys and the girls together, and I have never had a problem, even with Fred who thinks he is a stallion. I would never have known this was a possibility without your post.

    There is a thing in NZ called tall poppy syndrome, where every one rubbishes those amoung us that achieve. It's just a case of that eh, some people just cannot be nice.

  10. You can turn anonymous off but I think you know that.

    There are people who park viruses on other blogs too and I have to wonder why.

  11. Hang in there and keep blogging.

    I know a few folks who believe that moderating comments is akin to censorship and they let everything come through. My personal opinion is that my blog is my special space and I'm not inviting or allowing mean-spirited comments. Thus far I haven't had any, but if something like what you shared here came through I'd take pleasure in rejecting it!

    If a critical comment enlightens in some way, fine. But being mean and judgmental doesn't help anyone.

    I love reading your blog because you share the whole experience, and what you learned in the process, and I for one always leave here with new thoughts and ideas.

    Thank you!

  12. Seems to be easier to be mean spirited and snarky rather than nice and considerate. Sad commentary on our society, if you ask me. I'm ever so thankful for the supportive bloggers like you!

    Anyway, we can all learn from one another's mistakes, so post away!

  13. people are dumb. Dont worry about it. We love you and those snarkers dont matter.

  14. I know the little voice in your head that tells you an accident is your fault. I still here is sometimes when it comes to Genny's leg. It makes me sad that someone would take something so personal that you shared and try and make it ugly. That person must be missing out on a lot of great things that life has to offer. I am glad that you are taking the comment in stride because it was only made to hurt your feelings I am sure. I know it was supposed to be all mean and nasty but I had to leagh part of the way through because they insulted your writing. That is like saying that Josh Groban can't sing. It is just rediculous. I am glad you stay true to the mission in your blog. I have been reading your blog for a lot longer then I have been blogging myself and I always told myself that if I started a blog I would be as honest as you are in yours.

  15. MiKael, Blog On.

    If we let the little reprobates drag us down to their level, and beat us about the head with Stupidity and an Inferiority Complex, then they have won.

    However, if we keep our chins up, and keep on keeping on, then WE win as they become of even less significance in the equine realm than they were before.

    Those who choose to beat others down are too busy living their own drama of misery to appreciate quality education, humor, and dedication when it kicks them in the ass. Their goal is to have the rest of "Us" live in a drama of misery either like theirs, or with them.

    I say, scr*w 'em. ;) We have too much fun working as we do to let the small minded waste our time and energy.

    Keep on keeping on MiKael- and know you have a loyal following that appreciates and enjoys you to the utmost! (The "Others" are just jealous...hehe)

  16. MiKael, I stopped visiting FUGLY because of the personal attacks and lives they were destroying in the process too, one of those people I know personally.

    We all make mistakes and I have learned a lot the hard way and sometimes at the expense of my horses over the past 7 years, and no-one could love their horses more than me. I have put them first to the extent that I am financially and physically exhausted, but my horses come first and I know you are the same way.

    Who would have dreamt that when I had our older stalion in the roundpen the one day and my 18 month old stud colt in the fenced area around it where they used to face box and play through the bars, that the 18 month old would on one day rear up high enough (5ft 6in panels) and that his fetlock joint would be in just the right place to slip in between the two panels (a very small space) and I would find him hanging by his front leg on his back in 8 inches of snow with his leg wedged. The vet wanted to put him down because of the damage but I insisted to going the route of healing him and hoping that he would remain sound, if he didnt remain sound, he would be my yard ornament for the rest of his life. It took 4 months to heal that wound in sub zero temps but he is sound and now 5 years old, has two babies on the ground and a happy horse. That was a lesson that I learned the hard way, just the same way as what happened to you, that is why they call them accidents. This is only one of the few bad judgement calls that I have made during 7 years of horse ownership and probably wont be the last.

    We live and learn girl and no-one could care more than you do so when these cowards hide behind their anononymity and make judgements I would say just ignore them, I bet they all have skeletons in their closets that they hide and would never reveal, just like politicians. By publishing the post you have called them out even though we do not know who it is, all they have done is revealed to the rest of us how ignorant and what cowards they are.

    Yes I also miss wormings and cut back on trimming hooves and vaccines and have not bred a mare for two years and this will be the third, and I still have 19 horses which I cant sell but would rather put myself into debt than risk them going to the killers. They are healthy and happy and anything is better than the alternative of starving them or sending them to certain death.

    As for "bad writing" you are one of the most entertaining and knowledgeable writers I have ever met (cyber friend LOL).

    So you go girl and I challenge all those cowards to come forward and identify themselves and tell me that they have not made a bad judgement call some time in their lives be it in their horse ownership or whatever where they have regretted the outcome and felt some guilt.

    Now on with the story of your show and of Rhythm and to heck with those supposed saints.


  17. I have been reading your blog for several months now, and have been awed by the dedication, wisdom, and love you give to your horses. I am not a blogger, but have just started reading a few horse blogs this past winter. So, while I post "Anonymously", I always sign my first name. Perhaps, I should start leaving my last name, also, although I would never be so mean spirited as to leave the kind of comment that you describe in this post.

    Let's face it, almost every tragedy could be prevented in some way. Hindsight is always 20/20. I have made my share of mistakes and had my share of tragedies. The guilt is always there, but the strong, learn from the mistakes and continue on. As you have done. Do not let these petty, mean spirited people get you down. You are far better than any of them. You are reminding me of my dreams and my hopes that I have lost touch with. You are reminding me that just because I have reached the half century mark doesn't mean I have to stop pursuing my dreams. You keep on doing what you do so well and keep on letting the rest of share in a piece of your life through this virtual world.

    Ann Lozier

  18. Whether anonymous or with a user ID there really isn't any reason to throw barbs at a blogger. If you don't agree with and don't want to support a blogger then don't comment and don't come back. Quite simple.
    Your blog, MiKael, is a very important part of my morning ritual. Coffee, emails, MiKael. And I've learned some interesting horse information along with entertainment.

  19. You are 100% right. I don't even give anonymous comments the time of day. (except the ones from my friends who haven't figured out how to leave their name even if they don't have a blog!) If you can't own your opinion, don't share it.

    I hope you know by now from the bajillion other comments from your readers that both of your blogs are exremely helpful and well written.

    It takes guts to put your mistakes out there to help other people avoid the same problems. It's obvious how much you love your horses and how important it is to you to learn everything you can. Nobody knows everything right off the bat. You learn by doing. And you are generous enough to share your lessons with us.

  20. Like others have said, hind sight is 20/20, and most accidents have ways they could have been avoided. Sure, if that particular mix of horses hadn't been turned out together, Scandalous might still be alive today. But they were, and it's not like you had any reason whatsoever to imagine something like that might happen. It's a tragedy. You didn't purposely put those horses out together so that one could get hurt.

    Just be encouraged knowing that the majority of us understand that accidents happen and placing blame doesn't do anybody any good. There are also many of us dedicated to be a positive influence and having healthy discussions, even if we disagree. Your blog is a great representative for both, and I appreciate the learning and the healthy discussion that takes place here.

  21. Everything and moment in horse ownership is on a learning curve. And anyone who thinks they are perfect and infailable are just idiots and never admit their own mistakes, which I'm sure they have made! (((Hugs))) to you, Mikael, and screw that idiot and liar and the person who hides behind the anonymous mean spirited comment.

  22. MiKael-
    The difference is yes, there was a mistake... WE ALL make them, period, but you do not continue to go on and make the same mistake. You felt bad, and did what you could to prevent this in the future. You are always learning how to become a better horsewoman, you have amazing trust with your horses (how many can say they can sit on their stallions back when he is laying down). Life is a process of learning and shaping, and we need to allow others to make mistakes too. It is unfortunate when something like your situation happened, but it takes years and years and years to become a good horseperson, it does not happen overnight. I would be interested to know how many mistakes the anonymous comment has made. I don't believe in condemning people, because that won't help either. As far as FUGLY, I don't go either because there is no reason to be so nasty, though she may have a point in some of what she says (like the 3 year old on a full out barrel pattern tied to the saddle with no helmet). I just think there are better ways to teach and share other than condemnation and humiliation. I look forward to your blog everyday, and I have learned so many things from you, and not all of them are horse related. I respect you as a person, because I think you make the world a better place.
    Sorry for rambling, but I needed to say my peace too.

  23. Oh, Mikael, I just read those posts. How possibly could you have known or prevented that......So sorry......

  24. MiKael I'm so sorry for this.

    What happened to your mare is a tragedy....and stuff happens. You weren't being careless, there was no history to review and say "let's not do this because X did Y on this date". Stuff happens that we can't foresee or prevent. This was one of those times.

    I love your blog. We don't always see eye to eye, I might do things a bit differently than you, but the respect, and love for your horses always shines through. I have never for one second doubted that the loss of this mare was an incredible blow to you and I have never doubted for one nanosecond if you could have done it differently you would cut off your right arm to change things.

    Fugly is well.....fugly.

    I don't allow anonymous bloggers on my site for this reason alone. Either stand for what you say or don't plan on blogging on my site!

  25. AMEN sister, blog on!
    There is no reason for people to be mean out there, they obviously do not own horses. I think it is a great thing you are doing and I have learned alot about Arabians. Having horses is a learning process, I think you continue to learn everyday that you have them. Annoymous comments, there is no since in it. If they were going to type it you should have the bal*s to claim it! Don't hide! Keep your chin up, we love ya girl! You better not quit blogging! I have learned so much from all the horse blogging buddies I have found and I have found such support, love, etc. (((HUGS)) from East Texas!

  26. Ah yes. A nasty comment from Anonymous. I'm familiair with that, although with me it's from one person specifically. She's a dark shadow of a woman from my past who really enjoys saying nasty things to me (maybe others too). In my opinion people who say things purposefully to hurt others are evil. Plain and simple. And Karma will get them. That I know to be true.

    You just keep doing what you're doing.

  27. **hugs!!** It wasn't until 8 years ago that it occurred to me to separate mares from geldings. Nobody told me. Nothing bad had ever happened in 31 years. It was just a realization that that is the way it should be for my farm.

    I'm so sorry you had to deal with a hater. Let the comment wash off, down into the sewer where it belongs.

    Personally, I think you are a wonderful writer. Keep up the good work.

  28. MiKael - Over and over when I read your fine writing, I am touched by how brave and loving you are. So, don't let people like that influence what you do. I always tell my daughter that anyone who is mean spirited is a person who really hates herself/himself and wants to feel better by hurting someone else. To do it anonymously is even more odious.

  29. Mikael, I think it's sad that people are so cruel that they would leave anonymous comments like that.

    I have learned more from you in the last couple of years, than I can ever give enough thanks for.

    What happened was truly a tragedy, and like all tragedy's blame often seeks a resting spot, egged on by guilt. If only, if only...

    While I have only had horses about six years, I had never heard to keep marese and geldings apart. In fact, that post made me realize what needed to be done as I brought another foal into the world.

    Keep blogging, keep sharing and keep learning!

  30. Thank you everyone for your support. There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to deal with this kind of situation. It would have been devastating to me and I would have taken it very personally.

    Thankfully, today, I am in a better place and I can see that the problem is the person who left the comment in the first place. I understand the anger and bitterness expressed in that comment has nothing to do with me.

    I just hope that by talking about it here, it will help others to think before engaging in such activities or enabling those who do. Life can be tough enough without us picking on each other and making matters worse.

  31. Totally agree with you.
    I'll add that these nasty anon commentators are also gutless and pathetic and sad no marks.

    BTW, I think you are awesome and I know that you are a caring and kind beautiful person.

    in fact you have reminded me to
    go and vent at a spammer message I got today (not that that will do any good.)

  32. Beautifully said. My blog hadn't even been published more than an hour and one of those poison-pumping snakes got me. It's like they are slithering around the Internet looking for victims. I almost deleted my blog that day. Since then I have had a few more attacks. Though people have left such kind and inspirational comments on my site, it's the words of the snakes that dominate my thoughts. I wish we had the power to erase useless thoughts and memories that don't help us in any way.

    I thank you for this excellent blog.

  33. I am speechless and believe me that doesn't happen very often, just ask my husband! Why anyone would want to be so ignorant and leave such a mean spirited comment is beyond me! Just know that there are soooooooooooooo many of us out there that learn from and love your blog and would be terribly upset if you stopped writing!!!!!

  34. Your post was beautifully written. I couldn't have said it better myself!!

    There are so many ego-filled people out there that want to put themselves on a pedestal above everybody else. I personally despise people that walk around with this attitude.

    No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Broadcasting someone's mistake and saying "I wouldn't do such a thing" is not only cruel, rude, and inconsiderate -- but also hypocritical.

    I don't think there's a person alive that hasn't done things they've regretted. To blast someone for their mistakes is just another way of saying "I'm insecure and I don't want to talk about my faults -- so I'll judge yours."

    I had a friend ask me the other day (just a goofy conversation we had) that if I was a horse, who -- of all the horse people I know, would I want to live with. A couple of friends came to mind and you did as well. You seem to geniunely care about your horses and it shows through your posts.

    There are lots of mean people in this world who seem he** bent on making life difficult for others. I will never understand people like this and part of me even feels sorry for them. I often wonder what happened to them to make them like that.

    Keep up the wonderful posts! I enjoy them very much even though I don't get to comment a whole lot.

    Carol (aka Campin' Horseluvr)

  35. Ditto everyone else, ignore the grump(s). I love your blog also and have never figured out why some people like to randomly go and pick on other people... So far I've been luck and just had spam comments left on mine, no personal attacks yet.

  36. Obviously these people are so unhappy with what's going on in their lives that they feel the need to make others unhappy too. Just remember that people can really suck sometimes.

  37. I think that a person who doesn't want to be identified is very insecure with their opinion and doesn't want to have to defend it, therefore, they aren't worth paying any attention to. Thank you for sharing this - it will make us all braver and able to handle it better when it happens to us - as it probably will. If they can't get their kicks out of attacking others, maybe they will find something better to do with their time - I don't think we should waste ours by paying any attention to them.