"Well intentioned" advice needed

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Rowdy 3 months ago.

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  • OffTrack Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    I’m hoping for a little advice on how to handle being “told” about my horses from people who don’t know. We have 2 OTTB – a 5 year old & a 20 year old. Both are hard keepers, but are in good health. The 20yo can give the 5yo a run for her money … for hours 🙂 My problem is that despite having been checked by the vet on a semi-regular basis, and declared to be in good health, I am constantly being told my horses are too thin, they need “x” supplement, they need to not be shown, they need one of another 100 things. My vet says they are a high 4 on the Henneke scale, but a very fit 4 with good muscling & appropriate amounts of fat for their body type. Yes, they have a hint of rib showing. They also have serious muscling in their chest & butt. Seems everything I try just makes the advice giver madder. Even “My vet has assured me they are healthy & fine”. I think everyone is so used to seeing overweight horses these days that fit horses are seen as unhealthy. Any suggestions on dealing with “fit shamers”?

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    Too many folks don’t know the difference between ‘fit’ and ‘thin’. Smile and nod, say thank you and ride on. YOU know they are fine, the VET knows they are fine, smile, nod, ride on. Life is too short.

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    OffTrack Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 8

    Thank you. I do try, very hard, but even the assistant coach of my daughter’s equestrian team went off on us about her horse’s weight a couple of weeks ago. Vey difficult when we are surrounded by heavy stock horses & their owners.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477

    I know it’s hard, I really do, been there, and I am not unsympathetic, ‘specially where your daughter is involved. As much as it IS hard, tho, keep smiling and nodding, be really irrritatingly polite. Nothing more of an irritant than when someone wants to be cranky and thinks they are right than for the other party to not react. No war if only one side ; ) A flat affect generates non engagement after a while. Hang in there, rise above, go home with your daughter and vent, have some chocolate and a laugh over how you KNOW the assistant coach has her panties up to her armpits by now, whatever it takes to vent in a constructive way. Probably far from sound advice, I was a bully when I was a little kid, tho the point is make humour of it if you can. Also, have the assistant coach speak to the vet personally/directly. Look her in the eye and tell her calmly that you “are in communication with the vet, here’s their number, and will follow their advice for now, thank you, please leave the subject alone for now.” Good luck, OffTrack, people kinda …are ugly .. sometimes, no getting around it. Love your horses, give’em an extra cookie just cos : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    neiner neiner
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 12

    I know this is a relatively old post, but just had to respond because it made me laugh. Nobody talks about this, but I also get it on a regular basis! My horses are fit shamed, my dogs are fit shamed, I get fit shamed. It’s ridiculous. These days, everyone is so used to seeing fat people and animals that they don’t even recognize healthy when they see it. Overweight is the new normal, and I agree with pheets, there’s absolutely nothing you can say to these people. They’ll always get defensive because if your horses are fine, that means their horses may not be, and nobody wants to face that. The fact that the horse world is cliquey doesn’t help, because nobody understands that genetics plays a role…my pit bull/fox terrier mix should never look like a lab (if she ever does, it means there’s something really wrong with her), but try explaining that to someone who’s only owned labs. Impossible. If I ever respond, it’s usually something snarky that ends the discussion, like “ooooh, you’re right, they would look much fatter if I purposely overfed them, but then they’d have health problems, so. Can horses develop Type 2 diabetes?” They usually just walk away after that.

    "Gentle in what you do; firm in how you do it." -Buck Brannaman

    Rowdy
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I guess I am not so nice if my kids are attacked. I would sit down (official meeting) with the assistant coach, the coach, the stable owner, and anyone else necessary and I would politely, but in no uncertain terms, make it clear that they address issues like this with me, and not with my child. I would make sure that they understand that bullying my child will not be tolerated and will be treated as a criminal act.

    I would then try to educate them on the condition of my horses. I would explain that comparing a “high 4 on the Henneke scale” OTTB to a 7-8 QH or drafter is rediculous and indicates a lack of horsemanship. I would invite them to be present at the next vet visit and address their concerns with the doc.

    If all that failed, I would relocate my horses and my kid to a more OTTB knowledgeable and friendly atmosphere. I do realize that you might not have that option available…good luck!

    BTW, “high 4 on the Henneke scale” with good muscling is ideal for an OTTB; good on ya! Many OTTB owners never get their horses that high. Keep up the good work. 🐴🐎

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