Politics, Religion, and Barefoot Horses
You might think the above is a rather odd title for a blog post, especially on this site. But then again, you might get it. This stuff can be controversial. People have opinions and many are willing to argue to no end in order to defend their position. Social media certainly doesn’t help, especially since it allows for people to hide behind their computer while spouting hateful, argumentative comments at one another. I often wonder, what’s the point? It’s not like we’re going to change anyone’s mind.
I’m sure we’ve all seen it–the name-calling, the belittling, the “facts” being thrown around. It’s especially common when it comes to the barefoot vs. shoe debate. I’ve seen it coming from both sides, but since barefoot is still the minority, it often seems like we often bear the brunt of the nasty comments.
I actually got the idea for this post from another blog post in which the blogger was accused of being ‘blasphemous’ because she preaches the benefits of barefoot for horses. I’m sure I’ve been called a few bad names, too at some point (in fact, I know I have–I used to teach middle schoolers!) But blasphemous? Really?
To me, personally, barefoot has never really been controversial. When I made the decision to stop putting shoes on my horses, it wasn’t a big deal. I was learning new things and it was what I felt was best. Of course, things changed a bit when I started writing about barefoot. I realized that some people aren’t quite as open to new or different ideas. They have their own opinions about what works, and they don’t want anyone telling them otherwise.
But that’s also what I love about blogging and writing, in general. People can write about the things they’re passionate about (in my case, barefoot, nutrition, and holistic horse health). Others can either read it or choose not to. They may disagree or perhaps they might learn something new–who knows? By the way, I don’t mind people disagreeing with me and posting comments of the like, so long as they can be civil about it.
When it comes to barefoot (or any controversial issue, for that matter), I try my best not to get involved in arguments. As I stated before, our words aren’t likely to change people’s minds. However, our actions might make a difference. This is what I suggest we do–lead by example. Many people simply don’t know that horses can get along just fine without shoes.
Just by being out and about with your barefoot horse, or perhaps casually mentioning that you compete or ride trails barefoot–this might catch someone’s attention. It might be the reason they decide to check into it a little more.
I have many friends who put shoes on their horses, and I would never say anything about it. They may or may not know I write about barefoot on this blog, but I’m certainly not going to go pushing it down their throats. Of course, if they asked me about the benefits of barefoot, I’d be happy to tell them though.
Eventually, I believe barefoot will be commonplace in the horse world. If you take a look at how far the movement as come just in the last few decades, it’s promising. So many people are becoming interested in natural horse keeping methods and this is only bound to grow.
In the meantime, I think it’s important for us all to take a deep breath and keep in mind that not everyone else has had the same experiences we’ve had. Whatever circumstance led you to opt for barefoot probably hasn’t occurred for the person down the road who still shoes their horses. Maybe they’ll get there in time. Or maybe not. But it’s not our business, really.
If in doubt, be nice.
And perhaps others who don’t share our opinions just might extend the same courtesy to us.