Horse people love to give advice. So here’s some unsolicited advice about unsolicited advice.
Rule #1: Don’t give unsolicited advice.
If they didn’t ask for it, they aren’t interested. Maybe they don’t need any advice. Maybe they do, but if they didn’t ask, they aren’t ready to hear it anyway. You’ll either annoy them or hurt their feelings – you won’t help. Don’t give unsolicited advice.
Rule #2: You don’t know the whole story from one picture.
I once posted a cute photo of a couple horses covered in snow and was informed by a rather snarky keyboard warrior that they need to have shelter in the winter. They have shelter. Just because it wasn’t in the photo (and they clearly didn’t choose to use it lol) doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. Assume the best of people. A photo is just a moment in time.
Rule #3: Your experience isn’t everyone’s experience.
It’s fine and potentially helpful to share your experience, but what was right for your horse or situation might not be right for everyone. Different doesn’t automatically mean wrong. Share your experience, but don’t tell them they have to do exactly what you did.
Rule #4: Don’t tell people what to do.
I try to give advice, when asked, by sharing what I would do in the situation, or what I have done in the past. Instead of saying “you need to call a vet” for example, I say “I would call my vet” – it amounts to the same thing, but people don’t like to be told what to do, and are much more likely to hear you if you share what you would do, and why, instead.
Rule #5: Be kind.
Give advice to help, not to feel important or superior. No matter what it is you need to say, say it with kindness or don’t say it at all. And remember rule number one – only give any advice at all if it’s asked for.