Strangers on the Internet

I am fat.

You don’t need to tell me – or any other fat person that. We already noticed.

Last week a post of mine got a whole bunch of shares on Facebook. My words resonated with a lot of people, and I got a ton of wonderful feedback. And a few – very few – comments that said my words meant nothing because I was too fat to be driving a Miniature Horse. And one that simply said “Big lard arse passenger, poor pony.”

It’s the internet, so of course it’s not the first time I’ve had comments like this. But it is the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to address them – I’ll explain why at the end.

First of all, yes, we do need to be sure that what we’re asking our horses to do is within their capabilities. 100%

Second of all, yes, I AM fat. Tall and fat, yet.

That means that I do need to be careful that my harness is well fitted and my cart well balanced. I need to listen to my horse and make sure they are fit enough for whatever I’m asking them to do.

But, spoiler alert, that is true for every single horse person ever! We ALL need to be sure our horses are comfortable and capable of what we’re asking of them, both physically and mentally.

This is the photo that sparked those comments. At the competition where this photo was taken, following the marathon portion, Rocky won an award for being best conditioned, chosen by the veterinarian who examined him at the conclusion of driving up and down the hills and through the trees for 7 or 8km.

That’s a pretty darn objective evaluation that says I wasn’t too heavy for him.

And on that day when a veterinarian deemed him the fittest, I was worried about his fitness. I had gotten a late start on his conditioning leading up to the event, so I started the marathon prepared to withdraw at any time if I had even the slightest inkling that he was finding it difficult. And I would have done it. I’ve made that decision before, withdrawing from the marathon when he was sitting in first place in the competition because I felt it would have been too much for him.

It’s great if you’re legitimately concerned about the well being of my horse. But if you’re calling me – or anyone else – nasty names, then you’re not actually concerned about the horse. Concern sounds like questions, not accusations. If you’ve never had the opportunity to drive a Miniature Horse, then ask if that’s something they can do, and actually listen and consider the answer before you jump to a conclusion.

I know my driving horses are comfortable and I know that I’m always going to listen to them and do my very best to make sure they’re able do whatever it is I’m asking, both physically and mentally. My horses are the important thing, and they don’t care what I look like or what strangers on the internet think.

But here’s why I’m making this post.

I also sometimes get messages from people who say they would love to drive their Miniature Horse but are worried they’re too heavy for them to pull. And I don’t want them to read a mean comment posted to me and decide they need to miss out, because I’m confident there is a way they can drive their Miniature Horse. In some cases they might need a lighter cart, or a slightly bigger horse, or learn to drive a team, but there IS a way. Miniature Horses love to drive, and it would be such a shame for them to miss out on the fun they’ll have together because of the judgement of strangers.

Be kind. And if you can’t be kind, be quiet.


4 thoughts on “Strangers on the Internet”

  1. Love your last sentence
    It say it all
    What happens to people and manners when they write in line geez
    I wrote before my fat finger hit something I have no idea if it was posted or not
    Just know that this fat old lady never once thought omg
    Poor mini
    I have thought wow they look like a team what great condition your mini is in
    Nice to have so many carts lucky you 😊
    People with big mouth no understanding made those comments
    Well balanced cart good conditioned mini can do a lot
    There is more to carting then the uneducated realize
    Thanks for sharing
    For be caring and gracious

  2. A very constructive a well stated response to very ignorant and rude people. You are the best miniature horse ambassador and care giver I know! I’m sure others feel the same as I do, ie, the rude comments actually hurt all of us who care about you and respect you ❤️

  3. Thank you for addressing this issue. We are in a world that has learned that everyone has a opinion and everyone needs to hear it. I like the old school thinking of, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all!” I make sure my horse is comfortable and taken care of as first priority. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Easier said then done to let others words not get into your heart though. Enjoy your horses people, theirs and our life is to short to not enjoy and reach some personal goals. Memories is all we have in our old age.

  4. So well written Kendra! People can be so cruel, especially when they cloak it in caring for the animal. People are often so ignorant about what minis can do. A number of years ago a teenage friend and I participated in a cancer fundraising ride n drive. We had two 34″ horses but only one cart, so we drove one while the other was tied on the back. Second day we switched the horses around. People were worried our little guys couldn’t possibly manage to pull us both for 8-10 miles a day and keep up with the saddle horses. Our horses had been driven 4-6 miles at least 4 times a week for a month. They had gas in the tank at the end of the day while the unconditioned saddle horses and riders were pooped. So thankful you addressed this and encouraged people to learn and so what they love!

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