If You’re Not Here to Support the Horse Bloggers, Go Home

If You’re Not Here to Support the Horse Bloggers, Go Home

Last week, I went to check my blogroll of equestrian bloggers like I’ve started to do again in the past month. This was my routine daily for many, many years. At the peak of horse blogdom, I had 200+ blogs on my feed. Most days there were between 30-50 updates of new posts, and I did my best to try and read/skim all of them. If I had something to say, I’d leave a comment. Sometimes a quick “good job!” of validation. Sometimes a detailed response to something they wrote. Sometimes trying to help with a specific problem.

Clearly, I had a lot more free time back then. Blame a desk job that I was chronically under-challenged at. I don’t have that kind of time now. Most of us don’t, because the horse blog feed has shrunk both in active blogs and daily updates. These days, there might be 10 new posts on a really busy day. But I still try to comment if I have something to say.

Commenting back in the day, at least for me at first, was the way you got people to your own blog. I’m sure I’m not the only one who paid attention to who “commented back” or engaged in your content after visiting their site. But over time, I cared about the reciprocation factor less. I followed for the horses, stories, show reports, and training milestones. And I commented when I wanted to support, help or simply validate the journey with a horse. Because as we all know, this shit is hard.

For a few years I totally disappeared from the scene. I quit that chill desk job I had. Went to grad school. Managed my time differently. Occasionally I’d read a horse blog if it showed up in my Facebook feed, but stopped checking feedly. And I totally stopped commenting. Through this, I blogged here some but not often.

When I started writing at SMTT again, I told myself I needed to pick up reading/commenting again. Because I believe community is at the heart of horse blogging. We’re not doing this for ad money or fame, especially now when the blogs that exist are so few and write for the joy of documenting a partnership. It’s really special that we still read and support each other, no matter how that looks ten years later after many of us started blogging.

That is why I was so pissed when I read a comment at a different horse blog last week. One that I won’t quote or out, but was extremely rude and unsupportive. One that challenged a blogger’s riding and horsemanship. One that pointed fingers. One that blamed.

I was absolutely terrified this entire show. Terrified. It’s when I crashed through a jump and fell. In all the pictures I can still feel how scared I was (good boy Simon), but I still had to come back and blog about it next week.

I remember many moons ago I wrote a post joking a bit about my mediocre riding and my many flaws with Simon. Putting myself down, especially with equitation, is kind of part of my brand (my therapist does not approve). This post probably exists in my archives somewhere, but I don’t have the time to find it now. But as my memory serves, I listed a handful of things I did wrong/was working on.

In the comments, someone I hadn’t heard from before (and certainly not a horse blogger) cried out, “Oh but what about how you drop him at the base of the fence every time?!?” I can’t remember any quotes from the piece I wrote myself. I can’t remember any of the supportive comments, though if I had to guess there were some because the horse blog community is amazing. But I remember that one that was a bit rude, a bit harsh, and a lot uncalled for. Even though it wasn’t that bad. I think about “dropping my horse” still to this day.

The comment that pissed me off last week was so much worse. Best I can tell, it wasn’t written by a horse blogger. And I’m not surprised, because here’s the secret to those who read but don’t write.

It’s really hard to put all of our shit out there. I have ten years of bad decisions and riding mistakes recorded on the internet for anyone to see. The rider I am now looks back at a lot of it, and says “Oh I should have done things differently.”

Not only that, but you have to be extremely vulnerable if you blog. In a world of social media highlights, blogs typically show the whole and often not so pretty truth. We can’t hide our mistakes in a 50 character caption. Most of us are adult amateurs, learning alongside everyone else. The difference is, we dare to show it. Before someone strikes down a keyboard to slam a blogger for XYZ decision, think about what it feels like to write about a long lead-in to a show. You share all the preparation that goes into it. Sometimes you write about the money and the sacrifices it takes to go there. Many of us lend our hopes and dreams to others who might not be able to partake in their own lives.

Full disclosure: It was not fun to share this picture then, and it isn’t now.

And if it goes badly? Because let’s face it, so many things do with riding and horses and showing. Well, we have to share that too. We have to share our heartbreak. Frustration. The stops. The falls. I often joke about these failures, because I use humor to deflect, but go through my showing archives and you’ll see busted jumps, bruised egos, ribbons that are usually not blue, and a lot of quiet frustration along the way.

There aren’t many true bloggers left. I don’t call myself one, because I’ve been far too fair weather both in writing and in supporting the community to earn that title these days. But the true bloggers share all of that. And it’s hard. It’s really hard.

Shame on anyone that wants to strike them down. Do not steal their joy. You’re not helping. You’re harmful. Think about how you’d feel if a stranger approached you and started slamming your horsemanship horses.

To be clear, I haven’t had anything but lovely, appreciated support in a long time. But even if/when it comes along, my skin is pretty thick these days. It takes a lot to upset me, unless I see someone else getting kicked while they’re down.

Though you may have been reading for years, some of you are strangers to us writers. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to write and share things you probably think you could do better or differently. If we ask for help, help kindly. But at least in my opinion, the unsolicited feedback or”real talk” can just remain unsaid.

46 thoughts on “If You’re Not Here to Support the Horse Bloggers, Go Home

  1. Well said, on so many points. I met some of my best friends through blogging, and it concerns me that my RSS feed is drying up so dramatically. I just know I was blogging long before I had any followers or commenters, and I’ll continue blogging long after I have any followers or commenters, but all the same, I appreciate the community and hope it continues.

    1. Yeah, I wish the feed would spring back to life. But at the same time, I’m one of the people who disappeared for so long… so I also get it.

      Validation is a big part of what fuels my blogging. I’d like to say I’d blog without comments/followers, but I probably wouldn’t. Not a positive trait, but an honest statement.

    2. I also am sad when my blog reading (especially some of my favorite ones) seem to quit blogging.

      I also plan to continue blogging regardless of how many people follow me, and plan to keep following my blogs, so count me in for the long haul!

  2. So well said. It’s easy to be critical from behind the keyboard, but you know what? It’s ALSO easy to be positive and supportive from behind the keyboard. Thank you for this post and your as-always eloquent words!

  3. You’re extremely brave to put everything here online like you do. It’s not something I personally could handle, I just value my privacy too much. I respect that, especially since what you post is so helpful to others. The internet can provide a layer of anonymity that makes peopel creul. I wish that others would just recognize that dedication and bravery it takes to blog and speak in the comments the way they would speak to you in real life. …. Unless they’re also like that in real life, in which case, fuck right off, you trash person.

  4. I would never criticize someone putting themselves out there showing all the failures with the successes. I have commented, however, calling out a blogger who was TRASHING the barn staff where she boards. I wasn’t mean about it, but suggested that they may read her blog and was she prepared to say these things to their face. I wasn’t the only one, the blogger then said she was going to make her blog private so the “haters” couldn’t comment. If you’re going to blog, you have to take responsibility for your words. And be prepared if people call you out if you are behaving badly. I just read another blog where the author has been absolutely trashing the person leasing her horse. Why? Its just unkind. I haven’t commented though, because I’m sure it will be reflected back to me as a “hater”. I agree that people who make unkind comments to bloggers who are being honest with their own struggles are out of line, but I also think bloggers need to take responsibility for their words and accept that if they want readers they have to be ready if someone doesn’t agree with them. You’re blog is very honest and brave and I applaud you for that. But, if you write something that I think is unkind about someone else that seems unnecessary I may call you on it.. (but you never have and that’s why I keep reading..)

    1. an important observation here is… you could make your point about the accountability of authorship without … also trashing people on the internet for talking trash about people. bc that’s just unkind, right, and we may call you out on it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. This is an honest question for Emma. Is what I wrote “trashing someone”? If so, how would I have approached this thought in a way that wasn’t trashing someone? I intentionally didn’t identify either blogger because I didn’t think that was fair to them, but wanted to make a point about how they were using their blogs to be unkind. In both of my examples, the people they were trashing would have no doubt they were who the author was speaking about. Perhaps the few details I used are going to be able to be used to identify those people who wrote the blogs, so in that respect maybe there isn’t a difference? If that is your point then I’ll take it. (and the blog author is free to delete my comment, that’s totally fine)

        1. thanks Jen – yea, to your first question, yes the bloggers you mention are identifiable– this is a *very* small community, where many bloggers have been lucky enough to meet in real life and develop private friendships. the bigger point tho is… we can all be critics, and the public nature of social media makes that easier than ever. anybody who ever clicks ‘publish’ knows that. there’s basically nothing to be gained from making those criticisms public tho, compared to how rewarding it can feel to be a cheerleader instead

    2. You know, I’ve written things on my blog before that were presented carelessly, showed controversial choices, and been raked over the coals for it. It didn’t feel good. I was very upset, but I also recognized that what I wrote about (and the way I did it) brought those consequences.

      My blog has always been very public. It has a louder voice than I ever predicted, and I have to be careful what I write here for a lot of reasons. Sometimes I wish I could be less careful, but this is the way it is.

      Most blogs I read aren’t quite as public, and some are even anonymous. If they choose to write something on the internet that maybe I wouldn’t, that’s their call. Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I don’t. But I tend to “vote with my feet” and if I don’t like the way someone is doing things, I’ll simply leave and stop commenting/supporting them. I’m sure 2010 Lauren, a lot less mature, wrote some shitty comments I wouldn’t now. But this is how I handle things these days.

    3. I waffled on whether or not to reply to you, I didn’t want to assume you were writing about me, but also I don’t read any other bloggers that have a leassor at this time. I obviously don’t see my situation in the same way you do. We all come from different places mentally and I totally understand that our different experiences and exposure to experiences colors what we read when someone writes.

      I hardly think me calling my former lease lady ‘an idiot’ while also acknowledging that I am a ‘control freak’ in one post was trashing her. I even acknowledge in the post that I had enough ‘receipts’ from interactions with her that would make plenty of blog fodder but decided that wasn’t fair or nice (maybe if I had you’d see where I was coming from).

      Blogging authenticity is a tight rope, and I think I walk it well letting people understand my happiness and frustrations without being overly petty, juvenile, or disingenuous. I, again, acknowledge when I think I may be out of line but can’t shake my feelings, because well my feelings are still valid because they are mine.

    4. I have a question. At what point can we criticize others directly associated with the care (or otherwise involved) with our horses before it’s considered trashing? Having read both of the posts, I didn’t necessarily consider either trashing, just venting frustration. Could one have been worded differently? Probably, but I didn’t see it as trashing (details are hazy now).
      The nice part of blogging is that we don’t always have to share only the sunshine and rainbows part of it. We can share the other parts too. And if it’s that the farrier hit my horse in the head with a rasp and no one kicked him out of the barn (true story, but not while I was his owner but it took years to get over that one), I’d probably write a post “trashing” the farrier without mentioning his name. Or kids chasing ponies in the field because they don’t know how to properly catch. Or any number of things. Maybe it’s a tone thing? But the content might be valid. Or is it just how it’s phrased? I don’t know. There are so many of us here and so many opinions.

      1. My thoughts on your last couple of points – I’ve made a strong point to share both the good and the bad across my 10 years and nearly 2,000 posts, but even still there’s a TON of valid content about my journey that I’ve never shared because it might reflect poorly on someone in my cast of characters. When I do share the bad, it’s only ever something that’s definitely my fault or clearly no one’s fault. Entire lessons, entire training methods, entire relationships, entire situations are just straight up left out of the blog, but I don’t think most of my readers would get the feeling they’re missing anything, as much other information as I share. I’ve found it’s possible to give people an authentic look into your journey without sharing absolutely everything.

        1. I think that’s fair. I tend, for the most part, to just avoid posting when some external stuff is involved to avoid the issue, even when I really want to talk about an important part of a the journey. Or write a post and keep it in my drafts. But I wonder if it’s always the best course of action. [That said, I’m not against venting against my neighbor who takes joy in spooking my horses with his ATVs.]

    5. I didn’t realize that my post hit you so hard that you’re still upset about it six months later. My blog is not private, but I do moderate comments because I was finding that there were some people who seemingly lurk in the background, casually reading my blog without any real interest, waiting for me to post something they disagree with (either what I’m doing or the way I’m presenting the information) and then they jump at the chance to call me out.

      And it’s not that I want to surround myself with people who agree with me and never hear negative feedback, as this comment suggests. It’s that when the person, a stranger to me (you, in this case), goes out of their way to ONLY comment when they dislike something, that’s where I’d draw the line. That’s just negativity for the sake of negativity, like you’re so excited to see someone misstep because now is your time to shine. If you’d been a regular commenter who gave me feedback in a constructive way, great (that did happen and those comments were helpful to me, it basically taught me to tell the whole story or keep quiet because telling half the story/downplaying how serious the issue is, like I did, backfired). But that’s not what happened.

      In addition, there are plenty of blogs or social media accounts or just people that I, myself, interact with regularly who say things or post things that I find cringeworthy or worse. Not everyone is going to post things that everyone else thinks is perfectly well written or presented. For example I cringe when people who describe their rides in ways that make me feel bad for their horses or people who use equipment or training tactics I consider abusive but many others consider totally fine. And like others have said, I vote with my clicks – I don’t read blogs that make me unhappy or make me cringe on the regular (and the ones that I do read, sometimes they still post things that make me cringe and it’s up to me to decide if it’s a net positive in my life to continue reading). And I certainly don’t read blogs casually and jump at the chance to call someone out. Maybe a long time ago I did and maybe you’re still in that phase of your life, but in my current opinion, life is too short to waste time telling people off who I don’t know and who are just doing their best to navigate through the ridiculous choice of having horses in their lives.

  5. Thanks for writing thing. We are each our own biggest critic, we don’t need other people to fuel that voice already in our head. What do people gain by saying something mean? Why not just use the same energy to be positive?

  6. I have gotten so much support from my blog readers that when someone writes something harsh it feels like a stab in the heart.

    I honestly don’t know if they think that they are helping or not but it irritates me. I find myself writing in defense of blogger so that they don’t have to.

    We’re all here doing our best.

  7. i will never understand demanding perfection from anyone out there sharing their horsey story – the belief there’s no room for mistakes or whatever. there are so so SO few truly *wrong* ways to enjoy horses, and literally infinite *right* ways. that’s one of the most amazing things about horses: people from every walk of life, any background, with whatever sort of interest or ambition level, can enjoy horses however they see fit. gatekeeping and judgement are such a huge issues tho, especially when it comes to more formal equestrian sport. like, how TF do you expect to encourage and foster the next generation of riders (let alone bloggers) when you’re berating any typical amateur who has the audacity to miss a distance at a jump, ride a dressage test inverted, pull when they should have kicked?

    idk. blogging about horses is so weird haha. and hard. but also good, and i think important. discovering this little blogging community completely revolutionized what i thought i knew about living a horsey lifestyle. seeing other people just like me go out and have amazing experiences with their horses — idk, it opened my eyes and made me believe i could do it too. for that, i’m forever grateful. i’m glad you’re writing again — and even tho sometimes i wonder why, i’m hopeful to keep adding to my own little story too.

    1. It is weird, but it’s mostly good. When I started this blog, other bloggers were my only adult amateur horsey friends. I rode at a barn with mostly kids, and hadn’t yet build the local community I’m lucky to enjoy now. I will always appreciate and value the friendships I’ve made from the blogging community, and hope there are more to come.

  8. Beautifully stated. This community is something special and im so grateful to have met the people I have through it. Support from those friends and acquaintances I’ve met through blogging has lifted me up through hard times.

    And also – just realized you had commenting turned back on! I’ve been reading thru feedly and not clicking through like a total doofus.

  9. I read and may not comment but I blog myself because I enjoy it. Luckily (or unluckily?) I dont have that many followers so I dont get the rude comments if ever. But I do read a lot of blogs all the time that I can and I try to support all bloggers esp those who are baring it all! Thank you for being honest. And I love your blog!

  10. I only ever leave positive comments (I hope). I love reading a lot of blogs because eventually (THIS YEAR!?) I will obtain an equine and I want to start a blog then. Many bloggers are such talented writers that I enjoy their work even when it isn’t horse-related. Like this one.

  11. I very much appreciate this post. I try and blog to capture my journey with horses so that someday I can look back and see that I’ve accomplished…something. Having lost horses, thanks to my blog, I have more than just memories, but written versions of our adventures. With a green horse, I can look back at posts from a year ago and remember that we’ve made SO MUCH PROGRESS, especially on days when I think we’re going no where. The blog is for me, but if someone wants to read it, great! Thanks to the blog, I’ve made friends and also solved crazy issues with my property. I’ve shared a lot, but I’ve gone back and made some posts private because… it feels right? I wonder if the wrong person reads something if something I said could be taken the wrong way?
    I don’t have many followers so comments are too big of a deal and mostly supportive, but I’m still careful about what I share publicly in case someone doesn’t like something or I’m torn apart. The blog is for me and if it becomes something else, then what is the point?
    As for comments? The real negative ones just need to stop. But I think when people see something that they don’t like and want to say something, maybe we all should pause before posting. Is it a critique of the riding/training or how something is written? If it is the former, is the blogger asking for criticism? If yes, that’s one thing, if not, then maybe it’s not your place or offer first… If it is how something is phased, maybe put a qualifier. “I don’t know if you realize, but what you wrote about X might be taken the wrong way when you were trying to address an unfortunate situation.” The problem with the internet is tone is hard. In certain circles (figure skating twitter, I’m looking at you…), if you say something negative about someone, you are trashing them and get death threats… I know I’ve typed things that read a little more… angry/negative/trashing of people than maybe I should on a public platform. I just have no followers so it’s more ok.

  12. Thank you for writing this – I often get nervous/ ashamed/ worried about posting X, Y, Z because I don’t want there to be backlash, but we are all learning and we are all trying to do our best.

    Most of my journey in Blogland has been quite positive, and I am grateful for the supportive community, the gentle reminders and the helpful suggestions. There is certainly a way to address someone if you have concerns, but a large portion of it is understanding that not everything is written down.

    I remember being so worried about posting about Annie’s trailer loading fiasco (that I caused), but was met with a lot of “Been there” or “Yup, learned that lesson the hard way” and it made me feel a lot better about making such a silly mistake.

  13. For 99% of my blogging life (so I guess 9.9 years lol) it’s been nothing but nice comments. Now and again I get one that reads like a strange flex or a pot calling the kettle black situation. I would sometimes reply, but anymore I leave the comment up and just ignore the person.

    Seeing someone call me out in your comment section though, that’s a milestone! lol

  14. Thank you for writing this. It is really nerve racking to post the “bad” side of things, but it’s worth it. My blog is a reflection of my journey with my horses, for myself. And that’s going to include moments.

    If I’m being honest, reading blogs where everything is happy and the horses are prefect seems so fake to me. I know I can be pessimistic, but nothing is going to go great all time. I’ve stopped reading blogs like that because it just comes across as fake.

  15. Here to show my support ! Getting comments on blog posts is so fun (maybe because I hardly get any when I do post ), but when you log in to read one and its negative, it is really draining on a person.

  16. Haha I, like L, was pretty impressed by getting called out in another blogger’s comment section. What a treat, definitely a milestone given that the post was six months ago and was taken down and the blog was not made private, just made so that comments are moderated.

    I’m very much with you though, Lauren. It saddens me to see these kinds of comments on social media and especially on the blogosphere where there are so few blogs left. I’ve cured my feed to the point where everyone I read regularly are people who I have a lot of respect for with their journey. If I do comment (not nearly enough!), I try to make it very positive. Same thing on social media. There’s a lot of holes to see as an upper level dressage trainer but I very much don’t think my “trainer eyes” belong in my comments. They really don’t belong anywhere they aren’t being paid to be, really. So it’s easy to overlook a flaw or two and congratulate the rider for getting this far, to be the cheerleader for other riders.

    This sport is hard, horse keeping is hard, balancing finances is hard, we need to support each other. And also maybe people need to remember that if a blog is consistently making you want to write angry comments or “call the person out” then maybe that blog isn’t for you.

  17. To be fair, sometimes I totally deserve to be called out lol. I’m wrong plenty, and if someone wants to disagree with me in a respectful way, or make a genuinely constructive observation, I try really hard to see where they’re coming from rather than just immediately feel defensive about it (something that has been a work in progress my entire life). I’m the one choosing to put myself and my life on blast, after all, good and bad. That will always require a thick skin, no matter the platform. BUT, if someone comes at me rudely then that’s a different matter and you can bet I’ll clap back 100%. That’s a hard no. I don’t do blatant disrespect. There’s a difference though, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell which type of comment is which. I don’t expect all the comments to be sunshine and rainbows, and I don’t blog to have strangers blow smoke up my butt, so most of it doesn’t bother me too much. Some good conversation has actually come from some of it, so a lot of the time I appreciate it when people speak up if/when they have something valid and constructive to say and I’m happy to have private conversations with people if they don’t want to do it in comments. That’s happened plenty. Again though, there’s a difference between that kind of comment and just a plain rudeass bitchy catty comment. I also completely understand that not everyone feels the same way about it as I do or handles it the same way I do. It’s tricky sometimes, because in a way you genuinely feel invested in other bloggers and their journey, and sometimes you have to decide whether to sit down and bite your tongue or if it’s kinder to try to say something, same as with your real life friends. A lot depends on how you say it, I suppose.

  18. I learn so much from this fellow blogging community. Many that I have been following since I was in high school! I’ve posted recently just how many bloggers have stopped consistently blogging and I do miss their horsey updates. A lot have moved to instagram which again hateful comments seems to follow wherever people are open and honest. Having this public space also makes it quite difficult to anyone with some more difficult horses that they might have to sell down the road. My first mare was the reason I started my blog, but unfortunately ended up deleting the whole thing because of sellers that would not even come take a look at her over problems I had written 5 years before selling her (she was a good mare by the end of it!) Very grateful to have people who do continue to open up about their training troubles and triumphs. It keeps it real for the rest of us 🙂

  19. I have never blogged, commented, or even read consistently – whether I’ve been in a phase of wanting to or not. And horses haven’t been in the picture for a while for a number of reasons, but my interest (and stored knowledge/experience) in them has remained. I keep coming back because having the opportunity to visit someone’s world through a blog, wherever you’re at and however much you/they are willing to share, has had a big impact, runs the gamut of emotions and lessons, and reminds me that everyone (including me) is doing the best they can with where they’re at.

  20. This is a really interesting post to me as a new blogger. I have been gradually adding posts to my reading list and have felt very welcomed by the community so far. Even though I’ve only been blogging about lameness tribulations so far, it has been a weird experience to realize that I’m rethinking something that I’ve written and published and now have to “amend the record” so to speak. I can only imagine the anxiety and pressure of sharing my screwups, of which there have been loads, just no major ones since I’ve started blogging. I do admire and learn from those who do seem to share all the details, but at the same time as Cob Jockey said, I don’t feel/know that I’m missing details from those who aren’t sharing everything. Just things I’m mulling over as I develop a voice and style for my own blog.

  21. This is all so true and it’s so well said. It takes a lot of vulnerability to show your true self online and it’s a really hard blow when you are criticized by someone who has not seen the entire journey, who is only seeing a glimpse in time. If I was writing about something I was struggling with, I would talk about every angle I had tackled already and link to past posts explaining the process to avoid well-intentioned advice suggesting things I had already done. I was often surprised when people still skimmed over what I wrote and didn’t understand the point I was trying to explain in detail. To this day I am not sure if that was a “me” problem or a “them” problem, since 75% of readers did seem to understand.

    I started to fall off of the blogging wagon the day I realized that people would comment significantly less if I wasn’t going through yet another tragedy with my injury-prone mare at the time. I used to write about everything, both the good and the bad, in the hopes that my disasters would help someone else so they wouldn’t have to go through the same things I did. I really appreciated the support when we were going through yet another devastating incident, but it was gut-wrenching when I shared victories and there were barely any comments in comparison. I realized I was too focused on the feedback: it was a great way of feeling I was connecting with my readers, but being hyperfocused on reader reactions started to shape my tone…and what I was *doing* IRL so I could later blog about it. *face-palm* (Ex: Jumping Lily? That was strictly for the horse blog and its readers. I had zero personal interest in jumping that mare.) I eventually came to the realization that it didn’t matter what I did outside of horses or how successful I was at anything: in my attempt at honesty and vulnerability, I had inadvertently turned into one of those blogs that people followed for the trainwreck factor, which left me with a really bitter taste in my mouth. I lost all faith and trust in the equestrian blogging community,deviated from the subject of horses almost entirely on the horse blog, and then eventually shut down the horse blog so I could start one that was adamantly NOT about horses with a much smaller audience…though now that riding is a consistent part of my life again, I am writing about my horse because I want to document what we’re exploring.

    That said, it took shutting down the old blog to realize how many people had been touched and even helped by my writing, especially the subjects that *didn’t* include horses. People that had not commented in the entire history of the blog, whom I didn’t even know were followers, some of whom were not horse bloggers themselves, came out of the woodwork to say how much my writing had moved them. I bawled with some of the beautiful things these strangers had to say. I was able to reach some of them to tell them about the new blog, but I lost so many of the readers that had *not* been following for the horses. I still think about the comments on that last post, and the individuals that wrote them, some three years later. Hence why I went back to the old blog to announce to the general community that I am writing, and have been writing, in case any of those people still had the old Wait For The Jump on their blog roll.

    This feels like a complete deviation from your original topic, Lauren! Lol But I wanted to comment on the power of blog comments in general. They can really shape an individual’s mindset and sense of self-worth, even when we are trying to be conscientious of not giving them that power.

    (Also: count me as another reader who just realized you turned the comments back on! It’s been wonderful to read your writing consistently again. <3 Welcome back! I loved your post about your relationship with food; there are so many parallels with my own journey.)

  22. I blogged for a while (Pony Reboot) and I still read several. I’ve been up and down with health issues so I don’t do as much with my horse. I have worried about being judged for some reason and figured.. why bother. But maybe I should. The comments here and there I got from people I knew just from their writing were always encouraging. I always mean to comment on yours but don’t, so, here I am for now! Good for you and I am glad you are back, I’ve always read and followed.

  23. I’m more of a blog reader than a blogger and am definitely of the same mindset as you as a viewer. If a blogger comes off as harsh or preachy or… whatever – I just move on with my life. No comment, just “voting with my feet” as you said.

    Part of my lack of blogging is because I’m too nervous to really put myself out there and it’s made my blog feel inauthentic to me. I don’t need other riders who’ve never met me or my horse telling me what I *should* be doing with my (fill in the blank – hands, elbows, heels, etc). I pay professionals to do that and, again, I won’t pay professionals to abuse me. The criticism MUST be constructive or that’s the last time I’m lessoning with them.

  24. I’ll admit I somewhat recently left a mean comment on a horse blogger’s post. I had been biting my tongue for a long time because I know I’m not perfect and I generally believe in supporting other people and letting everyone live their life so long as it’s not hurting anyone. This person, however, had been borderline abusive to her horse(s) for a long time. Her rough riding and poor management had left her horse with several lamenesses and injuries, and when he came up with a totally treatable disease, she talked about “letting nature take its course” in order to save money. As someone who has had to choose between food on my table and vet bills, I would normally be sympathetic, but this woman was also posting about her brandy new truck and her pool boy, so I lost it and said exactly what I was thinking. It felt good at the time, but now I wish I’d just gritted my teeth and continued scrolling. It’s so easy to judge someone else. It’s more important to support and cheerlead those around us.

    1. No, I personally am glad you said something in that instance. That needed to be said, and you were not the only one who spoke out in defense of that horse. I think Blogland legit contributed to saving that specific horse’s life.

    2. Yes Dom – I was reminded of that exact situation when I read this post. I remember leaving a more strongly worded comment than I would normally as well.

      Balancing not seeming judgey, with actual concern about a horses welfare is a hard line to walk. Tossing the truth bomb into the comments feels justifiable if/when there has been an established pattern of obliviousness to experience and common sense. I wonder though – if it ultimately achieves anything – other than the commenter feeling better by blowing off steam and the blogger becoming defensive? Hopefully…

      Maybe that’s where voting with your feet comes in. That particular blog was removed from my roll that very day and I can’t say that I miss it.

  25. One of the best things about the really good blogs is that they feel authentic, like a friend is just checking in. I very much appreciate the people who share the ups and downs, victories and mistakes, because the ‘virtual barn friend’/community aspect is what sets bloggers apart from other social media that can feel over curated. I don’t mind a bit of constructive criticism from those I ‘know’ online, but I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to be rude when someone is simply sharing their story as they see it. Walk away if you don’t like it 🙂 I’m probably guilty of glossing over many of the frustrations because I err far too carefully on the side of maintaining the privacy of my barnmates and boarding arrangements – I live in a tiny community so it would be impossible to be general enough to not be outing anyone unfairly (much of the ‘drama’ here is inexperience, not people deliberately being awful). I appreciate those who are more open in sharing horse pro/leasing/boarding experiences though, I think we can all relate to the frustrations and it’s nice to not feel alone in it all!

  26. I’m very much on the periphery of horse bloggers. I try really hard to interact with other bloggers and love reading about everyone’s journey. I definitely get more “publicity” from the podcast I cohost (and I don’t think many listeners have connected the blog to the podcast) than I do from blogging. I thoroughly enjoy your blog as well as those of many of the other commenters on here. I tend to subscribe in life to the praise in public and chastise in private MO. So if I have ever read or seen something unseemly from either a blog or social media post, I’m more likely to PM than to write a public comment. It’s the HR lady in me.
    All that said, I’m glad you’re posting again and I love when you comment on my blog! Cheers to team Simon-the-horse!

  27. Omg yes to this! Thank you for this post! I have been scolded in the comments on a different blog and like you- I still read it now and then but no longer comment. What I’ve also noticed on that same blog is a lot of butt pats and ‘good job’ when there is a legit comment to make to improve things but I’ll probably again be slammed so I don’t bother. Funny thing is, this same blogger left a pretty forward comment on one of my blogs prior to this. I left it up but didn’t feel the need to reply. It’s just them showing one of the many parts of their personality.

    I miss having the number of blog posts to check daily, if not weekly and commenting in the idea of supporting each other- BTW glad you’re posting more Lauren and opened up the comments again! I admitt to not posting as much and/or regularly on my own 2 blogs. There’s a good reason for this and many people may have noticed the decline in content at the end of 2013. That’s when the shit hit the fan- the ex was arrested with the divorce to follow. I have not posted all of the gory details online but those who know me were super supportive thru email, text message and phone calls from several states and a country away- all met thru blogging. Because of his stalker behaviour I have to watch what I say and how I word things, because sure as shit he will cry foul and throw the victim card (again) because thats what he does. Yes this is the same blogger “JR” so many others thought so highly of and yes he stopped posting long ago.

    Clearly I get it why some bloggers hold back and don’t bare it all. For those that do, I appreciate not being alone in the low spots and fail/flails we all have. The blogger Me when I started out, well she has grown a lot and changed over the years. I handle things differently now.

  28. This post struck such a warm deep chord with me since I recently had (actually the first that I can remember) negative or what came across as accusatory comment from a random person.

    I won’t say I lost sleep over it, but I certainly was triggered somewhat.

    However, I had several blogger friends instantly come to my defense, and honestly their positivity and nice comments far over shadowed the one negative comment.

    I have always tried, and will continue to try, to be fairly transparent about my failures along with the successes because I’m sure that most/all of us experience frustrations along the way and I think it helps to know that you aren’t alone.

    On another note, I also don’t have a ton of free time, and I miss having a bunch of active blogs to follow, but I value the community that I’ve been a part of!

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