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How we talk to each other online

Written by Andrea Parker

A couple of months ago I joined some Facebook equestrian groups. They are a great way of sharing knowledge and ideas as well as having a little fun.  But, and this is a big but, I’ve recently noticed a concerning trend – the way that we talk to and about each other online. It was a recent post on the back of #Antibullyingweek from @thatsassyrider that made me think more about this important issue.

There are some great conversations in these groups, there are also some threads in which people single out particular riders and their methods in a really negative manner. I can see (and hope) that these comments are coming from a place of wanting to see change in our sport and to help educate others about the correct way of going in dressage and how competitions and judges are at times rewarding incorrect riding styles. However, I believe that there is a way to do this without being nasty or attacking an individual.

How we talk to each other online

The most recent example was a video of Isabel Werth riding in the 2017/2018 World Cup. The caption attached to the video used words such as disgusting. Now this is not a new phenomenon in the equestrian world, but online it’s far to easy to sit behind a keyboard and criticise others.

So if we should educate ourselves and each other how are we to go about it? My suggestion would be to use neutral language in place of emotive language. For instance rather than describing particular riding as disgusting or terrible let’s talk about the horses frame, or the riders position or use of aids. Let’s back this up with reasoning as to why a certain way of going is better for the horse so that we can all improve our understanding. Better still let’s not post a clip of a rider for the sole purpose of pointing out their flaws or the horses way of going.

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About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.


  • Super post, and so needed right now. Sometimes we forget that even when we’re talking about “famous” riders, they are first and foremost “people”. I like your idea of neutral language. We all have some work to do here. x

    • Thank you Pam! Yes our famous equestrians are still people and have feelings, sure they probably don’t read a lot of what is written about them online, but that doesn’t give us license to be nasty.

  • Great post, the amount of negativity online with the horse world continues to amaze me. I try to stick to groups that are more positive and who bring each other up rather than down but I still stumble over that negativity sometimes.

  • I am SO SO SO SO SO very much behind this. Thank you for writing about it. I feel very strongly that we should keep our opinions about others to ourselves unless asked to voice them! Thank you

  • Oh heck yes, tell me about it! I think you would frown if you were in the groups I am in. Groups made to point out bad eq, bad horsemanship and everything horse, really. I never post anything myself, but man, these people are really something.