As is always the way, whenever you choose to do or follow something which is against the perceived ‘norm’, there are those who will ridicule you, belittle you, try to discredit you and perhaps, dare I say it, even attempt to bully you.
When you stick your head above the parapet and tell the world that you have a passion which many don’t agree with, you suddenly become criticised for even wanting to have a difference of opinion.
This is true in all walks of life, but perhaps especially pertinent on social media, where ‘keyboard warriors’ are able to ‘move in’ and take their front seat in the proverbial stone throwing competition, without having to stand face to face in the same room.
Along the way, questions are fired with no real desire to want to know the answer. These questions are not really questions directed for answering but more incredulous aspersions designed to ‘catch out’ the person to show everyone around they are worthless of having a difference of opinion. When questions are duly answered it doesn’t satisfy, so more questions arise with more intensity and, eventually, the question of qualifications will start to rear it’s head. What qualifies you to ‘preach’ to us? What qualifications have you got to ‘back up’ your claims?
No longer is your passion, a wonderful, exciting journey of discovery, it has become a distasteful itch that others wish to scratch incessantly, never finding satisfaction because, truthfully, they have no wish to.
In the barefoot world, I have been lucky to become part of a passionate band of people all across the entire globe, who, often after severe adversity, find a better way of keeping their equines healthy and strong, a way to give that equine true longevity, without a constant need to ‘prop’ them up with aids which fix nothing and only serve to mask a deeper problem which continues to become deeper and deeper.
These passionate people, many of which I have met either in person or virtually, have one thing in common, they are going against a mindset that has its roots deeply driven in tradition and convention, so deep that even those held in high esteem with the highest of qualifications, cannot grasp the simplicity and beauty of it.
And here is the interesting juxtaposition. These horse owners, who have gone against the grain, have taken on research themselves, spoken to others in the ‘same boat’, read articles, joined groups, watched videos, filled up their bookshelves and often, after an immense amount of deliberation, and even more often, totally alone, have taken the plunge to take their horse barefoot. These people in the most part have no qualifications at all to speak of with regards their new found passion. They have no degrees, diplomas, certificates in equine health, science or footcare, they have not studied for years to gain notoriety on their passion, they have just been able to use common sense, an ability to really WANT to change their horse’s lives and to cure the dreadful problems that the ones with the degrees, diplomas and certificates pontificate about but never seem to actually do.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule, there are those who have taken their passion one step further and sought out a qualification so that they can go and help others, because they have been so deeply impressed by what they have witnessed themselves in their own lives, with their own horses, that they now feel the need to go and take this knowledge further, spreading the information wider to help more horses and owners.
Much like this magazine, by being a portal for people to tell their stories, their situations, in the hope that others will resonate with them and it will help them when those with traditional qualifications didn’t.
It is an interesting aspect of human nature, that when all else begins to fail on the attack, they hark back to the qualifications question. In the hope that this, for all those around to see, will eventually clinch the argument and prove that these people with their passion are nothing better than mislead lemmings following a fad that will eventually die out….and worse, people who are spreading lies, untruths, dangerous information which will lead to equines being far worse off rather than they are now. Tradition has been around for years…why change it?
For me? I was one of those people who wanted to take that passion a little further, to help others and try and make the world better for our equines across the globe. I was already a qualified science teacher but I knew little about horses’ feet, or how to help them when they had problems. So I began to follow a passion. I absorbed as much information from every source I could think of, I didn’t, couldn’t let it go. I chewed up and spat out, and rinsed and repeated, with as many nuggets of information as I could find on my subject…much of the time to the detriment of my family life. I was getting deeper into a subject which shocked, amazed and drew me in, and I was confounded why others with the highest of qualifications didn’t ‘get it’. Why did they not understand this? Why were these animals being put to sleep when often a very simple cure was just around the corner? Why were humans so blinkered?
This awful feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn’t go away and I kept searching. I trained in the UK, in the US and around Europe to competently trim horse’s feet. I spent time with other passionate humans who taught me things to help horses that I will always be so eternally grateful to them. I spent years learning how to handle horses naturally, carefully and calmly and I learnt how to ‘read’ them, such that I rarely ever had problems even with the most difficult of poor equines who were so traumatised by previous experiences that they showed no trust at all. It never took me too long.
I did gain qualifications, to already add to my degree and post grad certificates…but ‘these’ qualifications were sniffed at because they were not delivered by the traditional establishments and therefore they must have meant nothing, even though by this time, I had been ‘learning’ for years.
I ploughed on. I found insurance so I could protect myself and the horses I worked on. I kept meticulous accounts and learnt the hard way how to run a successful business. I gave up my secure day job and I began to use my ‘new qualifications’ and experience as a teacher, and started to run workshops for owners desperate to learn even more about their passion. I taught others who wanted to take it further and become like me, taking their passion to that wider audience and helping more and more equines.
It is no longer a passion…it is a way of life. I have set principles that I will never, cannot ever shift away from because I have seen for my own eyes the dreadful consequences of doing just that. I have been hurt emotionally and physically along the way, mostly by humans, hardly ever by horses, and I know how it feels to be that person beginning their passion, desperate to help their horse and feeling alone and isolated in the vacuum of the traditional world.
But PROGRESS. What a funny thing it is. As George Bernard Shaw once said:
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Progress will never stop. It is a train that if you wish to jump on will take you on the most amazing journey you will ever go on in your life. The progress train stops for no-one. It keeps on chugging down those tracks, occasionally attempts are made to de-rail it, but no-one EVER succeeds, until one day, the train is bursting from the seams because more and more people want to jump on board….because if there is one thing about humans….they don’t really want to be left behind.
Have a thoughtful day