The issue with FaceBook…



I, like many of you, am a member of many Facebook groups that are dedicated to all things “Horsey”. I love looking at the pictures, and stuff, but then, there are posts that concern me, and these are the ones that generally start with,

“Admin, please delete if not allowed.”

I can feel my anxiety start to creep up as soon as I see that sentence.


The questions that followe tend to be ones that should be answered by a professional in the subject.

By professional, I mean someone that has education, training and experience in the subject matter that is being asked about. Google does not make you an expert. Google is not a diagnostic tool, and while, it can help provide information after a professional diagnoses, the, diagnose does need to be done, with the help of diagnostic testing, by a professional that is trained to diagnose, perform diagnostic testing, and interpret the results.

Think about it, how many times have you googled your own symptoms, and ended up being told to phone for emergency services or get yourself to the hospital now!! Or you have convinced yourself you have a serious condition with no treatment options, but it turns out, it is something a lot less ‘news worthy’ which is easily treatable. (Guilty 😛  )

Here is an example, there was a horse with a swelling, the comments ranged from a self-inflicted kick, insect bites, to pigeon fever. Quite frankly, it could have been anything. The most worrying comments were the statement of fact comments, which seemed to be saying it is “Blah” and you have to do x…y..z. There were some quite desperate measures being described. Measures which would cause much more harm than good, for example, draining a swelling that is not infected, will most likely end up with the swelling being infected. It is something that vets will not do unless they are certain it is already infected, and there is no other path of action. You cannot tell if a swelling if infected just by looking at it. It takes blood work, and/or diagnostic imaging to be certain.

If you feel you need to ask for advice on line, and take advice from a random internet person, I think you need to consider why. If you are trying to avoid vet fees, perhaps you should consider if you can afford your horse? If you cannot afford the vet fee, then, you cannot afford the horse. This is harsh, but true. If you are unsure if your horse needs a vet call, or some “home care” will resolve the issue. Ask an equestrian professional that you trust and see what they say. And here is a tip, if they make a suggestion without seeing the horse (or at least good photos), talk to someone else. There are good “Rules of thumb” to follow regarding injuries, and the same regarding swellings and those annoying but inevitable “lumps” horses have. But if you are ever unsure, then call the vet! That is what they are there for, and what we pay them for. And, please start with the vet. There are many “Equine professionals”, but many are unregulated, and have minimum training, and while there are some awesome equestrian people out there, they are the exception, not the rule.

Here is a good article on when to call the vet, or please have a look at you local horse society website , HCBC, or BHS for example., they will quite often have good information for you:

But, just in case you are interested, my rules of thumb are:

  • If I can see anything other than skin – Call the vet
  • If there is a yellow fluid – Call the vet
  • If there is a laceration that is near a joint and /or longer than my finger and is more than just top layer of skin –  Call the vet
  • Any type of puncture wound – Call the vet
  • Something I have never seen or dealt with before…. You have guessed it…CALL THE VET!!




On letting go

Storm is the sort of horse that makes people stop and stare. When he is moving, especially free, he has awesome movement and presence; he has the ‘X’ factor. So, he should be the competition horse of my dreams… Right?

And here is the kicker…it has just never happened.

His breeding and conformation is good, he feels awesome to ride and I can even sit his lengthened trot! But we have never really got the competition thing together.  Due to a series of life events, he has had to go on the back burner, and then when I do have the consistent time, he has managed to gain another “issue”. Strange and seemingly random swellings are his speciality.

For so long now, I have felt to blame for his lack of progress, the absence of rosettes and titles that a horse like him should supposedly have. The pressure I have put on myself to go out and show what he can really do has been a constant niggle at the back of my mind. Until the other day…

As I was walking him to his stall for the night, again failing to do anything with him, I thought, why the stress? Yes, he may be capable of the higher level movements, but does he care?

Does he care that he does not know how to piaffe on command? I doubt it.

Does he care he is not out at shows every weekend? I think he is probably pleased he is not.

Do I love just being with him, and working on his manners and ground work, and enhancing his way of going under saddle?  Yes.

So, do I have plans for him? Yes, of course I do. Would I like to go to competitions with him? It might be nice. Does it matter if I do not? No!

So I am letting go of the pressure I put on myself to make this awesome horse a “winning machine”, and to just enjoy the process of discovering what we can do together, even if no one else ever sees it.