One of the things I've always liked about the Mark Rashid clinics I've attended, including the week-longs in Colorado, is that Mark has a "no advice" rule. Unless you're specifically asked by a clinic participant for your advice about something they're doing with their horse, you're not to offer your opinions or comments about what others are doing. No "rail carping", as I call it. Now, in the horse world, as many of us have experienced, rail carping is a commonly practiced art form, with superiority, condescension and a bit of contempt thrown in, and more often than not it's based on limited information and is disrespectful to the person and horse involved, and their specific issues and struggles. Rail carping is easy, perhaps that's why it's so common.
Now, I always appreciate thoughts, opinions and comments from family and close friends - even family and friends who don't know much about horses - their opinions deserve to be taken into account because they know me well and care about me, and I include well-wishing blog friends in this as well - all of you who've left thoughtful and caring comments - even those that question what I'm up to - are very much appreciated. What really steams me, though, is people who assume that they know as well or better than you what you should be doing or what your path should be, and then characterize it as "I just wanted to help" - that's not what it is, it's just plain old criticism, and unwelcome and not useful, and sometimes even destructive. If you wanted to help, you would have helped me when I needed help - by helping with horse chorses when I was incapacitated for almost 6 weeks after my accident, or by staying nearby when I was trying to get back into riding again after my accident, or by riding with me on the trail when I needed someone to ride with. That's what a real friend does, and I've been fortunate to have one (but unfortunately only one) friend at the barn who was always willing to ride with me anytime, when I couldn't go far or at a gait above a walk - I wish there were more like her. I'm still hurting from the inappropriate comments from rail carpers I found out about third-hand - it's amazing how destructive of self-confidence comments like that can be. All of us, all horse people, should take a pledge to avoid rail carping - what do you think?