Respond Instead of React

By TPH Editor Sissy Wickes 

Shakespeare wrote: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Today, I think the question is not whether or not to be, but what and how to be. How do we define ourselves and our actions in a world of public exposure and social vitriol? It is easy to react instead of respond, to be angry and emotional, to assimilate rumor instead of seeking truth.

I have a bad temper and a wicked tongue. I have lived almost six decades at full speed. Mistakes, triumphs, trials, disappointment, joy. Many, many things for which I would love a mulligan, a do-over. But, part of humanity is grace. Right, wrong, or in between- we should encourage people to do better. We should lift instead of stomp; forgive and hope that we are forgiven when we falter. Can each of us try to be the example?

I neither condone nor tolerate bad behavior. I neither condone nor tolerate animal abuse. I believe our industry must strive to improve for all involved. But, I would hate to have the totality of my life judged by one action.

Let’s get back to our horses and bettering the sport. Let’s present problems and solutions. Owners, riders, trainers, show managers, directors, vendors, staff, magazine editors- we are all responsible for the state of equestrian sport. Shakespeare also wrote in Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” Let’s find our moral compass and move on.


About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist, an autism advocate and Editor of The Plaid Horse. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.

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