BY SISSY WICKES
Outrage Fatigue: a state of exhaustion caused by repeated offense, indignation, and anger.
I was attending the USEF Annual Meeting last week when the outcome of the Farmer/Glefke situation was announced. In one of life’s typical ironies, the press release hits the media during the Vet Committee meeting. Glancing at my phone in disbelief, I look around the perimeter of the room where onlookers sit quietly, permitted only to observe the conversation of the Committee meeting. One by one, they respond to the alerts on their phones. Visages of surprise, disgust, and disbelief appear as all read the news. To further the mortification of the moment, the meeting plods on through the bullet points of its agenda. Them in front of us, eyes cast downward, faces blank.
Is this some alternate universe? Are these guys going to hide behind a wall of nondisclosure? Does the membership have a right to any answers? The ire builds in my chest and then I hear a familiar voice on the phone: Susie Schoellkopf. My back straightens. She is on the Vet Committee? Eureka and look out. A seasoned and celebrated trainer, judge, and governance volunteer, Susie is known to be brutally tough. She runs true to form, demanding an explanation and accountability for the USEF vs. Glefke/Farmer debacle.
The veterinarians whom had spoken so autonomously over the last half hour looked down, their superiority deflated. Are they humbled, apologetic, contrite? Not to Susie, not to me and the other observers, not to their employers, not to the USEF membership. An apology for mistakes of the miscreants in the lab would have been nice. But, transparency- a true explanation of what happened and why- that is the difference between disenfranchisement and passing displeasure. As a group, we are suffering from outrage fatigue, exhausted from chronic disappointment and bowled over by a sense of betrayal.
USEF, look us in the eye and tell us what happened. Practice what you preached at the 2017 USEF Annual Meeting about improvement, transparency, and leadership. Show up for your members; show up for the sport. Then, I am all in. For now, we are all waiting and wondering where to turn.
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist and an autism advocate. 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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