… without a little social commentary? As my previous post mentioned, I spent last week in Columbus filming the butter sculpture for the American Dairy Association. While on the fairgrounds I was privy to some of the things taking place there. There were horse shows going on the entire week. Having less than no interest in horses, I wasn’t too keen to go watch the shows. But that didn’t prevent me from catching a little of the action.

While shooting some grounding shots outside the Dairy Barn I happened to notice a woman whipping her horse. While I’m not particularly fond of pets, the reason isn’t because I think animals (other than humans) should be abused… It’s actually just the opposite – animals (other than humans) should be allowed to live in their natural environment – unless, of course, you want to eat them, in which case their natural environment tends to be a ranch or farm, but that’s a different issue. In short, I’m not a fan of animal abuse.

So, as I looked closer at the woman whipping her horse I realized why she was doing it – she wasn’t just whipping the horse, she was whipping the horse’s penis! She was just about to show the horse and, apparently, if it has a monstrous erection that won’t win her a ribbon (more on ribbons below). Well… Since I already had my video camera out, I decided I’d capture the abuse… and put it online. So I did. Want to see a small pony gets its dong whacked? Click here.

Speaking of horses and ribbons… The last day I was filming (Friday), we decided to pick up lunch at the vendors that were opening up a bit early before the State Fair actually opens (which is next week). I was wary that I’d be able to find anything, but I did (it was pretty awful and way too expensive, but that’s not the point of this story). With a few minutes to kill while we were eating, we decided to head into the horse showing arena and watch the people show their horses.

We took our seats with our food and drinks – we could have taken almost any seat, as the place was virtually deserted – and watched the “action.” Several events took place while we were watching. The first was a bunch of women riding horses at different gaits and such. The rest were primarily horses pulling various contraptions – buggies and other wheeled thing-a-majigs (I’m sure that’s the technical term for them). Mind you when I say “horse show” I mean “horse showing competition.” Apparently people come to these things to win ribbons. And, lest anyone go away feeling sad, they gave almost every single horse and rider I saw a ribbon. They had ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, of course, but also for 4th, 5th, 6th, etc… You get the point.

As I was sitting there watching all of this unfold, I started asking myself: What’s the point? I mean, honestly, couldn’t these people find better things to do with their time than train horses to do things they don’t naturally do? The incident that really kind of pushed me from curiousity to indignance was when a small pony, not even four feet tall from its front hoofs to the top of its head, strode into the ring pulling some old geezer behind it. The pony’s front legs looked like hooks as it pranced around the ring – they came up so high and so awkwardly that I thought the damn thing looked like a mutant. Other than its deformed legs, it was a cute horse… but those legs! It was easily the most cruel thing I saw to permanently deform the way a fine animal runs such that it looks like it could fall over at any time. The animal’s movement looked disjointed and foreign to it. It was not natural.

Yes, I embrace technology and I love lots of things that are not natural. But disforming a horse so it conforms to some asshole’s standards of pretty kind of pushes my buttons. The worst part about it: There was only one person in that competition – the guy won the stupid ribbon by default. That poor horse pranced around the ring like a flamingo doing the hokey pokey for 5 minutes just so the guy riding behind it could walk out with a ribbon.

After hanging out with the same guys for a week, I didn’t feel like I had to check my thoughts so I blurted out what I was thinking – that’s just not right! They had various comments on my thoughts, some good, some bad. One guy pointed out that the way they train the horses to look like that is by tying weights to their legs so they have to lift them extra high. I think they should do the same to the owner – the asshole! Maybe he’d think twice about screwing up his horse if he walked around like a clown all day, bending his knees in odd ways…

One other comment someone made seems worth mentioning. I kept reiterating how I thought the whole thing was a massive waste of time and resources. One guy mentioned that if they were not showing (i.e., abusing) animals, they’d probably be sitting at home watching TV. Well, maybe that’s true. But which is worse: wasting your life watching TV or ruining an animal’s life? I’m not sure…

It’s safe to say I won’t be going to a horse show again any time soon…

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