Imagine hearing about the death of young person at a public event, or imagine having seen the death and then listening to the telling of the story. The media representative relaying the news becomes choked up in delivering the information. Their voice crackles, and they need to pause to compose themselves as they give the basic facts behind the young person’s death. You feel for the departed, but you also connect with said media person. Their compassion is comforting. Unfortunately this scenario does not end there, as that same trusted member of the media goes on to say that it’s a real shame that this tragedy should have befallen such a nice girl … the problem being the departed was actually a young man.
Such a thing could not happen, right?
Call it what you want, insincerity, disrespectfulness, or an embarrassing mistake; such a thing should never happen.
Replace the young man in the above scenario with a young male horse. What is the reaction then?
When I posted the following statement today on Facebook, “It bothers me when someone talks with such emotion about a horse being euthanized without knowing if they are a colt or a filly,” it sparked a debate that rather surprised me. I posted the statement for exactly the reason in which I said … the fact that a respected member of the racing community could tell of the passing of this colt with obvious emotion and then call him a nice filly, bothered me on a few levels.
I questioned how authentic the emotion could have been if the journalist is misidentifying the most basic information about the horse, and I also found it troubling that the memory of the horse was disrespected in such an obvious way. The trainer and the jockey were mentioned by name, but not the horse, only that this fallen colt was a filly.
Having seen the tragedy on television, perhaps I was a bit hyper-sensitive to the whole thing, but honestly I don’t think so.
I was told on Facebook by some that the emotion probably could have caused the egregious error, or that the emotion is the important thing here, not the personal information of the horse, or even that horses can be easily seen as genderless. I’m not buying it.
Obviously, none of those explanations made me feel one bit better, so I came to write about it. While I do not wish to name the horse, or the industry media representative, I would like to remind everyone what a noble creature horses are.
If you care enough to be publicly emotional about the horse, then please do not get the most basic information about the horse incorrect. I do not think that is too much to ask. Thank you for reading.