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Horses are people too

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.


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Older Comments about Horses are people too...

Great artical!
Objectively, my friend of many years, my cat, is an animal...So are horses. I love horses but the are not too smart depending more on instincts than logic. Be realistic and stay off the tear jerker band wagon.
I don't even like when some refer to horses, male or female, as "it" in news stories. These critters have names & family histories that go back farther than the reporter's, so give the horse the respect it deserves. Especially in tragic circumstances.
For many of us, these horses are heroes and superior athletes, not unlike some of the greatest human athletes. They are so worthy of the highest level of respect. Well said, Brian.
Absolutely 100% agree. And guess what, a somewhat similar situation happened to a human. Just last month, Kathy Gifford when interviewing Martin Short made the inexcusable blunder of complimenting his wife and their long marriage as if Mrs. Short was still alive, when in reality she had passed away from cancer a year earlier. Gifford's mistake was rebroadcasted in every medium around the world! You have kept her anonymous--she owes you a favor.
I know I am very careful, even on tweets, to make sure I don't make factual mistakes. Typos are another story.
Well said, Brian! Agreed...
Great post! You also know very well that while some people may think it's just a "little" mistake, it can be destructive to e reporter's or "on-air personality's" credibility wiith the public, the industry and his/her peers. I pride myself on making 100% sure mistakes like this never slip through the cracks as I'm sure you do. It's pretty basic stuff, actually - taught in the first week of any journalism school. Driveon
A name of a horse should never be left out however on your post today on facebook you never mentioned that the hores name was left out just the fact that the gender was not mentioned therefore that threw me off and confused me.
Thank you for bringing this out into the open Brian .I have seen it too many times to count . It would be better just to say the name and if not sure about the sex say nothing .
got what you meant on your post and get it here Massive lack of respect and sloppy reporting Horses name also should have been mentioned
Well said!
I saw that on my wall this morning and could NOT understand why those people were castigating you. I'm like you, if you're a trained reporter you should be able to tell an obvious physical difference between the sexes, and have the respect for the horse to report accurately
Thank you, Brian! This is something that totally irks me too.
Thank you Brian I agree 150% on this one!
It's the same reason I hate the Kentucky Derby, I have had friends tell me things about horseracing. I just don't know what to do, I am glad they are interested, but it pisses me off they think Scat Daddy is the best sire since Bold Ruler and then in a few weeks complain about racing's evil, cruel, grossness.
I agree 100%
You're awesome, Brian.

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