Real talk: Social media is a double-edged sword. I have always been active on social media. I had a Xanga and a MySpace. I anxiously waited for my university to be added to Facebook in the mid-2000s. I am not terribly active on Twitter, but I have multiple pages on Facebook, and multiple Instagram accounts. (Check out Wex on Facebook and Instagram.) But social media shows one side of the coin.
For example, on my personal Instagram account, I follow a lot of interior design accounts. We’re talking Chip and JoAnna Gaines style, immaculately decorated houses that look like they belong in a magazine (and some of them are). There is not a toy in sight. There is not a stray dog hair. The couches don’t look like they’ve ever seen a butt, let alone a marker, a spilled beer, dripped ice cream, jumping children, or dog drool. I recognize that just out of the shot is a Lego masterpiece in progress, a broom and dustpan that have collected the dog hair, and a stack of mail that may never be completely sorted. With this in mind, I try hard not to fall victim to the social media “filter” that we put on our lives.
Similarly, the equine accounts on social media would have us believe that everyone has perfectly groomed horses, never misses a spot, and has a clean round every time. And who are these people who have great lighting in a barn? The reality is, no one is going to post a video of the terrible chip, or poop stained gray horse, or the round with 6 rails. We filter our lives on social media to show only the best side of ourselves. This is just human nature. As consumers of social media, we have to be cognizant of the filters.
Let’s take the Thoroughbred Makeover, for example. These horses have 15 or fewer post-track rides prior to December 1st. At most, they have 3 months of training in. There are people sharing their 2019 Makeover horse’s first shows. They’re out doing solo trail rides. They’re schooling cross country. It’s entirely possible that some people are way ahead of the game, but what we’re not seeing is all the “out takes”. The blooper reel, so-to-speak.
So let’s talk about real life. Real life is that not all horses are the same. Not all thoroughbreds are going to be easy to restart. Some may have had 30 days with a professional already. I don’t anticipate Wex seeing a jump (on purpose!) until late spring. When Wex has a moody day, I get this kind of ride. (Full disclaimer, I edited out all the good moments—and there were many. I just wanted to show a real life 4-year-old ex-racehorse.)
I shared this because I want people to know that not everyone is already showing their Makeover horses. Not everyone is jumping around courses. Even if social media leads you to believe that, there’s at least one horse who has a long way to go. I also shared because I know many people plan to sell their Makeover horses, and showing something like this may damage sale potential. I don’t plan to sell Wex, and I really value the process, even if it can be discouraging.
But we’re still making progress. I’m still working with a trainer. I’m constantly consulting with my vet and chiropractor. I had a saddle fitter out once, and will have her out again as he adds muscle. This week, I successfully trotted without having someone on the ground. I call that success for us.