I recently wrote a poem for Equitas about not instantly judging the person in front of us.
In the case of the poem it was an elderly woman, but this applies to everyone. How often do we see a photograph that someone has posted of their horse doing something, - just for folk to slam dunk them with foul comments about riding position, tack, and horse's conformation?!
A photo takes an instant image - a nano-second capture that isn't a true representation.
Perhaps the horse has just snatched a cheeky chunk of grass and has its mouth open slightly. Boom! In come the comments - "discomfort, badly fitting tack, cough....". Maybe the horse is the most utterly adored and cared-for animal. Maybe the photo choice just wasn't well thought out by the poster. Another example is, "That rider looks terrified!".....maybe they have just sneezed and their crumpled face is due to that and not imminent tears.
Perhaps someone no longer rides their horse, but the onlookers declare "fear, they've lost their nerve".....when actually they have undisclosed medical conditions, or the horse has.
"That woman is just a happy hacker...in fact, I don't think she rides at all..." Dismissed for a low level of horse riding/handling. When in fact, she has previously shown to a high level, given lessons, has qualifications...
We only know what we have been told.
We only know what someone chooses to post.
I recently posted a photo of one of my horses, not currently in the finest condition coming out of winter. However, I know that the condition he is currently in is actually quite remarkable. If folk knew what I know and knew of the conditions that needed in-depth veterinary intervention, massive levels of research, and careful management they might understand why I say this.
Thankfully, I didn't receive any negative comments, but I was prepared to politely respond if necessary and provide some insight if needed. I myself jumped to a conclusion recently when watching a video of a 'lame' horse working over poles. It turned out that they had a foot deformity, but were perfectly happy, regularly vet checked, and cleared for as interactive a non-ridden life as possible. This was one happy guy...
I realised how little we know about other people and their animals and how much people expose themselves to vulnerability when they post photos and videos.
So my message is this. We don't know everything from a photo. We don't have all the facts.