Humble: Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
The equestrian industry is a fascinating one. There are times where incidents pull us together, actions of those within our equestrian community push the majority of us together, and help us all realize the big family we are. Then there are the times that separate us, the actions of those who rip the equestrian community apart at its core, that force some to stand alone.
Sometimes we are given the opportunity to turn a situation one way or another. As in the case of small pony, Humble, who was owned by the Mandarino Family.
The news came as a shock to most everyone in the equestrian family. Small pony, Humble, was competing at Devon in the small ponies this past weekend. He’d had an extremely successful career in the green smalls and the regular smalls. He had kids who loved him, leased him, and I can almost guarantee spoiled him rotten. On Saturday morning he died in a barn on the show grounds (not much else has been reported).
While a majority of the horse world is busy pointing their fingers and making accusations about what happened (and trust me I have my opinions on what went down too) I can’t help but wonder how the family is handling this. Amber Hill lost a great teacher and competitor, a little girl lost a best friend, and the horse world lost a special little athlete. While there is speculation around the death of the seemingly healthy pony, nothing has been confirmed yet. The family isn’t speaking and the horse show has no information.
Regardless of the COD on the pony, the incident has shed light on the ever present drug issues in our sport and the rules for banning/allowing/and testing for (or lack thereof) them. People are up in arms, and reasonably so. However, this is not the first suspicious death of a competition horse, nor will it be the last. Whether this pony died of natural causes, an accidental artery poke with a needle, or it was given drugs in the wrong manner doesn’t matter. He isn’t coming back and that is what I find most tragic.
Maybe his death is meant to show the horse world just what we are lacking. Maybe in his memory there could be a rule put into place, something like Humble’s Law or what have you. The rule could state that any horse/pony that dies while competing in a USEF regulated competition is required to have urine/blood tests run and an autopsy and the law could enforce stronger drug tests measure and regulate who gets drug tested. Regardless of how Humble did indeed die, I can’t imagine a better way to remember the fancy little chestnut pony than instating a law that could help ponies/horses in the future. Humble’s death could help instate a law that would force the equestrian community to act in the manner of his name, with meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful.
Currently this pony’s death is separating the equestrian community, ripping it apart at it’s core, and forcing some to stand alone. But couldn’t his death mean so much more? Couldn’t his death help pull us together and realize the big family we are? Could enforcing Humble’s Law force professionals, owners, and riders to pick up a higher standard of moral ethics and therefore create a better life for the horses/ponies involved in our sport? At the end of the day we are responsible for being their voice, for I know no creature more humble than those beautiful animals sitting in my barn.