My Voice, Part One

Every attempt I’ve made to maintain steady blogging, especially post college, has slowly petered off and eventually abandoned. Unlike some friends and almost friends that also blog who manage to keep one single blog going, every time I return is more starting over, new name, new fonts, a fresh face that follows the same pattern. I’m not committing to anything this time around (even though I paid for WordPress again), but with everything going on in the world and my personal life I still feel that itch to get my voice down on paper or through the keyboard.

I have noticed that the blogs I enjoy reading the most have a more or less coherent theme, whether it be about books, long form essays, or horses. For myself, there’s two main things I want to write about; I have my own horse now (for the first time!), so there’s a ton to explore and keep track of and learn there. But, back to the whole “state of the world” thing, I want to toss my voice into the void about such fundamental things as the state of our democracy, the world I want my son to grow up and become an adult in, and where my life and choices fit into that larger (and undeniably privileged) framework. Plus random other things like book reviews, fumbling attempts at cooking, navigating home ownership, setting up my rig for horse camping…things I want to share without FB owning and playing corporate games with my stuff. Sounds like two totally separate blogs right?

Being only one busy lady and based on my past attempts, keeping up blogging is an uphill battle between my time, my desires and everyone in my life I jiggle around, so we’ll see how this one goes.

Pretty horse photo cause blogs without photos aren’t as fun usually

To start with the second topic (since I’m travelling for work and stuck in conference rooms 700 miles from my horse), my boss and I grabbed dinner after an 11 hour day for both of us. I support my company’s EHS team, which is heading our response to the corona-virus outbreak (we have customers and therefore employees supporting those customers in Wuhan), so that’s led to long days with no signs of slowing for my team. My boss tossed me into the daily meeting with folks whose titles are no less than two to three levels above mine for, quote, “Being the most reliable and up to date on this stuff.” His confidence helps mine, but man can it get rough!

Decompressing at Claim Jumpers over bourbon and a mock-tail, respectively, we touched on such light, work appropriate topics as our families genetic history, career plans and trajectories, and of course politics…but not about the current impeachment clusterfuck or specific policies.

My high school boyfriend had a karate teacher who was friends with an akido instructor who had a huge influence on how I deconstruct arguments and what points I dig for in such discussions. Even as a teenager I picked up not to go after the fluff of things or get overly sidetracked by tangents, but to dig until the root cause or point was found. Debating with him over email on such topics as religion and politics helped immensely, and I remain grateful for those conversations to this day.

Not to say I didn’t go through the typical teenage and young adult growing periods of false logic, grasping at straws and taking uninformed or ill-informed stands, but we all have to go through that so I try not to beat up myself too much for those much more idealistic days.

Last night with my boss, I wasn’t going after the fluff-my questions (in part informed by this recent series by ‘The New Yorker’), were along the lines of “Can a true, fundamentally fair democracy thrive with a capitalist economy?”, “How do we move on from a two party system?”, “How do we teach our kids to debate and disagree without hating the other person or group?” The point wasn’t to stump each other or argue for one side or the other, but to inch towards that last point; disagreeing without relegating the other side as a bad person.

I’m about to board my flight home (woot!) So more on this vein later!

Breathing space

Below is the letter I wrote & emailed to the NYC Council members, before it was announces this morning they would not bw voting on the carriage horse ban bill in disguise. I have a lot more to say on this topic, but the industry has found a bit of breathing space in the Council’s refusal, for whatever reasons, to bring the awful, stinky bill to a vote, despite their ‘progressive’ mayors leaning. So, a battle won, but not the war, not until the carriage horses and their industry are fully protected against the onslaught they’ve faced these past few years. 

New York City Council Member

Re: Bill Intro 573-B, NYC Carriage Trade

To Whom It May Concern:

This passionate letter is in regards to Bill 573-B, which is set to be voted on this upcoming Friday. I know your offices must be buried under contacts about this issue, and many other besides. Tough luck, it’s what you signed up for! On this issue I have a stake, so I hope whichever intern is reading this is inspired to learn something, or do your own digging on this wide reaching issue, which is about so much more than “horses suffer in our city.”

I write to you wearing a collection of hats; mother, tourist, employee, American taxpaying citizen, former horse owner and carriage driver, and someone who has a solid background in sustainability, horse behavior, care, training and rescue. My words have merit on the issue of working horses in cities, beyond those of a bystander.

So with all my experience, knowledge and qualifications lend weight to the following statement: I completely support the New York City Carriage Horse industry, as it stands now, governed and regulated by multiple government agencies, a law-abiding, tax paying, safe and historic industry.

Destroying such a thriving business, either through the passage of this possibly illegal, highly suspicious bill, or any other attempt by Mayor DeBlasio to either cut back or completely ban the carriages should never have been or continue to be considered. That this ‘deal’ has gotten as far as it has brings shame and mistrust upon the entire city government, that any elected official could consider arbitrarily removing the rights of a perfectly legal establishment. Please disregard the pleas and money pouring in from animal rights activists, who claim that work for animals leads to suffering; most of them have zero experience with working animals, and every veterinarian, horse trainer, or other horse expert who have examined the NYC carriage horses over the past decades have pronounced them, again and again, among the luckiest, healthiest, best cared for animals in the world.

I could continue to cite such proofs and facts regarding the safety and care record for this industry, but all of this is publicly available. A simple Google search, phone call to one of the overseeing agencies, or visit to any of the current horses stables would be far more effective than any words written on this topic.

To sum up: Everyone who is in any way qualified to speak for either the drivers or the horses behalf would rather have them as they are now, a thriving, safe, profitable and independent business. For my part, I think more horses in a modern city can only lead to good; healthier, happier people, horses earning money for their excellent care (instead of an uncertain future or ride to Mexico on a slaughter truck), in the public eye and guarded by modern regulations is the safest place for horses to be. The horses bring joy, a connection to the natural world, a connection to a way of life most modern people have forgotten. They should be pulling carriages, delivering farm fresh food and flowers, hauling away recycling, giving rides and plowing snow, not being banished from the public eye. With modern welfare regulations in place, may there always be room in one of the world’s greatest cities for equines, who have been our partners for millennia.

My former team of been there, done that, worth their weight in gold hard working Belgian draft horses, Bobby & Tucker!