In recent months we have seen a worrying increase in unacceptable behaviour on social media as a whole and even on our main Facebook page, including the use of abusive language, citing unfounded evidence, gossip, hearsay, trolling and downright bullying. This is upsetting and deeply concerning, especially when we are all living through such turbulent times. Surely the equestrian community should be rallying to support its fellow members, rather than creating a culture where we tear each other apart?
The DrDavidMarlin team has worked hard to create a safe and supportive community where like-minded equine enthusiasts can come together to ask for advice, ask questions and share experiences without fear of judgment or ridicule. Our members are on board with this philosophy and since our launch last year we haven’t witnessed a single case of bullying. Members who enjoy the website, webinars and Live Chats and those in the Facebook Members Group comment on how we are establishing a platform where experiences can be shared, help and assistance can be sought and there is no such thing as a silly question.
We know that stress levels are running high. A recent survey by our own Dr David Marlin, Dr Jane Williams and Dr Hayley Randle revealed how the UK’s horse owners have been affected by the current coronavirus pandemic. 73% of participants advised of a clear negative impact on their mental health. Illness, bereavement, financial worries, reduced social contact and increased anxiety and stress all featured highly on the list of anxieties. (Read more about the study here.)
With these challenges in mind, we’re proud that the DrDavidMarlin.com community is providing its members with a wonderfully encouraging and caring group that not only supports and inspires, but also helps horse lovers come together online to forge new friendships and build important support networks.
Therefore, we have decided it is time to encourage more positivity and reject any negativity. We are starting by taking a firm stand on anything that even faintly resembles bullying.
All you Trolls take heed!
We have put together a set of rules for our website, our Members Facebook Group, our Facebook page and all social media channels. We never want to inhibit healthy debate, discussion and the sharing of ideas and views, but there is a positive way to do this and we hope the following rules will help guide us:
- If you can’t be nice then leave. We appreciate that the information we share and offer up for discussion isn’t for everyone, and if it isn’t to your liking, then just leave.
- If you adopt a rude, intimidating or insulting tone towards anyone then please leave.
- If you want to argue unnecessarily with people then please leave.
- If you are not interested in science, facts and discovering the truth then please leave.
- If you are only here to belittle people to make yourself feel better, then please leave.
Our intention is for everyone to pull together, to not only enable us to improve the care of our horses, but also to educate ourselves to become better equestrians and be united in our love for these magnificent animals. If you are unable to share in this ethos, we will block and ban you.
As a community, we want to be there for our members and we encourage you to support each other and reach out for help when you need it. Please feel free to chat in the Members’ Facebook Group page, just say hello and share any worries, you certainly won’t be the only person feeling anxious or fed up. If you are stuck at home and in need of some company, put up a post, it doesn’t have to be science-based and let’s face it, as equestrians we all love to share stories about our horses to take our minds off things!
Above all please be kind to yourselves and to others. Learn to really enjoy the time you spend with your horse and if things get tough, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family and the Marlin Community.
PROFESSIONAL HELP – If anyone feels the need for professional help, here are some numbers where you can access people who have been specifically trained to deal with this type of problem: never be afraid to call them – NHS Recommended List