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When equestrian sport and news makes the national news papers, these stories are not covered by writers with knowledge of the equestrian industry. This leads to silly mistakes such as referring to an eventer as a show jumper, mis-spelling or mis-using common equestrian terms. A great example was in the Telegraph this week when covering the Queen’s reaction to Big Star’s retirement where they described how the horse “bucked its hind legs.” Can a horse buck their front legs?
Now I understand that the majority of the people reading these papers are unlikely to have much horsey knowledge, so the writer needs to make sure that their readers can understand. However, I still think that there are plenty of ways you can make it obvious what you are saying without sounded like you are clueless to any horsey readers. Because if these articles are available online, the chances are they will be spread across horsey social media. Even a simple change to “kicked its hind legs” makes perfect sense without us horsey folk questioning the sentence.
I’m not saying the media should hire someone with a horsey background purely for when these occasions arise, but I do think they should have an equestrian freelance writer in their contact lists. For big stories during times like the Olympics, racing festivals and big horsey events, paying a freelance writer to cover these stories can only be a benefit. Having a good working relationship with a freelance writer with a good equestrian knowledge could also lead to them being happy to help fact check your own articles for a small or no fee.
What are your thoughts? I can’t be the only one who gets irritated by the mainstream media getting their equestrian facts wrong.