The world is full of serious problems, wars, scandals, and heated debates, especially online. But another playground for personal strife is, well, a playground. For a horsey mom in England, what started out as an innocent indulgence, allowing her seven-year-old daughter to ride her pony to school, turned into a fraught event for all.
The beleaguered mom took it all to the online forum, Reddit, and their AITA section (Am I The Asshole) for readers to weigh in and vote. Yes, you read that right.
BuzzFeed reported on the incident and the Reddit post, trying to figure out what exactly the hoopla was all about. Was the mom’s choice to allow her child to ride the pony to school an act of blatant snobbery that stuck it to the kids who don’t have the means to own a pony? Or just a simple way to exercise the pony and delight her daughter and the other children who flocked to see the creature?
The poster writes, “One girl came bounding over and started shouting at me, saying she wanted to ride. I politely told her no because she didn’t have a riding hat and would have to learn on a safer horse. She started hysterically crying and pleading with her mum, saying she wanted to ride. Her mum looked at me with disgust and said, ‘See, this is what happens when you have no self-awareness and bring a f***ing horse to a school.’ I was taken aback but ignored her, sent my child to school, and walked the pony home.”
And it turned out that even the mom’s friend shared this view: “I was talking to my friend this weekend, and she said I was the problem, and I was blatantly showing off and should have known that this would cause problems.”
Spoiler alert: the vast majority of Reddit’s readers were on the side of the mom and declared her “not the A-hole.” But it brings up an interesting point. Equestrian sports have a well-earned reputation for being elitist. This is an expensive sport, one that requires gobs of money and time, even if you’re not trying to be competitive. The outfit of breeches, tall boots, and fitted jacket is a throwback to foxhunting aristocrats (think Downton Abbey) and is synonymous with high-fashion labels like Hermes and Gucci, with famous celebrity fans of the sport. In other words, even if the mom thought nothing of the fact that owning horses could be seen as showing off, horses (and ponies) and the whole equestrian lifestyle we all hold dear can rub others the wrong way.
What do you think? Is the mom the A-hole?