Rebecca Penny: ‘Reputation is an important asset’ *H&H Plus*


  • Rebecca Penny on the resumption of shows and social media blunders

    I’VE just completed my first lot of show entries which is exciting but presents a few hurdles I will need to get over. The first will undoubtedly be fitting into my show gear. The second will be staying aboard the novice ponies who are perhaps about to be thrown in at the deep end when attending shows that, under normal circumstances, I would have been a little better prepared for.

    A pony going well at home is one thing but, like me, they have been cocooned. The sheer excitement of seeing the outside world may come as a bit of a shock to some of them, so I’m praying we have time to attend some local arena hires or clinics before heading to the winter championships.

    A job well done

    I ADMIT I questioned what The Showing Council was bringing to the table, but I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and the swift release of the latest blueprint for resuming showing was a job well done. I’m sure it has been gratefully received by many show organisers and has taken a weight off their shoulders.

    There are still some grey areas and it may have caused some confusion among exhibitors. However, this document was only ever intended to be used by show organisers and organisations, and wasn’t necessarily intended to be viewed by the masses, although it seems to have made its way into the public domain and of course people have raised some valid questions.

    Hopefully any uncertainties will be addressed over the next few weeks as the Government announces further plans for the route out of lockdown, but it’s looking more positive. I’m sure we can all muddle through the early part of the year.

    I’m looking forward to getting out and about again, although I am still sat on my high horse over prize money.

    I mentioned this at the back end of last season and, having glanced at a number of schedules already, I can’t be the only person wondering how we can continue to justify paying on average £50 per entry in some instances and winning absolutely nothing back.

    The biggest offenders currently seem to be the “behind closed doors” county show replacements. Typically, county shows could charge a premium for entries given the fact that it would coincide with a day out where you got attractions, atmosphere, a few free tickets and something to entertain the long-suffering non-horsey family member who gets dragged along to help carry the basket.

    While the added extras will be missing this year, entry fees have increased and prize money decreased or even scrapped.

    I’m grateful that we should have shows to attend, but as a self-employed professional I will be voting with my feet on this one and will be much more selective about taking a weekday away from jobs that do actually pay. This isn’t me being greedy, something someone accused me of when I raised this last time, but it’s about sustainability.

    Reckless posting

    THERE is often heated discussion over pictures published on social media, especially when high-profile figures are involved. Without discussing individual cases, we must all remember that not only are you only as good as your last result, but you are also only as credible as your last post.

    We all make mistakes, but we all need to check and think before we post.

    Your reputation is one of the most, if not the most, important assets you possess. To lower it by making a mistake, such as fitting tack incorrectly in a picture designed to showcase your ability, is silly – and avoidable.

    I’ve seen a few eye-watering examples recently, and while it’s important to keep a new generation of producers coming through, they have to earn their laurels.

    Social media has taken some high-profile casualties over the past few years and despite all the urging to stay kind, some people can be vicious when they hit the keyboard. Check posts before they go live and set yourself up for success, not failure.

    This exclusive column is also available to read in this Thursday’s H&H magazine (1 April, 2021)

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