With any hobby, contains individuals with different views, upbringings and social groups. Unfortunately, when dealing with others, these ideas are often lost. There is always drama in any species. I have raised and exhibited many species over the years, and have obviously strayed from them for various reasons. Whether it be the people, the ethics involved in the industry, or monetary issues, there always are some barriers you encounter. After 12 years of horse showing, I retired the idea with going to college. I left my childhood mare at home to rest an easy life surrounded by children and other people who love her just as much as I do. Will I ever get into showing again? Perhaps, maybe when I'm older. I however will never forget the realm of youth and even open exhibitors I experienced over my 4-H, high school equestrian team and open showing years. But rabbits? seriously?
Pre 2010 era of raising rabbits, I had grown up through the hobby as a youth, a respected youth at that. I was highly active in 4-H, (actually started ARBA before even joining 4-H!), and participated in ARBA royalty for the last few years that I was able to. Due to my location, I hardly ever exhibited in youth shows (they are rare in our area), so I grew up competition against adults. Never in my 11 years did I encounter, or even hear of the stories that happen today in our hobby. I suppose one could say that I had a "blind eye" to it, or I am now just getting older to finally understand it all, either way ... it's not right!
If you have to ask yourself if this is "not right", there's a high probability that it's not. We were given a conscience for a reason, to recognize it and use it! What’s most easily lost is sportsmanship. People obviously show rabbits to get judges opinions, to hang out with friends, but for the small group of people who are ‘in it to win it’ never get the best out of the hobby. Buying up stock to try to win on the tables? Have we forgotten what “Breeding” is all about? Making your own winners feels a lot more rewarding in the end than animals you have purchased. In the meantime, culling effectively will make sure those inferior animals don’t make it in the hands of a youth or prospective ARBA member. To do well on the tables is a two way street. Perhaps examine what the winners are doing (right), rather than cringing at them every time they beat you at a show. It’s only common courtesy to congratulate a winner, shake their hand (or rabbit hugs these days) to let them know that you’re just as happy for them as they are that they won.
Not everyone at that show table is "in it to win it", whether it be for Club points or winnings. I'm not a part of my breed association. I don't see the point & I never have. I don't care who can gain the most points under sanctioned shows, or who can get the most quality points for a single rabbit. What does that tell you? Nothing. One person can show 1 rabbit who wins a few nice shows, or one person can show 20 rabbits at a dozen shows and get the same amount of points. It tells you nothing, it's just a title you can display.
There is a rare group that is in it for fun. We go to shows with good judges, have good locations (fun stuff to do outside of the show), have fun time with friends & chat with breeders you haven't seen in a while. Who’s the crazy goon that will travel 13 hrs one way to head to a show with 2 rabbits entered just to see her friends? Call me crazy.
That’s just the “physical” side of the rabbit hobby. With hotmail, facebook, twitter and other social networks – comes the “non-physical” rabbit drama that creates even as much drama. Don’t get me wrong, networking is great. I sell a lot of animals because of my website & Facebook & am in constant contact with other breeders in breeds that I don’t raise. I do it for a learning experience – I enjoy seeing baby Tans, beautiful winning Mini Rex and the proposed Lionheads – they’ve come a long way!
However some breeders take the ‘non-physical’ communication a little too far. It’s VERY hard to read expressions or meanings through type. They can easily take a comment way too far. To be regarded to slanderous, slime ball, toxic, backstabber, having a miserable life … I’ve even seen & heard worse. They’re pretty low terms if you ask me. Disagreeing with a judge’s placement or comments is very common. We all do it. However if you brush it off your shoulder and respect that ‘it’s their opinion’, then that’s the best that you can do. To trash talk about breeders behind their back (especially when you don’t even know them) is the lowest things I think a person can do. It makes it worse if they don’t even know the correct version of the story. It’s these people, who continue to make deadly mistakes that will cost them in the end. Even if they have nice rabbits, their ethics about the hobby won’t take them very far. Usually these breeders eventually give up hope & sell out. In the meantime they make the rabbit hobby an uncomfortable place to be in. Remember, they only talk about you because they’re jealous – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Rewinding back to my youth days, as I mentioned before I only met GOOD breeders and people that were willing to help. I continue to withhold that idea; I cull inferior animals and sell only the best stock. I offer youth discounts and am willing to sell bred does in either breed (Mini Lops or Martens). I hold true to attending shows for fun (Note: I do not show rabbits to win – how can I make that clear?), I stay until the show is over with, even if I don’t have a BOB winner on the table. If my friend has a contender, I stay to see the show through & will be right there when she wins. Call me crazy, but it’s the RIGHT thing to do. J