Huh, Who’d Have Thought?
Part One: Blazing New Trails in San Antonio, Texas
The 2022 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Convention & Trade Show focuses on Blazing New Trails. The homepage on the 2022 AAEP Convention’s website is bedazzled with a molten horse bursting into flames, whom I have affectionally named Ember.
The symbol is reminiscent of our favorite heroine, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. For those unfamiliar with the fictional, dystopian trilogy, Katniss is a poor teenager from an oppressed district under the control of The Capital. She becomes the unwitting leader of a revolution. Throughout the trilogy, she wears various costumes that purposefully erupt into heatless flames. Dubbed “The girl on fire,” Katniss’s actions spark a revolution that spreads like wildfire among the other oppressed districts. Spoiler alert: The revolution is successful, and the districts are liberated.
2022 AAEP Logo Symbolism
Maybe I am reading a bit too much into AAEP’s Ember Horse. Perhaps that logo is meant to represent veterinarians. It symbolizes their smoldering passion for practice and their incandescent commitment to their patients. Alternatively, perhaps Ember is the poster child for some of the greatest equids in history: Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Joey the “War Horse,” Gills Bay Boy, Star Plaudit, Snowman, Gem Twist, and more. Better yet, what if Ember represents the unsung heroes? The backyard beast of burdens that keep their cool while young children clamber on their backs. The ones who patiently let kids kick their sides and tug tufts of mane. Or maybe it represents the horses used in equine therapy programs.
On the flip side, the AAEP might have simply aimed to create a left-brain, right-brain illusion. When I first looked at Ember, I saw only this emblazoned majestic horse. But if I focus just one inch past my screen and tilt my head 22.3 degrees to the left, I am positive the right side of my brain sees an elderly emu with its head outstretched running from a bush fire.
Regardless, Ember appears ready to rumble. It is therefore fitting that she is doing so in historic San Antonio, Texas, home of The Alamo.
Being Canadian, I received zero education on any of the American wars. In fact, my entire knowledge of the Civil War is from Gone with the Wind. To educate myself on the Texas Revolution, I did my “research,” just like our clients do. I turned to such highly reputable sources as Wikipedia, expressnews.com, and info.com. Overwhelmed with being a hypocrite, I abandoned these sources and went straight to the horse’s mouth: thealamo.org. I learned that starting in late February 1836, a small band of fewer than 200 Americans attempted to stand their ground against a Mexican army for 13 agonizing days and nights. By the sounds of things, they were outrageously outnumbered. They cocooned themselves within the walls of The Alamo. On March 6, 1836, it took but 90 minutes for the Texan defenders to be defeated.
Again, let me preface this by reminding you that I lack any knowledge of American history. Nonetheless, two thoughts come to mind:
- Davy Crockett wasn’t a fictional character invented by Disney?! That is the epitome of “Who’d have thought?” I am literally speechless.
- I should have studied the Siege of the Alamo before playing paintball with my teenage son and his frenzied gun-wielding friends. Just like the Texan defenders who cornered themselves inside The Alamo with no escape route, I decided I should jump into an oil drum. My vision was that I would hear the opposing soldiers approaching. Then, I would simply pop up like in whack-a-mole, shoot them, then return to my “safe spot” nestled inside the barrel until the next wave of unsuspecting shooters approached. Needless to say, I paid dearly for this tactical error.
Sucker to Clickbait
As my online “research” continued, I became a sucker to clickbait. That’s when I encountered a version of the Texan Revolution published by Time in 2021.
The authors of that article wrote, “Imagine if the U.S. were to open interior Alaska for colonization and, for whatever reason, thousands of Canadian settlers poured in, establishing their own towns, hockey rinks and Tim Hortons stores. The U.S. insists they follow American laws and pay American taxes, but they refuse. When the government tries to collect taxes, they shoot and kill American soldiers. When law enforcement goes after the killers, the colonists—backed by Canadian financing and mercenaries—take up arms in open revolt.
“As an American, how would you feel? Now, you can imagine how Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna would have felt in 1835, because that’s pretty much the story of the revolution that paved the way for Texas to become its own nation and then an American state.”
Great Barrel Incident of 2018
I am not at all interested in debating which version of history is correct. What I find fascinating is how 1) Canada, the nicest country in the world, was unnecessarily drawn into this historical drama, and 2) both versions of the story are presented with such conviction it makes it impossible for someone like me, a historical clean slate, to know which version is accurate. I appreciate that the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. It is up to each budding historian to critically assess the materials and take away the useful information (e.g., don’t hide in a barrel and expect to escape unscathed).
If there is one key take-home message that I extracted from the Great Barrel Incident of 2018, it’s that it’s a lot less painful to learn from history than to learn from your own mistakes. Consider this as you blaze your way through the 2022 AAEP Convention, assimilating welt- and bruise-free continuing education. Like last year, the program is packed with presentations that will make even the most seasoned practitioners say, “Huh, Who’d Have Thought?”
Mental Health at the 2022 AAEP Convention
And while you’re at the Convention and have a few minutes of freedom from your normally frantic life, maybe take a moment to think about the mental health of your colleagues in veterinary medicine. Are you prepared to help should someone come to you in crisis? Take a look at the free Ask-Support-Know (ASK) Program. Learning how to ask open-ended questions could save someone’s life.
Editor’s note: Make sure to check back each day of the AAEP Convention starting on Sunday, November 20. You can read a new “Huh, Who’d have Thought?” article. We will list and link them all from this page. If you choose, you can quickly click through to each new article from EquiManagement’s home page or Facebook. Can’t get enough? Check out the series of articles from the 2021 AAEP convention here!
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