The Digital Dark Ages (shine a light on creativity)


I am sitting in my wonderful new home following the least stressful move I think I’ve ever experienced; now in double figures so I have plenty of house move history! The only fly in the otherwise unspoiled ointment is the lack of phone line and internet connection: soon to be remedied.
This apparent return to the digital dark ages has resulted in some rather pleasant experiences- reading the Sunday Times from cover to cover is usually a rare indulgence reserved for holidays- and on the whole has been an uplifting time. The obvious lack of our friend Google to settle trivial spats and the inability to order new things for the house have been frustrating but not exactly impossible to cope with.
In terms of work I will be cramming a fortnight’s judging into a few days once I (hopefully) get back online and apologies to anyone who has tried to contact me regarding video feedback; normal service should (by the time you read this) have resumed.
Writing a blog entry ahead of its likely publication is a new one for me, I wouldn’t say I am disorganised but I am rarely ahead of my game. It feels liberating to be sat at the laptop with nothing but the thoughts in my head- no checking with Google if my facts are straight- I just need to organise them into something coherent enough to publish!
Satisfyingly this ties in with some of the thoughts that I have been having about the internet and the myriad of dressage/training groups there; particularly centred on Facebook. I’ll admit to finding some of these groups interesting; like-minded people searching for similar answers to me. Some I belong to because it is the only way to keep up to date with horses and riders that I have known in the cyber world for many years. A few groups I have joined and left quickly as they seem to be an excuse for humans to berate other humans and score points rather than help each other to learn and progress.
The groups that I remain a part of ebb and flow in terms of interesting topics but in general are kindly towards those seeking answers and support; I remain amongst the numbers there, not to offer advice but to keep in touch and keep myself grounded. Not perhaps a necessity for everyone but being based on a small yard on Exmoor can leave you woefully out of touch.
Many of the names pop up on all of the groups; some seem rather too fond of offering advice whereas some crave recognition for having made good training choices (I’ve probably fallen into both camps on occasions when time has allowed me to be involved) and most (me)just read and either like or ‘tut’ out loud. I honestly don’t know how some find the time- appearing to be serious trainers or riders with hours to spare writing advice and, often, deeply involved explanations of equine behaviour and physiology. Sometimes it makes me feel decidedly lacking when I read detailed explanations of, say, how the equine skeleton moves during locomotion and how the rider can influence this; only to be uplifted when I see how abysmally that person actually rides in ‘real’ life.
Riding and training horses is about feel, it is about abandoning yourself to the horse and the moment; feeling your way through with patience and consideration. You cannot learn through Mr Google or the internet experts alone even if you can pick up some fancy lingo to blind those less (blissfully) aware than you. I’m not saying that everything learned via the internet is a bad thing, far from it or I wouldn’t have created my own business and web site. I just think we could all do with periods in the ‘dark’ in terms of the internet, coming into the light via the feedback offered so generously by our equine partners. Learning to trust my own ‘gut’ feeling is something I fully intend to hone further before turning to Mr G and the innumerable experts out there!

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