We live in a time where the possibilities for knowledge, education and the sharing of both can explode exponentially. Between the abilities of the internet, cameras that take video, the ability of anyone to load articles, pictures and videos online almost instantly – to share with people all around the world. We finally, finally have access to any number of incredible horsemen and their teachings from all around the world. Finally we don’t have to travel hundreds even thousands of miles to see the work of a Nuno Oliveira or even a de la Gueriniere. Or do we?
But it appears that the wonderful potential that should be there today is never going to be realized.
I was so excited with the endless possibilities of the internet.
And now… and now I find out that one more rider, one more instructor has decided to not allow video at their clinics, won’t allow pictures of their riding to be distributed online. Not because they are ashamed by their riding, but because anyone who is any kind of horseman has to have some sensitivity in their soul. And in actuality the better the horseman, the more likelikhood the more sensitive he will be.
And this sensitivity means that it hurts. It hurts when they hear of their pictures, their videos, their students, their life’s work being ripped to shreds on the next discussion forum or board. It hurts. It hurts a lot.
And not only does it hurt them personally, it hurts their reputation and their ability to make a living.
They know that any work on any horse is always a work in progress, but they no longer feel that they can show that work in progress. They feel they can’t show the horse at the beginnig of the training process. They can’t show the training process, the progression as you work through different problems, different issues. Especially since they are well aware, that along the way, you yourself make mistakes, have to take the time to re-evaluate, take the time to learn from the horse that you are working with now.
If you didn’t care about other people’s feelings and thoughts then it wouldn’t be a problem. But the more you care, the more unlikely you are to share. What I am hearing as an edtior from instructors and clinicians all around the world, they are now only happy to share perfect pictures. Perfect pictures – of perfect horses – in perfect moments.
And since that isn’t possible…. there aren’t going to be any pictures. There isn’t going to be any video. Because they have been made to feel even one bad picture is going to destroy everything. It has gotten to the point that some instructors are telling their riders that not only not to take pictures or video, they are even going beyond that, asking that they share nothing, absolutely nothing with anyone, at anytime, in any place.
We all, myself included, like to examine pictures and video, trying to learn from what we see in front of us. Is it good, is it bad, would it be something that could help me and my horses? We love the discussion that happens when two strong viewpoints argue over what is good and/or bad in a picture or video. Loving how much we can learn from the discussion. And often the more controversial, the more we learn as the discussion heats up! But in the meanwhile….
In the meanwhile we have a new phenomenom happening, one where the best instructors now choose to keep their teachings private to just the few that they are with. So all of the abilities of us creating extraordinary material for all of us to learn from both now in the future is no longer an option. Every day I am having more and more instructors telling me the same thing.
Today would Podhasky use all the pictures that he did in his book, would Wynmalen in his extraordinary book Dressage? Likely not. Not only has this internet age caused the halt of being able to get far more material that we should be able to get, we are seeing a regression of that material, and if we haven’t yet, we are going to.
What can we do? We love the discussion and how much we learn, but at the same time we are destroying the resources that we are trying to learn from.
If you think about it, this is so sad.
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
And the question becomes, is there anything that we can do?