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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Use Social Media to Become Closer To Your Horse



The internet can be a tremendous source of useful information to learn first rate horsemanship. It can also spread misinformation like wild fire. How can a young person avoid jumping into that fire?
First of all , start with both feet on the ground. Social media is not the first place one should go to to begin to understand the mind of a horse. "The Soul of a Horse" by Joe Camp and "The Evolution of Natural Horsemanship", by Dr. Robert Miller are two great books that lay the foundation for understanding the mind of a horse. Understand the principles set out in these books before you decide to accept the advice of anonymous, self appointed experts on Facebook.
Is the information presented in a way that makes you feel good about horses or is the emphasis on being snarky? You can find an array of groups and websites whose purpose is to denigrate people and horses. Stay away from those groups and web pages. Solid information is not to be found in hate filled "rants".
Now here is a much harder one--Is the information given supported by objective facts or the consensus of those who adhere to a particular set of beliefs? This is a tremendous pitfall for all new horse people, but especially for young people. One of the hall marks of adolescence is the drive to "fit in" and be accepted. Be very careful of teachings that are supported by claims that "everyone knows..." instead of demonstrable facts and solid reasoning. That is one of the reasons that it is so important to be grounded in the reality of solid research before going to social media. For some people horsemanship consists of learning a set of "rules" and working vigorously to force others to accept both the "rules" and their status as "experts" because they know these "rules". It can be hard to refuse to simply follow the crowd, but you owe it to your horse to be willing to do what Manny, a wonderful Choctaw horse, is doing in this picture--hold your head up high and walk away from that crowd.
When you do find a source of solid knowledge on social media, pay close attention to what that source provides. Learn everything that you can. Study that source closely enough so that you understand not only what is being taught, but why it is being taught. Learn underlying principles, not merely techniques.
Lastly, constantly ask yourself, "is this information making it possible for me to get closer to horses"? Does the information drive a wedge between you and your horse because it teaches you that your horse is inferior because of its conformation, lack of registration, size, color, or pedigree? If it does those things, walk away.

Posts that tell a 12 year old to abandon his or her best friend and replace him with a stranger in order to win a strip of ribbon of a brighter color is information that will not bring you closer to your horse.

1 comment:

Dianne W said...

"Posts that tell a 12 year old to abandon his or her best friend and replace him with a stranger in order to win a strip of ribbon of a brighter color is information that will not bring you closer to your horse."
Nor will it bring you closer to happiness.

P.S. I think Manny is cantering, not walking. ;)