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Monday, March 28, 2011
I was reading through the last several blog entries by Jami, Alison and Laura and it dawned on me that although we have never met in person, how connected I feel to everyone on this blog. Now of course we all have 2 very large things in common - Horses and Writing - but those are both fairly broad categories. So although Laura made a very valid point as to whether or not the hours we spend ruining our eyesight staring at computer screens are good additions to our sociological existence; I choose to look at this reality from another perspective. Without the addition of the Internet with its blogs, chat rooms and instant messages; how many people would we all have never gotten to know at least in cyber space. I am sure that all of us have numerous people that we correspond with primarily via e-mail rather than in person. That is sometimes a simple fact of too little time and not enough proximity. But what a loss it would be if we could not stay connected at all. I attended a very tiny private high school (where I was considered the horse nerd) with only 26 girls in my senior class. Today, sadly 4 of us have passed on (a scary fact of disease and old age) but I am still in touch via e-mail with 20 of the remaining 22. Without electronic connections that would not be possible. And although we live many miles apart, I completely relate to Jami's tales of surviving life as a dressage competitor. I do think that anyone who falls in love with dressage has to be just a little bit crazy, but it is great to read Jami's confession of a hay bale critic and know that I am not alone. I too know many people who could be the twins of the people Jami wrote about. Arm chair quarterbacks who are long on criticism and short on just getting out there and doing it. Jami I wish we were showing in the same area because I would love to hang out with you. The group of us who show consist of some professionals, some adult amateurs and many juniors often in combination with their parents who either also show or just come to support. I do my best to foster and insist upon an atmosphere of positivity and enjoyment of the experience not the color of the ribbon. Like Jami said, the horse's don't care, they just love us and just want to be part of the action. Although I will confess to going to the dark side from time to time and grouse about a blind judge or how one of my student's got robbed. As for me., I have developed quite a thick skin over the years. Having to compete as a professional in the Dressage mecca that San Diego has become, being of limited funds and on a thoroughbred to boot - well lets just say I have learned to ride more for my satisfaction that the judges. I am pleasantly surprised every once in a while but I have no delusions of ever riding like a Stephen Peters, Sue Blinks, Gunter Seidel or Elizabeth Ball who are often at the recognized dressage shows in my area. I would like to propose a new competitive division "open - but not rich and never been to an Olympics". Any way back to my original point, even though I think that e-mail at times makes my life infinitely more complicated rather than easier and that tech support people are inherently evil and rude, the good things about computers and instant connectivity they bring far out way the bad. How many of us have solved problems with a horse's health or behavior by consulting the Internet or posting on a website. What has been your experience? Has informational websites, blogs and chat rooms enhanced your knowledge, help to solve a problem or just simply made you feel connected to the other horse addicts out there?
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Great post Teri!! I know that the internet has been extremely helpful to me, provided I use it withing my set time limits, otherwise I could be there all day!
I moved from the United States to Canada and had no horsey friends where we landed. The internet and the friends I've made through blogs and forums have helped to answer my many questions. And I've learned how to do things like wrap an injured pastern by searching the internet for the best way. Even my vet was impressed!!! In this world that moves so fast the internet does have it uses and keeping in touch with distant friends is cheaper and more convenient, and the knowledge available provided it's taken with a large dose of commonsense is invaluable! Lynn
Terri--I'm glad my post sparked some discussion, but I have to say that I meant that I can't sort out the pros and cons of internet connections. I sure don't think its just a negative. I'm puzzled. I'm both frustrated by all the time I spend facing a screen (and what I might not be doing because I'm here) and yet I highly value those I connect with online. I find the whole thing a bit mysterious. Balance is key, as others have said and now that its sunny and I'm riding again, I think I have more balance. Wish I could come ride with you (though you'd probably laugh--very kindly) at me and my non-dressagy trail horses.
Mommyrides, I Know what you mean by setting time limits. I got on the computer last night to answer e-mails and the next thing I knew it was midnight. So much for down time.
And Laura I am with you on the mixed feelings about whether the internet makes life easier or harder. I am so glad it is good weather again too, although I know you got a ton more rain than we did, I was in a grumpy mood all last week just because it was so grey. I wish I could come ride up with you and then you could laugh at my silly dressage horse not knowing what to do with your wide open country.
Terri--thanks for continuing the conversation on the computer/internet. One thing I didn't mention is my love for PowerPoints. I do a lot of presentations, and my PowerPoints--which are mostly images to go with my speaking content--are now a MUST. I wouldn't know what to do without them anymore!
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