The exchange in the comments over Alexis' look back at the horses who had influenced her past seems to have struck a nerve, or two, or three, or six.
I have to be honest, I was torn.
Our story sharing is important to me and I love the acceptance we give each other. By being open to different outlooks and not slamming each we have gotten some incredible input and the ability to peek into each others lives.
Here comes the "but..." you knew it was on the way, I'm not called Mugwmp for nothing.
I have to admit, I cringed and said "ouch" when I first started reading Alexis' post. I felt, at first, it was very anti-trainer. As you guys know, I, um, am one of those,uh, er, trainers.
As I kept reading I realized she was simply talking about how she learned and the strengths she developed from having to do things on her own. Alexis made it clear she did the best she could with the tools she had.
Her story was a good reminder to me how important it is to have to figure things out for yourself and "just ride." Trainer dependency can be extremely destructive. It can close our minds to new and different ways to do things and make us distrust ourselves and our horsemanship. It can undercut the very reason so many of us began riding in the first place, to be free on an animal we admire and love.
I spent the majority of my life on horseback just figuring things out. I had no money for lessons, I barely had enough money for hay. I supported Mort completely off my babysitting earnings. I get poor, trust me.
I also had a fierce desire to compete. Can't help it, it's hard wired into me. I started with gymkhanas and then was snagged by the lure of the "morning events" at the day shows. Trying to break into that world on my whack-a-do gelding was almost impossible.
Enter trainers. I never sent a horse out for training. Because I "just rode" the idea was a crazy one as far as I was concerned. To be honest, I still feel that way. I want my life with horses to entail me taking us as far as we can go together.
But I sure couldn't learn how to compete where I wanted to without help. I needed the help of trainers. I write about the trainers in my life pretty extensively on this blog and I wouldn't be where I am, good and bad, without them.
Which brings me back, in my very windy way, to the comments following Alex's post.
One of the many things I learned over at FHOTD was to appreciate a good argument. I hated the meanness, the personal attacks, the insults, it drove me crazy. I had no idea there were so many miserable people in the world.
What I did enjoy was the thread of discussion I could pick out of the childishness.
There was some spirited discussion that went on, the arguments challenged the posters and myself, brought in new thought and got people thinking. Well, got some thinking, there was a lot of wasted space over there too.
I would love to see some of that over here. We could skip the nastiness and get right into the challenges.
How do we do that without stomping on each other?
I don't think Aegle was trying to cause problems, just start some back and forth. The kind of back and forth that could make this blog a lot more fun if we keep it honest and kind.
I sure don't want to run off potential new readers by slamming them into the ground.
I really would appreciate some feedback here. How do we invite discussion without getting hurt feelings?
Could it be as simple as..."That seemed insulting," or ,"are you bashing me or asking a legitimate question?"
How about, "Ouch, that was hurtful, did you mean it that way?"
We could counter each other by asking questions. How about, "Did you ever wish you could spend time with a trainer?"
I would love to ban any sentence that begins with "You should have...."
Instead try sharing experience, "For me, going to a trainer helped me speed things up."
Am I on the right track here?
Let me know. Say what you think. No swearing, preaching or attacking. Can we handle it?