Saturday, April 28, 2012
Learning natural horsemanship is much easier than teaching it. Teaching natural horsemanship to kids is much easier than it is to teach it to older teens. Teens are predisposed to be dazzled by glitz. I do not care which clinician students follow. The only catch is that it is best to learn from them all. Some clinicians encourage such a search for knowledge. A few do not, claiming to know and to teach the true path, viewing others as heretics at best.
Natural horsemanship is a movement and as such the studies that social scientists have done over the years about the development of mass movements are worthy of understanding. Whether the movement be religious, political, philosophical, literary, or even fashion based certain common features are shared. One of which is the development of a following of devotees that believe that their beliefs are:
1. truth based
2. morally superior to those of others in the movement
3. enlightened and often based on a "secret" knowledge or understanding of that knowledge.
Now we can throw another factor into the mix that strengthens and hastens the development of such sects and schisms--financial incentive to create a well defined base of adherents that spend a tremendous amount of money in order to learn to adhere even closer to the "truth" being taught by the clinician. Here is where problems start. Were such brand loyalty to go no further it would be slightly amusing/irritating. As long as the clinician is presenting accurate information the cause of natural horsemanship is still advanced.
But truth is finite. Imagination is infinite.
Just as a song writer must continue to write new songs to maintain and grow his audience, such clinicians must come up with new "truths" to be learned. Again, as long as this leads to a search for greater knowledge this is a positive development. The problem arises when the product sold is a truth that is not true. The problem is exacerbated when the devotees have accepted the belief that the teacher is the only legitimate source of knowledge.
I prefer a quest for knowledge that knocks down barriers instead of building them up. I encourage my riders to look to every clinician that they can find for accurate, applicable knowledge. The catch is that it takes a few decades of working horses before one can understand what is real and what is entertaining.
The Dorrances were real. Ray Hunt was real. They were all as fancy as a brown paper bag Halloween costume. In today's world of advertising and instant fame it is too easy to confuse what is real and what is glitz.
I do not mind for a clinician to have style. It is glitz that concerns me.
What is the difference? Style comes at no extra charge. Glitz costs a fortune.
Posted by Steve Edwards