Can we talk about putting yourself out there?
There’s an article that has been circulating around DressageWorld regarding social media influencers within the sport. Color me cranky after being short staffed for a week but I’m feeling inclined to share my thoughts after reading some of the comments while I scarfed down dinner.
Among other things, the author ponders, “whatever happened to the days when good riding and good horsemanship beat out sparkling pads and well-produced TikToks?”
To postulate in this direction appears, to me, that we’re wildly overlooking the fact that most ‘good riding’ trainers don’t make themselves approachable or accessible. Nor, perhaps, do they even want to be. And further, those well-produced videos which are being condemned happen to attract people to our sport and give guidance to riders who might not otherwise have it.
While the author’s general musings are actually less focused on social media and more on her own interesting and collaborative training journey, some phraseology has been spun to cast shame on those riders that utilize social media cleverly and with success. I’m not saying we should listen religiously to every rider who produces catchy reels, but must we judge them so harshly? At least they’re out there doing something in the best way they know how. We should be able to discern who to take advice from and who to just enjoy the content created.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I want to ride with the best. Am I making a team? Heck no. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am hungry for education. I want to soak up every drop of information I can from trainers who I admire. I don’t think I’m alone in that quest. Sadly the revered masters that many of today’s top trainers were so fortunate to work under are no longer available to this generation of riders. But as my trainer often tells me, she feels it’s her duty to pass down the wisdom she learned from wonderful teachers along the way. I implore all the classically trained coaches to be generous with your earned knowledge. Lend us your guidance so that our community of hungry riders can find you, learn and improve. Isn’t that the point, after all?As a non-trainer farm owner, my own moderately successful use of social media has enabled our barn to stay busy. Which, in turn, means that I can bring a bevy of fantastic ‘good riding’ trainers to the farm for clinics who would otherwise never visit our area. Yes, I utilize social media to better my business, but it is also the catalyst that enables my small way of giving back to the sport that I love so much.
It’s a bit of a shame that all this hullabaloo has given me even a moment’s pause to wonder if I’m being lumped into this group of eschewed social media users. But that moment passed quickly. I’ll keep sharing topics I’m passionate about, trainers I respect and all the ammy riders I admire.
Be kind. Try your best. Share your passions. (Please.)
Someone who is doing their best while trying to learn as much as they can while they can