You’re a conduit not a vessel.

17 Oct

When I left my first working student position I asked my mentor at the time what I could do to repay her for all the time and effort she had devoted to me.

She said, “You can do the same for someone else in the future.”

Then we cried a little bit. 😀

But I took her very seriously. A great many people have given me an immense amount of help for a fraction of the actual cost in time and effort. I take that legacy very seriously and hope I am open to people who want to learn what those people taught me. Knowledge is not something you own, it’s something you pass on. You’re not a vessel, you’re a conduit. We all stand on the shoulders of giants and no one who rides is discovering anything new. Your knowledge is not your own, to be jealously hoarded, it’s a stream you dip into and it doesn’t cost you any of your own knowledge to pass it on. Not to mention that teaching and discussion is, in itself, a way of learning and every interaction has the potential to increase your own knowledge pool.

Plus horsemen, in my experience, LOVE to talk about horses. Usually the problem is shutting them up! Be brave, ask.

That said, I think I’ve become less generous. A lot of people say they want the information but they want it dumbed down and spoon fed. They only want it if they aren’t going to be challenged. Quite often they don’t want to be made to feel ignorant, which is pretty much the definition of wanting more information! Or they want to argue and tell me I’m wrong. Or they don’t like what I say or how I say it and want me to say it differently. Which is all fine but if someone isn’t paying, why do I need to do that? Even if they do pay, why not just pay someone else? The minute someone asks me for “tips and tricks” regarding something it’s taken me years to learn (imperfectly) I start to suspect they don’t really want to do the hard work of learning so why should I do the hard work of teaching?

I do think riding is expensive to learn and you do have to be prepared to pay. BUT there are also a lot of generous horsemen and outlets for learning other than lessons. The trick is they “cost” too. Pay, don’t pay. Really, no one cares and it’s completely up to you! But if you don’t want to pay, at the very least by being humble and open to what people say, then you have to accept that you’re not going to learn much.

Just an addendum from the other side of the equation. . . I do think there is a big difference between offering your knowledge freely and foisting it on others. I suspect very few people feel that they are actually doing the latter but I do quite often see people who “offer” their opinion and are then offended when it’s not appreciated.

Don’t do that. Go about your own business, ride your own horses, teach the people who have sought you out. Accept that other people will make other choices and not everyone is going to see horses and riding the same way. Frankly, I think this even has to apply to people you feel are acting poorly towards their horses. People who want to change will seek change. People who aren’t looking to learn won’t learn no matter what you say and that’s about them, not you.


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