Having guest blogged for Tanja Arzberger of dressagehafl.com about beating competition nerves she has graciously returned the favour and penned this fascinating insight into whether the internet helps or hinders your dressage progress. Enjoy …
Knowledge Is Power?! Learning to ride with the help of the internet
The internet is undoubtedly a good thing; there are so many sources of information; so many possibilities for discussion; so many experts sharing and spreading their knowledge. But that can also be the drawback of the internet – too many people, too many experts, too many opinions, high probability of getting the ‘wrong’ answer.
Equestrians, it seems to me that you are constantly seeking perfection this is especially true of dressage riders. Every day we ride, we face new problems and need to find solutions. As most of us cannot afford to have a coach 24/7, the internet is a quick, cheap and omnipresent alternative for that much needed advice. Without knowing any exact numbers, there must be a gazillion forums, Facebook groups, Blogs, Websites of well know riders and trainers (and those wanting to be) out there that it is pretty easy to find AN ANSWER to your problem.
But most of the time, we do not need AN ANSWER, we need the THE ANSWER. Is it possible to get this on the Internet? that little piece of advice that will solve your problem? To me, it is a yes and no, and here is why. Without proper background knowledge, finding the right answer is not too easy – but that is true for ALL information on the internet – as long as you have no clue, you might go for the first entry in Google search which could also be totally wrong!
What’s more, without proper basic knowledge and understanding, even THE ANSWER might not help you. Why? Because how can you apply it? For example, you are a beginner and looking for the aids for a canter pirouette (How can I teach my horse the pirouette? Seen so many times in this or similar forms on Facebook, Forums, etc). There might be tutorials out there – but how can they help if you do not know yet the influence of your inner seat bone, the calm hands, the leg aids?
But also for those who have the background, watching YouTube videos and reading hundreds of blog posts ALONE will not make you a better rider. They can give you ideas and fresh input but how can you know they work out without seeing it? I read tons of articles; I have subscribed to blogs, Facebook sites, YouTube channels and definitely believe that the information I get out of these is mostly useful in some way or the other. So for me, they are a perfect addition to having a coach at least regularly at hand!
I have never tried to have an on-line trainer, but I was already was judged by photos and videos on ‘judgemyride’. I always found the input I got from people there valuable and really got some good tips. Most of the times though, I just posted a picture, got advice and after that, I never really followed up, so a before and after comparison was missing in order to really see an improvement. What is also pretty popular now (not in the German speaking part of Europe though), is on-line training sessions. Even more, there are on-line competitions, the latter not being live though.
These online instructor sessions might be a good option – with the proper equipment why not? With proper equipment I mean a personal cameraman – or one of the newly developed camera systems that follow you around the arena – there are already some companies out there offering cameras and tracking systems. Just google “film yourself automatically” – no recommendation on any of the following, I have never tried such systems so far:
With just having a camera sitting at C, even if you live broadcast it to your trainer on the other side of the globe, online training might only be half as efficient as it could be, let alone that you need wifi, a headset (wireless) and co to make the most out of your coaching lesson. As somebody working for a U.S. company, online meetings and trainings are an almost everyday occurrence, they definitely work as an inexpensive and sometimes only alternative to face to face meetings or trainings.
As a conclusion, I would say the internet offers lots of great advice and lots of ‘not so’ great advice at the same time. With the right background, you might be able to filter the good from the bad and may find some new ideas. With the possibility of on-line trainings via Skype (or whatever), you might get the chance to train with a renowned trainer from across the pond which you would probably never be able to see in person. A trainer at hand close to you can definitely help to check whether your new attempts do make sense – even though he might not be at your side 24/7. The times when I thought I do not need a coach are definitely over – but building your opinion, training your eyes, getting a different viewpoint are benefits of the internet and on-line coaching/judging that you should not neglect.
So, what do you think?
Some great insights here, but what do you think? Is on-line training an alternative to ‘in the arena’ coaching? Does it effectively supplement your coaching?
Here’s my view …
- I hold the view that knowledge is not power, clarity is power as you will know from a previous post.
- Too many people become instructor dependent, I know I did! I strongly advocate that you and your horse are a unique combination and for that reason alone you should develop your own system of training
- I love the quote “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee Access to many solutions, experimenting with them, finding what works for you is the very best way to learn.
- I haven’t used ‘judge my ride’ and I might give it a go; although I did not concur with the judges comments about Tanja’s attire, I absolutely love it! perhaps the judge should update her own wardrobe! Don’t change a thing Tanja.
- Sites which give tips, hints and ideas together with training advice AND offer support and direct contact via email, skype, video support etc., (as we do at The Crystal System) offer a financially viable option for advancing your training.
- An internet trainer will, in my view, never completely replace the need for a coach to work with you on the ground, but I do like the live video streaming idea.
We may enjoy a physical sport but there’s absolutely no point in trying to stay stuck in the past. Embrace technology and go with the times, I say! Looking forward to your thoughts