The Art of Natural Dressage

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Why am I not as active at AND as I used to be?
I have moved on in my interests 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
I did not find here what I was looking for 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I did not get enough feedback or helpful replies 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
The members/topics who were my reason for writing here are gone 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
I do not like how the forum is run 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
I have personal issues with one or more of the people here 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
I have found another means of discussing horses (facebook, blog, other forum etc.) 18%  18%  [ 6 ]
My need to discuss horses is satisfied - the relevant questions are answered already 15%  15%  [ 5 ]
Other (please explain in the topic) 47%  47%  [ 16 ]
Total votes: 34
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:38 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Washington State, USA
Hi all, I'm a relatively new member here, but I never felt like there was too much of a problem with having inactive members. There isn't as much small talk and bickering on this forum as there is others, and I am continually amazed by the time all sorts of incredibly talented members put into their posts and responses to others. Just to spare a bit of their busy day to provide such kind advice to others is such an amazing thing. Most information is already available on here, so I haven't quite felt the need to post many questions. Most of my questions end up in my diary honestly. I will try to make a more concious effort on my part to post general questions in other sections of the forum as well.

I'm also by nature someone who has trouble putting my thoughts into words. I talk to Nikita quite a lot about AND stuff, and I'm positive I can speak for both of us that AND has an an incredible impact on the way we view and interact with horses. When I come to post on here though, I find it takes more effort for me personally because I don't anticipate actually enjoying writing, and still have a bit of a qualm about the possibility about being criticized, even though I have discovered that this is one of the most accepting and encouraging places in the horse world I've ever come across.

In response to your question Romy
"this is how it is done" instead of "this is how I do it"?

I think both are valuable parts of the learning experience. It can be easy to shift into the attitude of wanting things quick and simple, such as exact information on how something should be done, a more direct lecture type lesson. This is valuable in it's own way, but the I've found that sometimes the best second step after this is to go read the "this is how I do it" posts. When I read the "This is how it's done" style posts, I can be a little confused or discouraged, or think something is easy. With the examples from other members they look at it in comparison to their own horse and his personality and stage of training. Many of those boths are inspiring, more realistic, or more relative to my own situation. Also, with the atmosphere here, seeing other people's work and progress isn't a set up for criticism. A lot of my learning now has drifted towards knowledge gained from each individual and their horse instead of just the "how to" posts. I think both have advantages and their place, but the attitude of sharing from the "this is how I do it "is what keeps the "this is how its done" posts to be recieved in a curious and experimental manner.

I'm happy to see that some of the older members who have obviously contributed quite a bit are still here. I know I often finding myself "lurking" instead of posting! However, there are many benefits to an active posting community, but it's the combination of individuals who post that makes the difference.

So once again, thanks for having this forum and putting all sorts of knowledge and effort into it! I hope to continue being involved online for many years to come, and be able to encourage others to join as well.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hi All,
For me, I was very active when I first came here because I had a young horse and everything I was doing with him was new. I was proactively seeking ways to get a trainable horse without any force or against his will. Whilst never really using harsh methods before, I turned my whole thinking around and wanted the challenge of seeing if I could produce a finished horse with no or as little as possible negative interaction.
As time has passed and the relationship has grown, I no longer feel the need to "produce" a finished horse and if no one ever rides my horse again or he stands for the next 10 years in a pasture being a horse, then that's okay.
So I don't feel the need to achieve elements or tricks or have the motivation or drive to consistantly school an athlete. Morgan is at the moment an indulged pet!!! So my needs have changed.
I do still read here quite frequently and occasionally will post if I have something to say that I have experienced that may help someone else find a solution. From time to time I feel inspired to work at something and will come here to read a thread on "how to" or search for threads about that particlular element.
For me the diaries hold lots of info and parallels which have been really helpful but again I am sure I have missed lots of gems by picking which diaries I choose to read and interact in. There is simply not enough time in the day to read everything :funny:

I have found the forum a little harder to navigate since the change and especially the loss of the "active topics" button which although working again on entry, disappears again when you open the first thread...urgh....maybe it's me????

I personally think that more and more pages and groups are opening up that are "AND" ish. There are lots of positive based training groups and clicker groups open on the net with easy access and as more and more people are confronted with posts daily on their walls it is hard to ignore and the horse world is changing. :D A few years ago someone from here would have been seen as very alternative/ tree hugging/ slightly bonkers/ call it what you will? but as access to the net has grown and you tube has taken over our lives information is very easy to find. So I guess what I am saying is most people don't need to join a forum. Even our posts are reachable with a google search (unless it's the diaries) and I suspect a whole lot more gets read than members logged! :D

That said....there is only one AND. The atmosphere here is unique and non confrontational and positive and that is a very rare thing indeed. Perhaps we should be happy with the staus quo? :applause:

Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:52 am
Posts: 172
Location: Australia
I chose "other", the reason being a complete lack of time. I miss AND so much. This has changed from when I joined about a year ago, due to finishing uni and starting this job. I only just have enough time to spend with my ponies and dogs and partner. I feel like something is lacking though. I miss discussing things and learning and reading other posts. 
I am trying to find time but it is just a bit impossible at the moment. 
I hope that can change soon.

Jessie and Little Billy

PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:26 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
Posts: 1852
Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Hi Romy,
I'm just checking in here for the first time in a long long time. (Doing it guiltily, glancing at the clock... having already used my alloted computer and coffee time on other things, and now eating into cleaning the house and playing with the horses time.. :) )

I think that what we have here is an incredible resource, an amazing Alladin's Cave for horses' friends. It seems that you have become it's honorary custodian, still hanging around the caverns, ready and willing to point enquirers to just the right corner to find ideas that may help them with what they are searching for. I'm so glad that you're here to do that! You help to ensure that the work we all did continues to have value. :kiss:

Personally, I put a huge amount of myself into this project. Too much at times. I neglected kids, husband, work, home, animals, to steal the long hours needed to go so deep into the heart of things. I spent hour after hour, late into the night, reading, thinking, writing, revising and thinking some more. I LIVED this quest. And then, after all the long hours, I would take it to my horses, and spend more hours.

And it was worthwhile in so many ways. I received so much back! Support, encouragement and best of all, IDEAS that guided me on my own personal journey. The focus point that provided me with the motivation to continually examine, observe, challenge, change and better myself. And the success with my horses!

In the beginning, what I received was more than what I could offer. Little by little, as some of us early starters refined and crafted our work, and continued to share, the balance began to tip. We put in far more, in terms of knowledge, practical support, ideas, guidance, experiences, (and time! ) than we could now get back. For a while, for me,this was not just okay, but right! Paying it forward. As time went on though, there were only a handful of people who could offer me something of great value here. But always more people arriving, and standing closer to the bottom of the pyramid, and diluting the upward flow.

I hope I'm not misunderstood here.. I don't mean this in an elitist way. It's just practical. If a team of friends set out to climb a mountain,and they build their trust and teamwork and skills, as they get higher towards the summit, they will be able to rely on each other, and their own personal skills, to help achieve their goal. If they decide, altruistically, to also, at the same time, help EVERYONE who wants to climb the mountain to take their first slippery clumsy steps, they may never reach the top. They will be forever weighted down with showing others the way, and hauling others up.

So the way I see it, I've already paid it back. I've been there, along with many others who I will respect for life, helping each other up, forging a team. We laid a track, and we supported some of those coming behind us. But now, if I hang around at the bottom of the mountain, endlessly discussing the best ways to get started, I'll never get any further forward.

I applaud those of you who continued to stay and give and give. I reached a point where the balance had tipped too far. The site had become so wide and deep, and often (for me) in many places, frivolous, that to stay current, I had to spend large number of hours reading, The payback was not sufficient to make it worthwhile. Particularly as the people with whom I could still grow with were having their postings similarly diluted, and were taking their quests for knowledge away into other specialised areas instead.

I don't think that the site could have been done any better. It's the nature of these things to grow in this way, and then explode, and outgrow themselves.

The only thing I could think that might solve this, would be to have levels.. an "inner circle" group where the beginnings don't have to be continually discussed. A Master Class? Perhaps open to be read by others, but only allowing postings from long term members who're still exploring on a higher level. Does that sound too rigid? I don't know. I would love to still be able to talk things over with my old friends and colleagues. But I don't want to get bogged down in ever widening circles of dilution with newcomers entering into these conversations with things that have been discussed ad nauseum, or with frivolous postings, basic question and disturbances.

Another solution to make AND more valid into the future, might be to create two parts. A resource part, where the most important postings from various different topics and threads get posted, then attached to each unit of the resource, a discussion thread. In this way, you wouldn't have to be there always to point the way. It would help to preserve the valuable work that has been done, and keep it fresh by having a link to current discussion.

In conclusion, yes, for me it's a matter of time, It always was. But it's like you say, We choose where to spend our time, We spend it in the places where we get the most returns. Right now, I choose to spend my time, more with my husband, more on my local online community, more on my teaching work, and more with forums that support my current need for learning. I am a teacher/learner. I love to teach, but only as long as I'm learning at the same time. When I don't feel I'm going forward, I turn my attention to other areas.

One other thing of note....
The decline in postings also co-incided with the explosion of facebook.
More peope are choosing to spend their alloted time there I think. Might be worth posting a link to this question to your facebook account. :funny: It's a very good question! I'll post it to mine.. lets see if we get some more bites!

Thanks Romy, for still being there and keeping our work alive! :thumright:

I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:39 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
For me, and this is a bit personal and maybe not the type of answer you were after, Romy, but it also explains the reason that I might suddenly drop out of a discussion, or not reply to someone for months (or ever) - in case people think I’m just being rude – so I’m going to say a little bit about it here.

I have severe anxiety and social phobia. This affects my offline life very badly, but also means I have trouble talking to people online, even though this is generally a bit easier. Often, I’ll want to write a post but can’t make words happen at all, or I will write a post and then can’t bring myself to post it. When I do post I usually feel sick and want to keep editing or even delete my post; I feel so stupid for putting my words out there for everyone to see what an idiot I am. This has absolutely nothing to do with the forum or the people here. I feel very safe here – more so than anywhere else online. It’s just that my brain is really, really unhelpful.

Usually I always read, even if I can't post, but in the last few months I’ve felt like I just couldn't take anything in, so I have a lot of catch up reading to do. I’d love to post here more regularly, and I’m going to try harder, but obviously I can’t make any promises. :sad:

I hope the forum isn’t slowing down too much – it seems that new members are joining all the time, so hopefully it might pick up again. Even though most things have been discussed already, I think people often need to talk about their specific horse and situation, especially when they’re completely new to all of this. Someone can read through many threads, but perhaps their horse is doing something a bit odd, and they can't find an exact comparison, so although there might be a lot of solutions already written down, without people who have experience saying, "This worked for me and I think it might work for your horse too after reading about your situation/watching your video", they might be hesitant to try, or find it harder to ignore other people who are offering more direct advice and pressuring them to be hard on their horse (especially, understandably, where safety is involved). I know how wonderful and what a relief it was for me to find this forum and to be able to actually talk to other people who held similar views and receive feedback on what I was doing. That's still such an important thing for me - I feel like I still have a lot to learn here. I hope this forum will continue for a long time as a community, not just as an archive.

Personally I don’t mind at all if there are questions or discussions that we've all gone over before (and one of the many things I love about this forum is that if someone asks a basic question that has been asked and answered over and over again, people either just answer it, or kindly point towards the existing theads, there is not that attitude of, "Shut up, learn to do a search, and stop annoying us with your stupid questions" that I see on many other forums.) But even when discussions do start up on previously-discussed topics, people usually have at least a slightly different take on a situation, given that every human and horse is different, so I’m always finding something new, even if it’s just one small thing or a different way of putting something. I have so many horses, some I haven’t worked with a great deal yet, and also I’m working with new horses and helping other people, so I’m always looking for new ways to look at a situation, and easier or better ways to explain things.

Romy, in answer to your question,
why do some people prefer it so much to read "this is how it is done" instead of "this is how I do it"?

I like both! But with particularly tricky or upsetting problems, or things I need to teach urgently, I really find myself wishing for "this is how it is done." Not, "this is how it must be done or you'll never get anywhere" ;) but just step by step instructions to follow for a certain thing. I'd love for someone to not just say, "I did this with my horse", but "I did this with my horse, and here's exactly how I did it, broken down into tiny steps for you to follow". Even better if they included any additional thoughts/ideas they might have for my specific horse. (I don't want much, do I? :funny: ) I don't know why, I guess I just need my hand held sometimes. :roll: But in general I do love to just read diaries and take ideas from people describing their own interactions with their horses and adapt those to my own training.

Anyway, this has become far too long, I'll shut up now. :blush:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
Excellent postings! Thank you all :f:
I understand how important this kind of communication over the forum can be and at the same time how restricting in can be to repeat the same topics over and over again. This is indeed a problem and will not get better with time. It's something we should address here in discussion. Maybe we can find a solution?

I see how Facebook is drawing a lot of time and attention towards its CT groups. Still, personally, I find it very much lacking as a medium to discuss in. it offers mainly ways for quick and short posts and comments, but no means for longer texts our even a way to categorize or search postings. In that I really don't see it as a long term alternative to this forum with ask its personal charm.

Maybe we can organize the existing information better so that newcomers find it more easily and long time members don't have to answer the same question ask over.
I'm not sure if there's a good way to implement an "inner circle" our something like that and not fall in the olds traps of creating different castes of members here.


The horse owes us nothing.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:43 am 
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Posts: 6231
Location: Dresden, Germany
Thank you so much for replying, Kala, Annette, Jesssie, Sue and Kate. This is very helpful! :)

@Sue: I am so glad you replied, I was hoping you would. I totally know the feeling of not getting out as much as I used to, although only in terms of content per se - the community benefits I still enjoy more than I could ever give back. For me it is a slightly different image than that of the mountain I have already climbed and others haven't, yet. Instead, it feels like my ideas about interacting with my horses have become rather specialized already, so that I know rather clearly what I want, how I must do it and why I do things the way I do them. So I am not assuming that I am further or doing better than others or even that they are after a similar goal (therefore the mountain image does not completely fit for me). This might have to do with the fact that my main focus has shifted towards the more fuzzy questions of communication and there simply are no straightforward quality criteria like there are in dressage for example. But the effect is similar: I am not wondering about certain things anymore but just take them for granted.

I see how splitting the forum into inner and outer circles might help to make the discussions more specialized. However, I see no way of doing this without going against what AND is supposed to be: a study group that is open for everyone. When I was thinking about this suggestion, I was wondering for examle how we could possibly set criteria for who is allowed into the inner circle and who is not. Obviously it cannot be post count, because there are people who only just arrived and have very helpful things to say, and then there are people with hundreds of posts who still don't do much practical work with their horses. If it was a subjective decision by some sort of council like they did it in NHE, we (or they, no idea if I would be allowed in ;)) would not agree on everyone. There would be people who are considered to be absolute idols by some, whereas others do not get much out of their posts or videos at all.

This directly leads to the second problem: what would be the criteria? Would I be allowed into such an inner circle for example? I have some experiences in groundwork, but I know very little about riding. Or Leigh who has been making ever so valuable contributions concerning the relationship with horses, but who probably doesn't have much fancy dressage work to show. So I guess the solution would have to be something like several inner circles, one for each topic. But then again what would be the topics and who would be the experts?

To cut a long story short, I found no good solutions to any of these questions. So I guess it will have to remain the way it is now: Everyone can discuss, and if someone is not interested in one or more of the replies in a topic, he can ignore them and leave them to be answered by others. Or I can also split the topic if the subject changes too much, and please feel free to point me to such instances if I don't see them as such by myself. But of course I will point the other moderators to your post and ask for their opinion on creating expert groups.

Anyhow, I want to thank you very much for putting so much effort into writing such a long post, Sue. It has been very thought provoking, making me examine which ones of the original AND priciples I still consider to be valid and why. And it has also been good to read from you again and hear you are spending more time with your loved ones now. :kiss:

@Kate: I knew about your reason for being inactive here at times, just wanted to say again that for me your posts are very helpful and I have never read anything from you that seemed idiotic. I know this doesn't help with social phobia, I just wanted to let you know. Thanks for being here! :kiss:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:01 am 
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I forgot to reply to the facebook part in Sue's post, but then saw that Volker already did just that and said most of the things I wanted to say:

Houyhnhnm wrote:
I see how Facebook is drawing a lot of time and attention towards its CT groups. Still, personally, I find it very much lacking as a medium to discuss in. it offers mainly ways for quick and short posts and comments, but no means for longer texts our even a way to categorize or search postings. In that I really don't see it as a long term alternative to this forum with ask its personal charm.

Taken together, I see no benefit of having something like an AND facebook group instead of the forum, or in addition to it. The problem that we have had most discussions already would remain, but at the same time we would have trouble linking to existing answers if a similar question came up a few months later.

I also think this would make it very hard to keep the constructive and positive atmosphere we have here. Although our dear members here help creating the tone of the forum, if someone comes just to bash and ridicule others (those of you who have been here for some years will remember the few instances we had ;)), we can still tell him that this is not the way we are communicating over here. No idea how this would be possible via facebook.

I don't have a facebook account and probably won't have one in the future either. So if this conversation moves over to there, it will be without me (...but I will sit here and wait to welcome you back once facebook turned out to be a suboptimal format for these discussions 8) :funny:).

Houyhnhnm wrote:
Maybe we can organize the existing information better so that newcomers find it more easily and long time members don't have to answer the same question ask over.

Besides the division of the groundwork subforum into exercises and questions, the FAQ, the links to threads and the collection of videos reflecting the AND philosophy, do you have an idea for how we could do this in a better way? :smile:

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:31 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
Thank you, Romy. :kiss:

Just read over my post and wanted to add that not minding repeated discussions (and it’s not like I’m here all the time participating in them) is a thing very specific to me personally, for a couple of reasons (one being that in some areas, like dressage, I'm still a beginner, or very close to one), and I'm not suggesting anyone else should feel the same.It was probably quite off topic for me to mention it at all, as this thread is about why you don't post as much, and not things that don't bother you about the forum. :blush: :roll:

I think my main reason for saying something is that something that *would* bother me is if AND changed in such a way that new members felt reluctant to ask a possibly "stupid" or "obvious" question if they felt the need to do so. Obviously it is nice when people do read some threads or do a search before just asking a question, but perhaps they have read the relevant topics and still need to ask something, or somehow missed exactly what they were after in a search (not too long ago I did a search to see if I'd already posted some videos and managed to completely overlook my own posts), and I love that no one is made to feel awful for that kind of thing.

I can certainly understand those who are at a “higher level” (for want of a better term) who wish to spend their time discussing things at their level, rather than endlessly going over the same topics. I hope it didn't seem as if I was implying that they shouldn't. :blush:

I agree that it would be good if there was some way of having a place for more specialised discussions only, but can't think of anything that doesn't involve the problems that Romy mentioned. Maybe an open "advanced" section, where everyone is free to post, but only on more advanced/not-already-endlessly-discussed topics? Maybe that could be one place where those new member questions *aren't* allowed? But again there's the problem of agreeing on criteria, and would be more work for Romy moving/splitting topics when inevitably discussions do veer off in directions that don't belong in that area.

Maybe the criteria for posting in a closed area would be that you have read specific topics (for example the groundwork exercises, posts about pushy or aggressive horses, leadership/dominance, the posts linked to in the "Special Posts" topic... ) and you apply to join the closed section by stating that you have read those topics, and will post any questions you have about them in sections outside this one - something like that? But again I'm sure there would be problems with this and again with the criteria regarding what "advanced" or "high level" stuff really is. So I really don't know. Hmm.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Hi Romy, just read your post very quickly..

For me it is a slightly different image than that of the mountain I have already climbed and others haven't, yet.Instead, it feels like my ideas about interacting with my horses have become rather specialized already, so that I know rather clearly what I want, how I must do it and why I do things the way I do them

Yes, the mountain analogy is not a very good one, because we're all climbing our own mountains, and there isn't really any top. :D But what I hear you saying is what I'm feeling. Where I'm headed is quite specialized, and I'm really comfortable with my direction. I do still have things I want to discuss and learn though. But I just don't have time to be caught up in endless rehashes of "but my horse just stands still and eats grass". That to me is the bottom of the mountain. :green:

I had a few thoughts in response to your "inner circle" ponderings.

I think it could be very easy and democratic to implement an inner circle and doesn't need to be fraught with any of the dreadful decision making that you mention (and that COULD be possible of this wasn't AND :D )

1: Criteria could simply be time on the forum. One year, two years? Of course, this wouldn't be perfect. There would be some people who were added even if they didn't participate (but if they didn't participate, it wouldn't really matter would it! :D ) And there would be others with whom the inner circle might want to have dialogue immediately. (Volker springs to mind there!) But then, of course, they could, elsewhere in the forum. But it would be totally fair and unbiased, and it would provide a place for old friends to get together and talk, without so much chance of getting bogged down in repetitions, dilutions and sheer volume of new people to get to know. With that support and freshness back into the discussions, there might be more energy left to give back, and delve in to answer those "my horse just eats grass" questions and get involved in new comers journeys.

2: To prevent it from becoming like a "secret society", I would propose that it be open for anyone to view, but only inner circle members to post.

And I didn't envisage it being like splitting the forum into two groups. I pictured more as one topic area, with a totally upfront title that every one can see. One ROOM in this big house, where only old hands could go and hang out if they felt like interacting with each other. I imagined that newer members would be welcome to read, and would probably want to read the posts.

If people hang around for a year, read posts, and are still interested enough to join in after that time, on average, they'd probably be more versed in the basics that are already well presented and discussed here, know individuals somewhat, and be happy with the AND code of online conduct. How does that sound?

OH NO! Please, no facebook discussion group. :ieks: That wasn't my meaning. :sad: They're generally awful. If there's any depth to the discussions, they're impossible to follow, and anything valuable is lost within hours. And most just end up very disjointed and shallow. Great for light contact, but not serious discussion. I meant that it's a good way to contact people, because most of the people that you miss here check facebook regularly. If you want people to SEE this question and then come HERE to comment on it, post the request to facebook. I will! :D


I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm
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I need to go back and carefully read all the posts here, but I thought I would try to briefly explain my lack of time on the AND forum.

First, it still and always will feel like home and one of the most beautiful horse forums on the internet. There is no place else like it. :kiss:

For me, in a nutshell, my life at the moment is very, very full. So full in fact that I'm not spending enough time with my Tamarack. I have been growing a home business (graphics) and it's gradually taking more and more of my time. We moved to this lovely home last fall and my head is so full of what I want to do here (landscaping, gardening, etc) that there is barely room left in my poor brain for other things. My husbands health has not been great (but he is ok for now). I won't go into details on that because I don't think he'd want me to. On top of that, my dog's cancer has me on a sort of emotional roller coaster of late that I can barely concentrate on anything that needs concentration (which discussing horsey things or offering help to others really requires). So I am just a bit overwhelmed now. That is all.

In my mind, I envision a sort of utopia where things get back to some kind of normalcy where I have the brain freedom to once again sit here daily and enjoy the journey's of others, help where I can, and report on my own journey as well. When this topic came up I felt a wee bit of panic...what if, when I'm able to come back and spend more time, that this lovely place is no longer here...or it's here, but the people I most identify with are not here? It is, a little, already like that, because some of my closest AND friends are also very busy with life. Then I feel incredibly guilty for not being here more, and think that if I were, perhaps they would be as well.

Facebook....hmmmm. It's only a place for me to keep some tiny thread of connection to people I like. It is not a replacement for the likes of AND. Happenings are shared, but then they go away. I post some videos there, etc, but they are mostly for the benefit (hopefully) of people I ride with, or the kids at the stable where I board as that is the only place we I can reach most of them.

"Ride reverently, as if each step is the axis on which the earth revolves"

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:36 pm 
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Posts: 2888
Location: Natal, South Africa
:funny: I am still here, but like so many others I am not posting much at the moment. There are several reasons for that.

As most of my long-term friends know, I got really ill and now I have a situation where my darling Freckle's extravagant movement is too tiring for me to ride for more than 20 minutes or so. That is hugely upsetting to me because that big movement is one of the reasons I chose him in the first place.
Anyway, I was trying to keep him satisfied by riding more often, and by getting a young man (with the right attitude) to come and take Freckles on trail for long rides. Sadly, that wasn't good enough. Freckles started becoming frustrated by not having enough work, which was made very clear to me on the day that it took me 40 minutes of chasing him to get the saddle off because he ran to the mounting block every time I touched the girth buckle ... :ieks: Do you see what happens when you encourage horses to express opinions? :funny:
So I sent him for a little professional jump-schooling where he did very well, and now he is leased by a lovely lady and her husband some 40 minutes drive from my home, and they take turns riding him on trail with their 2 children and 3 ponies. He is happy - I keep checking. :yes:

Laska is stepping courageously and a little nervously into the world of being a riding horse. This is his choice, not mine. He so obviously wants to try get this right and be like the other horses. I am allowing it now that he:
1. Carries himself properly and defaults to nose-down-raised-back any time he feels a small twinge from his damaged back.
2. Has become fairly confident out there about things like tractors and other scary horse-eating monsters.
3. No longer believes most people are threats, and actually seeks out their company.
:yes: :twisted: but I do not sit on him. My dear friend who is half my weight is doing that part because she enjoys transforming "difficult" rides into excellent one. I can write twice a week that she rode him and he didn't bolt, buck her off, bite her or panic, but the real information is in what he feels like and she will have to write that and doesn't want to.

Rocket is as he has been for a while. Now that he is a reliable riding horse in cordeo or halter or even nothing, there's very little to write other than "magnificent Rocket carried me or the groom again today with all the generosity and aplomb he normally displays. What a fantastic chap he is!" I tell him that every few minutes, and he likes hearing it, but ANDers would get very bored with "I love my Rocket so much" over and over and over again.

Little Santa wrecked a tendon, so he is on paddock-ornament status for at least 6 months, and all I can ever write about him is that he is still limping, and he cuddled me again :twisted: or he nipped me if he didn't get the treat he was asking for. The pain involved in this injury has made him a bit grumpy from time to time.

I was going to write about my new mare Saffron's journey from grumpy, hollow lesson horse to round and happy bit-less eventer, but she had mange when I got her and her owner and I assumed she was thin because of that. It turns out she was thin for other as-yet-unidentified reasons, and that ?infection? crashed her entire system so the mange was from a lack of immune system, as was the incredible anemia we are currently fighting. She is fighting hard to stay alive, and even though she is still losing weight her blood is showing some signs of some recovery. I am horrified every time I really look at her - a 15.2hh TB mare that weighs less than 350kg is a pitiful sight indeed. :sad:

So all I can really say is that I have nothing much to say at the moment, but hope to be back when I do. :love:

Glen Grobler

Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled. Anon

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Hello Romy and all the other AND'ers,

Thanks to the FB post of Sue I got back here... this will probably explain already part of why I was gone? ;)
But the real answer is like most things in life: a matter of many reasons all together.

The main reason, however, is my health problems which make it very difficult for me to be busy with almost anything.
Being around my horses has become a matter of giving them the basic needs and on a good day trying to do just a little bit more. Not really much fun to put in a topic...

I feel like I know all I want to know for now, wishing I had the strength to do so.
Referring to the mountain climbing: it feels like I have passed my theory exam a long time ago but never managed to physically get much higher than the first climbs. Always longing to pick up my rope again, yet realising I just cannot because my body won't let me climb or even hold the rope tightly...

Also in my situation the first thing I need to be able to do is use this knowledge to be able to give my horses their basic needs (hoofcare etc.), which is not what other people here are looking for. But here again one needs the physical strength to do it, which I usually lack... :sad:

Concentrating on reading topics has become difficult and answering them often scares me for the need of too much of my little energy afterwards on follow-up...

And last but not least, there was one issue with another member I met on this forum with whom we agreed to spend some time together after our move to Italy so she could help me with the work for the horses and be a nice horsey-companion. Things did not work out because of some health issues which she had not talked about which were impossible to combine with mine. So to my full regret I had to call off the whole deal and struggle further on my own.
Shortly afterwards I found myself not being able to follow her posts anymore so I understood she took it personally and had me banned. I felt very hurt because of that since I had nothing but good meanings with this person. It made me shut up and hide away... :sad:

Nevertheless, I want to stress that I was very happy in the past to find this forum, its friendly community and the information I found!
Just as I was very happy to retrieve some of its members via facebook, even though I want to limit myself there to a max. of 100 'friends'. Reason why I 'unfriend' some of them due to lack of interaction, which can often also be blamed on me, but anyhow.

Right now I am happy to see some short movies every now and than of people having some fun with their horse/dog in a very friendly AND/clicker/natural way. It gives me ideas of what to do when I will be better again, if ever... and fb just suits these needs.
I wish I could be more active on this forum, active in every single way, unfortunately one has to accept what life offers you and make the best of that...

Romy, I appreciate very much that you take up the responsibility to welcome newcomers and keep the forum going!
:applause: :f:

Kind regards,


You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:02 am
Posts: 65
Location: Appleby, Cumbria
I suppose I never really fitted in because I train ponies to work, not for any other reason, and because I find I don't fit in anywhere in the horse world anyway. I am concentrating on my People Like Ponies project and getting ponies to everything, logging, recycling, disabled access, funerals, hoeing rowcrops etc. I have moved further from conventional and natural, and now tend to rely on the fact that although I haven't a clue, Obama can normally sort things out. And it works.

Horsepower measures work, ponypower measures pleasure!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:56 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6231
Location: Dresden, Germany
So great that you are all replying, thank you so much! :)

Shortly afterwards I found myself not being able to follow her posts anymore so I understood she took it personally and had me banned.

Annemarie, I was very surprised when I read this because I do not think this is possible. So I checked it out. Via the admin control panel I can view the forum with the permissions of any member I select. I searched for her posts while pretending to be you ;) and I can see them. But she asked me to have her diary removed a while ago and in order not to delete it, I just moved it to the moderator section. That's why I guess you were trying to look for it and then couldn't access it because it wasn't there anymore. This is not her fault at all but mine! I am very sorry if this has caused any confusion for you.

Sue, I think I see what you mean and how this might keep some of the more basic questions out. But still for me the time someone has been registered here is no valid predictor for how interested I am in his posts or how advanced they seem to me in relation to some content criterium. Also, I think I would not dare to write in that subforum if I knew it was created to prevent "irrelevant" posts - I would constantly worry that the people reading my posts are rolling their eyes because my posts seem so naive to them, or too much concerned with things that are of no real interest. And for some reason I cannot really explain my gut feeling just screams NO NO NO when thinking about an inner circle within this forum. I am really sorry about that, because actually I would like to do everything I can to make you and other people feel good here.

But if this is something that would make you feel more motivated to write here, how about opening a thread like that? You could call it "Sue and friends only" and then either post your inclusion criterium in the first post or ask people to only reply if they have been invited personally. Might that be an option?

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