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Harry Whitney Clinic, MN, July 09
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reata
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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 03:19 pm
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Hi Guys,

I finally got to a Harry W  clinic last few days and wonder if anybody else was at the clinic and how they perceived Harry .. I sure have some thoughts to share!!

Some good and some not so good!! :)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 05:40 pm
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Reata, this is not the place to share any "not so good" thoughts. You are permitted to do the following:

(1) Ask "why was this done"

(2) Ask "what was this for"

(3) Ask "what does this mean"

(4) Praise anything you liked or believe you understood

(5) Express gratitude

But criticism is not to be heard in this Forum in any context where it can be, or is, associated with ANY person's name, whether that person is on our approved list or not. We will not have contention here, and I will not tolerate EITHER "attack" OR "defence". OK? Got that? If so, then you may proceed, with my thanks. -- Dr. Deb

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 10:31 pm
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Reata,

Harry was here in East TN and I had the pleasure to audit 5 weeks of week long horsemanship camps.  It was wonderful and so helpful to me.  I asked a few people who had never been exposed to this type of horsemanship to come and audit.  The results were mixed, they were not sure they could go home and really BE THERE for their horses to the extent they saw how being there was so helpful to the horse.  A quandry for sure.  

What I took a way was a tremendous benefit to one horse I own who so needs CLARITY, more than any horse I have come across.  There is no gray for this horse only black and white.  I have made tremendous progress with him from what I took away from observing Harry and questioning too.  He is so generous with his answers.  I finally knew that I could show my horse that I had something good to offer him and that there would be nothing less between us.  Did it look pretty and all lovely and good cheer to start?  No but the results are huge.  My horse like all horses so wants to feel good.  He was just waiting for me to show him that I understood the necessity of this.  I am always humbled by what our horses offer us.

Love your avatar photo by the way!

Best,

Kathy

 

 

Penny Johnson
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 Posted: Wed Jul 22nd, 2009 11:06 pm
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To All,
One day I hope to ride under Harry Whitney's teaching. However, many years ago I did attend and audit one of his clinics, at least for 2 days.
That does not mean that I understood all that I saw. However, I still want to share the thing that I remember most vividly. It was this: That for the hinney Harry was riding, Harry was doing something and giving a feel that she had NEVER before known. And she loved that feel. The only way I can describe it is, based on what I saw, there was a complete uniformity to all that Harry asked of her. There was no difference between a cue or a correction or praise. These three things were all one thing. And she understood them perfectly. Some how, Mr. Whitney used the same "feel" or "word" for all three. But the hinney understood the "word" that Mr. Whitney "spoke" to her. Of course, Mr. Whitney "spoke" with his actions and not with his mouth. And even to a person sitting in the audiance, the feel that Harry Whitney gave the hinney had a goodness that goes beyond words.
Hope this is at least of some help in understanding what Mr. Harry Whitney teaches.
Sincerely,
Penny Johnson

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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 02:31 am
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Hi Reata. Harry wasn't in Michigan in July, he was in Minnesota. The reason I know this is because I was there too, as a rider for the fourth year in a row. I continue to be thankful to Harry for all he has done for me, as has the host of the clinic. They have both helped tremendously in helping me with my old mare.

I'm not sure what you were looking for in terms of "progress" or whatnot, but if you could see the dramatic changes that all of the repeat riders have had within themselves and their horses over the last few years, you'd be amazed (not to mention the big changes with first-time attendees!). We are not all expert riders, but we come to learn and talk and work on our feel and timing. Each year I am thankful and excited to be a part of this small family, because that is truly what it has become.

And so, we may not be perfect riders or perfect people, but it takes time to really hear what Harry says. He is patient and respectful enough to understand that. You can't expect somebody to listen to what they aren't ready to hear--it would be insincere. I liken it to forcing a horse to come in from the round pen. Give the person the opportunity for a choice, let them find it within themselves. Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes it takes years. My avatar is from Harry's clinic two years ago. I have a feeling you'd agree she looks much different today.

fitz
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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 03:28 am
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As the organizer of said MN clinic and the sponsor of "Harry" clinics for 11yrs I'd like to hear reata's reaction to what she saw. Sometimes we are so close to something we don't always have an objective view of what is presented. This clinic is a safe place for the participants to come learn, experiment, question and get support not only from Harry but from the other participants as well. I am always interested in other's experience at his clinics which help me discover what works and what doesn't , always preserving that safe environment. One observation I personally have is that two of the auditors who were there for all 4 days videoed Harry in spite of many posted signs stating Harry's policy of no video. He has had this policy for at least the last seven years and every other major clinician I know has a similar policy in place and people seem to respect it. One clinician I know had out of context video show up on line portraying him and a horse in a very unflattering way, again - out of context- that is why he does not allow any video. These women at my clinic evidently did not feel the policy applied to them and it is not pleasant for me to have to ask them to stop and then have to police them the rest of the clinic.
Thank you to all the participants for making it a great experience and to the auditors who asked such thoughtful questions.

reata
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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 04:08 am
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Ha Ha Rahfie. I guess is it was Minnesota.. Silly me :)

And looking at your Avatar I remember you clearly... I loved all the people and the horses at Harrys clinic.. They sure did their best and were very attentive to Harry ..

I guess I have to be carefull what I have to be carefull about what I say because I don't want Dr Deb to get after me.

Let me firstly say this ... WHEN Harry worked with a horse I was very impressed with his timing and his feel.  I had not witnessed his way of waiting for the horse to make the desission to hook up with the human before although I had heard alot aout it.. That was why I made the trip to the USA to see for my self ..I was suitably impressed.. if I had only stayed that first day and witnessed the changes in that very troubled mare I would have taken more than enough away from the clinic..

This is where my words get hard  to write..

Ok, a little back ground..I am not a novice rider .. I am not new to this type of horsemanship..I have an excellent eye and can see very suble changes that take place in a horse.. I can tell when a horse is trying and when he is just passing time..A horses expression and where his attention is are some of my main guides to how a horse feels and what I need to do.. I only say these things because I do not wish to be fobbed off as a learner or somebody who can't SEE what is taking place..I make my living working with horses and people.

Dr Deb has giving me 5 pointers to guide my remarks about Harrys clinic  I will start with no 5.

Yes I would like to express gratitude to Harry for sharing his knowledge with me both during the clinic and in the chats we had after hours..

4. I did like alot of what I saw and I do belive I got a pretty good grasp on what Harry was doing and his reasons..There was very little that I saw Harry do that I couldn't see a reason or I didn't know why or what he was doing!!

3.  I don't really have to ask what does this mean in regards to Harrys Horsemanship.. I guess I pretty much got most of it ..

2.  I could see Harrys reasons for every thing he did with the horses and if i didn't  he was kind enough to answer my questions..


So I will conclude with ... Harry is a brilliant horseman ..

Last edited on Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 05:38 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jul 23rd, 2009 05:33 am
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Reata, you were warned beforehand as to what the rules are here in the Forum. Therefore, your post has been edited.

This is not a matter of my "getting after" you. It is a matter of you getting over being judgemental toward others. We have discussed this before, in other threads.

You have a right to make judgements as to whom you would like to ride with. By all means, GO -- and ride with your most preferred teacher or teachers, whoever they are. But to do that, honey, you do not have to make any snide remarks, you do not have to give half-compliments or left-handed compliments. You still don't seem to understand that, when you "disapprove" of something, or you feel like you need to "disapprove", then that's exactly the signal that you should be listening for, the signal that says, "I need to ask." Why don't you ASK instead of jumping into a judgement? Are you actually, in some thinly masked way, working in your own financial interests, or campaigning for some other clinician? Were you at Harry's clinic in order to decide if he "stacked up"? That's kind of what it sounds like.

And if so, you wasted your time, Harry's time, and everybody else's time by your presence there, because you did not come with an open heart in the full willingness to be the LEAST important, the LEAST talented, the LEAST experienced, the LEAST knowledgeable person present. Because it is the person who comes with the least who goes home with the most.

That you engage in snideness and express judgement and criticism in this thread, even after having been warned, tells me, as it did in other threads previously, that you aren't really very mature. You have told us time and again that you're quite the accomplished horsewoman. But Reata, IF that were true you would have entirely gotten over any desire to criticize or carp. Instead, if you were mature -- which means, really sure of yourself -- then you would seek out collegial relationships, and ACT like a colleague. Harry was kind enough to answer any question you asked. Don't you think you owe him equal courtesy in return?

It is not your place to judge, Reata. I am not "fobbing you off" as someone who can't see. And I believe it when you say you've been around horses for a number of years. However, what I must say is that having read all your posts, I size you up -- out of your own mouth -- as a snob, a backstabber, and a person who has an ego that needs to come down about five pegs. In short, I size you up as being about fourteen or fifteen years of age.

Your avatar is an image -- artwork made not by you, and that is not a photo of you or your horse, but drawn from a photo of someone else by the famous artist Carmel Timmons. My assessment, Reata, is that you are just like your avatar: an image, a dream, an un-reality, a set of skills and accomplishments that you really do not have, and that come to life only in your own head.

Reata, only when you are able to climb out of your head, stop tooting your own horn, and recognize your superiors when you are in their company, will you be able to BEGIN. For in my assessment, you are a raw beginner who is carrying many fundamental confusions.

Now I want you to listen up, Reata. Your contributions here have not been of much value except in the sense that every time you post, you reveal yourself as just the type of buffoon that I want none of my students to be. I don't really have time for it if the student cannot see herself in the mirror of her own actions. Remember that I define the "best student in the class" as the person who is the most help to everyone else.

So before you reply to this, I am warning you: if you come back snotty, if you come back angry, if you come back anything at all except humble and grateful and full of particular questions -- that will be your very last post in this forum. This is the second warning you have gotten, and it is a stronger warning than the one you got before. You didn't seem to hear the previous one, so I have made this one plenty strong. So -- do you have this clear? I hope so, and I really mean that, Reata: because unless you make a change, you'll be stuck forever where you are right now -- at the very bottom, in the morass of "wannabees".

Think it over -- this is one of the times when as the teacher, I sound like Snape. But like Snape, I am working all the time for your benefit -- I just might know something you don't know, I just might be speaking from a perspective that it would be good for you to climb up to and look outward from. -- Dr. Deb

Indy
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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2009 01:21 am
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Kathy,
What do you mean by clarity? And how do you provide this for your horse?

Five weeks of auditing must have been amazing. After spending three days with Tom Curtin, my brain was filled. The "behavior issues" I thought my horse had are gone. I now realize that I had not been there for her and put her in situations that she did not feel ok about. It still happens at times - I am not talking about her being tense or spooky, but her feeling like she has to take care of or fill in for me because I have ridden her right into some situation and zoned out (or perhaps was thinking about trying to ride better or about how I wish she would do something different or a thousand other things). I find that my presence waivers and I am amazed that my horse tries so hard to get my attention when she needs me.

I'd love to hear what others have learned/experienced at clinics. I have found that I have great difficulty explaining what it is that I learned. It is not that I learned to shake a rope from left to right or some other mechanical movement but that it is about doing less and being more mentally present.
Clara

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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2009 11:07 am
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Hi Clara,
 
You mentioned your horse filling in for you.  This horse that I mentioned, at this time does not do that.  He requires that you be fully present and offering him something that is meaningful to him.  What is it I want from him?  I want him to stand over there for example, not kinda stand there, not wander off mentally but stand over there.  And I have to be clear that is what I mean when I say please stand over there.  Not I sorta mean it, any gray for this horse troubles him.  When he is troubled on the inside when life is not good for him he acts out, he wants you who are not clear to him out of his space. So when I say clarity, I mean that I have to be very clear about what I want going on between us at all times.  Ill feelings? He does not need to have them!  When I am clear and he is responsive, life is good! 
 
It is great to hear that Tom was able to help you understand your mare better!
 
Kathy

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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2009 03:06 pm
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As one of the students who again missed this great opportunity to audit Harry (family illness), I am glad to hear Reata's now edited perspective.  Cause Dr.Deb's rejoinder to Reata helps me check and let go of similar prejudgments that undoubtedly would have clouded what Harry would have had to offer me.  Glad you saved me from THAT misstep Dr Deb!!

I feel more oriented to what students here seek to ask and Harry and The Institute friends offer is simply this:  the exuberant ride.  And he no doubt has it to offer.  It has no room for the clutter of judgements.  And it does not come with pat answers or set minds.  More with an open desire to experience.  

And Dr Deb - the more you explain it - the more I let the prejudgments go.  And the more I try to feel my ride, my influence and such.  And the more I try to open that braced hip!!! 

SO much for me to learn and experience.

Thanks again.

All is well with my family BTW.  Praise God and Aldactone.


rahfie
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 Posted: Fri Jul 24th, 2009 11:37 pm
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Reata,

I know you may not post again, but I know for certain that you will come back to check people's replies. Please don't assume that you know so much about people you've never met before. I try hard to keep from judging myself, and admit that it is a weakness in my own character that I am working on.

First, I don't need your pity. I don't want to speak for others at the clinic, but my guess is that they don't want your pity either. Do you understand the analogy I drew in my last post about people not being ready to listen to things, even if they hear them, and how that can be equated to drawing a horse in forcefully from round pen work, without even giving them the choice of coming in on their own? If I want to sincerely and truly understand something, it comes not only from the guidance of the teacher, but my own intrinsic motivation and understanding. If Harry told us what to do all the time, we wouldn't learn a thing except how to go through the motions, and that's what we're all trying to avoid.

Second, you also assume that we didn't ask questions because we didn't know what to ask. Perhaps another way to think about it is that we didn't ask countless questions because we took time to mentally chew on what was just presented to us. Or, in addition, we didn't ask questions because we didn't feel the need to fill the air with words when we could come to some answers ourselves.

Again, please don't assume that we were taken advantage in any way--timeliness, financially, or otherwise. Believe me, I've been to enough clinicians to have been down that road countless times, and it's taken years to get myself and my horse beyond it. I've said it before--perhaps I'm not the horse person you think I ought to be by now, perhaps lots of my riding was sloppy because I was trying to work with my horse into a way of moving we've never experienced before, but I certainly do not need to be patronized in my attempts and my growing confidence and ability.

I'm glad you got to see Harry, and that you feel he's a good horseman. But he's more that that--he's a good teacher for the human as well. He may not be the guide for some people, but he is for me.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jul 25th, 2009 05:44 am
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Rahfie, I'm assuming from your post that you were, in fact, present at the clinic that Reata also attended. Your comments are right on, and I will tell you -- based on the fact that Reata is actually not an uncommon type that I occasionally have to deal with at my clinics too -- I have gotten quite a bit of amusement out of this.

Reata is immature and judgemental, and I and others have mentioned this to her repeatedly since she began posting here -- gently at first but stronger and stronger as time went on, because she did not seem to respond or make any change. Generally, it was as if she just ignored any effort to point out what would have been a better way of getting questions answered.

As I've said, Reata is a fairly common type in the horse-owning community. They have a number of characteristics in common, among them:

(1) They have a focus on themselves -- they need to get THEIR questions heard. The part of Reata's post that I edited out contained criticism of Harry because he did not answer everyone's questions at the clinic (to Reata's satisfaction). At the same time, she graciously notices that Harry answered every question that she asked, even taking time for her "after hours". I wonder if it has occurred to Reata that one reason Harry might have had difficulty answering other people is that he was so busy responding to her!

(2) They are emotionally needy. This is one of the reasons Reata attempted to monopolize Harry's attention -- these folks have a driving need to keep talking, to make themselves heard, so as to get and keep the teacher's focus on them.

(3) They are highly susceptible to becoming "followers" of some guru. I consider this aspect especially dangerous, and unpleasant, because inevitably the teacher is going to be categorized by this type of person as either their new guru, or else "a lot less than they were cracked up to be." And they are not slow to let other people know their judgement. The unfortunate thing is, there are plenty of horsemanship clinicians out there whose own ego problems make them actually want people just like Reata -- they wouldn't want her to change in the direction of greater maturity or real independence! So that the clinician who really is the better teacher, the one who cares not about himself but about all students -- as Harry does -- will demand, in some manner, that Reata quit clinging, quit trying to monopolize -- and this is 100% guaranteed to make Reata unhappy or angry. When I teach, and I get a student like Reata -- as here in the Forum it has more than once happened -- I take these hits upon myself, because that is the first responsibility of a real teacher.

(4) They are judgemental, not by their own true nature, but because being under the spell of whatever particular guru, everything Reata sees happening at TODAY'S clinic has to be compared to whatever she thinks she saw at the guru's clinic. She cannot suspend judgement, or put things in perspective, because she is not independent. In my experience, it is hopeless to expect anything but judgementalism from students who are in a psychological state of dependence, so long as that psychological state persists. This is why I always invite people like Reata to GO -- go be with their guru, whoever it is -- because only when the spell wears off (which it inevitably will, because all gurus are lesser lights) will the student be able to begin actually learning instead of just following -- just imitating.

(5) They can dish it out, but they can't take it. I thought, after warning Reata that criticism is not permitted here, that she would be smart enough to recognize that is meant seriously, and would obey. Instead, she posted judgements and snide remarks. So I thought, "OK, let's see how Reata likes it when she hears what other people think of her." As the few of you who read Reata's last post before I deleted it know -- as Shakespeare observed -- "she liked it not well."

(6) They are deaf and blind. Reata doesn't want to be "....fobbed off as someone who can't see." But, I can't help but notice that she assures us that she saw and heard NOTHING done at the clinic that she didn't understand. Oh, really? Then what were all the questions for? No, no -- she asks because really, she does NOT know how to do all kinds of things. She does not know the deeper things that make it all work. Because she does not know how to find the place within herself which is the chamber of these secrets, she is in reality on the lookout all the time for tricks, hints, and secrets, such as her favored guru seems to give. This is why I said to Reata, "your supposed skills and accomplishments are all in your head."

(7) They don't have much foresight. For example, you are quite right, Rahfie, when you guess that Reata won't be posting here again. Not because she might not like to, but because she has been banned from this Forum, just as I promised she would be.

(8) They don't have much wisdom. In her last post, which was a flamer and thus -- of course -- has been deleted, Reata calls me 'all holy' and Harry 'precious'. Does Reata not understand that this Forum is my classroom -- and that therefore, I will govern it as I see fit? This does not make me 'all holy' -- any more than it made her High School teachers 'all holy'. I have known and recommended Harry for years. Was this not clear to her when she began reading here? How shall it be possible for me to permit Reata, or anybody else, to come into my classroom and start deprecating any of our friends? C.S. Lewis observes that Hell has a bottom, and that this is a mercy: and in parallel fashion, I am being very kind to Reata by banning her, because if I had not banned her at this point, I suspect she would have descended farther and farther, going from being a mere buffoon whose immaturity is obvious to everybody but herself, to the state where horses see her coming and are pretty sure it's Chuckie.

(9) Reata says that she wants discussion and is disgruntled with me because it seems that I will not permit it. The problem here is that Reata fails to distinguish her desire to judge from discussion. It can't be that difficult to figure out how to ASK a question -- hundreds of other people here in this Forum have done it. You can ask and not let on anything about which clinic you were at that made you want to ask. You can even ask like you were asking on behalf of a friend, if the person is too shy  to ask on their own behalf. But Reata does not really want discussion, which is dispassionate and content-oriented, but instead what she wants is to compare "personalities".

The reason that "personalities" are banned from this Forum, and negative comments about any identifiable person are forbidden, is precisely because they can only excite attack and defence of this "personality" vs. that "personality". Attack and defence do not serve, and often actually prevent, teaching and learning. Since an already nauseating amount of "personalities" can be found everywhere else on the Web, I figure we don't need it here.

So -- tootle-oo, Reata, we'll meet up with you again maybe, after some wonderful old horse kicks you or bucks you off hard enough to break a few bones. There's nothing like being laid up for a few weeks in hospital to clarify the thinking, improve the hearing, and best of all reduce the level of hubris. Even in this (let me assure you Reata), you are by no means special or unique.

Sincerely -- Dr. Deb

 

Indy
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 Posted: Sat Jul 25th, 2009 01:47 pm
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Dr. Deb,
In the last 2 years, for the first time in my life I have had to board my horses. Unfortunately , I have found people with the traits that you describe in abundance. Why does it seem that the "horse world" attracts people with these traits in such a high concentration? I have learned to look away and say nothing unless death or severe injury is eminent. I am finally at a barn that has fewer amenities but only has my horses and one other persons.
Clara

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 Posted: Sat Jul 25th, 2009 02:23 pm
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rahfie wrote:
And so, we may not be perfect riders or perfect people, but it takes time to really hear what Harry says. He is patient and respectful enough to understand that. You can't expect somebody to listen to what they aren't ready to hear--it would be insincere. I liken it to forcing a horse to come in from the round pen. Give the person the opportunity for a choice, let them find it within themselves. Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes it takes years.

I so agree that it does take time to hear what Harry says!! I have been listening 5 or 6 yrs now and there are things that I just now can clearly understand and own in my horsemanship.  But if I look back at my clinic notes, I have been hearing this for a long time lol.   Harry is infinitely patient and is a master at not answering an unasked question!  A quality more people could use. 

We can only hear what we can "hear" and Harry is an excellent teacher because he really gets that.   He is an incredible teacher to the student that is ready, no doubt.  Ready for what?  Ready for what the student can hear!

You said it well, Rahfie.

Kathy 

 

 


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