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Forum Rules Review -- For Everyone's Attention
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Jul 10th, 2007 05:02 am
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Dear People -- We have during the past week had to endure a spate of inappropriate posts in the thread about Foxtrotters and cantering, and I've had to pull some of these posts -- something I am sure that most of you are aware of. For that reason, I want to take this opportunity to go over "lightly" a couple of our Rules of Order:

(1) Personal comments are not permitted in this space. That means, no one is to criticize or threaten any other person by name. What IS appropriate here are questions and discussion about horsemanship topics.

(2) This space is, in fact, unlike other Forums or Boards on the Internet, in that it functions as my classroom. All the things that normally go on in a classroom ARE permitted here. Some of the good things would include:

1. Questions from students to the teacher. This means "real" questions, i.e., something the student asks in hopes of actually receiving an answer to it. Some things, of course, have more definite answers than others -- some things have more than one answer -- some things cannot be answered under our present state of knowledge. But the question must be a "real" question in the sense that it is not something else merely disguised as a question, i.e. a commissioned salesperson asking questions about saddles in hopes of bringing the discussion around to where she can then begin selling her brand of saddle.

2. Questions that are of general interest, not necessarily addressed to the teacher but "thrown out there" to see what the spectrum of replies might be. In these cases, I may respond but always monitor the discussion from the background.

3. Discussions among the students -- many of my students have been my students for years, and are, or have become, teachers in their own right. I am delighted to have posts from these people here. Others who post here have never been my students in any direct sense, but are also highly qualified and experienced horsepeople, and they too are very welcome. And of course whoever posted the original question -- it doesn't matter what level of experience or knowledge they have, if they have asked a sincere question there can certainly be some subsequent discussion. In general, any post that addresses the question at hand is welcome, so long as the content stays within the bounds of reason and courtesy.

4. Personal "diaries" or "stream of conscousness" or "ruminations" -- welcome so long as they relate to horsemanship issues and are not just stories about daily goings-on with somebody's pet horse. The "diary" type of post tends to relate especially to the deeper issues, and this is one of our major reasons for being here: to encourage discussion of "horsemanship that goes beyond the merely physical." My responses to this type of posting tend to be brief, more in the form of hints.

5. "Process" posts -- this is where the student writes in with an ongoing, usually immediate, type of problem with their horse, i.e., "he starts shying every time we ride to the far corner of the arena" or "he runs back to the barn" or "he pulls back when tied." Here my answers are often going to center around some observations or some homework, like reading stuff posted in "Knowledge Base", that I want the questioner to perform on their own. Doing this kind of homework serves as eye-openers for many people, causing them to realize how their own approach might have been contributing to the original problem. I am always grateful when we get posts on these threads from other horsepeople who have worked through similar situations with their horses.

6. "Medical" posts -- people write in wanting to know something about anatomy, or their horse is sick or lame and their Vet told them something and they didn't understand it and want to ask about it. Or they want to talk about physiotherapeutic exercises, feeding issues, horseshoeing issues, and the like. These and more are absolutely welcome, and we have a number of correspondents here who have real expertise in these areas.

Now, there are also a couple of other points I want to clear up:

(1) I am not Tom Dorrance's representative or spokeswoman. This was expressly forbidden by Tom, and I have respected his wishes in this area, I think, to the letter. Tom did not want his name mentioned in print (though it gets mentioned there plenty enough, if you look at the magazines). Tom did not enfranchise or recommend anyone (except Ray Hunt). Even Ray will often, when speaking of Tom, not mention his name, but will instead say, "my teacher" or "my friend". I say the same, and, again like Ray, it gives me great pleasure to share "verbatim" some of the things I saw Tom do, or things I heard him say, or situations with horses that I saw him solve. You are the beneficiaries of these reminiscences, just as if we were sitting around the campfire and telling "Tom stories" -- but, I emphasize again, I am not Tom, and am not pretending to be. When you write in here, you are writing to me, and what you receive back is what I know to tell you.

I had the privilege of riding privately with Tom for a number of years, and then attended all his public clinics that I could get to, as well. I was an invited rider at the Tom Dorrance Benefit, and a "table captain". But these things are not enfranchisements, and any reader here who thinks I am trying to trade on Tom's name is WAY off (I have said here and in print many times that anyone who advertises themselves as either Tom's student, or Ray's, is no friend of either man. There is a considerable difference in INTENT between telling "Tom stories" or "Ray stories" and falsely giving people the impression that they are Tom or Ray's representative. I am not either man's representative, although I admit to being their advocate (did anyone see the Ray Hunt retrospective that I recently authored for Equus Magazine? But I have never written a word in a magazine on Tom -- if you want to know why, the Equus Magazine piece on Tom was written by someone else even though they initially asked me to do it; I refused because I didn't think I could do him justice).

Tom taught me what he could. I felt that he cared about me a great deal, and I know that he helped me advance my understanding in many areas, something for which I will die grateful. Perhaps some readers of this Forum did not understand this stuff previously, but now that I have explicitly told you about it, any post from this point on that says, or implies, that I am not living up to what Tom Dorrance "would have expected" will be deleted. Neither I nor anyone else actually knows what Tom would or would not have wanted, or would or would not have said or done, and out of respect for Tom if for no other reason, no correspondent here shall imply that they do know.

(2) Like all Internet Forums and Boards, this one has had its share of insane or disturbed individuals who try to post. This tends to come in spates. Some of you who have been reading this Forum for many years will have recognized "Disgusted and Disillusioned" as the same person, dubbing in almost word-for-word, a post he or she made a number of years ago (all about how they have "totally lost any respect they ever had for me").

We have had one guy who wrote in over and over again to say, "don't believe anything she says" or to contravene facts that I had just given. Can you imagine what would happen to a little boy who did this in the school classroom? This individual also used to show up sometimes at my seminars in order to heckle from the back row.

We also have the heiress of a large computer company who comes in every once in a while to say, "see what a terrible rotten person Deb Bennett is. She sure isn't all she's cracked up to be!"

We have the insane woman who attended one of my riding clinics, whose reason is being eaten away by rage and hatred. At the clinic, she refused to perform simple exercises when they were offered, argued with every suggestion, refused to obey directions intended for the safety of herself and others....finally becoming so focused on proving herself "right" and me "wrong" that she wanted to set it up to show me how her horse WOULD TOO buck....then writes posts to this Forum that claim to be questions but are in fact "bombs" set to go off as soon as answered (because no answer will be satisfactory to this person until she gets some medical help).

These are the folks who gleefully tell us that we will "destroy" ourselves, or that we're not long for this earth, or they wish I would get out of the teaching profession, or that I'm not living up to their expectations or to our teacher's, whom they knew less well than I did .... or they threaten us by saying they'll tell ALL their friends not to come here....I have to wonder how much influence their hatred actually has; but we have been warned that this may be a considerable amount at times.

But with all that, folks, it remains true that this Forum has been up for a decade (through several changes of software, yes, but up ALMOST continuously). ESI's Website is, in fact, one of the oldest continuously-running addresses on the Internet. We've been through spates of posts from the self-interested, the catty, the disturbed, and the insane before, and lo and behold, we're still here. For all students who have real questions and who are respectful of the teacher, we will always be here.

(3) I want to end this on a somewhat humorous note. I observe that one of the main reasons for the present string of inappropriate replies is that our correspondent Scott initially objected to my telling someone that they should settle for an authoritative answer, and then I repeated again when he queried this, saying that "an authoritative answer is something we should all hope to be lucky enough to receive."

What is causing me to chuckle is that I think there is a confusion over what the word "authoritative" means. This is akin to C.S. Lewis' observations about the language used in some older versions of the liturgy in the Anglican Church: Lewis observed that many people did not understand the correct meaning of the words. So for example, where the Church says that all clergymen are to "dispense the sacrament without respect of persons", then people thought what that meant was that the clergymen did not respect the parishioners! Or when the Old Testament says "God considereth no man", they thought that meant God doesn't care about them. And I also think about my friend and senior colleague, Dr. Matthew at Equus Magazine, who is such a good (and picky!) editor that he's taught ALL of us on staff the difference between "continuously" vs. "continually". And he's right to do it, too!

So, likewise, with the present situation: my observation is that some of our readers must be mixing up the meaning of "authoritative" vs. "authoritarian". When they are told that they should be grateful for an authoritative answer (an authoritative answer is one whose truthfulness can be relied upon), they get bent out of shape because they think what they've been told is that they should settle for being dictated to (that is what authoritarian means).

Well, that's my best guess anyway. Cheers to everyone, and with my very great gratitude for all the valuable posts that have been made here by literally hundreds of people over a very long span of years. There is not one single reason why the teacher and the students cannot be friends, EVEN when the teacher is an authority! Those who know me, know that the bridge is always level -- Dr. Deb

 

DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Thu Jul 12th, 2007 04:42 pm
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To Name Withheld: Your post has been deleted for the obvious reasons. I am interested, however, in one comment that you made, and that is that you feel it's too bad that I belittle people who attend my clinics. This indicates that you must have been present at one of those clinics.

I therefore am requesting that you post again, and in that post:

a) Tell us your real name -- no more "name withheld". I will then check the name you supply against the registry lists for my clinics. If you are going to accuse me of actions or intentions that are ugly, then we have to be on a level playing field. You cannot just come in here and take pot shots, like a bank robber, with a hood over your face.

b) Tell me whether it was yourself that felt belittled, or you felt that it was someone else that I was belittling.

c) Tell me the exact situation in which you felt the belittling occurred. In other words, exactly how did I belittle you or someone else?

There is no hope of making repairs -- if indeed any repairs need to be made -- when there is no open communication. We cannot be face to face here, but we CAN be more transparent and honest than you are being.

I have not forgotten that it was you who, not long ago, posted a query that you had picked up from another board -- and then told us the question really wasn't about you or your horse. We pointed out to you at that time that this is manipulative. Perhaps you have a tendency to go that route -- perhaps you are a person who is real uncomfortable being up-front. But if you are going to make accusations, Name Withheld, merely MAKING the accusation will not be sufficient.....that's just gossip. So give me the specifics, and I'll be glad to respond to that.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Name Withheld
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 Posted: Fri Jul 13th, 2007 12:32 pm
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Dr Deb,

Yes, you do know me.. I had a nice dinner with you one night after a clinic..

Lets just leave it be..  I have said what I think and you have said what you think ..

Both of us are entitled to our ideas and our ideals.

Some of us just gave you a little wake up call.  I'm sure we all need a little shake up at times.  We are only humans after all...

Name Withheld 

 

DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Jul 13th, 2007 04:52 pm
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Dear Name Withheld -- OK, I see from your reply that in reality, you have no gripes at all. You can't, or won't, bring forth any specifics -- so there is nothing for me to apologize for -- I mean, nothing REAL, nothing concrete, nothing that other witnesses who must have also have been present could corroborate or comment on.

In short, Name Withheld, you are completely worthless -- as a witness, as a student, and as a human being. You're just a petty backstabber.

So here's the deal: your posts will be deleted from this Forum henceforth, whenever and wherever they appear. This is because I consider your contributions worthless.

We also, by the way of course, DO already know who you are -- we have a pretty fancy Web support team, and some members of that team are, at times, also employed by the local and national police organizations to track addresses, and they are quite good at it. (It is, in fact, impossible for anyone to remain "incognito" on the Net, and it is amusing to watch the antics of people who think they are in hiding but are in fact in full view). So I am also informing you that if you show up again at one of my clinics, you will be turned away at the door, because obviously, you have been coming there only to obtain fuel. You act nice but in fact you're a whited sepulchre -- on the outside clean and white, but on the inside putrid. What truly shocks me is that you're an adult -- yours is behavior I associate with young teenaged girls. Perhaps it arises because you drink so much alcohol.

So this is YOUR wake-up call, Nameless. You can take your ill-mannered, crooked, and badly conformed nag, go to your own barn, and ride him until you kill him, for all I care. But please don't figure on coming back to get the benefit of my instruction, because, having proven yourself to be no student, you are no longer welcome to it.

Very sincerely -- Dr. Deb


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