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"Cult of personality"-- guru-like trainers in WesternWorld

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    "Cult of personality"-- guru-like trainers in WesternWorld

    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

    #2
    I certainly agree with this post. But you are correct, it will be a train wreck because the folks you are referring to will take offense to your claim of worshiping. But I laud you for having the cojones to post it.

    Comment


      #3
      Good observation.

      Dare say anything less than glowing about such gurus and you will be handed your head back in a platter shortly.

      What is funny, the gurus themselves would have heartily laughed about it, not being that much into idolatry.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mvp View Post
        And I think that most of these guys-- would have the next generation of riders/trainers do that, too. We *should* be autonomous, skeptical and wiling to experiment with our own horses, right? After all, that's what they did.
        I agree to a certain extent. However, I see no reason to reinvent the wheel. If someone did a lot of experimenting with a lot of horses and identified some common patterns, then my preference would be to start with those common patterns rather than have to re-discover them through my own trial and error. Personally, I'm of the "watch and listen, then take what makes sense and adapt it to meet my own needs" school of thought.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson

        Comment


          #5
          Ahhh.... Chris, Clinton, and Pat aren't gonna like this thread!!
          Alis volat propriis.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by bluemooncowgirl View Post
            Ahhh.... Chris, Clinton, and Pat aren't gonna like this thread!!
            Who is Chris?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Attack View Post
              Who is Chris?
              GASP!! You mean.... you don't KNOW??
              Alis volat propriis.

              Comment


                #8
                ...going to keep an eye on this thread - COTH has been boring lately.
                Sometimes, though, I am shocked at how many threads I miss that could be fun.
                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                Comment


                  #9
                  Well, to be fair, the H/J, eventing, and Dressage people probably know exactly who George, Karen & David, and Steffen are.

                  I think a big part of the quoting has to do with the fact that, asked an honest question about what in the heck Fred (I just made the name up) is doing...a Fred Follower will often be fairly sure (whether justified or not) that Fred is doing right. But, said Fred follower doesn't really know WHY Fred does that, or know how to answer that honest question, in an honest and thorough way.

                  And that applies for both the Emperor Has No Clothes gurus, and the more humble, but equally Put On A Pedestal and Often Quoted types.

                  Why no women? Well, you would need the combination of sexy, knowledgeable/competent and aspirational, I think. Linda's sure giving it a try, though!!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                    Why no women? Well, you would need the combination of sexy, knowledgeable/competent and aspirational, I think. Linda's sure giving it a try, though!!
                    Not NO women, but I agree...there are few. But there is Leslie Desmond who is tough as any man.

                    The majority of the folks who I see at these clinics are women and (zipping up flamesuit) most women would rather learn from a man. They don't seem to like taking orders from a woman quite so much.

                    But give 'em a guy in a cowboy hat and they get all squishy inside....

                    Chris Cox. Don't forget Martin.
                    Last edited by Kyzteke; Nov. 26, 2013, 02:13 PM. Reason: correct Leslie's last name...oops...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      In the western world, cowboys are men, of course.

                      The bias against women in so much we do is so deep seated in all, men and women, that some orchestras started having auditions for musicians behind a curtain, because they were missing many of the better players, that were women, when it was time to hire.

                      Not on purpose, but those listening just didn't "hear" the brilliance in execution if a woman was playing, but did if a man.

                      The same applies to the horse world, that is why so many instructors at the top are men, when so many more women participate in so much we do with horses and, statistically, we should have more women instructors at the top.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I agree that the first name guru trainers exist in other disciplines... though they tend to be based more on competitive results rather than awesome demos or DVDs.

                        I hadn't thought about the fact that so few are women, though. That is very striking to me, and I would say it is generally true even in disciplines where it should not be so.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Well, to be fair, the H/J, eventing, and Dressage people probably know exactly who George, Karen & David, and Steffen are.
                          Well one difference is that George, Karen & David and Steffen have proven themselves as some of the world's best competitive riders, having won all the major international competitions, most multiple times, and gone on to coach other riders to multiple wins at the same or similar major competitions.

                          In my book that's a little different than developing a system for round-penning a horse and then marketing the heck out of it with sets of DVDs and overpriced "tools."
                          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                            In the western world, cowboys are men, of course.

                            The bias against women in so much we do is so deep seated in all, men and women, that some orchestras started having auditions for musicians behind a curtain, because they were missing many of the better players, that were women, when it was time to hire.

                            Not on purpose, but those listening just didn't "hear" the brilliance in execution if a woman was playing, but did if a man.

                            The same applies to the horse world, that is why so many instructors at the top are men, when so many more women participate in so much we do with horses and, statistically, we should have more women instructors at the top.
                            That is a ridiculous analogy. Clinicians are not auditioned for the part. Anyone can put a sign up, put on a clinic, women or men. It is up to the content of what they are teaching, and pretty much whether or not the general public accepts them as valid, entertaining, knowledgeable or whatever. Most of the participants are women anyway, so if there is a bias against women clinicians, it is from women themselves.

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              [QUOTE=Fillabeana;7274557]
                              The armchair saddler
                              Politically Pro-Cat

                              Comment


                                #16
                                How funny - I was just asking Mr. PoPo the other day why everyone listens to men. I wasn't thinking of riding specifically (actually, I was thinking of 'gurus' or spiritual leaders, but the same kind of 'worship' could be applied to any hobby/interest/area of study), but it certainly applies. Why do I listen to men? Gosh I wish I knew. I guess because they are out there more than women? There are so many more women at the lower levels, but when you get to the top, a lot of men stand out moreso than equally knowledgeable women. Sigh.

                                With regard to blindly worshipping these guys . . . there are some things that I saw at the BB clinic I went to that I questioned about his horses and what was going on with them. But I've just kept my mouth shut on those things because I don't know the whole story or any sort of background. I found his teaching to be immensely helpful to me and what I'm working on. Others, not so much. And others, maybe - I'd like to spend more time with them to figure some stuff out.
                                "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
                                  How funny - I was just asking Mr. PoPo the other day why everyone listens to men. I wasn't thinking of riding specifically (actually, I was thinking of 'gurus' or spiritual leaders, but the same kind of 'worship' could be applied to any hobby/interest/area of study), but it certainly applies. Why do I listen to men? Gosh I wish I knew. I guess because they are out there more than women? There are so many more women at the lower levels, but when you get to the top, a lot of men stand out moreso than equally knowledgeable women. Sigh.

                                  With regard to blindly worshipping these guys . . . there are some things that I saw at the BB clinic I went to that I questioned about his horses and what was going on with them. But I've just kept my mouth shut on those things because I don't know the whole story or any sort of background. I found his teaching to be immensely helpful to me and what I'm working on. Others, not so much. And others, maybe - I'd like to spend more time with them to figure some stuff out.
                                  That is true that, as you realize yourself, everyone, men and women, listen to a man rather than a woman, both being equally interesting or knowledgeable.

                                  There have been many studies showing that, it is not "a ridiculous analogy", as some may want to insist.

                                  When it comes to the clinicians in question, many of those really didn't learn under someone that was showing and competing in the more technical disciplines or "cross pollinated" between disciplines, so that is one reason they are not as knowledgeable about those parts of horsemanship.

                                  I already mentioned before the coke bottle turns, not properly over the hind end and in the early days, some were not even quite clear what leads were or how they mattered, or how to ask a horse to back, although they could do it themselves, they didn't know how to TEACH it, because they lacked that knowledge.

                                  I call real horsemanship having an educated eye for everything and many do very good with seat of the pants riding and talking, but miss so much they are not aware of is there, because they have not learned to "see" it.

                                  All that doesn't take anything from their clinic work, they help many people, but when you want to do more with a horse, you really should go to a traditional trainer that will show you more.

                                  All those years Parellis spent making fun of dressage in their entertainment spiel to the public in their demonstrations would have helped them more to have learned what dressage is really all about and applying some of it themselves.
                                  Eventually they realized that and hired some to help them with that hole in their knowledge.
                                  Won't comment on how that worked, we can see that plainly for ourselves, but that doesn't mean it could have been a real improvement on what they were already doing.

                                  Try that, complement what you are getting from those kinds of clinicians with some lessons in stables that compete seriously, in most any discipline, that will answer some of the questions you have.

                                  The more you are exposed to, the more you hear, the more you see, in all kinds of different situations and disciplines, the better an all around and knowledgeable horseman you will become.

                                  With horses, you never quit learning, that is the fun part of being around horses.
                                  We learn what to do and what not to do and more important for the human part of the pair, the WHYS of what we are doing what we do.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    As train wreck threads go this one is boring.

                                    Back to eventing land for me!

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                      With horses, you never quit learning, that is the fun part of being around horses.
                                      We learn what to do and what not to do and more important for the human part of the pair, the WHYS of what we are doing what we do.
                                      Amen to your whole post, Bluey, but especially this part.

                                      I don't have much to contribute to this post in that I haven't gone to any BNT clinics...well maybe one, but that was a bit of a joke since he was just there as a mouthpiece to certify the trainees of his that were also there.

                                      I've seen a few various videos of other BNT and probably the only one I outright despise is Clinton Anderson. The others might have bits of stupid woven in, but a lot of what they say/do makes sense. If you can see through the showboating (a la Parelli, et al.), occasionally there's a gem.

                                      I did sit in on two days of lessons given by a friend of my current coach -- said friend is a quasi BNT in H/J land (or maybe she is a BNT, not sure; I'm new to H/J land). You could see a huge improvement in both the student and the horse by the end of the hour lesson with just about everyone she worked with without either getting upset. I watched her work a grumpy TB who would rather drag himself around on the forehand than use his butt -- for the first few minutes it wasn't pretty, but afterwards he started to use himself correctly and honestly looked pleased as punch with himself by the end. I had an absolute blast and learned loads when it came to be my turn to ride with her -- it was an epiphany a minute, seriously.

                                      I think Bluey made the point very well -- never stop learning, don't be satisfied that you know it all, and don't just worship at one guru altar. This is especially important if you're in a position that you're teaching others. Never slam a door on a curious student -- if you don't know, admit it, and maybe it'll be something you'll discover together.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Wirt View Post
                                        That is a ridiculous analogy. Clinicians are not auditioned for the part. Anyone can put a sign up, put on a clinic, women or men. It is up to the content of what they are teaching, and pretty much whether or not the general public accepts them as valid, entertaining, knowledgeable or whatever. Most of the participants are women anyway, so if there is a bias against women clinicians, it is from women themselves.
                                        I thought it was a pretty good analogy.


                                        A Yale study found that there was bias against female undergraduate students, even with women professors-

                                        Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, a new study by researchers at Yale
                                        and a recent Ohio State study found that students rated research abstracts as having greater "scientific quality" when they thought the abstracts were written by men

                                        It would be ridiculous to pretend that the horse world is some magical bastion where this doesn't happen. It's definitely an issue that is widespread in our culture.

                                        Comment

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