A Matter of Give and Take
Of all the horsey forums I have looked at my favourite undoubtedly is this one. On Horseforum.com one meets in cyberspace with owner riders from all over the world. The mutual interest is the horse world and the common language is English. A benefit for me personally is that I get to communicate with different generations of humans. I am probably older than the Father of the Dad of many of the contributors. There aren’t many horse riding men of my age who can find their way around a computer. The effect on me is that when I meet up with a modern teenager, the fact that we are both speaking the same language doesn’t always help me to understand their point of view. I am from one galaxy they are from another located light years away. Mostly I am fine with that situation but sometimes a problem arises when I try to convert spoken English into written English.. I discovered a long time ago that it is so easy to offend when using the written word. Non verbal communication can soften the impact of the spoken word but it is absent in the written word.
My other hobby these days is writing. Recently I joined a forum for authors and I submitted some of my articles for critique. In due course back would come the comments and some of those comments take some swallowing. The closer to the truth the comment, the larger the bruising. It is not only a crack of the whip that stings it is also, figuratively speaking ,the point of the pen. Apparently even the style of my writing gives an indication as to my age Whenever I am seeking a writing critique it is important for me to accept an old adage: “don’t take offence where no offence is meant“. If someone states honestly their view then that viewpoint is valid for that article even though I might not like it, nor agree with it. Other critics might disagree with the viewpoint, some might agree with it.
The Horse Forum is primarily a discussion group.
The big benefit to me personally of contributing to this Forum is that I am forced to think about an issue and in putting my thoughts to ‘paper’ or rather to ‘computer’, I clarify in my own mind my opinion on the subject. The reader of my post has the option either to accept what I have said or to reject it. Mostly the problem of misinterpretation arises when I am tempted to answer a critic back. Even though I am aware of the need for clarity - sometimes I just don’t get the wording right. ‘Mea culpa’ - ‘my fault‘. My reply sometimes lands me in the mire. I try to learn not to make the same mistake again.
Up on the horse yard where my horse DiDi is kept I consciously try not to get involved. With other peoples’ horses. Virtually every time I do poke my nose in, I quickly find it is not wanted, especially where youngsters are involved. Nowadays I only speak my mind when a horse is suffering. From mistreatment Young humans I leave to make their own mistakes. The generation gap is a wide one.
It would be sad if on the Horse Forum that generation gap presented itself. We should chip in when we have something to say, but we should respect other members’ rights to reply with their view - even if misguided..