In today’s world of blogs, Twitter, Face Book etc, it is almost overwhelming how quickly news circulates. I’ve been meaning to write about this fact for a while, because I think such unprecedented access benefits the less publicly popular sports such as dressage more than it does, say, soccer, which has long enjoyed instant conveyance through television. But there is a double edge to the sword of course, and if you know me at all you know that is the side which interests me most.
A pal forwarded me a side-splittingly funny story (all the more funny because it really happened) yesterday, and while it has nothing whatsoever to do with horses, it does highlight how easy it is for us to find detailed information online. Here is the story, which should amuse those of you who fly on a regular basis.
I would love to have been on that flight. Flying is dreary and unglamorous; a little non-life-threatening drama would be a welcome change to the usual disappointments of having fat bearded women as seat mates and discovering that some airlines now charge for water. Check out the sources in that story – MySpace (I thought MySpace was dead but apparently not) and LinkedIn. The reporter didn’t even have to pick up the phone and call the emotionally over-wrought Mr. Slater to get personal photos and gory details. Just so in the horse world.
Last weekend the recently launched online video platform USEFLive broadcast the Festival of Champions from Gladstone. The dressage world – from Germany to Canada – tuned in to have a sneak peek at who will be Steffen Peters’ wing men or women in Kentucky next month. Team trials (and not just in the US) have often been accused of plumping up scores to make the prospective team look really impressive to the rest of the world. Now I’m not saying anything specific, because I saw only about a third of the GP tests on Saturday morning, and because, well, I’m not a judge. I know, you may be thinking that never stopped me before. But since my comment is a general one, I can spare myself the potential backlash of naming individual riders who seemed to get an especially sweet (or raw) deal. Generally speaking, the scores seemed to bear only passing resemblance to the performances I watched – not in all cases, but certainly in several. Does that make the American contenders look more impressive? I don’t think so. With the team trials being online for all the world to see, I would have thought that would take the wind out of the sails of score padding behaviours. Since last week was a first-ever for the live stream competition video, perhaps there is a learning curve being climbed as I write. I’ll be watching the tests and scores with great interest this week during the second trial. For those of you newly curious to follow the US team trials, the scores are on Fox Village.
The ease with which we can post news online has resulted lately in my learning some things in the strangest ways. Before I check email every morning I look at the weather forecast and Eurodressage. Imagine my surprise today when I read the announcement with the names of Canada’s reserve pairs for the WEG dressage team on a European dressage news website, and not on Dressage Canada’s – or in an Equine Canada press release in my inbox. Robert Dover posted the news on his blog on Monday, and Astrid picked it up on her daily trawl through the cyber-horse-world. The press release – which contains information consistent with RD’s blog – was delivered to me today. I am aware that there were some legit reasons for the press release being delayed, but it still is pretty silly to read Canadian news for the first time on Eurodressage. I guess my take-home lesson is that I should add RD’s blog to my morning-coffee internet activities.