Having spent all my working life in education, I never lost the enjoyment of seeing the look on the face of a youngster for whom the penny has just dropped.

Moreover, I’d like to think that I shared that same sense of achievement myself and continue to experience it in the hope that the ageing process fails to deny me the enjoyment of learning. I have to confess that the penny sometimes takes a bit longer to drop nowadays, especially on anything which comes under the banner of technology.

This occurred to me on a recent trip to the Discovery Centre, in Dundee, when I stepped on to the deck of the Scott’s famous ship, Discovery, that on heading on off on its voyage to the Antarctic in 1901 there was no mobile phone nor Internet. You have to wonder how on earth they managed.

It would take another 50 years before the development of the computer and another 50 before communication systems were brought together via the Internet. Having moved on so quickly, it is difficult to imagine where technology will lead us in years to come.

However, living in the moment, it is clear that technology plays an ever-increasing role in our lives and I fear that failure to embrace it comes at our peril. There is so much useful and relatively easily accessed information out there, however, you not only have to know how to access it but but also be prepared to find out.

This message came home clearly to me recently when I followed the age-old tradition of accessing information via the written word, in this case the winter edition of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society for Scotland’s in-house magazine, ‘Society’. It provides a variety of snapshots into the life of the Society and included an interesting article about a sponsored speaker from New Zealand, Doug Avery, who completed a series of talks round Scotland during September of this year.

I was taken by the message he put across which included ‘Eight things resilient people don’t do’ as well as ‘Six ways to being well’ (see panel) including the need to ‘keep learning’. I have no idea how his talks passed me by as I would liked to have heard him, however this equally applies to a number of events of which I have no knowledge although would like to have attended.

Knowing where to look for this kind of information is a personal problem, although I suspect that I am not alone in this. I hate to say it, but this is where the Internet comes into its own and social media in particular.

The notion of ‘connect’, courtesy of Doug Avery, applies here although how to connect in real terms remains a bit of a mystery. As mentioned in this column time after time, wouldn’t it be marvellous if all our equestrian disciplines represented by associations, societies and clubs could work together, for example, to provide a ‘one-fit’ information facility for equestrians in Scotland, which keeps everyone informed if not involved?

With this in mind, could this be a future aim for horsescotland and Grant Turnbull, who has recently taken over the chairmanship from Patrick Print? Experienced in many equine performance disciplines himself and well-acquainted with education and the show ring thanks to family connections, I would have thought horsescotland through his leadership was really well-placed to take a lead on this via an all-encompassing presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

In many ways, it is all part of a bigger picture for Scottish equine interests, which doesn’t currently exists but, then again, nor does one for the UK. Just as powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, perhaps this is one which could be pursued in Scotland for Scotland?

If spreading useful information to equestrians could be one of the remits, organising an all-inclusive events calendar could be another. Outwith ‘office’ jobs, I suggest that there are other key aspects of equestrianism which could do with a collaborative approach, horse welfare being one of them and setting/agreeing rules/regulations another.

I was interested to learn via a link ‘on line’ to the World Horse Welfare Conference 2018, sponsored by the Sir Peter O’Sullivan Charitable Trust, that various speakers made reference to both during their presentations including World Horse Welfare trustee and Olympic dressage rider, Richard Davaidson, who said, “There is endless protection from regulations. We don’t need more regulations; we just need them to be clear, unambiguous and relevant to modern times and current knowledge.”

Does this not suggest a shared approach would be worthwhile? Is it not possible for various disciplines to share values on tangible things like equipment, for example bitting, nosebands, boots and saddlery; additives such as calmers and enhancers; and rider/handler abuse?

It may seem too big a job but a worthwhile one to address nonetheless for Scottish equestrians if not for all in the UK. What a coup for Scottish determination if this could be achieved across the board.

Ending on a word of caution regarding the use of technology in the modern world, I’ll leave you with a thought posed by the Princess Royal, patron of World Horse Wefare, who observed at the 2018 conference: “Is all change progress? Technology has connected us to huge amounts of knowledge and information – but how do we know there is wisdom behind that knowledge?”

I’ll leave you with her analogy of the person with knowledge who knows that a tomato is a fruit but, unlike the person with wisdom, doesn’t appreciate that you don’t add it to a fruit salad!

Eight things resilient people don’t do!

  1. Waste time feeling sorry for themselves
  2. Shy away from change
  3. Waste time on things they can’t control
  4. Dwell on the past
  5. Make the same mistakes, over and over
  6. Resent other people’s success
  7. Give up after failure
  8. Feel the world owes them something

Six ways to well-being

  1. Connect
  2. Give
  3. Take notice
  4. Don’t personalise problems that aren’t yours
  5. Keep learning
  6. Be active.