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Can’t We All Just Get Along!!

An editorial by David L. Howard
            The watchword going into the annual meeting weekend of the Trainers’ Association and the Breeders’ Association was “Unity” and the importance of everyone cooperating to face the challenges of 2007 and avoid a repeat of a disastrous 2006.
While there were certainly signs of unity and cooperation, hotly contested elections for leadership positions in both organizations have resulted in many people retreating to their past positions and hostilities.
            Unfortunately, this industry cannot afford the luxury of continued infighting – the challenges have never been greater or the future more perilous and it’s time for some leaders to emerge and guide this industry during these difficult times.
But many people say they are reluctant to step forward and speak out…and with good reason.  Far too often, when people disagree with an individual’s position, they accuse him of doing what he did for selfish or corrupt reasons – a practice that has become standard operating procedure.
The issue is not whether people should socialize with those they disagree with or whether history will prove them right or wrong.  The real issue is whether we have responsible adult discussions of the issues at a time when fate of the show horse industry hangs in the balance in it’s most dangerous hour.
This industry needs to be able to draw on its best people from every area of participation, regardless of their “politics”.  But we are not going to get these people involved if it means seeing their lifetime reputation drug through the mud just because someone disagrees with their position.
There has been a long line of people who have stepped forward over the years only to be attacked personally rather than engage in responsible debate of their views.  Remember George Lenox, Randall Rollins, C. C. Johnson, Tom Blankenship and many, many others.  They gave generously of their financial resources, business abilities and time and were accused of wanting to “take over the horse business”.
The most famous comment by one of these gentlemen sums up the reality of such silly accusation – “Tell me, exactly what would you have if you took over the horse business”.
It is hard to focus on an external threat when our enemies are drained in daily combat with one another.  It makes little sense for us to attack one another and spend countless thousands of dollars in the process and then begrudge working together and spending that money for the betterment of our horse.-
However difficult it may be to come up with a plan that works for all of us;  it has to be better than having our existing organizations all going in different directions.  United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures.  Divided, there is little we can do about the powerful enemies and challenges we face if we are not at odds and split asunder.
                Internal fighting in the horse business will not determine who is right, but rather who is left.  It’s time we all stopped asking why somebody isn’t doing something and realized we are somebody and it is up to us to accept the challenges, regardless of the consequences.

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