As an equine professional I have become increasingly stunned by the lack of effort and work people are willing to put into their lives on a daily basis. The inability to be inconvenienced by having to physically or mentally work harder than what they have deemed necessary to exist in this world, the lack of pride and attention to detail people have in their work, professionally or recreationally, is appalling. Now not everyone mind you, there are still those that work hard and do a good job, but more and more I am seeing the laziness and lack of accountability in people go through the roof.
What is causing this tidal wave of people who think that they should never have to truly work for anything, be responsible for their actions, break a sweat or work overtime for the benefits in life? Why is there this influx of attitudes of entitlement and arrogance? Where has the work ethic gone….?!
What separates the hard working portion of the population from the portion that seem to feel like they only have to put in a small percentage of effort to reap the same rewards as everyone else who works ten times as hard? What can we do to change this downward spiral of civilization into a bunch of lazy, weak, whiny, leeches? Here’s my answer as an equine professional on how to change society on my end of the world, which is in the barn, the field, the show pen, and from the back of a horse.
- Everyone should have to put in the physical work if they want to be involved in horses. This means putting up hay, cleaning stalls, fixing fences, cleaning tack, feeding, watering, and grooming their horses. Bottom line being… stop coddling the horse owner!! I’m not saying that you have to demand this of your clients or it has to be done all the time but the horse owner should know what it takes to care for horses and run a functioning stable. Asking your clients to pitch in on these things once in a while and showing them how much work goes into the end result of a happy, healthy, physically and mentally fit horse is imperative to turning our clientele into better functioning members of society. I require all my students to catch, groom, tack up, hose off, and put away their horses, I will help them if it’s truly needed but I will not do things for them that they are perfectly capable of doing themselves. I also truly believe that stacking hay, cleaning stalls, and all the other grunt work required in the care of horses builds character!!
- Teach the power of teamwork. Being able to work with and help out other people is a trait that is fast disappearing in this world. Helping out just to help, not for some sort of compensation is a vital attribute to a healthy society. People have gotten so caught up in looking out for number one that they’ve forgotten how to chip in and how good it feels to do something for someone else without any compensation other than gratitude. Instilling this value in your riding team, whether you show or not, is so very valuable. Helping each other care for their horses, prepare for and plan details for an outing or competition, doing things for each other and their horses just to be nice will spill over into their everyday lives and improve our society overall.
- Instill the mindset that there is no substitute for putting the hours in. There is no get rich quick scheme in the world of horses. Good horses take time to develop, it’s not an instant, get it now sport/hobby. Show your clients how much effort goes into getting that quiet and cooperative trail or show horse. How much patience and diligence it takes to earn the trust of a horse, that horses aren’t premade robots that we just jump on and go. Teach them that hard work, patience, and focus get you a better end result then if you rush and skip steps. It’s easy to forget that a good trainer or instructor can make things look and seem easy, make sure your clients know how much time and effort is needed to get a quality end result.
- Teach horse owners/riders that there are very real consequences to their actions. I see people developing a sense of detachment and lack of accountability for their actions that is making this a very scary world. The truth is that there are very real and very dangerous repercussions to making poor decisions in life and especially with horses. Don’t sugarcoat mistakes and sweep them under the rug. Point them out and explain the consequences of not paying attention, not doing things correctly, and/or cutting corners. The consequences of an unlatched stall door, feeding the wrong grain, not cooling the horse out enough, wrapping legs incorrectly, etc.… should be highlighted and brought to the forefront not fixed and forgotten about. You don’t have to browbeat people about mistakes but making them aware and accountable for their mistakes at the barn and with the horses is necessary to avoid disaster. This in turn will hopefully make them more aware and accountable in all aspects of life, not just at the barn.
It has become apparent to me that society has taken an “I know things are bad but what can I do” attitude to the troubles we are having and consequently decided to do nothing about it. Whatever your occupation, your influence on people, social status, or place in this world may be there is always something you can do. As an equine professional these are things I can do, and they will make a difference, because they made a difference to me and in me. I wouldn’t be the hard working, ethical, honest, and physically/mentally tough person I am today if I wasn’t taught and shown these things myself. You can make a difference; you just have to try!!