I’m Torn

Recent events and situations have me wondering if I am just too darned honest.

– Should I not express my disagreement when someone says, “But he had a good career before that,” despite this particular performance horse breaking down at an age when he should have been at his peak? (By the way, I predicted the exact type of breakdown this horse suffered a little over a year before it happened.)

– Should I say more of what people want to hear instead of what I really think when evaluating a horse?

– Should I say, “Your horse has some limitations,” and let it go at that instead of saying, “He is built to suffer (or break down) in this specific area due to his construction and the goal you have for him?”

– Should I be more concerned with human feelings and less concerned with what the horse will have to go through if I don’t emphasize my points?

– Should I find a way to not really say much of anything? Maybe I could develop it as a new skill. Although not horse related, someone recently showed me – by example – that it is possible to go for long periods of time and through numerous lengthy conversations without ever saying what you are really thinking. Is that honest, dishonest, neither or both? I found it deceptive and manipulative at best, but maybe I was wrong to feel that way.

– Should I alter my standards and principles?

9 thoughts on “I’m Torn

  1. Mica Pryor

    Of course you shouldn’t do any of that. You should, however, be sure to speak the truth delicately, diplomatically, discretely.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks, Mica. That sounds good in theory, but it is not always easy in practice. The discretely part works, but delicately and diplomatically often fall on deaf human ears, and I have difficulty leaving things there when I know the horse will suffer the consequences. I do wish that wasn’t so, though.

  2. Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds

    I encounter the same issue with some clients. They pay me for my professional opinion – one that is backed by research, then go off and do what they wanted in the first place. Later, they complain about the results! So,some clients are just plain frustrating. I still do my best, but just do the work and don’t get too involved. I tell them, “Well, I gave you the information, but if you don’t heed it, I guess you learn an expensive lesson at the detriment to your horse.” We have to realize that there are just some people who are wired that way and try to avoid them whenever our pocketbook can afford it!

    My clients know that I am straightforward and honest. Sometimes, I’m a little too blunt, but I back up everything with facts or factual opinion, so there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for debate. I give them advice as if it were my own horse and money. 95% prefer that I give them the facts.

    “Based upon “X” there is a Y% of probability that this is what will happen if you do “Z. Now, do you want your horse to go through that?” When faced with that direct comment, clients who care about their horses pause and really think about it.

    I continue, “You have certain goals, you aren’t going to reach them with this horse, so either change your goal and let’s help this horse perform to the best of their ability at their level, or let someone else have this horse and let’s find one that better suits your goals.”

    There are so many “yes” people out there telling owners what they want to hear in order to make a quick buck. The owner gets fleeced, the horses suffer. Maybe it’s the way I’m wired, but to me, integrity and honesty are the two most important factors in life. I can face myself in the mirror and I can sleep at night.

    It’s frustrating and painful to be right about something and have others ignore our advice, only to see the heartbreak of what happens down the road. You can only do so much. You’re a professional. You work hard to maintain an excellent reputation. Don’t ever compromise your beliefs or standards. {hugs}


    1. admin Post author

      I completely get it! Sometimes the only thing wrong with the horse industry is the human element.

    2. Gail Gardner (@GrowMap)

      I agree with Laurie. All you can do is tell them the truth, preferably in writing or on a recording so you and they have a copy of it. You can’t make them take it. “You can lead a horse to water…”

  3. Nancy Roth

    No! Keep doing what you are doing! Your evaluations are highly educational and very sound. If people want to remain in denial that’s their problem! The horse is always paramount!

  4. Glenda

    I was at the Lynn McKenzie barrel clinic that featured you. While it was disappointing to learn my horse had some conformational issues that would keep him from being a 1D horse, that knowledge allowed me to do what is best for him. You gave me exercises to build him up as much as possible. I was so glad you took the time to answer my questions and offer help. You were honest and looking out for Jim’s best interests just I do as his owner. Truth hurts and is unsettling at times, but we can’t move forward with out it. Keep doing what you do your way, the horses need you.

  5. Marjorie Phillips

    No, you should not change standers or principles. You could soften your findings with, ‘that is my opinion.’ And from my one meeting with you I know you will always say what needs saying in defense of the horse.


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