"You meet the best people, and you meet the worst people" is something I often heard from my mother who ran a welsh pony breeding farm. Later in life, I came to know the truth of that saying as it pertains to horse people.
One of the caveats to creating Valley View as a business was that I would never lose my personal or professional integrity. As I moved from trainer to trainer and barn to barn growing up, the common factor (with a few exceptions) seemed to be that professional horse people would do anything for money. This included selling horses that were inappropriate or unsafe for the rider to make a big commission, putting students on "lesson horses" that were barely broke to save on training time, and being dishonest with students’ time by texting, making calls, or training horses during lessons. I decided early on that I would do my best to maintain my morals, even if that meant losing money or time. To me, integrity is worth way more than any amount of profit.
For me, turning down the easier or more lucrative route has never been a hard decision. I have had plenty of opportunities to sell a more expensive horse to make a bigger commission or not fully disclose a horse’s true character to make a sale, but knowing that not only my reputation but my personal self worth was at stake makes it easy to do the right thing.
It makes me a little crazy when I hear stories of professional horsepeople that take advantage of clients that don’t know any better. Dishonesty is wrong, in whatever form it may take. And as professionals, it is our job and standard to keep our clients’ trust by:
Giving our honest and straightforward opinion when asked to evaluate a horse for purchase
Fully disclosing any issues (whether physical, mental, or otherwise) on horses we sell
Being honest with clients’ time-in lessons and clinics, at shows, etc.
Matching up students with lesson horses that will benefit the student most
Keeping personal issues separate from our business
If you agree, disagree, or have anything to add to the list, comment below!