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From the Desk of Marty Schaffel: Change Is Not Easy

“People have a hard time changing their minds. Once their minds are made up, they are relatively impervious to argument, evidence, and persuasion. Life is infinitely complex. To simplify, people make assumptions. If they routinely changed all their assumptions, they’d go crazy, as would the people around them. People do change, but the catalyst is usually some traumatic event.” - Robert Samuelson

Robert Samuelson is a well-respected columnist on topics of economics and human behavior. He has been writing since the early ’70s.  He wrote his farewell column this week, and I excerpted the above quotation from him.

Change is not easy. This past year has been a year of considerable change and evolution.  As Samuelson said, the catalyst to change is usually a traumatic event. Most recently, that traumatic event was the onslaught of COVID 19.

We have gone through so many changes it has had most of our heads spinning.  We have had to adapt so many times. But we have managed to do it successfully.

As we finish out 2020, we still have some issues that we should address. Among them:
What did we learn from this year’s WCHS, and what can we do to maintain the changes that took place? Now that we had the horse show without the fair, do we want to try and continue that? It is a big change. Would everyone affected by the decision agree to it?

We are embarking on improving how we govern our association.  How do we nominate great people to serve on the board and on our committees?  Can we broaden participation? Can we create an effective succession plan for our officers?

Many people have complained to me that we have too many instances where horse shows overlap and dilute each other. Can we create a better system? A clearinghouse for dates for shows?

Can we find ways to expand our market in order to help more people participate, more trainers and breeders succeed, and make our shows more and more fun? Can we make our market big enough to where legitimate sponsors advertise to our attendees at shows, so we don’t have to always solicit people for donations?

Due to the virus, we reduced the ASHA expenses by several hundred thousand dollars.  Can we continue to incorporate these reductions?

Can we effectively develop programs that help support our association and members? New and exciting programs?

There are so many things we can do and need to do. Often this requires changes. Do we, as Samuelson said, need a crisis to make changes? Or can we collaborate and trust each other enough to do these things without first having a traumatic event?

We have come so far this year, given the obstacles and adversity. We have proven our resilience and ability to confront adversity.  I truly believe we can make improvements and changes without the need of a crisis to provide a sharp stick to our behinds. Now is the time to prove we can.

Marty Schaffel, ASHA President

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