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From the Desk of Marty Schaffel: The Need to Reinvent Ourselves

When I started my company, I was the first employee. I had to wake up every day selling products and services to customers. And do everything else as well. That was my self imposed job description. 

As I started hiring employees over time, I realized I had to reinvent myself. My role was changing. I was still selling, but selling a different product. With numerous employees now working for me, I realized I was now selling a vision for opportunity and success to my employees and customers. Things had changed.

The same goes for all of us in the horse business. Things change and we have got to reinvent ourselves. Our businesses change. The market changed. There was a time when the seats were filled at shows. A time when relatively inexpensive horses won classes at major shows. When doing business on a handshake was customary. 

But things change and we must continue to reinvent ourselves as trainers, breeders and exhibitors.  Change is one of the toughest of life’s challenges. It is uncomfortable. It is disruptive. It interferes with what we are accustomed to. But it is necessary to survive!

Over many years of owning my company I had to reinvent the company six or seven times. I had no choice.  Times were constantly changing. I had to reinvent myself as a leader. Once again, the size of my company had changed and the rules of government made me do things differently.  Whether I liked it or not!

My friends, so is the case for our industry. Things have been changing. Fewer seats are filled in the stands. We have fewer shows.  We have fewer horses bred and registered. Government regulation is different. Therefore, in order to meet these changes, we all must reinvent ourselves. If we don’t, we will be left behind or spoken about in the past tense. The greatest threat to our future is our failure to recognize how we all must continue to reinvent ourselves. And our associations must also continue to reinvent themselves.  It isn’t easy. It isn’t comfortable. But the alternative is being thought of as part of the past rather than the future. Bob Dylan wrote, “The Times They are a Changing.” And they wait for no one. 

Marty Schaffel, ASHA President

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