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Letter To The Editor - Sandy Sessink

Dear Editor: I am both angry and elated at the same time, having just returned from the AMHA Convention in Boston. Two very strongly felt emotions, that amount to one thing…I am fired up! My excitement comes from the fact that the Morgan trainers have some direction for the first time in many years. We are getting things done, and gaining respect from several different factions that have a great deal to do with our success, both individually and collectively. The lines of communication between the professionals and the "establishment" are open like never before. Opportunity is knocking. But, as far as I can tell, some of you don't hear it. Evidence of the apathy of a large percentage of the New England area trainers was everywhere. Those of us who had to fly to get to Boston far outweighed the multitude of people that could have driven one or two hours to be a part of this very important convention. And, to add insult to injury, instead of being part of the solutions we were all there working on, they added to the problems, by pulling people away from the convention to show them horses at their own barns. I know, I know. It's business. The opportunity was there. If they didn't sell horses to the people in town that week, someone else would. It's every man for himself, right? Wrong! We are in a state of crisis right now. We have talked about the need for the professional community to use its influence with their clients to encourage voting in the AMHA election. I have included a reminder of who we needed to support in every letter that I have sent to the Morgan membership of UPHA since last fall. During the month prior to the election, I sent out e~mails to remind the trainers about getting out the vote. I hate to say it, but for the most part, it all fell on deaf ears. The mere fact the professional community couldn't muster more than 221 votes for Cindy Mugnier in a region as rich with professionals as New England clearly demonstrates the indifference of a group of people unaware of their own power. If the area trainers would have done nothing more than bring a few of their clients to the convention to vote at the general meeting, we would not be in this predicament. If they had talked to their owners about the importance of voting, surely we would have gotten the few votes needed to put Cindy over the top. But, it wasn't just in the East that we failed. Kim Hildreth lost his bid for director-at-large, and Ellen DiBella was also defeated. It's an across-the-board problem that we must confront head on. This is our wake-up call. The apathy some of the trainers have displayed cannot continue. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. You can give the excuse that nobody told you what was going on. But, it is your professional responsibility to educate yourself on the issues. Would you want the doctor, who is treating your cancerous brain tumor, to have no further education than the one that is verified by the proudly displayed 1975 medical school diploma on his wall? Wouldn't you want him to know what is currently going on in the world of medicine? If you don't care enough about the Morgan world to know when the convention is, why you should be there and what the breed's problems are, then you should not be calling yourself a professional. Make no mistake, there is work being done. But, we need your help. You need to tell us what you think. I am completely committed to uniting the Morgan trainers of UPHA. I want everyone to have a voice. I want everyone's opinions to count. But, if you don't even take the time to read the letters I send out, if you don't make it a priority to come to the conventions, if you don't attend the meetings we have at horse shows, you are saying that you don't care. It's not every man for himself. We work in a competitive environment, but we are all in the same boat together. If that boat sinks, we will all go down with it. The words of Martin Luther King are as relevant to our causes today as they were to his, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." With concern and hope, Sandy Sessink South Lyon, Michigan

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