Skip to content

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

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 7 15 19

    Read More
  • Response to the July 9, 2019 USA Today Article by: Brent Schrotenboer

    On July 9, 2019 in a USA Today article by Brent Schrotenboer, references were made to individuals in the equestrian industry who questioned the procedures, requirements and desirability of SafeSport, the federally authorized independent non-profit organization committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport applicable to those members of national governing bodies of Olympic sport and Paralympic sports organizations.  Read More
  • It's Not Too Late: Be A Part of the UPHA Ribbons of Service

    The United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA) would like to extend an invitation to its actively showing members aged 21 & Under to become a part of the UPHA Ribbons of Service Program. The United Professional Horsemen's Association Ribbons of Service program seeks to impart on its members, aged 21 & under, the importance of community service... Read More
  • ASHA's Response to USA Today Article

    Today, USA Today published an article about the equestrian community's response to the Safe Sport Act and enforcement efforts by the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The American Saddlebred industry was referenced many times in this article... Read More
  • ASHA Meets with Lawmakers on Safe Sport

    ASHA leaders last week met with lawmakers as part of our organization’s commitment to the safety of our youth, and to address concerns about the U.S. Center for SafeSport... Read More
  • UPHA Members: Pick Up Your Riding Program Playbook Today!

    The United Professional Horsemen's Association is pleased to announce the release of its new Riding Program Playbook. This playbook contains an array of information regarding starting a riding program, attracting students, safety, academy competition, creating horse owners, and good business tactics. Read More
  • Latest Issue 7 8 19

    Read More
  • ASHA Youth Luncheon

    The American Saddlebred Horse Association is pleased to announce this years’ ASHA Youth Luncheon sponsored by Elisabeth Goth during the Lexington Junior League Horse Show. The luncheon will be Thursday, July 11 at the American Saddlebred Museum, immediately following the last class of the morning session... Read More
  • Morgan Weanling Gala Announces 2019 Judges

    We are excited and pleased to announce the judging panel for the 2019 Morgan Weanling Gala to be held Friday, August 30 in Shipshewana, Indiana during the Jubilee Regional Championship Horse Show... Read More
  • USEF Drugs & Medication Guidelines

    USEF recently updated its online Drugs & Medications Guidelines. Representatives of the Joint Leadership Council have been working with USEF to make modifications to these guidelines that ensure the welfare and safety of our horses and athletes... Read More