"They say that time changes things, but you
actually have to change them yourself." — Andy
Change doesn’t come easily in the art business or the
horse business; everyone is a critic. In an
built on tradition, ideas for doing things differently take
much effort to put into practice.
One of the reasons professional horsemen are
reluctant to make changes in their businesses is that
some changes just don’t “feel right.” They are
uncomfortable and go against the grain of what we
have become accustomed to and comfortable with
For example, as a youth I learned to ride in a western
saddle. Over time, the contact points of my body with
the saddle became my points of reference for posture
and balance. It all “felt right” every time I sat in the
Later, my first experiences riding in an English hunt
seat saddle made feel awkward, out of balance and
generally uncomfortable. My traditional frame of
reference had been altered and I was in
the “uncomfortable zone”. With practice, I managed to
regain my composure and balance and the new
saddle started feeling better every time I rode in it.
I have not ridden in a western saddle in a number of
years and I know with such a long time away from it,
riding in a western saddle would not feel “right” the
first time I sat in it.
My point is familiarity creates comfort and the
human tendency is to be comfortable. Being
comfortable means trading off potentially better
results for the privilege of being comfortable.
In your horse business do you:
- Tolerate employees who don't have the
carry out the tasks required of them because they
have been around a long time, are friendly with clients
and have no other place to work?
- Resist delegating business tasks like,
filing, scheduling or bookkeeping because you have
become comfortable with the notion that these
activities are your job?
- Avoid discussions with boarders about
their horse’s bad manners or their own unacceptable
behavior at the farm?
Making a business decision to act on the types of
things listed above is never easy. At first, moving from
a comfort zone to potentially stressful situations might
feel like you have put your boots on backwards just to
make sure it will hurt.
But, you will soon find out that a better analogy is that
changes in your business are more like sitting in a
strange saddle for the first time. It feels
uncomfortable, you’re out of balance and have to
question again why you are doing this.
Amazingly, in time, the deliberate business changes
you make become as comfortable as your favorite
saddle and will result in a much more comfortable