It’s not a buzzword, it’s a way of life. It means doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, not for credit or to be seen. I’ve been fortunate to have some teachers and parents who were great examples of integrity, and from what I saw from them and what I’ve pieced together on my own, here is what it means to me :
Being honorable in what I do and standing behind my actions. If my actions are not right, it means doing what I can to take responsibility. It means doing what’s right for the horse and for the client both, not one more than the other. Keeping clients safe is my first priority, and though I won’t always give answers that are popular, I will always strive to keep clients safe.
It means teaching in a way that the student can understand, at the level they’re at, just like you would teach a horse. You don’t judge the horse for their level of education and you don’t make them feel wrong for making mistakes – teaching people is no different. You have to feel relaxed to learn.
It means working a horse the same whether the client is there or not. I wouldn’t ride your horse any different from my own, whether it’s worth $500 or $100,000. All horses deserve to feel relaxation and work toward balance. I won’t
rush anybody’s horse because it needs to go to a show and I won’t shortchange a horse because it doesn’t have a high dollar value. It means working for the sake of working, not because somebody told me to get up, but because there are horses that need help.
I don’t make my living off of catch phrases, brands, showmanship, or competition, and I try to avoid the rat race altogether. It’s hard for me to think much of someone bad mouthing other professionals to get ahead.
The world is what it is, and I can’t change that. I got in this business to avoid the chaos of the outside world and find peace, but I realize the only way to contribute is to help, and though I fail my own standards and don’t always live up to my ideas of how I should be, I try to remember what Ghandi said about “being the change you wish to see in the world.”