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 Excellent exerpt from speech to new judges by Dr. Heird

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Number of posts : 316
Location : Region 14
Registration date : 2008-12-02

PostSubject: Excellent exerpt from speech to new judges by Dr. Heird   Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:23 pm

This is from Dr. Jim Heird's speech to a group of new AQHA judges, called "Do Right By The Horse". This is an excellent speech about showring morals regarding the horse and what a judge (and show staff and exhibitors) can do to preserve the integrity of the horse in the showring.
We know that winning is important. We know that a
pleasure horse needs to be compliant, quiet and consistent; a
reining horse is “to be dictated to completely”; a halter horse
needs to be fit; and a race or speed-event horse needs to run
fast. We also know that we won’t win unless our horses do
these things, and thus, we won’t get paid and won’t be able
to sell them. Society loves horses; people see them as noble
and majestic animals. I suspect most of us started out our love
affairs with horses feeling exactly the same way. However, as
we become more deeply entrenched in the showing/winning
aspect of our industry, we often lose contact with why we
entered the industry in the beginning and shift our emphasis
to winning rather than on the well-being of the horse.
The descriptive term for this is “habituation” which is “a
reduction of a behavioral response to a specific stimulus that
occurs repeatedly.” In other words, in the case of extreme training
techniques, we learn to ignore those stimuli that at first we
find offensive. We ignore them because we want to win and
believe these techniques are necessary to win. We ignore them
because we see successful people do them. Worse, we ignore
what we see happening because we are afraid of being embarrassed
and ostracized for speaking out. Habituation prevents us
from seeing that some of our actions and techniques are counter
to our responsibility of protecting the horse and its dignity,
the animal that is the very reason we entered the industry. The
horse brought us to the dance. Sometimes we forget who
brought us and forsake our original intent for “winning at all


The whole speech is here I hope that you will read it - it is a kind, well-written, thought provoking piece.
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Excellent exerpt from speech to new judges by Dr. Heird
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