Cutting and life are similar in that they are both long, forked trails. Decisions beget decisions. Some are harder than Chinese arithmetic. Making no decision is a decision. Allowing others to make your decisions is a decision. All decisions are ultimately yours. No one always makes the right decision, but making the decision the right way for the right reasons will go a long way toward making it the right decision. Making the right decision for the wrong reasons may well doom the decision.
People make more decisions in a day than there are flies on a dead cow, most without a thought given. Cream for your coffee? Sure, ‘cause you always do. Still, it’s a decision. Is she loped enough? Yep. Are you sure about that? Did you stop and think that through? Did you replay your last six lopes against your runs? Or did your backside answer that question for you? That may have been the right answer, but for the wrong reason.
There are other decisions that have much larger effects. They can affect your entire cutting career in the greatest or worst possible way – just like life. The one thing you never want is to make a decision that will forevermore haunt the memory in your “cowputer” and create an uneasiness and uncomfortableness when you need to be anything but uneasy and uncomfortable.
The minefield in this business is the Trainer-Customer-Student-Friend-Hero-Mentor-Slave-Victim-Perpetrator relationship. The trainer is in the squeeze chute of life most of the time. She or he is running a business and a very difficult one when it is good. When it isn’t good, it’s terrifying and heartbreaking. Very few of these hook-ups last forever. Some do, even when they shouldn’t. Some result in great success for all concerned.
The reasons for a parting of the ways are uncountable. Making it someone’s fault is not necessary and will not end well. Trainers get offered a deal as an in-house exclusive that they can’t ignore. They move to greener pastures with better cows. Owners move. Owners decide to roll the dice on a young trainer and set up a facility. Personalities clash or mesh better with someone else. Finances falter on either, or both, sides.
Horses and/or owners not winning is probably the main reason for a split. Some combinations just don’t work. To condemn someone when this is the case is wrong. Very wrong. After all, you picked him in the first place. Maybe your picker needs some attention. Just sayin’.
Some trainers are difficult to ride behind if you do not closely mirror them. Others are a dream to follow, as long as the rider doesn’t do too much wrong, like fall off. Some owners are very good students. Others, not so much. The worst insult a trainer can give is, “They won’t listen.” Teaching and learning are God-given talents, too.
At the end of the day, going all Moses with your reasons carved in stone will not work. Both sides end up blaming each other, and the worst part is putting your friend on the defensive. It lingers. I will promise you one thing. It won’t be long before the day comes when they are the best corner available and you are in the semis.
“This isn’t working. I am going to change. How much do I owe you?” If you know where you’re going, tell them. They will know in 20 minutes anyway. You are making a very big, very tough business decision. It will affect any trainer. They are driven to succeed. While not necessarily a failure, it sure isn’t a trophy buckle. The heartache in the deal is that there is a friendship in it, too. Cutting is full of friendships and bonds. They are the fabric of the bag we are all in. Business is business and friendship is friendship. One does not control the other, it complements. You can have one without the other. You can have both. You can’t base one on the other.
Trainers have a responsibility to acknowledge when it’s not working. “Good horses and good owners make good trainers,” is the saying. Often, it is more about a good fit making a good trainer. The horse or owner that is not fitting is occupying a space for one who does. Trainers should accept that a horse may do better elsewhere. Fault should not be part of the process. “I have given it my best, it isn’t the result we wanted, I recommend trying someone else.” Just know
his was hard for a trainer to do. They are doing what is best for the horse and you. It shouldn’t have to cost them a friendship, too.
Cornbread Thinks: Decisions made for the right reasons make right.