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Conquering the Fear of Change within Equine Associations


The fear of change is a complex topic and one that affects the equestrian organization’s ability to advance through progressive forward movement.

The more regional planning groups can deal with, and transform fear within their organizations, the more successfully they will be able to lead deep and meaningful change that is so very much needed in our industry.

One of the most significant issues facing regional equestrian groups is the declining exhibitor base. In an industry where we consume our product, groups are struggling to enact positive changes that entice new people to come and participate.

It requires reflective practice, as well as self-discipline to step outside of your fears to enact meaningful change. It also involves industry leaders, club leadership and exhibitors alike to work in collaboration toward positive change initiatives.

The idea of change does something exciting to all of us. Deep down, we are all hard-wired to resist change, and to “survive.” Every person is pre-disposed to fear what they do not know.

This fear can be overcome, however, by strong and compassionate leaders who can help guide our regional clubs through the channels of fear and change alike.

1. Identify the change that is needed. Before any lasting change can be thoughtfully processed through, the identity of it must first be established.

By sitting back and objectively looking at your clubs, “big picture” themes will emerge. Those themes can be categorized into levels of priority for changes that will help to bring about positive outcomes for the group.

2. Acknowledge the past contributions of others that have been good and positive. To move forward in a positive change formation, organizations can first decrease the fear of its members by acknowledging what they previously have brought to the club that created positive outcomes.

This is the first building block upon which your change will stand and be successful because it does not involve the placement of blame upon anyone.

3. Present clear rationale for the needed change. People fear what they do not know or understand. When groups can create a sense of community around a needed change, it creates ownership among members, which will ultimately lead to lasting and positive change initiatives.

4. Focus on the positive outcomes. When organizations work in collaboration with one another, and they focus on the positive results of any proposed or enacted change, the positive impact of that change systemically will grow.

When the focus is on positive outcomes, the fear that lives in all of us will wither, because it has nowhere to grow in the face of positivity.

5. Encourage, and solicit feedback from non-club or group members. The changes that many clubs wish to create have the ability to impact people who are not only members of the club.

Seeking feedback from outsiders can help to create lasting change. This can also help an organization change leaders to have a more global understanding in why a change is being initiated, and for exhibitors to have a greater understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes.

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Organizations, groups and individual people evolve. It is a natural thing. People turn over, new blood comes in and shakes things up. Old ways get changed, and new becomes old. It happens all the time, all over the place.

Ultimately, change is inevitable. Some of our industries’ greatest success stories have come from the wings of change.

Nothing is more powerful than a group of motivated and passionate people who come together with a vision of what is possible. This type of combined collaborative energy can achieve amazing feats that others see as out of reach.


Author Biography: Kory Kumar was born and raised in Olympia, Washington. She is a public elementary special education teacher and lifelong horse show enthusiast. Kory has worked in collaboration with APHA and PtHA regional clubs, as well as behind the scenes to organize, plan and host breed level horse shows. Kory currently serves on the Zone One Representative Council board, as well as the board for her local, regional APHA club. She shows her APHA gelding, Kiss My Dynamic Asset in western all-around events under the guidance of Tammie Whitt in Olympia, WA.

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