The importance of kindness came as a revelation to Eitan BethHalachmy and represented a sea change in his attitude toward himself, horses and other people. Raised in the harsh conditions of Israel just before and after its statehood, Eitan’s early life was highly militaristic out of necessity. Kindness and softness were not in his vocabulary, except perhaps as descriptions of the weakness of people who would not survive or could not make it in their chosen profession.
He was raised according to the tenet “never lie,” and you just cannot be kind with that mentality. Meeting Debbie and falling in love with her was just a first step toward learning to appreciate the importance of kindness. Deb remembers struggling to make her husband understand that truth should never be an excuse to destroy someone; conversely, the kindness of little lies and oblique encouragement to overcome weaknesses works much more efficiently to help others become better horsepersons and better people.
At some point not too long ago, Eitan “got it,” and, like many people of strong