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Blogs - Sara Gonzalez-Rothi

March 19, 2014

Prize Money Isn't The Answer For The Amateur Eventer

With all due respect (and that’s a lot!) I must disagree with Doug Payne’s recent suggestion that the sport of eventing adopt a stratified competition scheme where the “A-ranked” events offer large cash prizes. In his blog, "Eventing Needs New Bones Under A Facelift," Payne argues this new model would grow the sport and “produce athletes for the future.”

But I think there are a few reasons this is a flawed argument:


1 year 35 weeks ago

Prize money is NOT the answer.

Sorry Doug, but your idea stinks of self enrichment. Most of us that are eventers do not ride for money. We ride because our sport challenges us on many levels. We are challenged as horsemen and women and as riders. I have been eventing at the low levels for 22 years. The challenges, the thrills and the comradery with my fellow Eventers is like no other. I need not tell you about the thrill of a good horse making short work of a cross country course or a tricky show jumping round. Just because many of choose not to ride at the upper levels, does not mean we are inferior riders, with inferior horses and it does not mean we should be religated to a class of event that is substandard. Many of us are very good riders on very good horses that we made ourselves. Since you have chosen to make your living as a professional rider, you understand that the money is not always going to be there. You knew that when you got into the game. Adjust your business model accordingly. The last thing we need is eventing to become another group of primadonnas like the hunter jumper world. The additude of these riders and trainers makes me retch. I agree that it is expensive to compaign a horse. The costs are the same for entries, diesel, food and hotels no matter what level one is competing at. For people like me we also have to pay for someone to care for our horses when we are gone at an event that runs over several days. How can the lower level riders be helped? Stop running low level events over several days. This increases costs to the rider. There is no reason a low level event cannot be handled in one day. The only reason I can see this having to happen is regional events, national championship events and events that draw a large number of riders and horses. When I am with other riders and the question is asked "What discipline do you ride in?" I am proud to say I am Eventer. I have never won money riding. My collection of ribbons and the few little prizes that I have won is nice. What is nicer is taking my collection of inexpensive OTTB's that I have made to events and engaging in spirited competition with other Eventers. And in the end, that what eventing is all about. It is not about money.