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denny
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:09 PM
The USEF Pan Am squad has 4 riders in their mid to late 40s,and the other two in their 30s.
Where are the up and coming kids that I thought the Pan Ams were meant to "discover" and put into the pipeline?
Do we have a vital pipeline these days? Not griping, just honestly curious.

Allagash's mom
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:11 PM
unless I get a sugar daddy and a trust fund, there's no pipeline until you are rich enough to get yourself up the levels.

alas. I'd LOVE to do this fulltime.

HiJumpGrrl
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:35 PM
Ditto Leah. We're all working full time to support our riding habit ;) (this is said very tongue-in-cheek, knowing I don't have the skill to get to that level)

One possibility is that the short format has contributed to the upper levels being dominated by several very very big names: most of the successful riders get more than one ride on more than one nice horse at the upper levels. The long format was the great equalizer: can you imagine doing phases A, B and C 4 or 5 times the way Phillip and others do XC these days? No! people had one horse they competed at the 4-star level at a time.

There are lots of outstanding younger riders bringing along wonderful horses, but they don't get the same number of nice horses with whom to compete. The odds are just higher for the folks that have 2 or 3 horses at the 4-star level.

Allagash's mom
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:48 PM
Ditto Leah. We're all working full time to support our riding habit ;) (this is said very tongue-in-cheek, knowing I don't have the skill to get to that level)

Tongue in cheek perhaps, but if we'd had the support from our early-20s for lessons multiple times a week and riding 1-2 horses a day? We'd be at those levels. I know you would! I know I would too, assuming we had the ponies (or horses in my case... ;) ) to take us there.


I do agree that the shorter format HAS allowed more of the bigger trainers/names to show multiple horses -- I suppose the question is why there aren't *younger* versions of those bigger trainers/names? Well, aside from the obvious experience and such. Still, what happens to the YRs after they age out? where are they going?

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 11, 2007, 06:49 PM
true that many of the up and coming YRs don't have a string of horses yet but the Pan Ams I thought were the venue to give them Red Jacket experience. I expected to see one or two experienced pros on the squad....but not the number that are on the list. I can think of 5-6 YRs or young pros (under the age of 35) and even a few older pros that haven't been given the Red Jacket experience that I would have thought should be on that squad.

I guess you have to balance spending the money on riders who have demonstrated their commitment to the sport (i.e. the lifers) with getting the new blood out there and giving them experience. But I was surprised by some of the names left off the list....glad I don't have that job of picking!!!!

JAM
Jun. 11, 2007, 07:09 PM
And though I didn't follow the other thread carefully, it seems there were at least a couple up and comers who got passed over. Perhaps the selection criteria or our national bodies' purposes for this competition have changed.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 11, 2007, 07:12 PM
And though I didn't follow the other thread carefully, it seems there were at least a couple up and comers who got passed over. Perhaps the selection criteria or our national bodies' purposes for this competition have changed.


good point. perhaps you are correct.

NeverTime
Jun. 11, 2007, 07:22 PM
While I agree that the Pan Am team seems inexplicably focused on proven riders with unproven horses, that makes me worried about the selectors and the politics potentially influencing them.

Sitting at Jersey Fresh the other weekend, watching the dressage, I didn't find myself at all worried about the next generation of eventing superstars. I was astounded by the quality of horseflesh, even at the ** level. I felt utterly and completely outclassed with my wonderful but somewhat unflashy OTTB -- and had to remind myself that, yes, some of those big-moving, flashy horses actually ARE OTTBs just like mine, only better produced and better ridden!

Among the younger generation of strong riders on jaw-droppingly fancy horses: William Coleman, Clark Montgomery, Kristin Bond and Sara Dierks, to name a few. Then there's Laine Ashker, Elisa Wallace, Will Faudree, the list goes on.

None of them are peaking at quite the right time for the Pan Am squad, but I've got no doubt they'll be in the mix before too long.

I also wonder how much of the decision is being influenced by who actually WANTS to go to Rio. Some up-and-comers have withdrawn their applications in favor of going to Burghley or Pau, others didn't apply because they have concerns about Rio either from a health standpoint (for their horses) or from a quality standpoint (my understanding is that the course hasn't even been built yet?) so perhaps this team represents the best combination of people both qualified and willing to go?

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jun. 11, 2007, 07:43 PM
Do placings in the PanAm's qualify us for anything?

AmericaRunsOnDunkin
Jun. 11, 2007, 09:12 PM
What???? I thought late 30's WAS still a kid!! At least, that's how I feel....

;)

tuppysmom
Jun. 11, 2007, 09:34 PM
Nevertime hits the jackpot! If a young rider has just one horse they would most likely fall on their sword before signing "the waiver".

arnika
Jun. 11, 2007, 10:41 PM
jeanette, my understanding is that we are qualified for the 2008 olympics already.

hb
Jun. 12, 2007, 12:41 AM
Nevertime hits the jackpot! If a young rider has just one horse they would most likely fall on their sword before signing "the waiver".


Please explain the waiver.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jun. 12, 2007, 07:02 AM
arnika - I would think so, but wondered if there were any chance of getting extra individual slots by good performance, or somesuch. just trying to think what might be going through selector/coach minds.

or is it a byproduct of lawsuits/objective selection? unless the selection criteria stated that riders chosen must not have red coats already, it could be hard to explain away not taking the old dogs.

tuppysmom
Jun. 12, 2007, 03:40 PM
states basicly that the owner accepts the risk of the horse contracting piroplasmosis. If the horse contracts the tick born disease, (which is endemic in Brazil), the horse cannot return to the USA.

The option would be to send the horse to a European country that will accept the import of a piro positive horse. The sending to Europe and all the costs would be at the owner's expense.

There is no recognized treatment.

I suppose that some owners and riders see the risk as small and worth it, others may not feel that way.

I know of a dressage horse and a couple of event horses who opted out for this reason.

The USEF has a very good tick management protocal set up for Brazil, but each owner had to make the choice that best suited there situation.

purpleice
Jun. 12, 2007, 03:55 PM
i know quite a few aged out yrs who have simply had difficulty continuing in the real world arena (ie adult world). i'd consider myself one...but probably not one who would be looking at the pan ams as a legit goal. but society has shifted a bit recently, making jobs and time quite valuable...as well as college and such. i think a lot of yrs are opting to go to college which makes riding at a certain level not only difficult, but confusing.

i would also chock some of this up to the ebb and flow of eventing. some years we got 'em all, others not so much. there's been a wave of 'issues' floating around eventing, perhaps we are just in a lull. on all sorts of matters.

TBCollector
Jun. 12, 2007, 05:57 PM
The best young rider with a real shot at Pan Am made the unfortunate decision to run her horse cross-country at Woodside two weeks ago (when he had come back sore after falling at Rolex). Now, he's broken.

NeverTime
Jun. 12, 2007, 06:20 PM
That's terrible to hear. :no: I hope he get better.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 12, 2007, 06:28 PM
Ouch, TBC.

One factor that hasn't been mentioned--and it may be more or less minor--is Pony Club's significantly diminished influence.

I love to brag to outsiders how 80% of all riders on all of the teams at the 1984 Olympics had been Pony Clubbers at some point in their lives. (I can't remember where I got that from, but it was a legitimate source back then--I did a class final project TV commercial using the idea. Shipped half a dozen PC'ers to Manhattan to tape it and every one of them had wanted to ride for the team.)

Pony Club used to be the pipeline, with a solid structure for developing both riders and horsemen/women. Now, it's pretty hit-or-miss and THAT, other than the finances, too--is why I think we're a bit thin in youngsters these days. One mistake can torpedo an up-and-comer's "career," especially if they aren't well-connected or well-heeled enough to "recuperate" from their error.

LexInVA
Jun. 12, 2007, 07:24 PM
The USEF Pan Am squad has 4 riders in their mid to late 40s,and the other two in their 30s.
Where are the up and coming kids that I thought the Pan Ams were meant to "discover" and put into the pipeline?
Do we have a vital pipeline these days? Not griping, just honestly curious.

The only pipelines that exist at the upper levels of equestrian competition are those who are willing to provide money and horses for riders who are genuinely talented but these are few and far between. For example, much of the so called up and coming talent in the hunter/jumper world are hardly talented in terms of horsemanship but because they can afford to compete at that level on horses they generally don't own, they are the standard we use for young athletes in the equestrian world and they get idolized by those who compete at lower levels for doing nothing noteworthy other than trotting on a horse at Devon. Some are genuinely good riders but a lot of them couldn't win on their own abilities with a horse that they are responsible for working.

Most young riders who compete stop competing once the parental money runs out and they get to college, they realize that they won't make it big (which is why many of them got into it in the first place), or they self-destruct due to their own problems like drug abuse (which is something most parents tend to ignore or miss all together and it is a big problem in the equestrian world despite what parents will insist on saying about their child), hyper sexuality (a problem which plagues many of the female riders due to their feelings of isolation during the teenage years that make or break most of them as both riders and a woman), and of course, dysfunctional families. Very few young riders who ride in college or beyond the age of 18 stick with it longer than a few more years because of the expenses unless they get a really good job or they decide to work in the horse industry in a capacity that allows them to ride on a frequent basis. None of the people I personally know who were labeled as up and coming talent have gone on to do anything with their abilities other than to get a low level job working in the local horse industry.

eventmom
Jun. 12, 2007, 08:09 PM
LexinVA, you paint a very sad picture :(
Is there any way around this?
By encouraging our kids to become good riders, are we setting them up for failure? :(

arnika
Jun. 12, 2007, 08:28 PM
Absolutely not! By encouraging our youngsters to become good riders we are teaching them athleticism, courage, responsibility, good sportsmanship as well as toughness of mind and body.

I would however say that I would also encourage every one of them to attend college before trying to become a professional rider/trainer.

eventmom
Jun. 12, 2007, 08:36 PM
Yes, but the other side is that if you help them to fall in love with a sport that they have no future in, because it is becoming unattainable for most people to compete, it just doesn't seem fair. Seems like it was once hard work and talent. Now it is hard work, talent, and lots and lots of money.

HiJumpGrrl
Jun. 12, 2007, 08:39 PM
Well, I don't think getting an education precludes becoming a successful professional. Denny did the whole Ivy League thing and pulled it off.

Omigosh
Jun. 12, 2007, 09:15 PM
King Street is broken? What a shame. He was in my opinion the best horse at Rolex. Hope he comes back 100%.

AM
Jun. 12, 2007, 09:27 PM
I've heard David O'Connor say more than once that he did not ride his first intermediate course until his early twenties and that all those riders he competed against as a teen who went on up the levels before him were no longer riding. Perhaps the young rider program is not the best way to develop talented adult riders.

retreadeventer
Jun. 12, 2007, 09:28 PM
Denny asked about the pipeline. Where is the pipeline?
I think we are reaping what the seven-year Nightmare (USET-AHSA fight) sowed. The pipeline is supposed to be our Young Riders program and the NAYRC is supposed to be the "junior varsity". Why doesn't more attention get paid to moving the YR's into the CCI competitions? What about the Talent Search riders who were sent to Europe on grants the past couple years -- Luhmuhlen, Blenheim. ??

poltroon
Jun. 12, 2007, 09:44 PM
Yes, but the other side is that if you help them to fall in love with a sport that they have no future in, because it is becoming unattainable for most people to compete, it just doesn't seem fair. Seems like it was once hard work and talent. Now it is hard work, talent, and lots and lots of money.

I think it's a mistake to think that your time in a sport is wasted if you don't get to compete For The Team. To participate, to improve, to enjoy is an end in itself. I've made peace with the fact that I'm not going to make a Team.

Fact is, even people who do Make It internationally hit the wall. Female skaters are washed up at 20.

I send my daughter to gymnastics even though I have no expectation that she'll hit the elite level. Her coach is a former Olympian in pole vaulting - another sport that doesn't even have much in the way of recreational activity once you retire.

subk
Jun. 12, 2007, 09:50 PM
I'm not sure the pipeline has gone missing just that it has turned into a very, very long pipe.

I was long listed a few years ago. That horse is retired and I'm pretty sure I'll never ride at that level again. With XC becoming more and more about the technical and less about endurance and courage, I see the time, effort and expense in moving down the pipeline have all increased. I don't think you can be a really great young rider and get anywhere on you first really talented horse anymore--even if that horse is world class and you are an exceptional athlete. Think about the Dorothys and Molokais or the Jims and Easter Parades or a dozen other riders who made it on their first big horses a decade plus and back.

It takes significant experience in term of saddle time these days to ride our "show jumping that doesn't fall down" courses. It's not an experience you master (or succeed enough with a little guts and luck) anymore with your first horse or two. The last thing I think the USET wants is to put a inexperienced international rider on a team and that rider to have a disaster in front of the world which is now connected to the internet.

oreo
Jun. 12, 2007, 11:13 PM
The problem is........there are too many kids out there with mom & dad who can stump up for one $100k horse after another until they find one dead broke enough to pack "sweetie" around. Put "sweetie" on a "real" horse and they crash and burn. See it all the time. Just have to wait until mom & dad run out of munney. Generally happens after "sweetie" leaves college and mom or dad decides to cut the financial reins.

Sad but true. We are turning into Hunters on bumpy courses.

LexInVA
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:12 AM
LexinVA, you paint a very sad picture :(
Is there any way around this?
By encouraging our kids to become good riders, are we setting them up for failure? :(

No. Encouraging your kids to be good riders isn't what I was referring to though it is something you are obligated to do but keep in mind that you are their parent therefore you need to take a step back when you look at your child in the ring. Many parents of young athletes don't understand that and it is often the cause of their children losing interest in riding. What I was referring to is that many parents are not realistic about their children competing in sports. I'm not saying that you do this with your children but you as a parent should not see your daughter as the next Karen O'Connor nor should you encourage her to think that she is. As long as she is enjoying what she is doing and she's doing it for her enjoyment without you pushing her to do it, then she may very well become the next Karen O'Connor at some point when she decides it's what she wants to be but she needs to reach that point on her own time.

The best thing you can do is be your children's parent first and forget about the horse crap when it happens because that is the trainer's job. What gets my blood boiling are these parents who see excellence as winning, push their children to do outrageously well at these sports that they are interested in, and get enraged when the child does not live up to their expectations or the child doesn't see the sport the same way as the parent. I saw quite a bit of that with the local 4H several years ago despite the fact that none of the children really competed in the state 4H horse program or even locally outside the 4H for the most part and the conduct of some of the parents was downright disturbing though that's not surprising given that none of them were equestrians. I would recommend that a child go to one of the other local 4H clubs if possible as they are a better place to learn and grow as a rider but it is what it is.

Another thing I despise, and this is mostly something I hear from trainers in many different sports, is the sugarcoated "your child has lots of potential to make it big in whatever sport they are in". Whenever a trainer says that to you, they are saying "I'll take your check now." If someone just randomly says it to you, consider it a genuine compliment, otherwise take it with a grain of salt and a shot of tequila. That's not the kind of thing you want to say around a kid frequently because it eats away at them when they start to feel like they aren't living up to that expectation you've created. You might think it's bolstering their confidence and it will for a little bit but once they hear it over and over it starts to put doubt in their minds and believe me, it will turn them off from riding at some point. If you want to push your kid, push them to do something important and meaningful with their lives instead of pushing them away with stuff that doesn't really matter.

As for the original thread topic, I think it's hard to find young riders who really do want to compete internationally. The USET has certainly proved to be a paperweight organization in that regard as they seem to be doing everything possible to maintain the status quo. At this point many of the younger well known riders in the upper levels are content to spin their wheels doing the same shows year after year and not compete internationally because it's their social scene. Many of them will go on to college, some will end up working in the horse industry as trainers, but the majority will disappear all together and go on to lead normal lives with 9-5 jobs. The equestrians who do want to compete internationally for our country and have real talent like dressage rider Courtney King for example, have to deal with financial limitations and general lack of support from the equestrian bodies for those outside of the elite east coast H/J scene so can we really say that our system or lack thereof for developing talent works? Me :no: think so.

Wench
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:19 AM
I think that a big part of the problem these days (and a bunch of people have already said this) is that mum and daddy are buying these super expensive horses to pack kids around. Ok, a really nice horse can pack a sack of potatoes around prelim, but let's face it, it is very scary. I know we have all seen it. Watch the YR prelim division these days at any show. Most of those kids cannot ride to save their lives. At higher levels it becomes even worse, and eventually the kid has a bad crash or the horse starts stopping... things that lead to them dropping out of the sport. I don't think there is a horse out there that can/will pack someone who can't ride around *** and **** courses. When you get to prelim + on a packer and then realize you can't ride it's very disheartening, and hard to drop back down and learn to ride harder horses. So people quit. To me, that is one side of the coin. The other side is that the kids that CAN ride are spending so much time at the lower levels learning on "real" horses and making their own that most of them don't even have a chance to make "the pipeline" like NAYRC. Especially now that the age has changed. I'm sorry but I think it is really really rare to find a kid that by 18 has learned enough about eventing to be on a "real" horse or one they have made themselves and be one of the best prelim YRs in the country. And then they get essential overlooked because they are not going intermediate/advanced by 21 or 22. I think the level of horsemanship has definitely changed in the sport, and the introduction of all this money and buying "made horses" and packers is really killing us. It's so rare to see a kid that can actually RIDE, and if you take the time to learn to ride, it's like you are behind all the kids on the really expensive horses. Even worse now with the short format. It's like prelim is dominated by these packers and so kids with your average OTTB are screwed in that division, and I think that is creating holes in the upper levels. Plus now you have to be able to win the dressage, so hello let's spend an obscene amount of money on the best mover out there. And the x-c game has changed so much that either you need to spend extra time at lower levels acquiring more skill or you have to have a horse that can do it for you. The playing field at the lower levels is not level anymore at all, he/she whose parents have the most money wins. I think we will start to see the new generation of younger riders in a few years when all the kids in their early 20s, who have been busting their butts at novice and training, who are just getting them and their horses to prelim, get going intermediate and advanced. There are still a lot of dedicated young riders out there, real horse people, but I think we will see them coming out of the woodwork in their late twenties and after that even, and until them we are pretty much gonna have all the big name riders who already are in the game.

eventmom
Jun. 13, 2007, 07:20 AM
Wow, these last few posts have all been very interesting reads for me. If you knew me and my kid, you would know that these are all the songs we are singing! Just last night I had a conversation with her trainer "I am raising a child, not a rider". Then there is the part about buying $50,000 horses! Don't even get me started.
Your all absolutly right about not focusing on the future and getting charactor out of the sport. I guess what scares me is the idea that what would stop her in the end is not age, lack of heart, lack of talent, etc.... what will likely stop her in the end is money. That is very disheartening.
I also am already seeing a short term future of discouragement when many of her peers are winning on those $50,000 horses. Now I realize it is my job to inoculate her in this regard. It just seems that maybe we parents without the big buck are setting our kids up for failure.

magnolia73
Jun. 13, 2007, 08:38 AM
Money is my bet. The top jumper kids (and they can ride) last names like Bloomberg and Johnson. They have the money- they can focus on learning to ride. It doesn't seem like eventing has a lot of kids who just flat have the money. So if I'm a good rider and want to be international - I probably need two upper level horses, a bunch of time, money, a place to ride, money for competing, tack, vet care, clinics, hauling. If mom and dad don't have money, I need a job, which means I don't have time to come clinic and show. And few jobs available to 20 somethings pay enough to support one competitive horse, let alone two, let alone a lifestyle where you get a bunch of time off.

The reality is that eventing is expensive. It cost me $250 to do a small, unrecognized event on my half lease horse and my trainer is cheap on hauling and coaching fees. If it is $500 to do a "big event" and you do two a month, that's $1000, add in board ($400?), shoes ($100), a couple lessons ($100). That's $1600 a month- almost $20,000 a year just to actively event. I can't imagine the costs get lower as you get better. Then you don't win much at the events to cover costs.

So you need a good job, or you could go pro - but it seems like eventers don't charge a lot for teaching, not big commisions to be made on sales etc (like the hunter/jumper crowd pulls off).

I would think you see the people who hit their 20's and lose mom and dad's help either get real jobs and need to work up in salary to be able to afford the upper levels again or they go pro and need to put in the time to find someone who will support them. It probably takes a good 10 years on either path to get to the point where one will be able to afford (in terms of costs and time) upper level eventing.

pegasusmom
Jun. 13, 2007, 08:56 AM
I also am already seeing a short term future of discouragement when many of her peers are winning on those $50,000 horses. Now I realize it is my job to inoculate her in this regard. It just seems that maybe we parents without the big buck are setting our kids up for failure.

I think that depends on your definition of failure. It's your job as a parent to keep reminding your daughter of the big picture. Why is she really eventing? Very few kids ever make it to the Olympics - and the money pipeline isn't, as far as I can see, any different that it ever was. You have always had to have money to make it. Yes, the "big horse" used to cost $10K, but then minimum wage used to be a buck twenty five, and gas was 15 cents a gallon. (back when the earth's crust cooled).

As for "the pipeline" - did it ever really exist in the way we thought it must have? Maybe Denny can answer that, as I can't. I know there used to be a training program at Gladstone, with USET owned horses. Politics plays a big part in team selection, but I think it always did. Now we have the internet and its all more in our face, instant information.

Our son started out on the pony bought at the killer auction and we focused on raising the child. Yep, we did buy him an expensive young horse - but he has also just put the finishing touches on a horse for his dad to ride when he returns from Iraq and is starting another horse in our barn who has shown a little aptitude for eventing. And we are still focusing on raising the child. There are always going to be someone with more money, a fancier horse, a bigger truck. Everyone ends up in the dirt at some point. I guess perhaps I define success in a different manner as well.

luveventing
Jun. 13, 2007, 09:12 AM
Even if a YR gets lucky enough to have the type of horse that can compete for a team, the expenses to get to the developing rider training sessions, the team sessions, and of course overseas (which is where almost ALL the big competitions are held except of course WEG in 2010, and Atlanta Olympics) it just seems a lot of people are working toward being an accomplished and successful advanced three day rider and not so much an "team" rider. There really is not much financial support for these riders without a pack of sponsors behind you.

And if you only have one upper level horse, the odds of you getting sponsorship over a bruce davidson, kim severson, or someone with a string of upper level horses competing EVERYWHERE are slim. that has always been my sticking issue. Those with one big time horse need the most financial support to STAY at the upper levels. usually its luck and hard work that they have gotten to the upper levels and with some backing and the chance at riding more upper level prospects they would BE in the scene. but they lose out to the ones that already have a string of horses because money is money and that is who the companies want. Then when that one horse retires or money runs out, they move on out of necessity.

Its an expensive sport, with limited financial help and its very tough these days for a kid with one great horse to pass up college and try to make a career out of it without money behind them. when that one horse retires you have to hope there is another one out there to start with- and then you have to take all that time again to produce it.

I personally think many of the one horse great riders are looking at their options and figuring out that maybe riding for the "team" isn't the ultimate goal anymore. Maybe its just being a top advanced level 3 day rider competing at Burghley or Badminton. We all know often the Olympics of this sport have often been softer than either of these two events due to the horse welfare issues we have been fighting to keep 3 day in the Olympics and if you have to put up the cash anyway, you might as well chose where you want to put it.

the real world is tough and I think more of them have to live in it now and abandon the dreams of the team, but that doesn't mean they don't have new goals and aspirations that are just as worthy if not more so. I know there are MANY of my friends who have choosen to sell their big time horse, pay for college and then come back to riding. It takes time for those kids to find another talented horse and take the time to bring it along. I suspect in another 10 years, those kids will start popping up internationally again. I think its just a shift dictated by the "real world" these days.

My two cents- and then some. :)

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2007, 10:31 AM
Pegasusmom, you took the words right out of my...fingers. "Failure" in eventing is not defined by a lack of blue ribbons. I've had many, many fun, thrilling seasons competing that I would consider great successes, with only a very scant few (maybe 3 in 10 years?) blue ribbons and ZERO invitations to ride for The Team. :lol:

Winning STILL isn't everything, and I wouldn't lament the fact that one still has to teach that to one's children. :)

Wench
Jun. 13, 2007, 10:52 AM
Just last night I had a conversation with her trainer "I am raising a child, not a rider". Then there is the part about buying $50,000 horses! Don't even get me started.
Your all absolutly right about not focusing on the future and getting charactor out of the sport. I guess what scares me is the idea that what would stop her in the end is not age, lack of heart, lack of talent, etc.... what will likely stop her in the end is money. That is very disheartening.
I also am already seeing a short term future of discouragement when many of her peers are winning on those $50,000 horses.

This brings me to another point worth mentioning I think. Trainers. Now I'm saying you don't have a great trainer, and this is not aimed at your post particularly but...

I think trainers these days are putting way to much emphasis on buying made horses. Yes, it's great to get out there and win, but having been there and done that, I can honestly say it's way more fulfilling to be out placing on a hard horse or one you have to actually work to ride, than to be cleaning up on something you just sit on. And I don't think enough trainers are focusing on the "riding" part these days. I ride at a barn and with a trainer who puts pretty much all her effort into riders making their own horses. Green, horses hard/problem horses, and she gets everyone out eventing and doing well and HAPPY, feeling like they have really done something. It's much more rewarding to have to work for your victories. And that is not to say that riders in our barn don't have goals of making the team because they do, but they will doing it through hard work at the lower levels and then moving up and working hard there. I would love to buy a really expensive advanced horse, and hopefully I will be able to in the not so distant future and be able to learn the ropes from that horse, but until then I have my trainer's stallion to learn on and hopefully eventually take him prelim and to a * and a very nice just turned 3 year old who I have been breaking myself and am planning on doing the YEH on. It was hard to go from prelim back to novice but now I realize it was one of the best things that ever happened to my riding. And everyone at my barn is very supportive of everyone else. We have very nice horses here, but nothing that will pack you around and they are capable of winning the dressage but man do we have to work for it. The great part is that we are all in it together in a way. If your daughter is with a trainer whose other students all have $50k horses and she doesn't, damn right she's gonna be disappointed and frustrated as hell. Unless her trainer is really gonna work hard to make her realize that she is learning to RIDE while all the other kids may (or may not) just be sitting up there getting packed around. It's a hard fact to deal with when you're young and ribbons are important to you, and everyone else is getting blues and you're empty handed. Just try and make sure she doesn't get jaded to the sport, because it is really hard to watch other people go out and win all the time, but with enough hard work you CAN win on something you make yourself.

Pegasusmom, you may have bought your son an expensive horse, but you didn't buy him something made. You bought him something really nice and with potential but he had to "make him" himself. I think that is fostering good horsemanship and not instant gratification, and making him learn to ride.

subk
Jun. 13, 2007, 10:54 AM
Of course money is a big factor, but money has ALWAYS been a big factor! It is a myth that eventing is/was/can be cheap. At the lower levels yes, not once your heading for the big time, ever. I've been doing this sport since the 70's and 10k has never in all that time bought a "big horse." In the mid/late 70s a fellow junior rider's parent bought her a horse with Bruce Davidson connections for 20k that was only doing Prelim. Can any economic majors out there translate that into today's dollars?

Again, I would say that the dozen or so years a young rider is even allowed to ride at the upper levels is not enough time to learn the skill required to ride today's technical courses at the very top level. Certainly not if they are on only one horse. Several years ago I personally asked a BNT/international coach/medal winning rider if I had a kid I wanted to get to the Olympics what kind a plan would it take/money to buy the right horse (hypothetically!). He surprised me with the don't put your eggs in one basket approach. Instead of one dynamite six figure horse he suggested multiple quality, but less expensive, horses because the problem is rider experience not horse experience.

I would also add the the young riders I've gotten to know in the last 10 years or so while training with a top trainer are really, really great kids. I've been honored that they'd call an "old lady" like me a friend. Yes, lots of support from Mom and Dad, but they have been serious, smart and dedicated. I'm wondering if some posters aren't just displaying some wealth envy?

eventmom
Jun. 13, 2007, 10:57 AM
deltawave, couldn't agree more. My daughter sure knows that! She got eliminated on cross country this weekend after a perfect stadium.
But a picture is being painted here where the difference between winning and loosing is not work and dedication, but money or more money! Learning how to loose gracefully is a part of life and a skill I am quite happy to announce she is learning well! But, learning how to win gracefully is also a life skill.
Please don't be hard on me here. I am a good mom with great kids. Setting your kid up to loose no matter how hard they try is something no good parent would do on purpose. Surely there is a balance here. I realize the scale has tipped in the direction of little Lu Lu can do no wrong. But I am not one of those parents.

eventmom
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:06 AM
Wench, you paint a much more encouraging picture! Thanks.
So far we are kinda immune to the other kids our trainer is working with as we have our ponies at home. Said trainer is very supportive. Actually the conversation last night was referring to a dressage coach who I felt like thought I wasn't supporting my daughter because I am unwilling to buy her a fancier horse. In my world you don't spend that kind of money on kids. It just does not fit into our plan of raising our kids.

Life is an Event
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:23 AM
Wow, these last few posts have all been very interesting reads for me. If you knew me and my kid, you would know that these are all the songs we are singing! Just last night I had a conversation with her trainer "I am raising a child, not a rider". Then there is the part about buying $50,000 horses! Don't even get me started.
Your all absolutly right about not focusing on the future and getting charactor out of the sport. I guess what scares me is the idea that what would stop her in the end is not age, lack of heart, lack of talent, etc.... what will likely stop her in the end is money. That is very disheartening.
I also am already seeing a short term future of discouragement when many of her peers are winning on those $50,000 horses. Now I realize it is my job to inoculate her in this regard. It just seems that maybe we parents without the big buck are setting our kids up for failure.

Okay, this is off topic...but my child is knocking at the prelim door, and does have aspirations to compete on an international basis. Her horse was reasonably priced, not anywhere close to $50K. We are in Area II and she is very competitive, placing in every training level horse trial she has been in. Of all her competition that I know, not one has paid above $15K for a horse, and most have paid under $10K, a lot have even paid less than $5K. All but one of these horses was brought up from Beginner Novice or Novice with their current child riders. These horses are or will all be going Prelim within one year. Will these kids ever make the team on their current horses? Maybe, maybe not. I doubt many of them will ever go intermediate.

My point is, I am tired of hearing from parents of young children who are at these lower levels that their kids cannot compete against other's with expensive horses. I know many, many kids with horses at Novice and below that were give aways or cost around $2K. These kids and horses do well at their levels, so please stop crying about the people who spoil their kids with expensive horses...I see it as an excuse when your child doesn't do well, or a reason to brag when she does. IMO all this whining about expensive horses and spoiled children at the lower levels in eventing is crap. We must not be going to the same horse trials. The kids I see work hard, train hard, love their horses, and usually blame themselves (rightfully so) when they do not do well. They learn from their mistakes and go on to become better riders and are better people because of it.

My child gets so much from eventing, regardless of the ribbon she comes home with. There are incredible role models out there which seem to touch her life at almost every event we go to. Eventers are friendly and help each other out, giving advice on course walks and cheering others on. The responsibility and focus necessary to improve their performance leads to a maturity surpassing most non-horsey kids. So please, stop whining about other people's expensive or inappropriate horses, and concentrate on what is best for your own child.

Back to the thread...Yes, money and finding quality horses is an issue at the upper levels.

eventmom
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:27 AM
Life is an event...:):):)
Great attitude! Another encouraging post!

Hilary
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:39 AM
I have to agree with subk on the point that it has always been expensive at the top. When I was a teen in the mid-80s, to do Young Riders you had to be competing at Intermediate to participate. There was no program for prelim or lower. And the kids who were doing were competing well, had expensive horses, and their parents spent a LOT of time and money getting them the training they needed. I'm not saying they didn't also work hard, but they were an elite group. As for who continued on to be a professional the one I know from my area (I didn't know her, I knew who was part of that group) who continued to "big time" success was Abigail Lufkin, although there may be others. But lots of the others did not continue as professionals, and I know a couple of them are entirely out of the horse world.

I think the USET training program of the 70s was just as elitist as the current means of getting to the top. If you weren't picked or noticed, you weren't part of the program.

back to the original question - if the Pan Ams are supposed to be a starter team, why are Karen and Phillip on it, and some of the younger riders are not? Yes, the horses also need experience but if we don't give the younger riders a chance on whatever horse they have, when Karen and Phillp retire we will have a "hole" in the rider team experience. And it is the riders who will always outlast any particular horse's career.

denny
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:42 AM
When I asked the question, I was thinking about how years ago the Pan Ams were sort of considered a stepping stone for good younger riders who had been "spotted" as future team material, rather than as an event to which the varsity first string would be sent.
Tad Coffin and Bally Cor being a good example, first winning the Pan Ams, a year later winning the Bromont Olympics.
I guess that`s changed, but more than that, the world has changed, especially for kids , from what I`m hearing here.

blackwly
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:00 PM
As far as I'm concerned, the Pan Am Games are the perfect outlet for our less experienced international riders to get the experience they need to become the "Karen and Phillip"s of the world. I think there are very few younger riders who would say that they are uninterested in making the team, and that they prefer to compete on their own at Rolex, Badminton, etc. Our team is already qualified for the Olympics. So why aren't we sending these younger or less known riders to Brazil?

I really don't get it. I think it has to come down to politics at some level. I also think our BNRs who represent the US over and over again may not be taking a leadership role in helping move some of the less experienced riders along the pipeline. Certainly, in an ideal world, some of these very experienced olympic competitors might not aim their horses at a championship like the Pan Am Games, and would leave those spots open for developing riders. Of course, I'm sure they are very reluctant to pass up a trip with the team and the subsequent boosts to their sponsorship that creates.

I don't think it all comes down to $$, as some posters have asserted. It's not just the one-horse guys who aren't making it...there are a number of 20 and 30-something riders out there with numerous expensive horses and big wins, but they aren't getting on the team (Jonathan Holling?) If I was in their shoes, I would be very frustrated.

luveventing
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:09 PM
...and I think its that frustration at the "team" dynamics and politics that makes riders decide to just go at it on their own to the other CCI**** and be the best 3 day riders they can be whether any of the selectors notice or not. I think of Beale Morris and Nina Fout who very much did their own thing and I don't think really AIMED for a team, but when their placings in these top CCI**** events got to be too much for the selectors to ignore they were there. (and were not "kids" either!) Although, I dont know that Beale was ever named to a team despite her incredible record on numerous horses.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:30 PM
I disagree with you, Denny. Back then, by the time the younger riders got to the Pan Ams, they had alreayd been "spotted."

When I tried to point out (and, boy, am I saddened that no one even gave old Pony Club an iota of attention--THERE is a perfect illustration of PC's demise, all right!) that Pony Club used to be the pipeline, I was thinking ALSO of how Pony Club used to "spotlight" talent. Tad, Karen, Bruce--goodness, just about EVERYONE who rode on the team between, say, 1975-1990, had been Pony Clubbers.

And while there's always a money angle in it, back then, if you got noticed--for whatever reason...frankly, in my case, it was for being a really hard worker, I think--people HELPED YOU SUCCEED.

Today, we're very isolated from others--each in our own worlds. Either your family has someone well connected to money (or has money) so that you get paying sponsors, or you don't go nowhere. You try, you go into debt, you disappear...and you do all that struggling alone for the most part. When I was a Pony Clubber, I never felt alone in my ambitions, even though my parents' feelings about them were virtually non-existant. Someone was back there who cared because Pony Club and Clubbers had this wonderful tradition of Olympic-level excellence. You weren't embarassed when you said--in front of a group of PCers--that you wanted to ride for the team. If you were in PC, you were into that, period. And you really rooted for your team, too (not just yourself or your "people"). You rooted for your PC team, your regional team, your national team, your international team--whether you were on it or not.

That's why I think that if a structure like Pony Club still existed, there WOULD be ways, other that daddy's money, to make it to the top. There'd be a better chance--think of it as a "structured chance," perhaps--that just talent and hardwork could earn you the attention of someone willing to help. Today, there is probably not a chance in a million that a structure could be set up to connect those willing to help with those needing and worthy of help in the sport. Today, it is all about money. Money is what gets you spotlighted, Denny.

magnolia73
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:34 PM
Denny-
Could there be some politics- given that horses are owned by people who want to see them do great things. Is there pressure to send the best horses to the most prestigous events to create value/keep owners (who are probably donors) happy? It's pretty cool to say your horse/stallion medaled at the Pan-Am games. It's not a criticism- but I don't know- if I owned Winsome Adante, I might be irritated if he was passed over for an international competition.

The other thing- given the longevity of riders, maybe 30 is young to be on a team. I watched some older jumper riders - much older than 30 and they were damn good. Youth is not so much a factor. Maybe its a sport where people peak from 30-50. Maybe we shouldn't rush to get 20 year olds in international competition in team situations. Let them build their businesses and develop a string, and make contacts for sponsorship.

Money is becoming a hard reality. I think that fewer and fewer young people will choose horses as a way to make a living. It's not just needing the $50,000 horse (for the record, I don't buy that you need a $50,000 horse to compete), but you do need the financial resources to take lessons, haul your horse, board your horse, compete your horse....and these expenses don't change for a $10 horse vs a $150,000 horse.

denny
Jun. 13, 2007, 12:53 PM
Probably the biggest change I`ve seen, and all who say it`s "money" may be right, is that some relatively few riders have strings of truly elite horses these days, and not $50,000. horses, either.
"One horse wonders" were the norm 30 years ago. The term we hear all the time now, "owner" wasn`t a term most of us would have grasped, in the 60s or 70s.
Then it began to sneak into vogue with just a few clever, entreprenurial minded riders, American, mostly, I think, figuring out the system.
Now it`s either have a grandparent who invented the widget, or be sponsored by someone whose grandparent invented the widget, more like the jumper world has been "forever"
Neal Ayer said it best 25-30 years ago, not in these exact words, but in the spirit of these words: 'Be careful what you wish for, you might get it."
And sure as anything, eventing has gotten it.

SimplyIdle
Jun. 13, 2007, 02:33 PM
I've heard David O'Connor say more than once that he did not ride his first intermediate course until his early twenties and that all those riders he competed against as a teen who went on up the levels before him were no longer riding. Perhaps the young rider program is not the best way to develop talented adult riders.

As a full-time student, this gives me HOPE! :)

Hony
Jun. 13, 2007, 03:01 PM
An interesting that I noticed when I finished Uni was that there are very few riders in the 20 - 30 age bracket unless they are making it a career. In Canada lack of funding is more apparent than ever and while some kids can keep things going while under their parent's wing as soon as they leave the next the financials become too difficult to manage. Canada has fortunately named a few up and comings to the team but the depth is definitely lacking. Eventing is certainly becoming more and more like other sports where money is the determining factor.

deltawave
Jun. 13, 2007, 04:33 PM
Setting your kid up to loose {sic} no matter how hard they try is something no good parent would do on purpose.

Again, I wouldn't look at a failure to bring home a blue ribbon as "losing". And maybe it's because I'm in area 8 and not area 1 or 2, but there are PLENTY of times when an OK horse and an OK rider win over the big-and-fancies because they had a better weekend. No, you won't see someone with an unschooled horse dragged out of the paddock winning too often (although I've seen that, too) but a carefully prepared, well schooled team that is "on" very, very often gets the nice ribbons. Even unfashionable, not-great-moving horses that cost four (or even three) figures. :)

When I read the COTH and see event results where Phillip Dutton or another BNR is winning the top 3 spots in every division with all scores under 30 I feel like there's no point in me even showing up. But those types of shows are the exception, not the rule. I am a very so-so amateur rider on a good-jumping horse who is very difficult in dressage. We rarely break 40 in dressage, yet have gotten our share of ribbons. Again, I consider finishing with a number rather than a letter a success of sorts, finishing on our dressage score as a "victory" and a ribbon of ANY color is a flat-out "win" in my book. :yes:

subk
Jun. 13, 2007, 05:03 PM
When I asked the question, I was thinking about how years ago the Pan Ams were sort of considered a stepping stone for good younger riders who had been "spotted" as future team material, rather than as an event to which the varsity first string would be sent.
Tad Coffin and Bally Cor being a good example, first winning the Pan Ams, a year later winning the Bromont Olympics.
I guess that`s changed, but more than that, the world has changed, especially for kids , from what I`m hearing here.

But wait! You've forgotten something pretty important here. When Tad Coffin won the Pan Ams in 1975 Rolex didn't exist. What upper level 3-days were there that were on par with the Pan Ams? Fair Hill, Radnor, Ships Quarters were still a step below weren't they? Unless a rider made the team they didn't get top level experience without the USET unless they shipped overseas on their own.

When the "kids" were being selected for the Pan Ams it was because it was almost impossible to get the experience needed for the Olympics and Worlds without it. Today we have three stars and four stars here in the State and significantly more overseas travel so that a rider can get very upper level participation without neccesarily having to be managed by the USET. Very, very different than even 20 years ago.

denny
Jun. 13, 2007, 05:22 PM
We had Ledyard. It`s importance to American eventing was profound,and for those of us who got our start eventing in the late 50s,or early 60s, it`s almost incomprehensible to imagine where we would have been without those big international events starting in 1973.
Neal actually paid to fly the top European riders to compete against us here at home, so that when we did get to Europe, we`d at least had a taste of that caliber of intensity. Then we beat them over there in 1974 to win the chance to host the first Rolex.

denny
Jun. 13, 2007, 05:29 PM
PS---Ask Mark Phillips about Ledyard. He came to the first one on a horse he`d just won Burghley on, got as far as the Ledyard coffin, and had to go back to England!
A couple of years later he came back, got as far as the Ledyard coffin, and had to go back once again!!

JER
Jun. 13, 2007, 06:05 PM
I think somewhere in all this talk about the 'old days', we've forgotten the impact of the 'amateur rule'. The amateur rule, for those who don't remember, was the antiquated, Victorian, elitist and, most of all, classist notion that 'pure' sport would be contested by those who did not accept money for their pursuits. The Olympic movement was inspired in part by this idea (de Coubertin was a great admirer of the English system, which was at its heart elitist and racist). The basic thesis was this: the common rabble could not afford to pursue a 'hobby' while needing to earn a living, thus the common rabble were excluded from the elite levels of sport. This allowed the 'Chariots of Fire' fantasy to be played out by the upper classes while poor Jim Thorpe was stripped of his awards for accepting a few bucks to play baseball.

The amateur rule started to erode in the 70s and went away for good by the early 90s (it was pretty much over by 1986). A lot of resources went into enforcing the amateur rule; it was sort of the drug testing of the 60s and 70s. Let someone buy you lunch and you risked charges of 'professionalism', which was also a charge we levied at the Evil Empire of Communism -- their athletes were totally supported by the state so they were, in effect, professionals.

Perhaps the most obvious effect of abolishing the amateur rule was the changing demographic of elite athletes. Before, you'd have to retire from sport and start earning a living, usually after college or in your early 20s. But as a professional, you could earn a living at your sport, with sponsors and sponsored teams and even professional leagues (remember when the NBA professionals showed up in Barcelona -- what would de Coubertin think?). The human body does not peak in the early 20s for most sports -- studies show improvement well into the early 40s and even beyond depending on the sport.

William Steinkraus, the finest US rider ever IMO, was always riding under the amateur rule. He kept his day job -- as an attorney -- and maintained his hobbyist status to ride for the USET.

So there's a good reason USEF riders are skewing older. You can make eventing an actual career these days. The money isn't showjumping money -- Ludger Beerbaum and the Whitakers could tell you that -- but between horse dealing, training, teaching and competing, there's a living to be made and your NGB won't expel you for doing so.

subk
Jun. 13, 2007, 06:57 PM
[QUOTE=denny;2498776]We had Ledyard. It`s importance to American eventing was profound,and for those of us who got our start eventing in the late 50s,or early 60s, it`s almost incomprehensible to imagine where we would have been without those big international events starting in 1973.[/
QUOTE]
Ledyard! Thank you Denny I knew my brain wasn't functioning well and I was leaving out a big piece of the puzzle. Can you imagine having only one opportunity in a single year to ride at the Pan Am level. We HAD to use the Pan Am as schooling ground for up and coming riders--today we have so much more...

AM
Jun. 13, 2007, 09:16 PM
When did the Pan Am become *** level? They certainly weren't in Indianapolis 20 years ago. That may be why up and coming team members used to ride in the Pan Ams.

I know nothing about the team politics but I think you have to have one or two old team members to teach new ones the ropes. Essentially, Phillip is a new American team member. Someone at the WEG last year remarked that they were glad that Karen was there as she is very good as a team member/leader.

Hey Mickey
Jun. 13, 2007, 11:36 PM
I am 19 years old. so I'm still a kid. not a kid kid but still I look at myself as a kid.
I'm one of those that puts everything i have into my horse and my riding endevours. I work my board off, I work almost fulltime to afford my horse. and I'm going to school on top of that. I can't afford two lessons a week, I maybe get a lesson a month. I have a nice horse that I've brought along my self, that can probaly get to *level.
I joined YR for a year so I could do the camp and then I quit because I'm not going to be at the ** level by the time I'm 21. I feel like I'm to old and I missed out on alot.

I feel like I would be an "up and coming rider" if I could. But I don't have a mommy daddy scholarship. I have understanding bosses and a barn family that help me out alot.
I can't afford to do alot of competing.
I tried to find a working student postion that could work for me. But at the same time I felt I was competeing at a high enouigh level for anyone to take me serisouly, And I don't think anyone that I talked to did.

I think there are alot of kids like me, who have some talent that could turn into some real skill if they were given some of the chances other kids take for granted.
And it seems so unfair.
I, personally, I want it so bad.
But I'm stuck going to school so that someday I will be able to affod to go to the shows and clinics and maybe make it to the 4* level.

For me its really hard to see kids my age and younger who don't realize how good they have it. And how luckey they are to be able to really do this.

And Pony club, I think its really starting to go downhill.
They need to bring back the tradtional A, and the written tests.

I'm not sure if this really had anything to do with this thread, but I wanted to share some of my feelings, because if given another shot at life I could have been one of those kids who really could be considered "up and coming"

Ellie K
Jun. 14, 2007, 02:18 AM
When did the Pan Am become *** level? They certainly weren't in Indianapolis 20 years ago. Regional Games are not static and are not pre-ordained to be any particular star level--they reflect the region's state of development. Naturally that changes over time and the RGs become more competitive and eventually move to a higher level-- a positive, but thus requiring the more established countries to step up their game. No Regional Games is intended to be a sub-Olympic/World Championships level. Ideally, to their 'owners' the IOC, they would all be top level, but they have to be held at the level the region can sustain and still have enough participation, thus spurring further development in turn.

eventmom
Jun. 14, 2007, 08:20 AM
Hey Mickey
The good news is that this sport sure doesn't seem to be one where your washed up at 20! Golly people are doing it into their 60's. So, even if you take a break and do the college thing, there is still hope for your future.
So sorry to hear about your situation. I think it is very relevant to the conversation in that you are a perfect example of a million other frustrated kids out there. Seems to me that in lots of other sports, being "good" is enough. But with horses, because it takes the "team" (horse and rider combo), being good doesn't cut it. You gotta have the money (and or) luck to get your hands on a nice horse, and that is just the start.
Sounds like you need to go find yourself some rich guy to marry:lol:
My mom always said it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich one as a poor one, so why not;)

Fence2Fence
Jun. 14, 2007, 08:32 AM
With less kids growing up on farms in our ever urbanized world, they can't turn part of the family farm into a Combined Training Facility. To go out and buy a large enough piece of land and build a barn, arena, cross country course take more funds than what most 20 year olds would have available to them. Again, it takes a wealthy family or spouse, a lucky lottery ticket, or an uncanny ability to sweet talk an heiress of a large fortune into buying and paying for a farm. A new, little known trainer is going to have difficulty getting that support or convincing the bank that a boarding facility/training operating will have enough revenue to pay the mortgage.

So, it doesn't surprise me that the "kids" aren't out there. They are either at college so they can have a career that pays for the horses or they are paying their dues as a working student, hoping for a lucky break.

magnolia73
Jun. 14, 2007, 08:32 AM
Keep your chin up. Riding horses is great in that you get longevity. If you are 19, lord- you probably have minimum 30 years to do it. I think of riders like Bruce Davidson, Katie Prudent, Joe Fargis, Leslie Lenehan - all great riders 25 years ago, all great riders today. All, given the right horse could still hit the Olympics! Keep busting it out, keep riding. Everyone needs the right horse at the right time- even the wealthiest have their best shot come up lame at the worst time. The best riders have horses sold out from under them. It's not easy, but at least your time is not limited.

That said- I think a good deal of luck is needed in making the team- you need a sound horse at the right time and you need to fit the selectors needs. I believe Jonathon Holling chimed in earlier that they were seeking strong stadium for the team and he did not have the best performances in stadium. It doesn't mean he will never make a team- he just needs to stay at it.

PiedPiper
Jun. 14, 2007, 08:53 AM
What people aren't focusing on either is the fact that if you don't have the money(and even if you do) you need to network. If you talk to many people who have made it big from lesser beginnings they did so b/c they got their name and their talent out there and they networked with the right people. If you keep yourself hidden and unknown then why would anyone know you are the next up and coming Karen?

I think money is an easy cop out on why someone or someone's kid won't be successful. If you want to make it big and stay big then you are person that takes a roadblock and makes it a stepping stone. If you back down to disappoint or closed doors than success was never going to be your's anyway.

Learn to sell yourself as you are your best form of advertising. If you can't sell your self why would someone invest time and money into you? Numbers mean alot but product (what you can produce) means as much. This also means working the people around you, your parents, their contacts, friends, family, neighbors, etc.

I know here in Area II there are PLENTY of wealthy people and companies who will donate money. But you need to go find them, they aren't going to find you. Many of the greats, if you look back on their history, are so b/c of their contact list. I know I work for a company right now where one of the owners is into horses and the do donate money to many other issues. It is not a far step to have them donate or sponsor an equestrian.

I know of a young rider right now that was spotted at a Jumper show (she is an eventer) and is now being taught be a world famous trainer. He wanted to work with her after seeing her ride and is doing so at a ridiculously low price. This Young Rider is not wealthy, but has grown up riding, selling her own horses, doing pony club, and making connections.

Whether not you will have success has more to do with your own stubborness than anything else. Shoot, look at the story of Abe Lincoln and the multiple failures and losses he had in his political career before becoming President. You NEED to think outside the box at all times and learn to work your angles and come up with ideas for problems.

But the sport of eventing should not, in my opinion, be about the ribbons and if someone feels that their children are "being set up for failure" b/c they won't make it to the top b/c of money is teaching some very negative lessons. I was taught that I could do or get whatever I wanted if I worked hard enough. It was just whether I could keep pulling myself up by my bootstraps and keep going. Some things I did success, sometimes I decide it just wasn't worth the effort. But it was on me. I owned it and own the success or failure and do not put it on anyone else. That was one of the most important lessons my parents taught me as well as enjoying the process and the small victories and not focus on the ultimate "win".

criss
Jun. 14, 2007, 11:19 AM
When I was a teenager, I had all the usual (but unspecific) goals--****, Olympics, Rolex, whatever. Why I didn't end up becoming the kind of rider to fulfill those goals is, of course, complicated, but I have to say, I was a Pony Clubber, and I frankly don't think PC encourages kids. I did learn a lot from preparing for the unmounted portions of ratings, and I always did very, very well on those, always much better than on the mounted partions, largely because I didn't have a horse who made me look my best (though admittedly being a better rider would have been the biggest help, but that's always true, right?).

Mostly, though, my memories of PC ratings and rallies is of well-mounted children of doctors and lawyers doing really well, and me on my $200 horse getting docked a point at my formal inspection because my breeches were too dark a shade of beige, or because his coat was not as shiny as the coats of stall-kept horses. A few less-well-heeled kids did very well, and it was clear that they were exceptional, so at least they got some recognition.

Now, maybe it's not an entirely bad thing for the sport as a whole to single out the top competitors as young teenagers, as they are the ones who can and should go on to represent the sport publicly. All I'm saying is, PC crushed my enthusiasm for competing for a while, which sucked whether or not I deserved it. I don't think it's at all a system that encourages young people in general, although I don't doubt that it encourages the people who deserve it most.

Lisa Cook
Jun. 14, 2007, 11:28 AM
Seems to me that in lots of other sports, being "good" is enough. But with horses, because it takes the "team" (horse and rider combo), being good doesn't cut it. You gotta have the money

I can't think of a single sport where being "good" is enough and money is not a factor. A co-worker has a kid who was into swimming from age 8 through high school. She told me recently that her costs to support his swimming exceeded $20k + per year. You hear of gymnasts & skaters whose parents are taking out 2nd mortgages to pay for their kid's training. The money that other parents spend on hockey for their kids in this area easily exceeds what I spend on my son & his pony. Heck, another co-worker has 3 daughters who are into dancing, and he said his costs were approaching $10k per year just to support dancing lessons & recitals.

Face it - it takes money to rise to the top of just about any sport out there. Riding is not an exception to the rule.

Sannois
Jun. 14, 2007, 12:01 PM
deltawave, couldn't agree more. My daughter sure knows that! She got eliminated on cross country this weekend after a perfect stadium.
But a picture is being painted here where the difference between winning and loosing is not work and dedication, but money or more money! Learning how to loose gracefully is a part of life and a skill I am quite happy to announce she is learning well! But, learning how to win gracefully is also a life skill.
Please don't be hard on me here. I am a good mom with great kids. Setting your kid up to loose no matter how hard they try is something no good parent would do on purpose. Surely there is a balance here. I realize the scale has tipped in the direction of little Lu Lu can do no wrong. But I am not one of those parents.

Unfortunatly there are an awful lot of Parents like little Lu Lu's anymore, in so many areas not just horses. And its so sad to see, because that attitude reflects on all areas of life. We are already seeing the effects of that way of thinking in schools sports heck even in the work place with many 20 somethings. :no:

PhoenixFarm
Jun. 14, 2007, 12:45 PM
I do think there is a fine line during the YR years between encouraging kids to get on that pipeline, and making it clear that the end of YR is not the end of your career. I was that kid who was always at the periphery of the YR teams--made the long list, always ended up grooming (thankfuly, because looking back on it, my horse and I had about as much chance of doing the job as sprouting wings and flying to Never never land, LOL). And it hurt like he!! every years that all my friends made the team, and I did not. I remember very clearly the moment when I was 19, realizing that it was over for me--my current horse was not going to get there, and I was never going to be able to afford something that would get me there in the next two years.

But here's the funny thing. 15 years later, of a circle of about 10 friends I grew up with, at least half have left horses completely. Three of us are pros, but none of us are pros with an eye for the team. I do youngsters (horses) mainly, I have a friend who specializes in teaching and training YR, and the third of us does a bit of both. I never rode at advanced, but the two of them did, although it's been 8-ish years since either one of them rode above prelim. The most talented among us, is still the most talented, and still riding and competing, but as an amateur with her one horse. The other 6 are totally out ofthe horse world, and I know for a fact, in three of their cases, it was immediataely following a trip to NAYRC, that they walked away. The stress, and focus, and anguish sucked all the joy out of the experience for them, and they said thanks, but no thanks.

The trick, I think, is making it clear to our yougnsters, that there are a lot of ways to be in this little world of ours, and a lot of ways to define success. And "medal" or "pink jacket" shoudl hardly ever be used as a barometer.

I have a young man working for me right now. 19, who went to NAYRC two years ago. He struggles mightility with all of these issues, because he's still in that phase when he wants all the big time--the team, the jacket, the medal, etc. and he is certainly no trust fund baby. I try to explain to him that having it happen now, is not useful, and that hanging your hat on it ever happening is setting yourself up for dissapointment. I see him try hard to believe me, but he still has stars in his eyes (who didn't, when they were 19).

Somedays his hunger starts to override his good sense, and I have to step in. I tell him that most people make the team in the 30s, and that he should concentrate on being the best rider and trainer he can be, and if he does that, then he will have a long and fruitful career--even if the team never comes calling. And he believes me . . . sometimes.

Money is an issue. To say that hard work will overcome everything in the modern sport is simply untrue, and unfair to kids that bust their behinds and still don't get there. I offer him an opportunity to do a lot of riding, and to learn how to train, teach, and develop horses, but I certainly don't have the wherewithal to buy him a horse or to find someone to buy him a horse to do the top levels. He works very hard, and is talented and I believe someday he will find his way to that level--but it will be once he finds a sponsor or benefactor--bcause his hard work alone is simply never going to be enough. Sad, but true.

It seems to me, that if the Team (capital T) and the Powers That Be, are serious about all their rantings about people getting out and finding sponsors, and horses and how every serious person should be spending every waking second finding people with moey to shmooze and how if you don't have at least three horses in the pipeline you aren't serious, then they should be part of the solution. There are benefactors, and owners that own multiple horses at the top of the sport, some own them for different riders, some for one rider. What if those top riders (who must on some level realize they will not be at this level in another 10-20 years), or the big Team poohbahs, got these wonderful, generous people, to buy a horse for a deserving up and comer? How about spreading the wealth a bit, so to speak? Instead of person X owning five horses for Rider Y, how about they own 4 horses for rider Y, and one for young rider Q?

What if someone like, say, Sara Mittleider had a blank check? What would her career look like in 5 or ten years (not that she isn't doing awesome right now, and not that Tony isn't amazing, but he's one horse in a sport that now requires a string).

What this would require of course, is a degree of selflessness I see sadly evaporating from the sport. It means that an older, established rider would have to take the chance that someday their owner's "other horse" just might take their team slot, and that they would need to see this as a good thing for the health and the development of the sport, and not a personal disaster. It would also require a degree of financial consideration (need and merit based versus simply merit based) that has been extremely unpopular in the sport to date. (I remember one year a good friend of mine whose parents run a tiny diner, which that year had been completely flooded that year, lost out on a training scholarship to someone who was their heir to a Fortune five hundred company. The person who won didn't alter their plans at all, because they had the money either way. The person that lost took on a night shift to pay for the lessons she needed).

I don't disagree at all the sucess requires an almost superhuman work ethic--it should. But the sport has turned now in such a way that unless you have the $$$ it's nearly impossible to overcome the gap.

pwynnnorman
Jun. 14, 2007, 01:30 PM
But what about the technical part, too (when it comes to "kids" vs. older riders and their chances at the team)?

I wonder, given the highly technical nature of today's courses and the much higher standard of dressage, if you just have to have a LOT more mileage before you can be your best.

It seems to me that a lot of YR's have one great horse which either they made themselves and so know so intimately that they could probably pilot it effectively with their eyes closed, or they have one great horse which someone else made great first. Compare that to older riders who have ridden a ton of horses, good and bad, and who, as a result, can "nurse" a relatively inexprienced horse around a course COMPETITIVELY (I'm thinking of Phillip Dutton and Tru Luck as examples).

I think I like that about the sport. I always harp on the 12-year-old kid who won the $25,000 World Hunter Championships a while back--beating out the biggest names in the business. And then there was another 12-year-old who actually rode in a Grand Prix (he had a 24 fault round, but he did it). IMO, eventing is just not that simple. Maybe, today, you can't be that good (good enough for a team spot or whatever) until you've spent more time in the saddle around more courses on the backs of more horses?

(In fact, I've always had this fantasy "test" for riders: draw a small box in the ground at the ideal take-off point of a biggish jump--a wide oxer, say--and ask them to put their horses hind feet in that box, three times in a row. Twenty years ago, Bruce Davidson used that box in an article in Practical Horseman. How many under-30 could do that now--and yet isn't that kind of precision, compared to 20-30 years ago, exactly what is required these days?)

eventmom
Jun. 14, 2007, 01:32 PM
Lisa Cook, your right about those sports. My son did gymnastics for a while, and I had a daughter do some swimming....both expensive. I was thinking of football, basketball, and soccer. All of which seem to be based on ability. I have another son doing soccer (did I tell you I had lots of kids?:)) anyway, being good enough is good enough to get you where you want to go in that sport. Nobody cares where you come from.

2ponies
Jun. 14, 2007, 01:44 PM
re: "draw a small box in the ground at the ideal take-off point of a biggish jump--a wide oxer, say--and ask them to put their horses hind feet in that box, three times in a row."

HUnter trainer Jack Towell uses an empty cigarette package. He tosses it on teh ground and says "Jump from here, darlin'."

luveventing
Jun. 14, 2007, 01:52 PM
that is an interesting point and a valid one pwynnnorman--- but where do these riders GET the horses to get the experience at the upper levels. If you bring them along yourself from modest means (the track, babies,etc) more than half of them end up lame or happier doing something else by the time they would be ready to go prelim. If you make the horses yourself you would be 80 before you had the chance to ride 3 of them around at intermediate or above! :) (unless of course you had a big barn you could fill with prospects) and then you have to pay the bills and take the financial risk on yourself for the ones that don't make it and you still need the money upfront to get started.

My vicious circle comes back to sponsorship. The big companies want the riders with a big string of horses. And those riders get multiple sponsorships and since those riders are so successful, they have more owners to buy them horses and pay the bills. they have higher demand for teaching and clinics, so they can MAKE money doing this. Where does that leave room for the up and comer with one horse to catch a break? I agree with the poster before that said something about "sharing the wealth". I can't say if I were a big time rider and I had my trailer plastered with logos and more saddle pads than i could use I would TURN DOWN more sponsorship, but maybe that is where we are lacking. The bridge between these accomplished older riders and the struggling up and comers. Maybe we need more of the rock solid riders to reach out and throw more support out for the one horse wonders. Maybe we need more "talent searches" and mentorship from our veterans.

would that be possible? a mentoring program? I read an article about the Medal kids doing that with Beezie Madden and others that was in PH at one point.

What about certain qualifiacations and then these top riders DONATING or DISCOUNTING talent search clinics for these "kids". Say- certain placings through the CCI** level. Yes, this sounds a lot like developing riders, but those guys still have to be picked through selectors. You qualify, you can show up. then maybe the kids out there that aren't on the rador for developing riders can be seen and helped along that path. ask some questions of how to keep moving on and get sponsorship and the real stellar riders I am certain would be noticed and get help from the veterans.

In a perfect world- that would be really cool. :)

loshad
Jun. 14, 2007, 06:00 PM
I was thinking of football, basketball, and soccer. All of which seem to be based on ability. I have another son doing soccer (did I tell you I had lots of kids?:)) anyway, being good enough is good enough to get you where you want to go in that sport. Nobody cares where you come from.

Not that I've noticed. The kids who want the really good scholarships for college (and who will thus have a chance to go pro) need to be on the travelling teams and do the camps that will get them noticed by the recruiters (I'm thinking most specifically of soccer here). An acquaintance of mine has a daughter who is a lovely rider and talented soccer player. Mom says she will have to quit one or the other soon, in large part due to the huge expense (and time required) inherent in both sports (she's on a travelling team).

I'm willing to bet that there are thousands of football, basketball and soccer players who don't make it even as far as the equivalent of novice or training level because there just isn't the money to do it. Getting to the upper level of ANY sport is going to be expensive and require a lot of sacrifice on the part of the athlete and his/her family, no matter how much money they have. Most of us just do not have that kind of dedication.

LexInVA
Jun. 14, 2007, 06:42 PM
Not that I've noticed. The kids who want the really good scholarships for college (and who will thus have a chance to go pro) need to be on the travelling teams and do the camps that will get them noticed by the recruiters (I'm thinking most specifically of soccer here). An acquaintance of mine has a daughter who is a lovely rider and talented soccer player. Mom says she will have to quit one or the other soon, in large part due to the huge expense (and time required) inherent in both sports (she's on a travelling team).

I'm willing to bet that there are thousands of football, basketball and soccer players who don't make it even as far as the equivalent of novice or training level because there just isn't the money to do it. Getting to the upper level of ANY sport is going to be expensive and require a lot of sacrifice on the part of the athlete and his/her family, no matter how much money they have. Most of us just do not have that kind of dedication.

Soccer is definitely more of a talent sport. I went to school with many players who were on the US developmental and national teams for their respective genders and none of them came from wealthy backgrounds and most of the players on the teams don't ever make it to the adult World Cup teams. Most of them played on multiple club teams while playing on the HS teams and then signed to play in college. A few later went on to play professionally but many dropped the sport after playing in college for a bit and some still play on the independent teams for small salaries. Trying to be a professional athlete just doesn't work in this country unless you're a big name in the sport or you are playing a televised sport. It's a shame the MLS chooses to import more talent from overseas to attract the immigrant fanbase instead of having homegrown talent but it's the economics of the sport I guess. Hopefully the new women's league can get off the ground and bring the national talent the recognition it deserves.

PhoenixFarm
Jun. 14, 2007, 07:14 PM
I can see where I wasn't completely clear in what I meant.

I am in no way advocating sending teams who are not prepared to do the job. I am also not advocating giving horses to riders who are not prepared to live up to the challenge and hard work required to produce one. I'm not even talking about "kids" per se--if they haven't, unlike my example of Sara Mittleider, proven that they are ready for the top levels and are knocking on the door of needing their next prospect.

But what I am saying is that stagantion of keeping the majority of top horses, now and for the future, in the basket of a handful of riders, will not be healthy for the sport long term. And it seems to me, some of our top riders and owners ans sponsors may want to consider that.

The day will come, though I hope it is far in the future, when even Karen and Phillip will retire. How much grander will their considerable legacies be, if they reached out and gave a leg up in the fashion I was discussing--not just in the teaching and training arena, which IS very important, but in the owner/horse/sponsorship arena as well. I believe Karen in particular would be familiar with this idea, as I believe when her coach, Jimmy Wofford, was facing retirement, he got many of his longtime owners to in turn support her.

TB or not TB?
Jun. 14, 2007, 08:29 PM
Here's a different perspective for you all -

When I was a teen I really wanted to compete at the international level, get my A in PC, have a life with horses, etc. The mantra from everyone I talked to about this, trainers, parents, fellow youths, PC leaders, etc, was "There's no money in horses. Go to school and get a good job and pay for your hobby that way." My mom supported my dream but no one else did. My father kindly invested the money I made from the sale of my horse into a better horse that we imported from NZ (around $15k) and I got this one chance to prove myself. Horse was good enough to go advanced though had only competed through Prelim.

I thought I had it made at this point. One problem - I was utterly on my own. Like many kids I worked to pay my own board and lessons, which was a huge time strain when you're also an A student. My Pony Club support dissolved, despite the volunteer work and teaching I was doing for them, they had no activities for upper level members. There was also a HUGE political factor involved (the final straw was them "forgetting" to put my name on the roster to take my C-3).

More than that, I could not find a trainer locally that was willing to teach someone who wanted to compete over Training level. The closest was Erik Dierks, a 6 hour drive. I'm in MN and there was just no one there. (Of course, like 3 years later Becky Holder came to town so what can you do!).

I got that horse when I was 17 or so and by the time I graduated from highschool, I was no where closer to my dream. I wanted to take the horse and become a working student, but my father opposed this "There's no money in horses. Go to college and get yourself a degree and work to support your hobby." Shortly thereafter, my father sold my horse when I was out of town and thus my upper level dreams with it.

Funnily enough I'm back in a similar circumstance since for me, college didn't work out due to health reasons, and I'm considering the working student route again. Even if everything were to go swimmingly (which will be a challenge since no $$ to speak of), that legitimate window I had has passed and if I do make it to the upper levels, I'm not going to be a youngster when I get there. At 22 I'm already wondering if it's too late to start on that dream again.

Anyway, that's what happened to me. I'm sure there are thousands of others with similar stories.

NeverTime
Jun. 14, 2007, 09:04 PM
I really think it has a lot to do with how badly someone wants it and how badly (and how LONG) they're willing to work to get it. In that light, people who go into the YR program have to adopt a very specific timeline (ie, succeed before they age out) and with that perhaps a mindset that if you don't get it in that timeframe, you're a failure. Even if you aren't in that YR pipeline/timeline, it's easy to get discouraged by people around you when you see them advancing more quickly than you.

The people at the top of the sport now have been at it a LONG time, and doing it with a day job, or by teaching a lot of lessons to keep them going in the MANY years before they found sponsors. What a lot of them had in common was keeping their eyes on their goal, doing what was necessary to get there -- often in a quiet, plodding, very un-flashy way -- and NOT getting discouraged by injuries or slow progress.

Look at Bonnie Mosser or Amy Tryon (put aside the current situation for a moment, please). AT and Poggio were "that" pair when they first went advanced -- you know, the scary ones who makes you cringe -- and their first Rolex, if I recall correctly, was a complete debacle. But instead of giving up, she believed in her horse and kept going, and working a full-time job, and kept slowly improving. For every Amy or Bonnie, I bet there are 20 riders who started better mounted and better funded and gave it up not for some external reason -- the likes of which the Amys and Bonnies probably faced at some point, too -- but simply because they didn't have the same internal drive be a tortoise instead of a hare and Just. Keep. Going. 'Til. You. Get. There.

((TB or not TB: 22 is NOT too late to start on an upper-level dream; neither is 42, for that matter, if you've got the chutzpah to do it!
I became a working student (for Denny) at age 27. Like you, I didn't live in an area where anyone really competed above training (although I could jump with a former HP and take dressage lessons from an FEI rider, I couldn't get consistent XC help), and I ended up with Denny b/c I aspired to go prelim on my OTTB and knew I needed some professional help to do it safely. I used money saved up from the job I'd been in since graduating from college; that and money I made freelancing was enough to make it all work. You can do it! ))

bornfreenowexpensive
Jun. 14, 2007, 09:39 PM
Tb---PLEASE....at 22 you are still a KID. EVEN if it takes you 10 years to go Prelim...you will STILL be young and have pleanty of time to go further.

Set your goals....and make them happen. There are many many different roads to take. I took one that I never expected to take. I often wonder what would have happened if I had taken a different approach.....but that's life.


But as to the team stuff...that is a whole different ball game. Knowing what I know and having seen what I've seen in both eventing and jumpers...not sure that is a ball game that I want to play in. And while I am surprised by the team going to the Pan Am games.....I do know that there are a ton of very good hard working YRs out there right now trying to make it work and who will be bright stars soon.

To me....money and even talent are NOT the most important things with horses....LUCK is. You really have to be a bit lucky to pull it all together at the highest levels.

Eventrgrl
Jun. 14, 2007, 10:18 PM
From a 16 "full of dreams" I must chime in that I think that there's two different issues here.... YR's... NAJYRC and "the team"... USET.

For the Young Riders, yes, it is quite difficult to make it to the * level by 18 and the ** by 21 if you dont have the $$ to buy a "made horse..." but it does happen. a lot. Being "one of the best" and making the team, especially in this dressage-ruled day and age on a not as fancy horse makes it harder. But there are TONS of YRs who do...personally im striving to try and make the * team by the time I graduate highschool (in 2 yrs.) and I am far from having a $50,000 horse. Am I holding my breath, ofcourse not..but I know that I have a chance and Im working at it. I think its a horrible excuse to say that you wont be sucessful just because you "dont have the money." It makes it harder, but not impossible.

That said in the "pros" those talented YRs after NAYRC... (and for most people, at least all the people I ride with, college!) its a totally different story. Obviously, its hard to do both college and upper level riding at the same time so you almost have to choose. And i think thats where eventing loses a lot of it's talented YRs...they must sell off their $$$ horses because M&D are paying for college and dont want it sitting around or forgo college to try and become pro's with their YRs horses... but reasonably so most opt out of this option because, as many people have said, its so hard to "get to the top." If more people were willing to help (both coaching and monetary-wise) since Mommy and Daddy train have stopped since then, i think there would be a lot more talented former-YRs wanting to "go pro" coming right back into the ULs.

And I dont know about you but I think that eventing it lacking a lot of support. As others mentioned, in Dressage and HJ (which YRs usually have
more $$,) there are seminars and clinics for the best...or sometimes just interested... YRs about "how to get to the top." YRs get to ask questions from pros about what its like and GET ADVICE! In Dressage there is the Bretina Cup to ease the transition from YRs to the pros and GP. It just seems like in eventing we should have some way other then Developing Riders to find those YRs (or 20-30 y/os) who want to do this for a living and give them as much support (coaching, grants, etc.) TO SUCCEED.

TB or not TB?
Jun. 14, 2007, 11:09 PM
NeverTime and BFNE - thanks a bunch, you guys give me hope :yes: NeverTime, I would love to someday train with Denny or someone of like mind - it's awesome to hear that you did it after college. I'm at a funny crossroads in life right now, so anything is possible. Haha although I'll say one thing - after being sick for 2 years, I'm more familiar with my own mortality than perhaps others of my age, so some of the sparkle of the ULs has been replaced with a good dose of "omg are you nuts?"

tuppysmom
Jun. 15, 2007, 02:30 AM
I have a daughter who is riding at the upper levels, so I feel that I can speak from this perspective, (sort of, well maybe, but only after wine).

I don't really know where to begin.... There are just so many facets to this that I don't feel that there is "one" reason why few YRs are making the grade. It certainly isn't just about the money. Here is what I have seen in my little corner of the world.

I have to put a fair amount of the responsiblitity on the parents. There has to be a LOT of sacrifice on the part of the entire family, unless you have a lot of money, if the family wants to produce an ULR. and it has to be a family effort. All of the family. Few families are willing to devote their entire resources, financial as well as emotional, and the all important time, to the rider.

Most families that I have known have treated their eventing offsping and the sport of eventing as a "side note". A hobby, something that little Suzie/Sammy will outgorw as soon as the graduate from HS. College must begin as soon as possible after the completion of HS, you know, (ha).

The family still takes expensive vacations, dad plays golf, mom goes to the gym, the home has cable TV, high speed internet, they each have a lap top, snowmobile, maybe a condo in the mountains. The child/rider still gets their own car, goes to prom, gets the french manicures/massages/eyebrow waxing hair tinting once a month, or a chiro adjustment, shops at the name brand clothing store, senior trips, works at the local coffee/juice shop in their spare time, dates lots of cute guys/girls, etc. The child my be in AP classes at school, and does school extra -curricular stuff, plays volleyball, cheerleads. Dad gets a new car/truck every year or so, and mom does too. The have memberships to all the clubs. They pay for lots and lots of lessons, nice tack, haul the horse all over creation, but... they don't "live it".

This sport takes all of your being. If you are not willing to give it your all, pull out all the stops, take your lumps,(or limps), as they come, ignore everyone who is not one your team, stick to your plan, you are just not going to make it. If you think that winning at nov, or even prelim is your goal, or maybe even getting a ribbon at these levels is your goal, you're not gonna make it. Why worry about a ribbon at prelim if Badminton/Burghley/Rolex is the goal? It is the riding that matters, not the winning. These are the "learning years". These are the courses/levels that you get around and learn the moves. When to sit back, how to ride a corner, or a coffin canter, how to gallop, how to keep your horse sound and healthy. This sport is really hard. There is collateral damage. You may have to sell the horse and move on to something more suitable,(not necessarily more expensive). You miss out on kid or family things because you HAVE to train. Being a "well rounded kid" in the social sense may not do it. You must keep your eye on the golden ring. You need your family behind you 100%, or you're not gonna make it.

The financial part is real too. How does one keep the horse(es) in shoes and the entry fees paid? I could write a book! It really does take a village!

I suppose that most people feel that making the team or having sponsors solves this problem, but it isn't so. It does lessen the problem, but most ULR have a lot of competition/team/travel related debt. They work their rear ends off teaching lessons/clinics and/or riding bad horses. It's a fact of, their, life.

I remember a few years ago when one young short lived pro was selling out her business after only a year or so. She said to me, "I can't do this anymore. Do you know that horses are 24/7? " uuuhhhh, yep.

If you want to do it, you just get in the truck and drive....

PiedPiper
Jun. 15, 2007, 07:26 AM
Soccer is definitely more of a talent sport. I went to school with many players who were on the US developmental and national teams for their respective genders and none of them came from wealthy backgrounds and most of the players on the teams don't ever make it to the adult World Cup teams. Most of them played on multiple club teams while playing on the HS teams and then signed to play in college. A few later went on to play professionally but many dropped the sport after playing in college for a bit and some still play on the independent teams for small salaries. Trying to be a professional athlete just doesn't work in this country unless you're a big name in the sport or you are playing a televised sport. It's a shame the MLS chooses to import more talent from overseas to attract the immigrant fanbase instead of having homegrown talent but it's the economics of the sport I guess. Hopefully the new women's league can get off the ground and bring the national talent the recognition it deserves.

My husband is very heavily into soccer and there are some incorrect statements above. One, we "import" talent b/c there is a HUGE discrepancy between the talent in this country and others. We are really behind the eight ball in soccer and our best doesn't even compare to the B team for most other countries. MLS is at best equivalent to England's club B teams but we can't hold a candle to their main teams. Hopefully one day it will change. A big reason why Beckham is such a coup for the LA team. Even though he is on the down slide in his career, age wise, his talent and ability far surpasses anything we could ever do. Look at Freddy as well. He was picked as a golden child for DC United and never produced anything. He has since been traded to Salt Lake but he would have been better served to try and play overseas.

Anyway, soccer too takes a good bit of money if a kid wants to big. And to be big and to really be good you don't play here in the US. My horse's chiro's son is really into soccer and plays on a team year round. He has his sights on playing for the best one day so will spend this summer overseas at camps in England so he is really playing the best for his age.

Also MLS does have schools set up for kids who look like them might be good so they are playing soccer at a school set up for it. Remember eventing too used to have a "school" a long time ago that the young riders were able to go to become the best. Maybe we need something like that again.

I don't think any sport can be just about talent unless we have an infrastructure in place where their are schools that help produce the best of the best. Look at what the Soviet Union had set up for their gymnasts. But there are definite drawbacks to this idea as well.

I think being the best takes a unique individual who wants and will do nothing but the sport in question. They live and breath it totally and completely and will sacrifice everything for this dream. This is as important if not more than just talent. We all know people who have the talent to be great who never produce.

ksbadger
Jun. 18, 2007, 10:37 PM
I think being the best takes a unique individual who wants and will do nothing but the sport in question. They live and breath it totally and completely and will sacrifice everything for this dream. This is as important if not more than just talent. We all know people who have the talent to be great who never produce.

Piper,
I have to agree. What I find amazing (as someone not brought up here) is the huge amounts of time outside school that the average teenager is expected to devote to organized sport - from basketball to tennis - everything except riding unless they go one of the specialized boarding schools. That thins the ranks of potential competitive riders a lot.

Then there's the pressure to go to college & get a degree as the difference in income is near crippling if you do want to ride. Unlike the old "shorthand & typing" generations of would-be sportswomen and actresses used as back-up, this takes much longer - so long that factors such as family and the biological clock take effect. After all this time, money & effort how many will still be pursuing their elusive dream of representing their country? Sadly not many.

magnolia73
Jun. 19, 2007, 08:35 AM
Then there's the pressure to go to college & get a degree as the difference in income is near crippling if you do want to ride.

The one thing I find intriguing are colleges that offer degrees in equine related studies, yet you rarely hear of big name riders coming through/out of these programs. What a great opportunity to seize to get your riding to a level that can get you on a team. What if some of these colleges had classes in very advanced riding- Grand Prix jumpers & dressage and eventing at prelim up, bringing in top clinicians, focusing on development of the students private horses. It seems like things like IHSA kind of stop at the level people rode at as a junior (hunter/eq courses at 3'-3'6, borrowed horses). What if there was a program via colleges that actually built on skills- competitive skills as well as skills such as business, teaching, green horses, barn management etc. Then you graduate a rider ready to compete at a top level, skills in place to run a training/teaching barn.

PiedPiper
Jun. 19, 2007, 10:13 AM
I think you would run into the problem of funding and access to that level of horse. Very few top level horses would be donated to colleges I would think.

Honestly I think, from a business standpoint, the one major degree those in the horse business should get is a Business Adminstration and even a MBA. Your skills in the saddle are paramount but so are your abilities to make or break in with running the business. I know PLENTY great horse people that never really break it into the big times b/c they can't handle their business properly.

I have done some marketing/promoting of higher level horsepeople and my suggestion to all is realizing that every hour is billable. Keeping their time cost effective should be one of their top priorities. No matter how good the rider is they have to be a good business person and I think you will see some of the most successful trainers are or they have hired very effective people. ;)

It is also a way to try and structure the day so you aren't running yourself ragged from sun up to sun down to where you completely burn out. That isn't beneficial to anyone.

magnolia73
Jun. 19, 2007, 10:19 AM
I think you would run into the problem of funding and access to that level of horse. Very few top level horses would be donated to colleges I would think.


My thought was that these schools could recruit kids with their personal horses at that level- so you take your **** prospect to school with you and develop it. I guess my thought is that a very successful prelim rider with a nice horse might be attracted to riding in college if they could continue to increase their competitive level vs selling the horse, choosing not to go to school or keeping the horse, but cutting back because of school. Kind of major in business, minor in high level competition.

Life is an Event
Jun. 19, 2007, 11:55 AM
I have been to two IHSA shows and even lent my horses. We don't give scholarships for tag football, but that seems to be the equivalent for what they do at these shows. IHSA is a way to equalize the number of females in college sports, however, it does little to promote the best of equestrian sports. I believe IHSA has it's place, but it won't get my daughter any closer to making "the team".

RAyers
Jun. 19, 2007, 12:17 PM
Funnily enough I'm back in a similar circumstance since for me, college didn't work out due to health reasons, and I'm considering the working student route again. Even if everything were to go swimmingly (which will be a challenge since no $$ to speak of), that legitimate window I had has passed and if I do make it to the upper levels, I'm not going to be a youngster when I get there. At 22 I'm already wondering if it's too late to start on that dream again.

Anyway, that's what happened to me. I'm sure there are thousands of others with similar stories.

This right here to me brings up another idea. Yes, we need "kids" in the developmental pipeline but do we need kids at the top of their game at that age? Is it better to have older, more seasoned riders than to push hard to get "immature" riders to be going at the top?

At the univeristy, I like older graduate students because they have enough life experiences to really know what they want and are willing to give more to get it. The younger students (22-27 years old) tend to just accept they need to do something but are not truely motivated internally, nor do they fully understand the commitment and intensity needed.

So, why do we need young riders at the top levels given that a riding career can go decades? I am 42 and playing in the upper levels and I figure I have another 18 years there. I have friends in their 50s working at getting back to Rolex. If a person can be at the top when they are 30, they can have a career there for up to 30 years! Denny, even you said your last Advanced was at 58.

Reed

Fence2Fence
Jun. 19, 2007, 01:28 PM
I'm agreeing with Rayers and since following the start of this topic have wondered if the emphasis on "kids" hasn't been a bit misplaced. (Don't want to be flamed but Rayers lead me down the path...) Kids are kids and most of them don't know what they want to do their life. Asking them to make a decision early on to become an ULR is a bit much with the few exceptions that are certainly out there. I think if the US wants to develop future US Team members, then they should be looking at 25 and plus who are currently competing at prelim. These folks are going have a better idea of what it is going to require and enough world experiences to commit 100%.

The YR certainly has a very important part in developing future ULRs. But watching the Young Rider program, it seems to emphasize competing at prelim/intermediate/*and ** events. Lots of truth and anecdotes of how that limits the YR who make their area teams to those kids with financial backing who can go out and buy made horses. I wouldn't mind seeing the YR program revamped to focus on these Novice, Training, and Prelim. I think it would level the playing field as the kids out there competing on their home made project would have a chance at making teams and having that "team" experience. YR program should be working on increasing the knowledge and skills of the YR base, not just show casing who can afford the top hat and tails. It would be really neat to see the YR competition respun into something like the Training Three Day competion/clinic where it's a learning and competition setting.

I wouldn't mind seeing some type of Developing Riders program that includes a wide range of age groups. Folks like Rayers (not picking on you intentionally) out there who are playing at the UL are the future team members. They know they want to do this and aren't going to quit when the going gets rough.

My two cents anyway.

3Day-Eventer
Jun. 19, 2007, 03:03 PM
I think your daughter is a prime example of working hard and making it. But, one question..... what would happen if her UL horse had to be retired??? Is there another one waiting in the wings, or would it take her years to get back to that level again? It would be a shame to see someone with a lot of talent fall by the wayside due to lack of horseflesh.
I could see that being very discouraging, and some people might never rise to the upper levels again.
I think that might be the issue. There are a lot of great riders, but they have to have great horses as well. The riders that have to struggle to compete one upper level horse put all of their eggs in one basket, so to speak. If that horse doesnt make it, or gets hurt, they usually have to start back at square one. The rich 'kids' or BNR have 5 others waiting back at the barn for them.

Unfortunatly, I dont see a way to fix it, its just how it goes. Which is why I will never be on a team!!!

RAyers
Jun. 19, 2007, 03:16 PM
I think Jimmy Wofford alluded to this on a recent article. What we may see are cycles fo horses and riders. You will have one set of riders for 5 years and then another set as the horses and riders retire and move up.

Reed


I think your daughter is a prime example of working hard and making it. But, one question..... what would happen if her UL horse had to be retired??? Is there another one waiting in the wings, or would it take her years to get back to that level again? It would be a shame to see someone with a lot of talent fall by the wayside due to lack of horseflesh.
I could see that being very discouraging, and some people might never rise to the upper levels again.
I think that might be the issue. There are a lot of great riders, but they have to have great horses as well. The riders that have to struggle to compete one upper level horse put all of their eggs in one basket, so to speak. If that horse doesnt make it, or gets hurt, they usually have to start back at square one. The rich 'kids' or BNR have 5 others waiting back at the barn for them.

Unfortunatly, I dont see a way to fix it, its just how it goes. Which is why I will never be on a team!!!

tuppysmom
Jun. 19, 2007, 11:21 PM
We buy several horses per yr from the racing world. Some come from our local track and some from out of the area. We get them going and sell the ones along the way that people want to buy and continue competeing the ones that don't sell. Sara has sold 5 or 6 from Prelim down to bank roll the ones that she keeps. Her dad has always sold his to bank roll the rest of it. She has one now who we hope to have his ** done this year and take to a *** next yr,(who knows? It could happen!) She just bought a 6 yr old who has been a jumper and is jumping better than 4' now, but is playing catch up with the dressage. He'll skip a couple of levels, I hope. And she was given a 4 yr old OTTB who is beginning the long road to ****. Her dad has one at prelim and several up and comers. We still have his semi retired advanced horse who could be pressed into service if needed. We don't have one who could step in next week if need be and that does make us a little nervous. We'll just keep bopping along with the ones we have and hope that some cream rises to the top soon.

PhoenixFarm
Jun. 20, 2007, 12:29 AM
A dear friend of mine is probably what would be called, a slipped through the cracks rider. In 1995, at the age of 21, she was the FEI Global YR and Global Newcomer of the year (not sure if they still give that out). It was the first, and I believe only time someon has won both in the same year. She had two horses, one a $1500 OTTB she was 5th at Rolex on (it was a *** then), and an unregistered 1/2 Hanoverian owned by someone else that she paid all the bills on the was 3rd at Essex (CCI**) and 2nd at Fair Hill (CCI***). At that same Fair Hill the OTTB bowed for the third and final time and was retired. In the spring of 1996 she finished 10th at Rolex on the halfbred warmblood, and was invited to stay for the post-event inspection for selecting the Atlanta Olympic Team.

She declined the invitation, because she felt her horse had been at the maximum of his scope and ability and she was unwilling to ask such an effort of him again. She said he had, literally, jumped his heart out, and that she never wanted to ride a horse that close to the edge ever again. Also, she had been on the short list for the Pan Am games the year before, and had been pressured to lie about a physical issue her horse was having, and then when she was unwilling to and voluntraily withdrew herself from consideration, she was then stabbed in the back by several people (vets, selectors, officisla) doing a CYA in case she diecided to inform the general public that she had been pressured.

Later that summer (1996), that horse suffered a stifle injury that would cause his retirement as well. Faced with no horses at home, she was offered a job in England to ride for a BN over there. She was ther for two years, had many top placings at advanced horse trials and was in the top 20 at Blenheim on one of his young horses.

But by the time she reaturned to the states in 1998, she was totally and utterly disheartened and burned out. She quite riding for two years, finished college, and got a "regular" job. She missed riding and the horses desperately (used to come visit me just to groom and sit in the pastures) but she vowed she would NEVER do this sport again unless she was able to do it completely on her own terms. She didn't want an owner pressuring her about what to do with a horse, she didn't want to be caught up in "team madness", she just wanted to ride and develop a horse of her own.

She is currently competing OI on an OTTB she's brought along herself. She hopes he'll go advanced, but when I ask her about bigger plans, she says she wishes she could ride at Badminton one day. She has zero interest on being on the team.

Several of her contemporaries (in terms of age and time of expereince) did the same thing and the ones that have returned to the sport at all, have done so in a similar fashion to her. The only ones still in whole hog are those that are wealthy enough to do whatever they want.

So as I read this thread, I wonder how many people out there have a similar story. How many "kids" have been eaten up and spit out and now have no desire to go back? Some people are, by nature, political animals. Some are not. Is that really the dividing line between who gets a pink coat, and who doesn't?

denny
Jun. 20, 2007, 07:09 AM
The reason I started this thread was because I wondered if there had been an official (or unofficial) switch in policy about the role of the Pan Ams in the developmental "sequence" of horses and riders.
In reality, we are mainly competing against Canada, and some other very non-powerhouse eventing countries, so it`s often a duel among Americans for the medals.
Because of that reality, we used to send, (how to phrase this), "not the absolute first string" to get team experience.
If we look at the 2007 list, that`s not the case. Anybody know why?

eventrider
Jun. 20, 2007, 08:50 AM
Denny,
I was told by Phillip this past weekend when I asked him this same question, that it is a matter of IOC funding. He said we are short on funds for the Olympics and we need gold medals at the Pan Am's to get IOC money.

Christan

tommygirl
Jun. 20, 2007, 12:56 PM
What are the fees involved in getting qualified and training for the Pan Ams. I know other countries fund their teams. What does the USET do for our up-and-comers

LexInVA
Jun. 20, 2007, 02:08 PM
What are the fees involved in getting qualified and training for the Pan Ams. I know other countries fund their teams. What does the USET do for our up-and-comers


The USET does what every other organization here does for riders they select as up and coming though they are little more than an offshoot of the USEF in terms of who controls what. They foot the bill for a lot of things and connect them with the best trainers available that wish to participate in developing talent. In the case of USET and eventing in particular, it is David O'Connor and those who are responsible for the international competition team who are doing the training. One of O'Connor's students under the USET program was just awarded the Markham Trophy and has been riding one of his horses, Tigger Too, in competitions and training. I don't know if he was working with her before she was chosen for the program by the USEF and I'm not accusing anyone of playing favorites but the press release almost paints that kind of picture in my mind when I read it.

tuppysmom
Jun. 20, 2007, 04:56 PM
for travel for horse rider and groom, board for the horse, board for the rider and groom all through the qualifying, the winter training sessions, and through any and all short list training sessions up to the day that your horse is loaded on the plane to go. Keeping in mind that the training sessions and quaranteen and trip will mean about 8 weeks away from home when the riders are unable to be at their home location teaching/training/working.

Once the final team is chosen there is grant money for them. If you get a grant of $15,000 and the plane ride for the horse is 15,000, you will have quite a bit of out of pocket expense.

It costs alot of money to keep a horse and rider travelling and competing. It takes a lot of help from people who love the sport to make it all happen.

pegasusmom
Jun. 20, 2007, 06:22 PM
I had the opportunity within the last 9 months to take a good look at the High Performance budget, and was quite frankly amazed about the amount of money the rider is given. Tuppysmom has just had first hand experience with this of course, but the days of old when all got paid for are long gone. The rider (or sponsors and owners) bear just about all the costs.

tuppysmom
Jun. 20, 2007, 11:12 PM
Yes, Dana is correct it's a self funded life. A few riders may have a money tree somewhere, but most of them work hard and fundraise like crazy to get there.

If you all want to help fund your riders there are plenty of ways to do that.

BarbB
Jun. 20, 2007, 11:41 PM
I have a daughter who is riding at the upper levels, so I feel that I can speak from this perspective, (sort of, well maybe, but only after wine).

I don't really know where to begin.... There are just so many facets to this that I don't feel that there is "one" reason why few YRs are making the grade. It certainly isn't just about the money. Here is what I have seen in my little corner of the world.

I have to put a fair amount of the responsiblitity on the parents. There has to be a LOT of sacrifice on the part of the entire family, unless you have a lot of money, if the family wants to produce an ULR. and it has to be a family effort. All of the family. Few families are willing to devote their entire resources, financial as well as emotional, and the all important time, to the rider.

Most families that I have known have treated their eventing offsping and the sport of eventing as a "side note". A hobby, something that little Suzie/Sammy will outgorw as soon as the graduate from HS. College must begin as soon as possible after the completion of HS, you know, (ha).

The family still takes expensive vacations, dad plays golf, mom goes to the gym, the home has cable TV, high speed internet, they each have a lap top, snowmobile, maybe a condo in the mountains. The child/rider still gets their own car, goes to prom, gets the french manicures/massages/eyebrow waxing hair tinting once a month, or a chiro adjustment, shops at the name brand clothing store, senior trips, works at the local coffee/juice shop in their spare time, dates lots of cute guys/girls, etc. The child my be in AP classes at school, and does school extra -curricular stuff, plays volleyball, cheerleads. Dad gets a new car/truck every year or so, and mom does too. The have memberships to all the clubs. They pay for lots and lots of lessons, nice tack, haul the horse all over creation, but... they don't "live it".

This sport takes all of your being. If you are not willing to give it your all, pull out all the stops, take your lumps,(or limps), as they come, ignore everyone who is not one your team, stick to your plan, you are just not going to make it. If you think that winning at nov, or even prelim is your goal, or maybe even getting a ribbon at these levels is your goal, you're not gonna make it. Why worry about a ribbon at prelim if Badminton/Burghley/Rolex is the goal? It is the riding that matters, not the winning. These are the "learning years". These are the courses/levels that you get around and learn the moves. When to sit back, how to ride a corner, or a coffin canter, how to gallop, how to keep your horse sound and healthy. This sport is really hard. There is collateral damage. You may have to sell the horse and move on to something more suitable,(not necessarily more expensive). You miss out on kid or family things because you HAVE to train. Being a "well rounded kid" in the social sense may not do it. You must keep your eye on the golden ring. You need your family behind you 100%, or you're not gonna make it.

The financial part is real too. How does one keep the horse(es) in shoes and the entry fees paid? I could write a book! It really does take a village!

I suppose that most people feel that making the team or having sponsors solves this problem, but it isn't so. It does lessen the problem, but most ULR have a lot of competition/team/travel related debt. They work their rear ends off teaching lessons/clinics and/or riding bad horses. It's a fact of, their, life.

I remember a few years ago when one young short lived pro was selling out her business after only a year or so. She said to me, "I can't do this anymore. Do you know that horses are 24/7? " uuuhhhh, yep.

If you want to do it, you just get in the truck and drive....

What an excellent post.
I know many young riders (not YRs) who are living the exact lifestyle you are describing. Many are very dedicated to improving their riding right now and many of them are excellent riders. But it is not anything that they want to do for the rest of their lives. It is a high school or a college activity and 20 years from now it will be either a childhood memory or they will be reriders, but they won't be competing.
There doesn't seem to be anything about horse sports today that appeals to most young people enough to do the work and stay involved.
Our equestrian teams need to be able to sort thru lots and lots of potential candidates who are ALL good riders, not beg a handful to stay involved.
I don't have a clue what the solution is.

Good luck to your daughter - she is lucky to have family that DOES understand that if you are serious it is not a hobby.