Uh oh...here goes that BWW posting again...BUT, take a look Re: $$$ in OUR sport....
It seems to me that it would be very hard, maybe impossible, for a young rider to compete and move up in Hunters, if there was a cash flow problem.
Now, please here me out before you say, "well, no duh BWW..." so you can see why I am raising the point. I know it may seem an obvious point that is beyond discussion to some seasoned posters, but to me, it is a discussion worth having.
Right now, we are looking at costs from the bottom up, with a very young rider. So our costs right now are about as low as they can get, on a per show basis. But we sometimes see the bills the other parents get from the show organizers and the trainer, or the parents discuss costs informally. Our bills are small compared to theirs. And we are very aware of the past investment each of these families has put in over the years. Those dollars represent real and tangible sacrifices.
As a basic premise, then, everyone can agree that it is a very expensive sport. Buying the right pony, show fees, trailering, it all adds up very quick. We can also say that winning is not everything, which is true. Horsemanship and love/care of your pony counts for a ton. BUT, winning and competing at high levels is generally a good thing, regardless of your chosen sport, IF you can afford it and are serious about it.
On to point 1: I am sure there are plenty of young kids that would absoutely love to ride and channel their energies into competition, but their parents don't have the money to even get them involved. Think of kids in the inner city, who are in single-parent homes, and all they have is a crappy blacktop with a rusting hoop. NYC is an example, but just north in Millbrook or North Salem, are some of the finest barns in the Northeast. But it might as well be a world away for those kids in Brooklyn...
With all the good lessons that this sport can teach kids (and parents:)), is there no way to bring these kids into the sport? You have potential talent on the sidelines, but the door seems like it is closed unless your checkbook is ready to absorb one big hit after another. I really dislike that about this sport....sorry, but I do. It seems like a fatal flaw when you think about having the best talent pool in the sport.
And point 2: Equally troubling, if money is really the determining factor, vis a vis who can buy the best pony, who can go to the most AA shows and rack up the most points, what does that say about quality of riding? If you enter a show every weekend, and the approach is based on volume rather than quality, sure, the rider has advanced his or her goals, but what did the sport get out of the whole deal?