Should top riders even be aiming for the Olympics?
With all these post-Olympic articles I keep seeing similar comments, but one question seems left out.
"We need better horses... We need more money to support our top trainers... We need people willing to train horses up the levels... We should focus on our top riders... We should work on developing riders from the start... We should give more credit to those riding overseas... We should send the riders in North American overseas..."
With all those ideas, no one answers the question: Should competing on an international US team be the goal for our most talented riders/trainers?
I come from a background where that would seem the ultimate goal. My grandpa's distance running partner won Olympic gold and my brother tried out for the Olympic baseball team in the 90s. However, the financial structure of how one would have to handle it has never made trying for an Olympic team seem like something I would do even back when I looked like I might be on the path to becoming a grand prix jumper. (Dressage ability has never looked like it was a possibility to think of )
I just can't see where it almost seems as if there is a tone that riders with the skill owe it to us to try to make the team. Given it's a profession - is there enough financial payout that it's worth it for them? Sacrificing doesn't pay for an international quality horse, for its upkeep and for the showing, time away from a business, etc. But if a rider can manage to scrounge and peck and claw their way to an international team, does it make it financially worthwhile for them? Patriotism is great, but I fail to see in the articles why the typical top rider would aim for it versus aiming for a great, solid business with clients they can help and buying/selling horses they train themselves well before the expenses of international competition hit.
ETA: Of course a trainer with a sponsor (or multiple) who wishes to shell out the money to support a quest for international competition is different. I'm referring to mostly self-supporting quests which are an entirely different financial game.
Originally Posted by Silverbridge
If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.
I think you may have touched on one of the big flaws in our US Equestrian "system"
Talent and money don't always coincide, not to mention not everyone with the talent has the competitive spirit. We aren't encouraged to follow our passions within the discipline.