Yes, there is the other, poor professional BNT attitude I hear and again, is irritating to me. Crappy rider or not, if the person's money is green and legitimate, and the BNT needs to fund their lifestyle, then teach! It shouldn't matter the skill level, that's part of being a entrepreneur. People who have their own businesses, from a baker to a GOVT Contractor, work long hours and sometimes 7 days a week to establish their clientele. Whether you have a nice client to deal with, experienced client to deal with, doesn't matter when getting established. Suck it up or get out! People work hard to grow their empire to the point where it is self sufficient and brings a profit. Why should the expectation be any lower because the business is a professional horse trainer? BNT needs to figure it out. How many hours can I teach and how many hours do I need to train my own horses. If that requires the trainer to have 12+ hour days.... ok. That's the price you pay to be successful, doing the thing you enjoy.
I have to say I'm a bit irritated when I hear how much Trainers are earning and only a few months ago after the Olympics so many people were saying how the BNT need money. They are pulling in $250.00++ for 45 minutes. That's more than I'm making, so when I hear people say that my taxes should go to subsidize their spending, hobby, profession...... no way! It seems to me if they were more careful with their spending, they would have plenty of money to buy their own horses and afford to compete in Europe. I'm all for entrepreneurship and if people are willing to pay for your the service you provide, good on you, good on the BNT! But, no way, should money be taken out of my pocket (taxes, lottery, etc) to subsidize a BNT.
I'm am sure the lottery funding scheme in Britain has gotten everyone's attention! But realistically, it costs over 100k/year to compete at the top levels. Now at least jumper riders have a shot at recouping/making money in their sport. But for dressage it is all just out the door, out the door, out the door, with the dough.
I don't think that BNT charge an unreasonable amount considering what they have to pay to compete at their level. But I do think that we should make an effort to make sure that the knowledge they gain from their efforts is disseminated over a larger base of students.
A lot of $ is going into the development of high level sports, but is is not benefitting the industry as a whole. It just keeps recirculating around at the top, and that narrow pool of personnel is a big reason why the USA dressage program is so weak.
You can't expect to have a vigorous population of anything if it is narrow.
I agree with you that dressage for some reason doesn't have the big Mercedes type sponsors. We can't jump over one their vehicles, but we could dance around it.
To me this is what the USDF should be figuring out. Is the USDF working this angle, doing the right research, and marketing to show Mercedes and other sport supporters the audience base and the finance range the audience falls within.
Also, BNT money isn't all going out the door. $250+ per 45 minutes. These BNT are pulling in over 100K and that's just lessons. I'm sure doesn't include the sponsorships and training fees they bring in. I don't have a problem with BNTs charging that price or more, just don't expect me to fund your trip to Europe.
Life is about choices. You don't have to have the best of everything. Look at Charlot Dujardin. She's riding someone elses horse and worked her way into that position. Nothing was given to her. She worked her way up. She will also make the biggest sacrifice of all if Valegro is sold.
There are a few of the big guns that are uber expensive. I went to audit the Rodrigo Pessoa clinic (jumping) in Sonoma two years ago. It was fabulously organized and well run and a gazillion auditors. Rodrigo didn't ride with a helmet and apparently that was a huge sticking point with some folks. He spoke the truth about how to school jumpers and how to negotiate big fences. There was a question and answer session during lunch. We all got fed SO SO SO well! ;-) People who participated in this clinic I am sure had their reasons. Steffen Peters comes here once a year, he's $500/ride I believe. Those who have medals and World Cup pedigrees pretty much charge what they want and those who can afford them, ride in their clinics. The big guns build it and they will come and they do. I would prefer to audit unless it's George Williams and/or George Morris. ;-) I go to clinics for confirmation of my thoughts more than anything else. USDF's mission statement includes the word, education. Well....then fund or partially fund ALL clinics regardless of it being for juniors, AA's or Pros. Don't run closed clinics, open them for all of us to attend and learn something! Check the ego at the door. Each clinic organizer applies for partial or full funding like grants and contracts. In this way USDF supports educating all of us. Not just a select group. Yeah, it's a pet peeve of mine how the AA's get overlooked. They are the foundation/grassroots of USDF....the pot should be evenly spread. The juniors are not the only pot to check in for the future of the sport....gotta look at the AA's....an Emerging AA Program comes to mind. There are some wonderful junior riders, absolutely, but they are young and limited in experience...the AA's are a bit older and have a tad more experience. I want to see an AA National Championship with USDF talent scouts at ringside observing and yanking a few to go ride with a big gun for a week like George Morris does with his Horsemastership Clinic in Jan in Florida every year. Have an emerging rider development list... ok, off my soapbox. Just some thoughts like everyone else. I always want to see this country succeed, gotta have the horses first so the breeders have to breed the horses, there's got to be owners to buy the horses and a rider/trainer to bring them along...it's a community effort to bring up baby and a community effort to bring along a rider.
If you really want a good deal then take a week or two off of work (or a several week long leave of absence) and be someone's working student. I've done this several times and it's a win-win: I get great coaching as I ride six days per week on a variety of horses, and they get somebody who is willing to ride for free.
The down side is that you won't be riding your own horse, and you have to be a decent rider to start with.