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  1. #41
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    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWW View Post
    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.
    I don't think I agree with your premise. It is an expensive sport, but it doesn't have to be a VERY expensive sport.

    Let's start with "buying the right pony"

    The "right pony" for a 4 year old is one that is safe, sound, sane, competent, well trained, friendly, and wants to please.

    While such ponies are undeniably "worth their weight in gold", they are often not very expensive. You just have to look.

    The law of supply and demand is such that ponies like that which are ALSO capable of winning in the "A" show ring are VERY expensive.

    But, IMNSHO, winning in the show ring is completely irrelevant in being the "right pony" for a 4 year old.


    Show fees don't have to be expensive, unless you insist on going to the expnesive shows. And once you are jumping 3'6", or higher there may be good reasons to go to the expensive shows. But there are plenty of good inexpensive shows.

    This weekend I went to a VHSA, but not USEF recognized, jumper show. I did 3 classes between 3' and 3'6". Jumps were good. Courses were well designed.

    I paid $61. Entry fees were $79, but I "won back" $18 by finishing 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

    It was 50 miles each way, I get 10 miles to the gallon towing my trailer, and gas was $3.25. So I spent about $32.50 on trailering.

    Yes, I also spend a couple hundred dollars on entries to go to Warrenton, Upperville, or HITS. And I get to test myself against a larger number of riders. But there are some pretty talented riders at the other shows too.

    More later.
    Last edited by Janet; Jan. 15, 2013 at 03:59 PM. Reason: spelling
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #42
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    Jul. 24, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurierace View Post
    A four year old child showing on the A circuit is 100% about the parent's ego. A four year old probably can't even write the letter A let alone understand the difference between an A show and a schooling show.
    ....or is just tagging along because one or both of the parents show (this is why I think 90% of the teeny tiny kids that are on the circuit are "on" the circuit).

    But in regards to the rest of the post. Why is hunters the only path? I did hunters for many years purely to learn to ride an easy course well (which we all know is harder than it looks!). But I did it on unsuitable-for-the-hunter-ring horses with the goal being the objective jumper ring. I know lots of kids who take this path because they can't afford the hunter to be truly competitive at the highest levels. I didn't care that we were always 2nd or 3rd with our BEST trips.....well, I stopped caring once I moved to the jumpers and started winning a lot. But the point is that yes, the hunters are expensive. The hunters are about who's sitting on the nicest horse and who makes the prettiest picture, and who finds those 8 jumps the best. So if subjective isn't your style, go to another ring! And as others pointed out, there are plenty of other circuits out there on which to play around until your kid gets old enough to know what she wants to do.

    Like supershorty (and several others) commented.....I did the whole show thing through my teenage years on a shoestring budget. I braided, cleaned stalls, rode for my trainer, assisted him in everything I could possibly get paid for, and basically worked my way through the circuit. That opportunity is still available for those who really want to do it.

    But it's all such a moot point. I wouldn't wish a passion for horses on my worst enemy, let alone someone who definitely doesn't have the money for it! Not a day goes by that I don't wish I'd gotten into competitive hamster rollerball racing or something else LESS EXPENSIVE than horses! Okay, okay, I am clearly afflicted by that same horse passion as the rest of us and don't really regret any of my choices leading me here, but the truth is that those choices are out there for everybody whether they're easy, hard, or next-to-impossible.

    But it bears pointing out that there are LOTS of things that can bring a lot to a kid's life. I think I learned as much from my 18 years of piano lessons and competitions as I did from my horseshows. Music, art, and a hundred other sports offer the chance to enrich somebody's life in a similar manner.

    You can whine about how unfair it is (and yeah yeah, ALL sports are unfair in some way or another), or you can find another avenue in which to share it with your daughter. But if you're dead set on making it a level playing field then perhaps we need to do the same with sailboats, car racing, and all of the other sports that are too expensive for your average person.

    And to the point about how it wasn't always this way....well, of course not. There was a time where a lot of people still had horses and it was just a way of life. That's been transitioning into planes, trains, and automobiles with every generation. Now horses are as "out there" as owning a yacht or an airplane. Better or worse, I don't think there's any way to turn back the clock on society's relationship with the equine.
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  3. #43
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    Aug. 11, 2008
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    Frankly, I have little sympathy for the "I can't have horses in my life because I'm not rich". whine. With the exception of the totally poor, inner city kids that have no transportation or access to horses, just about any kid who is willing to learn, work, and understand that they're not going to start out on the best horses at the best shows can still have a fun, fulfilling life with horses.

    The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of kids out there whining about not being able to show, when what they're really whining about is not being able to compete at the AA shows on the 6 figure horses.

    OP - do yourself and your 4 year old the best of all favors. Learn to enjoy the journey from the bottome up instead of trying to buy your way into the top.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/


    4 members found this post helpful.

  4. #44
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    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWW View Post
    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.
    I don't even agree with this.

    I grew up riding with a group of kids that ranged from middle class to filthy rich.

    We rode on everything from expensive show horses to cheap mutts. Some of us showed at The Garden. Some of us showed at the 4 H show. And everything in between.

    For the most part, those who were "winning and competing at the highest level" are no longer riding at all.

    The one who is the best rider of all of us, and now runs a H/J show stable in Northern Westchester (and takes 20 or so horses to Wellington) rode a $100 horse (cheap even in those days) He was a Morgan x Something, somewhere over 12, maybe over 20, depending on who you asked. He was 14h 3", of which 6 inches was withers.

    When she got him, he had two gaits. A jig and a flat out gallop. Nothing in between.

    Until she graduated from high school, pretty much the only lessons she got were through Pony Club (we had some pretty good Pony Club instructors, but it was nothing like "riding with Victor" as some of our friends did).

    She probably went to two recognized shows a year, one of which was within hacking distance.

    But she learned to train that horse so well, that it was only a couple of years later that I was standing on the rail (at an unrecognized show) when I overheard the person standing next to me say "I could do that too, if I had a pushbutton horse like that." Yes, by then he WAS "pushbutton", at least for her, but she "installed" the buttons.

    Now, as I said, she runs a toip class "A" hunter jumper barn, has students ride in the Medal and Maclay, competes, and has clients and students compete, at Wellington.

    No, I definitely do NOT think "winning and competing at high levels is generally a good thing" for a child.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


    7 members found this post helpful.

  5. #45
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    Mar. 8, 2004
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    Good point, I wasn't thinking about kids who were there with a family member who was showing. Nonetheless that same kid would likely be just as happy showing at the county fair with their family member. I remember when my daughter started showing she was disapointed if she didn't get the pink one. We tried explaining that blue was a good thing but she disagreed!


    2 members found this post helpful.

  6. #46
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    Winning and competing at high levels for a 4 year old?
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    3 members found this post helpful.

  7. #47
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    May. 18, 2012
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    PNWjumper - I'm not going to quote your whole post, but I gave it a thumbs up! Took the words right out of my not nearly so eloquent mouth. And I think I love you a little bit

    ETA: I think we might need a "I Should Have Gotten Involved With Competitive Hamster Rollerball Racing" clique. You of course will be the president, but can I be the first member??
    Last edited by AllisonWunderlund; Jan. 15, 2013 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Addition to post
    "The thing about quotes on the Internet is you cannot confirm their validity." -- Abraham Lincoln


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #48
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    Jan. 18, 2002
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    canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by omare View Post
    "Now, do inner city kids participate in Pony Club? No. So there are absolutely barriers to entry."

    But the fact they are inner city is not a bar to having a pony club in that area? (Do you have to own your own pony to belong?)
    Regardless, horses/ponies can bring so much to a young person's life that has nothing to do with being able or not to show at A rated shows.
    You don't have to own your own pony for pony club, at least not here in Canada. Many times the pony clubs opporate out of a equestrian center and they supply the horses for the club. I to think that inner city kids could benefit this type of program. I know my barn owner would be open for it, but we dont live anywere near a city.
    On another note, most times i don't believe its the 4 year old that cares whether they show or not. Its more the parents. Most kids are just happy to toot around on their pony. Unfortunately all to often this type of situation results in the kid quiting riding later on. Parents, who worry about the best of everything, miss the whole point of little kids showing. When they are little like that it should be about the group as a whole, they learn lots by watching their friends ride, and most of all how to be a good sportsman. There is nothing wrong with little kids showing, it should be a fun time, and trainers and parents should look at it like that. These times make the best memories. Like i said lots of parents don't get it. Winning, is something to strive for, as its the journey to get there that is what is important.
    www.tayvalleyfarm.com
    My other home.



  9. #49
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    Feb. 28, 2008
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    missouri
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReSomething View Post
    Winning and competing at high levels for a 4 year old?
    aHAHAHAHAHAHA. AND it was a "judge" or "steward" who they had not showed in front of before......in their extensive experience. in W/T, LL.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #50
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    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Your basic riding school with once a week lessons can be in the same price range as karate or gymnastics or piano for a child once they get to the more advanced levels. It is not accessible to lower income kids but it would potentially fit a typical suburban family budget, if you were fortunate to have a riding school near by.

    Once a kid hits the middle school years and has a certain skill level, there usually are opportunities to help out in exchange for lessons if the kid is a reliable worker and has reliable transportation.

    Girl Scout camps usually have at least one program with horses, and girls can completely pay their way to camp by selling cookies. It's not the same as a weekly program, but it is a way to learn about and be around horses that is relatively accessible.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  11. #51
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    Jun. 29, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by findeight View Post
    The providing riding for disadvantaged kids has been attempted by a former International jumper rider who lined up some pretty good backing...name escapes me at the moment (help me out guys, what was/is her name?). "Horses in the Hood" was/is based out in LA.
    Kathy Kusner.



  12. #52
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    Nov. 28, 2012
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    New York
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    I live in New York City, but am fortunate enough to have had the opprotunity to spend lots of time as a little kid upstate, where I learned to ride. I rode at what I now consider to be kind of a backyard barn (only went to local shows, no fancy show horses etc). At 13 my trainer approched my parents about me becoming a working student for her (I work everyday I don't have school and Fridays when it was at all possible to get up there before it was pitch black, in return I got food and a place to sleep without my parents, commissions on horses I rode in the sales program (money which was kept and put into my half lease, money for shows, trailering and the occasional clinic). I worked really hard but got to gain lots of experience and time on horses that I otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. My family didn't want to and wasn't really able to spend tons of money for me to go through the ranks if I wasn't doing all the leg work, wasn't good enough to be competitive at the level I was at etc. The working student position was great until last year when I bought my own horse (a fancy[ish] children's hunter prospect who had been forgotten about and left in a field for a year after he had 45-60 days of training.) My trainer was over faced with his spunk and attitude, and I found myself more able to ride him that she was. I got approched by another trainer for a similar arrangement but at a higher level and I accepted. This year I got to show in many AA shows (many of which were multi-day) for just the price of classes and my stall. I work off trainers fees and have a deal worked out where if I ride and show and act as groom for multiple horses (sale and greenies) I get free trailering. Not every trainer is as generous but a few are. The point of this long shpiel is that although this is a very expensive sport, and its hard to do without parent support, it is possible for those who have a drive and get lucky. I don't own a single pair of breeches, show coat shirt etc. that hasn't been owned by someone else first. I literally wear holes in all my equipment before I buy more, I compete against people who can out buy me any day and are on horses who are 15 times the original cost of my horse. Its really hard work, but its worth it and it is possible.


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  13. #53
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    Nov. 26, 2011
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    I agree with lots of the posts but just have to reiterate this advice: If you are already feeling this way about the sport when your daughter is 4, get out now before she's attached to it and save yourself a lot of heartache. I am in my late 20's and I think my mom still regrets geting me involved in A shows at a young age. I would have loved riding no matter the venue, but being at a big show barn just made me more aware of things I'd never have and opened the floodgates of oneupsmanship and completely unnecessary jealousy. And my parents DID have the money, but with 3 other children and living in the city, along with being very frugal, they were ideologically opposed to indulging my every obscenely-expensive and time-consuming desire in the name of keeping up with my barnmates. I still love to show. I love the competition, the atmosphere, everything. And I still spend my own money on it with reckless abandon. But honestly, in retrospect, I wish my parents had either decided to spoil me beyond rotten with it or had nipped it in the bud at a young age.


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  14. #54
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    Jul. 3, 2009
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    Canada
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    Red face The Small Step to Making Dreams Come True!

    A little off topic...However at Partridge Acres we often offer various community based initiatives that allow deserving children the opportunity to experience the joys of ponies in ways they may never imagine. We are currently running our "A Pony for Christmas" contest. We are delighted to announce an incredible opportunity to make the dreams of one very lucky boy or girl come true and win a one-year part lease on one of our special ponies!

    This opportunity is offered to contestants who have an unfulfilled love for ponies and who due to family financial hardship are not able to make that dream come true. The lease will be at no cost to the contest winner and will include one lesson/ride per week and free entry in one class at any Partridge Acres Stepping Stone Horse Show. The focus of this lease will be on enjoying ponies and fostering a love and knowledge for them over the course of the year.

    Contestants were asked to tell us why they would love (and deserve) to win this contest and what benefits this experience would give them. We asked them "What would it mean to you to be able to have your very own pony one day a week for the next year?"

    We are asking YOU (the Public) to please VOTE for your favourite story! Your VOTE will make the dreams of one very lucky pony-loving boy or girl come true! VOTE!!! VOTE!!! VOTE!!! & SHARE!!! http://www.facebook.com/events/17898...60/?group_id=0



  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    Well, I actually think that some of the things discussed in the original post are true. It DOES suck that the only people making it to the top are the uber-wealthy right now, and it didn't used to be that way.
    Oh, baloney. I've been horseshowing for well over 50 years in multiple disciplines. Anyone who thinks that making it to the top has only recently become "uber" expensive doesn't know what they're talking about. Horse showing at the top has ALWAYS been expensive.

    I've had a fair amount of success in my show career and it has never been cheap. My parents could have probably funded a small third world country with what they spent on me and my horses and I'm talking the 60s, 70s and part of the 80s. I'm not seeing why people think that the high cost of horse shows currently is some new phenomenon. It's not.

    I can't afford the big bucks that my parents spent on my riding. Tough beans...the world won't end tomorow.
    Fan of the Swedish Chef


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  16. #56
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    Feb. 6, 2002
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    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janet View Post
    I don't even agree with this.

    I grew up riding with a group of kids that ranged from middle class to filthy rich.

    We rode on everything from expensive show horses to cheap mutts. Some of us showed at The Garden. Some of us showed at the 4 H show. And everything in between.

    For the most part, those who were "winning and competing at the highest level" are no longer riding at all.

    The one who is the best rider of all of us, and now runs a H/J show stable in Northern Westchester (and takes 20 or so horses to Wellington) rode a $100 horse (cheap even in those days) He was a Morgan x Something, somewhere over 12, maybe over 20, depending on who you asked. He was 14h 3", of which 6 inches was withers.

    When she got him, he had two gaits. A jig and a flat out gallop. Nothing in between.

    Until she graduated from high school, pretty much the only lessons she got were through Pony Club (we had some pretty good Pony Club instructors, but it was nothing like "riding with Victor" as some of our friends did).

    She probably went to two recognized shows a year, one of which was within hacking distance.

    But she learned to train that horse so well, that it was only a couple of years later that I was standing on the rail (at an unrecognized show) when I overheard the person standing next to me say "I could do that too, if I had a pushbutton horse like that." Yes, by then he WAS "pushbutton", at least for her, but she "installed" the buttons.

    Now, as I said, she runs a toip class "A" hunter jumper barn, has students ride in the Medal and Maclay, competes, and has clients and students compete, at Wellington.

    No, I definitely do NOT think "winning and competing at high levels is generally a good thing" for a child.
    Love this story!



  17. #57
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    Aug. 21, 2012
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    Virginia
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    riding is a luxury sport, always has been, always will be. Especially with horse shows. It's a luxury event; no matter the level you're competing at. Nothing is going to change it unless you personally decide to get low-income children involved and nurture them along. In the end; winning ribbons doesnt matter. Building a strong foundation for your child is essential especially at that young of age. Teaching the essentials of riding and horsecare is where the importance is. Showing is a luxury and not a necessity to enjoy the sport.



  18. #58
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    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Alpharetta, GA
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    Riding is a wonderful, healthy sport. Taking lessons is the introductory level of riding and offers many of the benefits and life lessons. At my farm, that will cost you $200 for a weekly riding lesson. A family that doesn't have $200 to spend on a child's extra curricular activities probably needs to find something else for them to do. A teenager could probably earn that $200 per month baby sitting if they really wanted to ride.

    The next level of participation is to lease or own a horse. That's another level of financial commitment. Some families can't afford that, but can afford weekly lessons. Some individuals will find a way. They'll work off board, etc....

    I don't think that showing has to be a part of the sport of riding. But showing is a whole 'nother level of financial commitment. I think we're doing a disservice to the sport of riding to assume that showing is the be-all end-all of riding. It's not. It's just another facet of the sport.


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  19. #59
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    If your main goal is to show show show and collect ribbons before you age out of the juniors, then yes, money is huge.


    If your main goal is to learn how to ride like a pro so help you God, then you have several more decades to work with and will be able to make up your own nice horses with which to be competitive.


    Money certainly shortens the time span to get to the ribbons.


    Hard work, relentless dedication, and plenty of time will still get you the skills.


    FYI, I learned plenty of life skills working at the barn during the summer even though I didn't own a horse and didn't go to the shows. I learned a lot about horsemanship and how to work hard. I learned how to ride taking lessons on school horses (equitation horse not required), and received a level of education that had me well positioned to begin training up projects (under coaching supervision) when I could buy my own horse eventually. My third ottb (also trained under excellent coaching) made up to a ~$45k AA hunter. After a few more ottbs I learned how to train more and more on my own and now get paid to train horses for other people. I was not traumatized or permanently damaged because no one ever bought me a pony and I didn't take three trips around the showring for $1,000 a weekend as a 14 year old, and I still learned how to ride.

    The things you learn from riding are still there even without the fancy shows.


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  20. #60
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    There is riding and there is showing.

    I think there are lots of lessons that can be learned from riding and learning how to care for a horse.

    Competing can be fun . . . or it can become an end in itself. You can compete on a grand scale or a small scale. Some disciplines are less expensive than hunter/jumper or can be done at the local level. There is something to be said for having to strive for success and for also learning early on that there will always be people who have more than you, just as there will be people who have less. The trick is to make the best with what you have and what you can achieve.

    I didn't own my own horse until I was in my 20s. As a teen I was a working student, cleaned tack, babysat etc. I didn't show all that much but I rode a lot of horses and learned a lot. I see kids in my town who are putting in the same time and effort who also don't own their own horse so I think those opportunities are still out there.

    As a parent of two, neither of whom rode, I can tell you that all sports become expensive when you get to the higher levels -- to be competitive at the varsity and college levels you are paying for constant coaching, practice time and entry fees. They also require huge amounts of time, discipline and determination. I'd rather see kids get support in more conventional sports where they can learn to be a team player, where you don't need an expensive, large animal to participate, and where maybe, just maybe that skill will help them get a scholarship. There are very few kids from low income communities who are competitive swimmers, for example. Or who row. Or who play tennis.

    In the meantime, let your daughter enjoy the ponies and then decide what it is you want her to learn from riding.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



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