Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2024

We’re All In This Together

If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of reading about the economy and the difficult times that still remain ahead of us. I feel the same way, but when I read Bill Moroney’s Between Rounds column, “We’ll All Be Better Off For The Experience” (p. 38), I felt it was important to spotlight his message.
   

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If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of reading about the economy and the difficult times that still remain ahead of us. I feel the same way, but when I read Bill Moroney’s Between Rounds column, “We’ll All Be Better Off For The Experience” (p. 38), I felt it was important to spotlight his message.
   
Bill, the president of the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association, brings us some rather staggering numbers and cold, hard facts this week regarding the contracting economy and its consequent effects on the shrinking numbers at horse shows. We’ve all heard the rumors and the estimates around the in-gates this winter, but now we see the reality in numbers: Horse shows are a luxury. You can’t escape that fact. People need to eat and pay the mortgage; they don’t have to go to horse shows.
   
The leaders of our sports, including Bill, have been diligently documenting this economic downturn over the past year (or longer), and they’ve taken action this month. In his column Bill explains the three U.S. Equestrian Federation Presidential Modifications that David O’Connor signed that will help horse show managers and exhibitors through these tough times.
   
These three modifications are limited to assisting the AA-rated shows and their competitors, but Bill assures me that they’re also exploring other economic relief options for the A-, B- and C-rated shows. I did receive a phone call from one concerned show manager who felt her horse shows weren’t going to benefit from these modifications. I understand her point of view, but I also see the reasoning behind these first steps—the AA shows are the most expensive to put on and the most difficult to replace if lost.
   
Unfortunately, just as with the U.S. economy, there’s no quick fix to make everything right for everyone immediately. It will take time to adjust to these new realities, and I’m thankful that our leaders are taking these first necessary steps.
   
Now that our horse show managers have received some assistance it may be time for them to return the favor, however. I hope they realize that most everyone is facing economic hardship this year that will alter their daily existence. Competitors will show in fewer classes, owners will have fewer horses, spectators will spend less money shopping, vendors will sell fewer dress sheets and bridles, braiders will have fewer manes and tails, and the list goes on. We’re all in this together. It’s not necessarily the time to raise fees to offset lost income in other areas. Instead, it’s time to rethink what we do and how we do it so that we all survive this recession, and, eventually, prosper again.
   
This week even more than most it’s easy to see how much joy horses bring into our lives. There are more than 1,000 photographs in this annual Horse Show Issue, meaning that these horses touched thousands of lives this year, helping to achieve goals, create lifetime memories and provide countless people the opportunity to make a living in an industry they love.
   
We are among the most fortunate in a country that is the most fortunate. Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, it’s time to consider all that we still have and work together to keep it.

Tricia Booker, Editor

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