Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024

What Type Of Sport Will Our Children Inherit?

Even though my son is just 8 years old, sometimes he makes some intuitive observations that really make me stop and think. One of those “ah-ha!” moments occurred on our daily commute as we drove by the Upperville (Va.) showgrounds, which was being prepared for the first time for the relocated Middleburg Classic Horse Show.

As he studied the tents, rings and trailers gathering for the venue’s second U.S. Equestrian Federation rated competition of the year, he asked, “Why aren’t there more horse shows here?”
PUBLISHED
WORDS BY

ADVERTISEMENT

Even though my son is just 8 years old, sometimes he makes some intuitive observations that really make me stop and think. One of those “ah-ha!” moments occurred on our daily commute as we drove by the Upperville (Va.) showgrounds, which was being prepared for the first time for the relocated Middleburg Classic Horse Show.

As he studied the tents, rings and trailers gathering for the venue’s second U.S. Equestrian Federation rated competition of the year, he asked, “Why aren’t there more horse shows here?”

I thought for a moment. Notwithstanding that the landowners probably prefer not to host competitions each week, I thought, “How do I explain the mileage rule?”

So I said, “Other places have horse shows nearby, and because only a certain number of big horse shows can be held in one area, we have to take turns going to them.”

Cameron, who looks forward each year to attending the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, thought about my comment for a moment and replied, “But if everyone likes going to this horse show, why would they have to go somewhere else they don’t like as much?”

Why indeed? And, in very simplistic terms, this is one of the conundrums of our current system seen through the eyes of a child.

I think Bill Moroney, the U.S. Hunter/Jumper Association president and this week’s columnist, would have congratulated Cameron on his observation if he’d been in the truck with us. Billy is asking for everyone to provide fresh thoughts and ideas as the USHJA moves forward, and in his column he addresses many issues hunter/jumper horsemen are facing in “Planning The Future Of Our Sport” (p. 60).

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s no secret that the hunter/jumper disciplines have been slower to change than other equestrian sports. And in the past special interests have sometimes dominated the direction we’ve traveled, so Billy and the USHJA leaders are adamant that we must all work together to forge ahead for the long-term good of the sport.

It’s not going to be easy. It will mean putting aside your own agenda, keeping an open mind, and it will require that you focus on the future—beyond the short-term balance in your checking account and, instead, to the long-term riches your children and grandchildren will enjoy as they participate in an improved sport.

Showing horses and attending horse shows with people who share a common passion is a wonderful way to spend time. Many of us have enjoyed this lifestyle for decades, yet throughout the years we’ve complained about the shortcomings we see and experience. Rarely do we step out of our comfort zone to express those thoughts or suggest improvements, however.

So it’s time for all of us to attend to those complaints and join Billy and the USHJA leaders in person at the Annual Meeting, Dec. 8-11 in Nashville, Tenn.

Even though my son won’t attend the meeting with me—third grade is way too intense to miss—I’ll think of him and remind myself to look beyond what’s practical, focus on creative ways to solve problems and try to observe situations through the eyes of a child.

Tricia Booker, Editor

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse