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From The Outside Looking In By: Blogger Chad Oldfather. A suggestion for addressing the financial inequality in Equitation Finals.

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  • #81
    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
    Perhaps most importantly, you assume a base of knowledge about the horse world that most/many parents and participants do not have and many trainers do not provide the information. Thus, the resource and goal setting conversations that your parents had with you are beyond the knowledge of many entering the horse show world. This means the mostly unreasonable dream is held up as possible and the fairy tale lives on. (And there are always just enough fairy tales that come true that perpetuate this myth.)
    This is true. I, for sure, have a very biased perspective in this area because my mom is incredibly knowledgeable and I rode with one trainer for the entirety of my junior years, so things like those conversations seem normal to me. It did not occur to me that those types of conversations might not be be routine at the start of each year. And I'm not sure what the answer to this could be - telling someone how to run their business would not go over well, but it has always struck me as a way to improve the upcoming year without spending additional money just to figure out what the plan is.

    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
    While the equitation finals should not be the only OR ultimate goal, finding a way to create a pipeline for talented riders to progress and even perhaps to be noticed is and should be important to the development of the sport. It's something other sports do more successfully that equestrians.
    Isn't this what the EAP was supposed to be, and then they made the requirements such that those kids are falling through the cracks anyway? What do other sports do? Maybe one way to approach this would be to have an EAP-type program, but one actually aimed at the grassroots of the sport (so limiting eligibility such that people who are already competing at the big eq finals or prix des states, etc., are ineligible), and the top 3 kids (or whatever number you choose) get an apprenticeship with one of the bigger barns that will take working students. That would get them into the industry and learning from people at the top of the sport. But there are logistical issues with this too - it's just the start of a thought.

    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
    Another is that there is no substitute for experience and exposure. Going to 20 or more shows a year on 5 or more different horses provides an experience and training that cannot be duplicated in 5 shows and 1 horse and training at home. And, too often, those local shows do not ask the same questions or even set the jumps at the regulation height. These riders never get the chance to develop the level of skills that those with more means see on a regular basis. So, we handicap riders with less means by not providing the challenge at the local level. And, at least some of these issues could be addressed.
    100% agree! I don't know about other regions of the country, but where I grew up, this is where some of the state and regional medal classes came into play. The big eq classes at the C shows were almost never set at 3'6" (I have videos from filling classes where the medal and USET are 3' MAX), but the state medals and the New England medal were always set to their specs and often had the same course as the big eq, and their finals were no joke either. But again, like you said before... I had a lot of privilege in where I grew up, so the experience I had is probably not a good representation of other areas.

    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post
    The discussion of fostering the growth of the sport and the development of riders should not turn into a discussion purely of "do you have the means" or "set reasonable goals and live within your means". It is possible to enjoy the sport, be satisfied with your goal setting, and ALSO to think that the sport can discuss, and consider the inherent problems and limitations and potential ways to address them.
    I agree, and if I didn't come across as wanting to consider ways to improve the sport, that was not my intention. I am not sure that there is a way to make the equitation finals more accessible in a realistic way - but I'm also not convinced that they really need to be the focus. In some ways, I think having a heavier emphasis on training these kids to do the jumpers safely & efficiently is a better road to go down - you still have to be an excellent rider, and many of the skills learned in the equitation become even more important in the jumper ring, but it removes that element of subjectivity or the need for a specialist-type horse. You even could add in a subjective element if you wanted to include a style component. I think the issue of turn-and-burn could be addressed by making these developing rider classes optimum time (or something similar) and then utilizing a system like what poltroon mentioned so the kids who can't afford to ship to bigger shows could still learn, compete, and get feedback. Thoughts?
    https://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628

    Comment


    • #82
      Originally posted by kenyarider View Post
      Because to me, that is the problem we need to address: how to fix the barriers that prevent ambitious riders from moving up even if they do not have the "means".
      Why? What about this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the riding community? Nothing anyone has said here has done anything to demonstrate that this is a problem for anyone other than the specific individuals who are ambitious but don't have the means to move up to the top tiers of a very expensive sport.

      "Ambitious but lacking means" is a description that describes a vast multitude. Ambitious but lacking the means to attend Harvard Law School. Ambitious but lacking the means to own and drive a car in the Monaco Grand Prix. Ambitious but lacking the means to get to the highest levels of (insert your sport of choice).

      What makes you (g) so special that an entire industry ought to rearrange itself just to satisfy your ambition? What does the industry stand to gain from doing so that justifies the expense and effort such a rearrangement would take? Thus far, the only reason I've seen expressed consistently here is "I want but I can't afford," which addresses what you (g) personally stand to gain, but offers no indication of how the industry and those operating at the upper tiers stand to gain by "fixing" this "problem" that you perceive.

      (Yes, I'm playing Devil's advocate here a bit, but this is a legitimate aspect of the discussion that no one has adequately addressed.)

      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
      that's even remotely true."

      Homer Simpson

      Comment


      • #83
        I think an important question to ask is how important the Maclay is in real terms. Is getting to finals a “make or break” pre-requisite to having a successful pro career later in the h/j industry? If not, is anyone really missing out on anything substantive if they lack the financial means to compete at that level?

        Comment


        • #84
          Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

          Why? What about this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the riding community? Nothing anyone has said here has done anything to demonstrate that this is a problem for anyone other than the specific individuals who are ambitious but don't have the means to move up to the top tiers of a very expensive sport.

          "Ambitious but lacking means" is a description that describes a vast multitude. Ambitious but lacking the means to attend Harvard Law School. Ambitious but lacking the means to own and drive a car in the Monaco Grand Prix. Ambitious but lacking the means to get to the highest levels of (insert your sport of choice).
          Harvard Law (and the university in general) do actually address this and decently well. They reserve too many spots for legacies and people who are wealthy, but they do also admit quite a lot of students who are low income but have managed to show their talent in a few prescribed ways. They don't get everyone. But they do get some.

          What makes you (g) so special that an entire industry ought to rearrange itself just to satisfy your ambition? What does the industry stand to gain from doing so that justifies the expense and effort such a rearrangement would take? Thus far, the only reason I've seen expressed consistently here is "I want but I can't afford," which addresses what you (g) personally stand to gain, but offers no indication of how the industry and those operating at the upper tiers stand to gain by "fixing" this "problem" that you perceive.

          (Yes, I'm playing Devil's advocate here a bit, but this is a legitimate aspect of the discussion that no one has adequately addressed.)
          I do think it's important to the industry that riders have achievable goals that can be reached through intelligence, dedication, and hard work, and that this be true across as large a region and demographic as possible. Goals that encourage that investment and hard work and pay off in some way - recognition, useful skills, personal satisfaction. The importance of this isn't that one "whiny" individual, but really in keeping the sport alive. Most likely we have enough pipeline to come up with five riders who can jump big sticks plausibly in an Olympic year for the foreseeable future. But do we have pipeline that creates enough grassroots to support the horse shows and facilities and horses and coaching that those five riders needed? Do we have the pipeline to have riding schools and neighborhood trainers?

          How do we keep horses "a thing" when more people are living in cities, when girls have their choice of any sport, when kids are doing most of their sports activities within the school context? When school is more of a winner-take-all situation and takes far more time when it once did? How do we keep horsekeeping from being something only out-of-touch rich people do, impossible to justify when so many people struggle just for food or health care?

          And finally, even though in some ways it's easier to travel than ever, we also are more cognizant of how much travel wears on the horses, and its cost to the climate, not just in money.
          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

          Comment


          • #85
            Originally posted by poltroon View Post

            Harvard Law (and the university in general) do actually address this and decently well. They reserve too many spots for legacies and people who are wealthy, but they do also admit quite a lot of students who are low income but have managed to show their talent in a few prescribed ways. They don't get everyone. But they do get some.

            Decently well? I don't think so. It's true that Harvard in general, including Harvard law, is becoming more diverse in terms of race, but the percentage of students that come from anything less than the top income levels is tiny. And "lower income" among Harvard students is not the same thing as "lower income"among the general population.

            I do think it's important to the industry that riders have achievable goals that can be reached through intelligence, dedication, and hard work, and that this be true across as large a region and demographic as possible. Goals that encourage that investment and hard work and pay off in some way - recognition, useful skills, personal satisfaction. The importance of this isn't that one "whiny" individual, but really in keeping the sport alive. Most likely we have enough pipeline to come up with five riders who can jump big sticks plausibly in an Olympic year for the foreseeable future. But do we have pipeline that creates enough grassroots to support the horse shows and facilities and horses and coaching that those five riders needed? Do we have the pipeline to have riding schools and neighborhood trainers?

            How do we keep horses "a thing" when more people are living in cities, when girls have their choice of any sport, when kids are doing most of their sports activities within the school context? When school is more of a winner-take-all situation and takes far more time when it once did? How do we keep horsekeeping from being something only out-of-touch rich people do, impossible to justify when so many people struggle just for food or health care?

            You're changing the subject. These are questions we could discuss, but they don't really have much to do with making the Maclay competition, or elite-level competition in general, more affordable, which is what I was talking about.
            Personally, I don't think it's possible to "keep horses a thing" among our increasingly urbanized population except among the wealthy. It's logistically impossible.

            Do we have the pipeline to support equestrian Olympic competitions? Based on the class sizes, quality of horses, and prize money at the elite level shows, it certainly seems so. Among the upper income levels, there seem to be plenty of young folks coming up through the equestrian pipeline. The presence and participation of those of us of more modest means appears to be mostly irrelevant.

            Again, from my perspective, you're mixing, well, if not apples and oranges, at least tangerines and oranges. The health and future of equestrian sports among "regular people" is an entirely separate issue from the health and future of equestrian sports at the elite levels of competition.

            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
            that's even remotely true."

            Homer Simpson

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by mvp View Post

              That's true. When I was a kid and awake enough to first paying any kind of vague, kid-like attention, let's say in 1980, there was still talk of the way horse showing and the Big Eq was part of a feed system to an Olympic team. This was perhaps before 1980, but there was a kind of patriotism and paternalism that meant if you had an Olympic horse, you might be tapped to have it used but the USET. The relationship between the USET and AHSA was tighter. Heck, I got some USET Swag and the Grand National held at the San Francisco Cow Palace back then,

              Now, I think it's just something that professional horse trainers and billlionaires do. There is no amateurism in the Olympics. Perhaps nationalism has decreased, too. But I don't see the same tight connection between the horse showing industry that I might pay into and an Olympic team. And after feeling priced out (and clearly not "part of" that scene as not their ideal customer), I just can't see sending my sponsorship dollars to any elite horsey endeavor. I would, however, be psyched to sponsor classes at the level of horse show that I actually attend.
              You are so right. I remember proudly donating to the USET, even though I was pretty much a C show rider. Many of the names I know from the racing world were patrons of Olympic equestrian sports as well. How cool it seemed to be able to DONATE an international caliber horse to the TEAM! I'm far more likely to put time or effort is actual cash into the grassroots in my horse community than to dash off a tiny donation to an elite level group. When I see names like Gates and Springsteen and Goutal on the donor lists I figure that my $50 isn't worth the time it takes to process the payment to them so I offer to announce a local show or lend a hand when my barnmates show or do something for someone for whom it's more meaningful.
              F O.B
              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                Personally, I don't think it's possible to "keep horses a thing" among our increasingly urbanized population except among the wealthy. It's logistically impossible.

                Do we have the pipeline to support equestrian Olympic competitions? Based on the class sizes, quality of horses, and prize money at the elite level shows, it certainly seems so. Among the upper income levels, there seem to be plenty of young folks coming up through the equestrian pipeline. The presence and participation of those of us of more modest means appears to be mostly irrelevant.

                Again, from my perspective, you're mixing, well, if not apples and oranges, at least tangerines and oranges. The health and future of equestrian sports among "regular people" is an entirely separate issue from the health and future of equestrian sports at the elite levels of competition.
                It's important to check your facts ....

                Actually - 55% of Harvard's class receives need based aid -- see the following article:

                https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/05/it-c...ually-pay.html

                Of course much of the class is well to do - not unique to Harvard
                Last edited by juststartingout; Dec. 2, 2019, 12:05 AM.

                Comment


                • #88
                  Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                  Why? What about this is a problem that needs to be addressed by the riding community? Nothing anyone has said here has done anything to demonstrate that this is a problem for anyone other than the specific individuals who are ambitious but don't have the means to move up to the top tiers of a very expensive sport.

                  "Ambitious but lacking means" is a description that describes a vast multitude. Ambitious but lacking the means to attend Harvard Law School. Ambitious but lacking the means to own and drive a car in the Monaco Grand Prix. Ambitious but lacking the means to get to the highest levels of (insert your sport of choice).

                  What makes you (g) so special that an entire industry ought to rearrange itself just to satisfy your ambition? What does the industry stand to gain from doing so that justifies the expense and effort such a rearrangement would take? Thus far, the only reason I've seen expressed consistently here is "I want but I can't afford," which addresses what you (g) personally stand to gain, but offers no indication of how the industry and those operating at the upper tiers stand to gain by "fixing" this "problem" that you perceive.

                  (Yes, I'm playing Devil's advocate here a bit, but this is a legitimate aspect of the discussion that no one has adequately addressed.)
                  Truly do not understand this reaction. The bulk of the riding world is people of "less means" than than the top. Why should an organization not be invested in growing its base and providing pathways to progress that are well thought out.

                  It's important to the sport and to the welfare of horses that those who engage with horses are well trained and knowledgeable regardless of where their means allow them to compete. Its important to the future of the sport that there are opportunities for participants at all levels to learn and improve. This is how we build a base for the future.

                  Not everyone, or even many, is going to ride in a Grand Prix - that is not the objective. But building a following and developing an audience does benefit the sport significantly.

                  on the contra side - and again taking like you a Devil's Advocate position - what makes the top so special that the entire sport should be organized around their desires. Much of the evolution during the recent past has moved in that direction -- historically there were quality local shows with great courses, challenging questions, and the possibility of growing at the local level. Mega Shows have truly diminished that market
                  Last edited by juststartingout; Dec. 1, 2019, 10:53 PM. Reason: spelling

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post

                    Truly do not understand this reaction. The bulk of the riding world is people of "less means" than than the top. Why should an organization not be invested in growing its base and providing pathways to progress that are well thought out.

                    It's important to the sport and to the welfare of horses that those who engage with horses are well trained and knowledgeable regardless of where their means allow them to compete. Its important to the future of the sport that there are opportunities for participants at all levels to learn and improve. This is how we build a base for the future.

                    Not everyone, or even many, is going to ride in a Grand Prix - that is not the objective. But building a following and developing an audience does benefit the sport significantly.

                    on the contra side - and again taking like you a Devil's Advocate position - what makes the top so special that the entire sport should be organized around their desires. Much of the evolution during the recent past has moved in that direction -- historically there were quality local shows with great courses, challenging questions, and the possibility of growing at the local level. Mega Shows have truly diminished that market
                    What makes the top so special that the entire sport is organized around them? Well, they can AFFORD it. This is pretty much how the world works. Equine sport organizations aren't charities; the sport is lucky to have the Gochmans and the Lindsay Maxwells and the whoever else who are generous enough to give back to the sport and provide opportunities to some who wouldn't otherwise have them, but USEF is not in business to provide welfare checks to pony crazy kids whose parents can't or won't pony up the cash to support them. As others have said, there is no shortage of junior riders who DO have the full support they need - how many kids showed up for the Maclay finals? 250?

                    There were at least fifteen properties within a 45 minute drive of my barn when I was a junior that held rated shows, and a few more that held unrated shows, many of both with outside courses, and guess how many are left? ZERO.The local shows aren't coming back; those properties are now filled with McMansions and traffic jams. Today's kids whose families are on the same relative budget that my family was on simply have to find other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses.

                    This whole topic is just another extension of the ubiquitous "every child gets a trophy". Every child does not get to go to Maclay Finals. They'll be okay, really.

                    Comment


                    • #90
                      Originally posted by ynl063w View Post

                      What makes the top so special that the entire sport is organized around them? Well, they can AFFORD it. This is pretty much how the world works. Equine sport organizations aren't charities; the sport is lucky to have the Gochmans and the Lindsay Maxwells and the whoever else who are generous enough to give back to the sport and provide opportunities to some who wouldn't otherwise have them, but USEF is not in business to provide welfare checks to pony crazy kids whose parents can't or won't pony up the cash to support them. As others have said, there is no shortage of junior riders who DO have the full support they need - how many kids showed up for the Maclay finals? 250?

                      There were at least fifteen properties within a 45 minute drive of my barn when I was a junior that held rated shows, and a few more that held unrated shows, many of both with outside courses, and guess how many are left? ZERO.The local shows aren't coming back; those properties are now filled with McMansions and traffic jams. Today's kids whose families are on the same relative budget that my family was on simply have to find other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses

                      This whole topic is just another extension of the ubiquitous "every child gets a trophy". Every child does not get to go to Maclay Finals. They'll be okay, really.
                      Wow.... interesting response.... This is truly NOT a discussion of "every child gets a trophy" because, if you knew me, you would know that that is a philosophy that I strongly disagree with. Instead, this is a discussion about how we support and sustain a sport we all love. I accept that my sandbox may not be the same as the Gochmans - I accept that my sandbox will not be as pretty or fancy. But what I do not accept is that just because many of us can't afford a Gochman sandbox that we should just shut up and accept it and find "other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses"

                      if you make the comparison to other sports there are always sponsors at the top and I appreciate what they do BUT having been an elite competitor in another sport there are legitimate and effective ways to support the sport at multiple levels.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Originally posted by juststartingout View Post

                        Wow.... interesting response.... This is truly NOT a discussion of "every child gets a trophy" because, if you knew me, you would know that that is a philosophy that I strongly disagree with. Instead, this is a discussion about how we support and sustain a sport we all love. I accept that my sandbox may not be the same as the Gochmans - I accept that my sandbox will not be as pretty or fancy. But what I do not accept is that just because many of us can't afford a Gochman sandbox that we should just shut up and accept it and find "other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses"

                        if you make the comparison to other sports there are always sponsors at the top and I appreciate what they do BUT having been an elite competitor in another sport there are legitimate and effective ways to support the sport at multiple levels.
                        I did not suggest that anyone should “shut up”. I did suggest that many would be better served by accepting the reality that many areas simply have almost no local options to show on a regular basis. Those McMansions are here to stay. There are, however, other ways for kids to enjoy their ponies and horses that don’t include feeling sorry themselves for the fact that Maclay finals isn’t going to happen. One option that is big in my area is the high school riding program; I believe it includes middle school and even elementary school. What do you have against these programs that you won’t accept them as a realistic alternative to every child going to equitation finals?

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by ynl063w View Post

                          I did not suggest that anyone should “shut up”. I did suggest that many would be better served by accepting the reality that many areas simply have almost no local options to show on a regular basis. Those McMansions are here to stay. There are, however, other ways for kids to enjoy their ponies and horses that don’t include feeling sorry themselves for the fact that Maclay finals isn’t going to happen. One option that is big in my area is the high school riding program; I believe it includes middle school and even elementary school. What do you have against these programs that you won’t accept them as a realistic alternative to every child going to equitation finals?
                          I am well aware of and support a number of the programs that you mention. The programs are great and they provide access to showing to a number of riders who would not otherwise have them. BUT they have limitations of their own. (for example a one time ride on an unknown horse is not the time to present challenging questions on a course) . That is not bad or good it's just true.

                          The local shows may not be coming back -- or they may under a different approach. But providing opportunities for riders to be presented with level appropriate questions and height appropriate fences ought not to be limited to those who have the means to ride at the big shows. We ought to be more open to meeting these challenges and presenting those opportunities than simply saying find "other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses."

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            Originally posted by juststartingout View Post

                            I am well aware of and support a number of the programs that you mention. The programs are great and they provide access to showing to a number of riders who would not otherwise have them. BUT they have limitations of their own. (for example a one time ride on an unknown horse is not the time to present challenging questions on a course) . That is not bad or good it's just true.

                            The local shows may not be coming back -- or they may under a different approach. But providing opportunities for riders to be presented with level appropriate questions and height appropriate fences ought not to be limited to those who have the means to ride at the big shows. We ought to be more open to meeting these challenges and presenting those opportunities than simply saying find "other ways to enjoy their ponies and horses."
                            I guess I'm not sure what you want to see happen for these kids whose parents can't afford the five or six figure horse plus the money to travel the A circuits in pursuit of whatever it is they are pursuing, or how it is going to happen. Do you want every kid who wants to compete at the 3'6" level be able to do that no matter what their family's financial situation might be? Who is going to pay for that? What about the kids whose parents are billionaires, but aren't interested in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on horse activities for their kids? Are those kids eligible for the same aid that the poor kids are? It's great to want every horse crazy kid to have the opportunity to claw her way to the top from absolutely nowhere and become the next generation's Beezie Madden, but seriously, who is going to finance this for the five million kids it's going to take to find that one Beezie Madden?

                            I'm honestly curious, what is your suggestion to solve the "problem" you describe that riders are not presented with level appropriate questions and height appropriate fences? You keep going back to my statement about finding other ways to enjoy horses as though it's a curse, but it's really a necessity for most riders today. Either open your mind a little, or let us know how we can all show in the 3'6 divisions on the A circuit on a normal person's salary. We're all ears.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              I keep doing comparisons of running and riding - both because those are the two sports I know, and because those are the two sports the author references.

                              In running, your ability is your ultimate limiter. You can work really hard to develop and maximize what you have, but there are many many people of moderate ability who will never qualify for the Olympic trials no matter how hard they work or how much money they spend (excluding, for the moment, the possibility of spending money on performance enhancing drugs).

                              In riding, a lack of talent can be overcome by a combination of financial resources and hard work. I can think of several kids who didn't have that much natural ability, but have succeeded through a combination of hard work and financial backing (I can't think of any rich kid that was low in talent that succeeded without working very hard).

                              As I noted previously, the truly talented kids will make their way to the top, even if they are of limited means. The kids that are limited are those of moderate means AND moderate ability.

                              The issue is characterized as kids being limited by moderate finances, when that's not accurate. They're limited by their combination of moderate means and moderate talent. Essentially, it's not that different from running - they can work as hard as they want - it's just that their talent will only get them so far.

                              So...in one sense, it is similar to running - innate talent is the limiter. It's just that in riding, it's possible to work around moderate talent if one has enough resources; not so in running. But we mischaracterize the issue when we paint it as "talented kids who will never make it to the top due to limited finances" - that's not their only limiter.

                              [I write this as someone who showed on the A circuit as a junior, and was myself ultimately limited not by my finances, but by my combination of finances and natural ability.]

                              ***

                              On a separate note, I still think the broader discussion of how to make the sport more financially accessible to a larger group has a lot of value. Kids learn a lot of valuable lessons from riding and showing: grit, compassion, organization. There's a benefit to society from as many kids as possible being exposed to that - we lose that when only the rich kids see riding as a sport for them.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                Originally posted by juststartingout View Post

                                It's important to check your facts ....

                                Actually - 55% of Harvard's class receives need based aid -- see the following article:

                                https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/05/it-c...ually-pay.html

                                Of course much of the class is well to do - not unique to Harvard
                                I did check my facts. Maybe you need to cast a wider search net and not stop at the the first thing you find that seems to support your preconceived notions. Like I said, "lower income" among Harvard law students is not the same thing as "lower income" among the general population. Just because a student receives need-based financial aid at Harvard doesn't mean that they are low, or even middle, income by the standards of anyone outside the rarefied air of an Ivy League college.

                                The median total income and median net worth of aid recipients at Harvard Law School is $95,000 and $175,000 respectively.
                                That's "median." The midpoint. Half of aid recipients come from families with higher total income and net worth.

                                In fact, if your family had double the median net worth of American families, you would still be in the bottom quarter of the economic bracket of Harvard Law School.
                                About 83% of Harvard law students come from families in the top 2 income quintiles. Only 3% come from the lowest income quintile and only about 8% from the two lowest combined.

                                https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/student...-Diversity.pdf

                                Another aspect of Harvard's and other elite colleges' admission of "poor" students is that most of their students who come from low-income neighborhoods first earned a scholarship to one of the prep schools that serve as a pipeline to the Ivy League. So, mostly, Harvard isn't actually recruiting students from anyplace other than the places from which they have always gotten their students. (See, e.g. the book "The Privileged Poor," by Harvard professor A. A. Jack)

                                If you want to put this in Maclay finals terms, it's the exact same situation. The vast majority of competitors come from the upper income brackets. Those that don't, tend to be kids who are advantaged in some other way, like the aforementioned children of trainers, who get lots of saddle time.

                                Look, I've got no issues with the admissions and financial aid policies of Harvard or any other Ivy league school. I was simply disagreeing with another poster's contention that Harvard law is doing "decently well" at bringing in and supporting students who lack the means to attend on their own. Sure, they have their token "poor kids," but a look at the stats hardly supports a claim that they are doing "decently well" and it doesn't serve as any kind of example for ways in which showing at the elite levels can be made more accessible to those of limited means.

                                "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                that's even remotely true."

                                Homer Simpson

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Maybe we should also ask, why is the Maclay a goal for many junior riders? It has developed prestige for many years. I don’t really hear anyone talking about the new stepping stone 3’3” version. Because it’s not the real thing. So, if we make any kind of tiered approach like for high schools, will that stop the masses from wanting to get to the top class just because they have another 3’6 medal they could do? How are we going to fill these classes? Some shows can barely fill the Maclay qualifiers. Or will only the premier shows have the “real” qualifier? I certainly benefited from some smaller A shows for getting qualified some years.

                                  I do think it is important that classes are built to spec and that courses are not dummied down in some areas. That is not going to help anyone who does get the opportunity at the final. The regionals should also be challenging (they are not so much where I am currently but we’re quite hard in the zone where I lived as a jr).

                                  At the end of the day, you still need a horse who can jump a fairly technical course at 3’6, and that alone is not attainable by many people. If you change that to make it more accessible, it is not a lower tier version of the Maclay. It becomes a different class. And those who dream of the Maclay will still dream.

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                                  • #97
                                    Originally posted by juststartingout View Post

                                    Instead, this is a discussion about how we support and sustain a sport we all love.
                                    No, it's not. You are also trying to change the subject. The blog post we're discussing was about making it possible for people who are simply wealthy, instead of very wealthy, to compete in the Maclay finals, i.e. at the most elite levels of the sport.

                                    Discussing ways in which those of us who are not in the top income brackets can support and sustain equestrian sports, well, that may also be a valuable discussion, but it needs to be a separate discussion and you (g) need to stop mixing it into the other discussion as if it's addressing the same issue.

                                    Originally posted by ynl063w View Post

                                    I did not suggest that anyone should “shut up”. I did suggest that many would be better served by accepting the reality that many areas simply have almost no local options to show on a regular basis. Those McMansions are here to stay. There are, however, other ways for kids to enjoy their ponies and horses that don’t include feeling sorry themselves for the fact that Maclay finals isn’t going to happen. One option that is big in my area is the high school riding program; I believe it includes middle school and even elementary school. What do you have against these programs that you won’t accept them as a realistic alternative to every child going to equitation finals?
                                    Yes! This. Exactly.
                                    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                    that's even remotely true."

                                    Homer Simpson

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                                    • #98
                                      I grew up in a time where the Big Eq was the way to the Olympics. It was the stepping stone. If that is no longer the case (as many are opining here) then I agree, the Maclay is simply a pastime of the uber-wealthy and we don’t need to make any adjustments.

                                      Where it does get fuzzy for me is it’s role in developing American riders for the Olympics. If it is still relevant, then we (as a sport) should be thinking about how we bring riders through the ranks, because there we *do* care about talent as well as hard work. Maybe Eq isn’t important anymore, but it sure used to be.

                                      Can anyone enlighten me as to the current pathway?

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                                      • #99
                                        The current pathway for the development of 5* show jumpers is frankly belonging to an elite subset of extraordinarily wealthy, or being in their patronage. Horses are really, really expensive, and the prize money at no level covers the expenses.

                                        There is ample room to be successful for many professional riders, dealers, trainers who won't be going to the Olympics. And many more ways to enjoy horses for amateurs.


                                        Why do people view this as failure????

                                        Let me apologize in advance.

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                                        • I am confused as to why we are analogizing Harvard Law School admissions to Maclay qualifiers. They're apples and oranges.

                                          HLS admissions look at a variety of factors to bring in a class with diverse experiences. Not just diversity of opportunity (which is what everyone is focusing on here), but diversity of experience. They admit people who were at the very very top of their class, but also those who flew planes in combat for five years, those who played professional basketball in Europe, those who played in an early 1990s alternative music band.

                                          The equivalent in the Maclay finals would be accepting those who qualified through their regional finals, but also extending invitations to the winners of the USEF Saddleseat and Stock Seat medal finals, along with the top kids competing in eventing and dressage.

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