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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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  • Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post
    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????
    The Maclays were a way of attracting the sponsorship of a wealthy patron. And they were in the grasp, at least in the 80s, of the middle class (at least the upper middle). There was a chance that you could work really hard and have a shot.

    It does raise interesting questions here in the US, as it’s not the same in many other countries.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Darkwave View Post
      I am confused as to why we are analogizing Harvard Law School admissions to Maclay qualifiers. They're apples and oranges.
      I think the conversational pathway is pretty clear if you bother to read the preceding posts.

      1. I included "attending Harvard law school" in a list of things that fall under the category of "having the ambition to do, but not the means," in an effort to illustrate that the situation of "having ambition but not means" was a nearly universal phenomenon and not limited to riding in the Maclay finals.

      2. Another poster countered by saying Harvard Law did "decently well" at creating a system by which those without the means could attend.

      3. I disagreed with the characterization of "decently well."

      4. Another poster accused me of just making stuff up.

      5. I responded with some citations to support my statements.

      And there we were, comparing Harvard law school admissions to Maclay qualifiers.

      Of course Harvard law school admissions and Maclay qualifiers are two different things. However, both come up under the general heading of "Things lots of people want but which are not affordable for the vast majority of those who are not wealthy."
      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
      that's even remotely true."

      Homer Simpson

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        Wow, I feel bad that this is devolving to fighting about class and privilege. My reason for posting it was to talk about ways to increase opportunities for all riders from just the uber rich to a few more people. Yes, the blogger was speaking of wealthy versus uber wealthy but I suspect that he was trying to speak of increasing options in a sport or industry, whatever one calls it, for people. Sport is something that helps everyone involved in it. Widening the base is something USHJA and USEF struggle with constantly. So, I was looking and hoping for a discussion mostly on that, not whether rich people and the rest of us are in competition for the same prize: Maclay win or Olympic future. I did like the suggestion of using live streaming as a way to hold national competitions across the country. I am sure that there are huge barriers but it is a thought.
        kenyagirl

        Comment


        • It turns into a fight about class and privilege because that’s at the heart of the problem. There isn’t a way to artificially regulate horse sports so those things don’t matter.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by punchy View Post
            It turns into a fight about class and privilege because that’s at the heart of the problem. There isn’t a way to artificially regulate horse sports so those things don’t matter.
            Yep - another way of saying what I said above. This is a much bigger problem than access or a level playing field. There are very common sense solutions to start addressing the problem that USHJA could implement NOW that would benefit both riders and, more importantly, horses - but it would decrease the cash flow, so they don't do it and probably never will.

            So it goes.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by kenyarider View Post
              Wow, I feel bad that this is devolving to fighting about class and privilege. My reason for posting it was to talk about ways to increase opportunities for all riders from just the uber rich to a few more people. Yes, the blogger was speaking of wealthy versus uber wealthy but I suspect that he was trying to speak of increasing options in a sport or industry, whatever one calls it, for people. Sport is something that helps everyone involved in it. Widening the base is something USHJA and USEF struggle with constantly. So, I was looking and hoping for a discussion mostly on that, not whether rich people and the rest of us are in competition for the same prize: Maclay win or Olympic future. I did like the suggestion of using live streaming as a way to hold national competitions across the country. I am sure that there are huge barriers but it is a thought.
              In order to have a productive discussion, you need to stop confusing "widening the base" with "competing in the Maclay finals or having an Olympic future." These are two entirely different things.

              punchy is right. It you're talking about the Maclay finals and a future in the Olympics, class and privilege is at the heart of the issue and there isn’t any way to artificially regulate horse sports at the elite levels so those things don’t matter.

              Widening the base is getting people at more modest income levels involved in the sport. Several posters have already offered approaches to help with this but most were hand waved away because they didn't involve finding a way for those of modest means to go to the Maclay finals.
              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
              that's even remotely true."

              Homer Simpson

              Comment


              • Originally posted by OneGrayPony View Post
                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?
                I wouldn’t say it’s any more or less of a pathway than it’s ever been.

                We’ve seen Olympic riders like McLain Ward, who won (I believe) the USET final in his day. Right there next to him on the same Olympic teams, we’ve seen Beezie Madden, who did not win a final. Both great riders, both Olympic gold medalists, who took different paths to the podium.

                More recently, Brian Moggre and Sam Walker have both won at the equitation finals, and both have been competing very successfully at the Grand Prix level. Ditto for Jessica Springsteen. Adrienne Sternlicht did not win an equitation final, but she has been on fire lately, winning three big Grand Prix classes in the last month. Any of them could be considered strong contenders to make an Olympic team in the next few years. Granted, Sam is Canadian, so that is a slightly different discussion.

                Yes, there was a time when it seemed like the Olympic team was comprised largely of past equitation winners, but that was back in the day before the objective selection trial system. So for better or for worse, it was much more of a closed group.

                I know someone who just missed making the Olympic team for Barcelona when his horse had an off day at the final trial. If they had required one less trial, he would have been on that team. But although he was disappointed, he was the first one to say that if they were not using the objective selection system, he never would have had a shot in the first place. Prior to that, if you weren’t on the radar of the people who picked the team, forget it. You had no chance.

                Comment


                • It seems to me that this is less a discussion of horse showing at the elite levels, and more about how people want to see themselves.

                  There is an excellent non-horsey podcast called Hidden Brain with an episode "Why No One Ever Feels Rich". The nutshell version is that each time one steps up in class (income or any version of an heirarchy), there is a new set of other people against which to compare oneself. And in the new group there are people who have more, who do more, and we still feel we are not "there". Hidden Brain has also just released a new episode "Counting Other People's Blessings", also relevant, as it discusses the Real Topic here: Envy.

                  No one is ever on a truly level playing field in any aspect of life. How are all the inequalities to be fixed across every board?

                  Be careful what you wish for! If someone just wants to ride in the elite class and there is a limit on the number of entries, then taking your place means someone else lost theirs. What fixes the system for the rider who didn't make the cut-off, even though they qualified? And even, as competitive trainers must teach their students once they make it into the class: There is just one winner. In order for you to realize your dream of winning the Big Eq, someone else's dream must die.

                  So at the end of all the struggle to achieve that spot on the ride order of the Big Eq class, are we then going to re-jigger the rules so that more people can "win"?

                  If it is enough just to be there, why isn't enough to be able to enter at a different, more affordable level? How is the decision made of *when* it is satisfying, when it is enough?

                  Deciding when it is "enough" to be satisfied and happy is a life skill that needs to start very early in life. Because there will always be someone else with more, no matter what income level or what riding and showing level one achieves.
                  Last edited by OverandOnward; Dec. 3, 2019, 10:30 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by IPEsq View Post
                    ................
                    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.
                    Completely agree, those courses and the expectations must be up to the level. However, I demer on the expectation of the capability of horses down the price tag levels. I say "expectation" rather than reality. Perhaps the real answer here is to focus on improving the quality of riding and training right down the levels, right down the scale of horse shows.

                    There are other countries where the lower levels show much better and more advanced, confident riding than we see in the U.S., from a class of riders who are not elite, who are just another one of the great unwashed. Some of those countries have "novice" set at 3' or 3'6".

                    The real problem is that the U.S. hasn't achieved that depth of quality down the ranks so that lower level shows feel comfortable with putting courses up to the level, and riders can realize some goals without having to go to elite shows.

                    When I was a kid, anyone who had been riding and jumping in a hunt seat saddle for 3+ years or so was jumping 3'6" on school horses and it wasn't a terribly big deal. And we were in the sticks on the outer rim of the universe, *not* in the center of the best quality of English riding. We were not excellent, we were not geniuses, or even that well coached. It was just a common standard, a basic expectation that average riders on average horses can achieve.

                    In that remote pocket of English riding, on the unrecognized and "C" show circuits, beginner jumping classes were 2'6". Jumps lower than that was considered "unsafe" as it was thought that the horse might miss the fact that there was a jump down there and fall over it. Novice was 3', Open was 3'6". If you placed out of Novice, you were going up 6" if you wanted to keep showing, and that's what riders expected to do and did. Horses don't use tape measures and I don't think horses see much difference in 3" increments, that's a rider thing that's been taught in current instruction. Back then classes full of indifferently instructed riders (including some with no instruction) mounted on a motley collection of re-schooled ranch horses were jumping around those courses just fine.

                    The good news is that ...

                    -- Horses are powerful animals that are mostly capable of doing far more than they are ever asked to do by their riders (at least what they are asked in this country) If a goodly number of the average horse (<$10k) under a hunt seat saddle are not reasonably capable at 3'6", I look to the training and the riding, not the price tag, as the reason why.

                    -- If a rider is taught properly, and is even reasonably athletic, one should be able to sit a basic 3'6" jumping course on a common capable horse. Nothing fancy. Just confident over a basic course.

                    -- If those two things are true, the lower level and unrecognized shows can build courses up to the level, and riders who are reasonably prepared should be be able to capably jump those courses.

                    -- And the average bog standard rider on the average bog standard horse can enjoy showing at low level shows over 3'6" courses without shelling out for elite showing. As they did once upon a time. And as they do in other countries.

                    Just IMO, but that's where the effort needs to focus to solve the income problem. Rather than adding more showing levels, instead change the expected standard of riding at the lower-level shows. To do that, put the emphasis on upgrading the instruction, coaching and training, generally in this country. This would be so good for the non-wealthy horse owner, for horse sport generally, and maybe even to help horses have more of a foothold in today's society.

                    But I know that's not where this will go. People would rather jigger the showing system than work on a movement to improve the overall standard of riding generally. They think it's easier and faster to manipulate the system. Personally I doubt that it is either.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                      When I was a kid, anyone who had been riding and jumping in a hunt seat saddle for 3+ years or so was jumping 3'6" on school horses and it wasn't a terribly big deal. And we were in the sticks on the outer rim of the universe, *not* in the center of the best quality of English riding. We were not excellent, we were not geniuses, or even that well coached. It was just a common standard, a basic expectation that average riders on average horses can achieve.
                      I don't necessarily disagree, but I think at least part of the reason standards have changed is that by and large kids don't get the opportunity to just play with their ponies and do all the stupid stuff that eventually makes them feel confident cantering down to a 3'6" fence. As a society we've gotten much more risk-averse (and more inclined to litigate when things go wrong), so most kids are in structured programs (much less goofing off), and most adult-learners are (like me) not able to be that fearless any more.

                      That's my take, at least.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by paw View Post

                        I don't necessarily disagree, but I think at least part of the reason standards have changed is that by and large kids don't get the opportunity to just play with their ponies and do all the stupid stuff that eventually makes them feel confident cantering down to a 3'6" fence. As a society we've gotten much more risk-averse (and more inclined to litigate when things go wrong), so most kids are in structured programs (much less goofing off), and most adult-learners are (like me) not able to be that fearless any more.

                        That's my take, at least.
                        Very true on that. For liability reasons alone, I doubt that many kids today are allowed to spend half a day on their horse, with their mounted friends, having adventures across vast open country, as we did. Jumping a big ole fallen tree out in the back of beyond, and then trying to do it side by side and on the same stride, a mile from the nearest 'supervising' adults (who were in lawn chairs beside a cooler next to a pick-up truck) is probably not something most riding kids/adults can do any more.

                        We also did long adventures rides bareback because ... well, because. That will really teach someone to find their balance and sit a horse, whatever happens.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by MHM View Post
                          We’ve seen Olympic riders like McLain Ward, who won (I believe) the USET final in his day. Right there next to him on the same Olympic teams, we’ve seen Beezie Madden, who did not win a final. Both great riders, both Olympic gold medalists, who took different paths to the podium.
                          Beezie did ribbon in the top 10 at at least one final (AHSA...now USEF Medal). I would assume that means she likely participated in most if not all of the major equitation finals.

                          https://www.medalmaclay.com/equitati...mpic-medalists
                          There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                          inside of a man.

                          -Sir Winston Churchill

                          Comment


                          • I would like to see growth of the IEA program. Perhaps at some point in the future, winning at IEA nationals will be as recognized and coveted as winning the Maclay Finals. With the understanding that the IEA is limited by the ability of the free horses provided, it would be nice to see it grow to include a 2'6 division in middle school and a 3'0 division (or at least 2'9) in high school. Perhaps with growth of IEA, NCEA colleges will start recruiting kids who have stellar IEA records. After all, a solid record of wins in IEA would seem to be a better predictor of ability to do well on an NCEA team than winning a Maclay final. Perhaps BNTs will start recruiting kids who have obvious talent out of the IEA pool for catch rides and working student positions. I do think IEA could potentially be the solution to a lot of these problems - the cost of entry is significantly lower than even competing in your local show scene (since you don't need to own a horse). Perhaps some sort of scholarship fund or grant could be set up for the kids who win their IEA divisions at Nationals that allows them to ride in the EAP or train for a month with a big Name Eq trainer, or be given a catch ride for a 3'3 Eq final (similar to the Gochman Grant), or something like that.

                            Comment


                            • OverandOnward I think you make some valid points in your post (109). I think English riding instruction probably has been "dumbed down" over the past 40-50 years, and I think our litigous society, the tendency to over-protect kids, and the trainer-centric hunter-jumper model that has evolved over those same years all contribute. However, I am scratching my head about where all the horses that can do a 3'6" course are. From what I have seen in the past decade or so, they just don't exist at lesson barns - even pretty good discipline specific ones. They aren't coming out of the woodwork and being made available for IHSA or IEA shows - especially in the weaker zones. You talked about a "common capable horse", but I'm really not sure that the horse capable of coursing 3'6" is that common - and if it was common back in the day, I wonder what has changed.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Groom&amp;Taxi View Post
                                OverandOnward You talked about a "common capable horse", but I'm really not sure that the horse capable of coursing 3'6" is that common - and if it was common back in the day, I wonder what has changed.
                                I think it comes down to the fact that courses are much more technical and challenging than they were a generation ago. It's one thing to be able to jump 3'6", and another to be able to jump 3'6" and handle the questions that arise in a modern equitation class at the top level.

                                There are many, many equines - horses AND ponies - that can jump around a collection of 3'6" fences set 72" or more apart from each other, and also make (or fake) their way through in an in-and-out.

                                On the other hand, Lillie Keenan won the finals after a test that involved halting in the middle of a 4 stride line, and also executing two changes of lead in a six stride line (followed by an in-and-out). Very few horses that could handle that level of complexity, and also jump 3'6" without too much strain.
                                Last edited by Darkwave; Dec. 4, 2019, 06:06 PM. Reason: (changed the word "decade" to "generation" - as that is what I intended to type.)

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                                  I think the conversational pathway is pretty clear if you bother to read the preceding posts.

                                  1. I included "attending Harvard law school" in a list of things that fall under the category of "having the ambition to do, but not the means," in an effort to illustrate that the situation of "having ambition but not means" was a nearly universal phenomenon and not limited to riding in the Maclay finals.

                                  2. Another poster countered by saying Harvard Law did "decently well" at creating a system by which those without the means could attend.

                                  3. I disagreed with the characterization of "decently well."

                                  4. Another poster accused me of just making stuff up.

                                  5. I responded with some citations to support my statements.

                                  And there we were, comparing Harvard law school admissions to Maclay qualifiers.

                                  Of course Harvard law school admissions and Maclay qualifiers are two different things. However, both come up under the general heading of "Things lots of people want but which are not affordable for the vast majority of those who are not wealthy."
                                  Well.... there's one other difference. It ought to *matter* to society that the people practicing law (and especially legal scholars) come from a diversity of backgrounds. I, for one, think the Constitution should be interpreted by a wider swath of people than privileged white males. And other areas of law-- question of capital punishment and inequities in sentencing, even how sex crimes are prosecuted and punished also seem to cry out for diversity in the people at the top who shape those things. I think some of the I Stand With George stuff and the utter callousness as well as misunderstanding of the victims' experience, as well as a willingness to spout off about why SafeSport sucks without feeling the obligation to learn about that process all reflect a privileged point of view. If you have not been held to account or felt powerless, where would you get a clue as to how it feels live a more constrained life?

                                  It matters less if we draw Olympic teams or even the next generation of trainers from any demographic other than the ultra-elite only because the stakes are so much lower. Most people outside of the horse show world and, I'd argue, increasingly within it, will have their lives go ticking along the same way whether the US fields an Olympic team that represents the most talent or the most money. And whoever said that this is the one sport where money trumps talent, all other things being equal, nailed it. That seems shockingly true.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • 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.
                                    Wait a sec. Above, I think you equated the blogger's call for creating equality of opportunity something like "welfare" for the kids whose families can't afford what it takes to get to any of the Medal finals. It seems to me that no dues-paying member of the USEF is asking for welfare, rather, they are asking to have their interests represented in an organization where, presumably, everyone paying in has an equal say in how things go.

                                    Since the 1990s and the advent of the Mileage Rule, however, I would argue that our NGB has played more and more to horse show managers-cum-real estate investors and the level of trainer who can patronized those shows/that real estate investment. The level of wealth required of the clients behind those pros has to be there, but I don't think the experience of those clients, any kind for "fairness" in the sport (so long as enough money still wants to come to fill the horse show days), or the fate of the US Olympic team matters a whole lot to the USEF.

                                    But you can't pat the po' folks on the head and send them of to some Elsewhere Shows at the grass roots level while you explain, too, how many show grounds are being paved over. Amirite? So your solution isn't a solution so much as a STFU to people who can't afford to play within the USEF's business model.

                                    And to return to the correct premise-- dues paying members are not asking for charity when they'd like their interest represented.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

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                                    • I generally enjoy the blog. I wasn't as big of a fan of this one (caveat- I do not have the answers to questions about "equality in sport"). It *to me* had an undercurrent of not-quite-whiney from a dad ringside at 3 GM clinics. EAP, PF and numerous shows he's blogged about. I guess what struck me was " his past summer Audrey found herself in a session in which some of her fellow riders were professionals, and unsurprisingly they were among the group that advanced to the national session". Maybe I took that wrong? Or calling it a competitive imbalance, saying most potential participants have not way to rise to the top.


                                      I'd expect kids winning or showing at finals to have gone to Devon, WHS, WEF. Maybe because I've grown up on the A circuit or maybe because I just realize that those venues give you the experience at a high level. It's hard to get local shows to do that, as SS has pointed out.

                                      It's kind of like that in everything? My friend had a 4.0 GPA, freakishly high GPS, volunteered etc etc. Still didn't get in to the Ivy school of choice. It was the applicants he was with at the time, dumb luck and perhaps "bad" timing.


                                      However, at least where I live, in football a lower division team from a small local school just won the state championship over a big, more wealthy school from a higher division. So high school sports can vary, kids can move districts, get a voucher, change address to put them at what *can* be a competitive advantage.

                                      As a (riding) parent, who is not a trust fund/millionaire, with a kid who has big dreams - it is great to think of ways she could eventually do it. *For me*- she immersed in horse activities. She lessons with a successful GP rider, she does PC, she gets to show at A shows, she gets to show at schooling shows, she helps at an eventing lesson barn tacking up for lessons, she does an eventing horse camp, she now rides IEA, where she got half the points needed to qualify for Zones in 1 show. This year we're giving her a shot at PF with her fancy green pony. VERY LUCK and more lucky than a lot of her PC friends- not nearly as lucky in the wealth and experience area as a lot of the kids she'll ride against. The ones that are living at WEC or WEF and not going to regular school so they can show.

                                      Those are the breaks. If she's lucky- I'll hit the lotto or maybe someone will need a scrappy, pretty rider to catch ride. We DON'T COUNT on it because one trainer has a gutsy child that has 24/7 access to higher caliber horses, parent is well known, and goes to 13 or more A shows a year compared to our 5. AGAIN- those are the breaks.


                                      I'm struggling with sometimes I feel that some of the "let's make it more fair" sounds like entitlement. Excellent scholars don't get in to the college of their choice, someone way less qualified may get the job (I am not comparing apples and apples- just that's the way it goes). Really smart students' parents can't afford to send them to a prep school that will be impressive and scholarships to those less wealthy -again- can be the luck of the draw.

                                      In other expensive Olympic sports, parents give up jobs, move across the country etc to train and get the opportunity. I'm sure there are figure skaters, gymnasts etc who are just as talented as those who make it to the Olympics but parents can't afford those moves.

                                      Riding horses is a privilege. It is awesome and beautiful, for those that can afford it or who make it happen by hard work or sheer dumb luck. I don't know how to make horse showing at upper levels more affordable so that every talented kid can have a shot- because it can't happen.

                                      I love discussion on it, I love the programs, grants etc coming out of it.
                                      Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                                      • OverandOnward I think you are oversimplifying things and maybe viewing the past with rose colored glasses. I showed in the equitation in the 90s. I qualified for my first Maclay regionals at my first attempt at 3’6 at KHP on an OTTB who was a spooky stopper who did ok at 3’6 but only if it was outdoors. Much better 3’ horse despite having plenty of scope. We filled the class and happened to lay down the best trip of that horse’s life. Would he have jumped around the regionals much less the finals? No way. I had plenty of 3’6 horse but always had to lease or borrow something to get farther than the qualifying classes. Most of what I could afford had a major hole somewhere, but I hoped preparation and hard work could get me through one round.

                                        Even my nice jr hunter (also a TB but not OTT) who jumped around the hunters at Harrisburg just fine could not get me there in the eq past the qualifying classes. I remember once trying the regionals warmup class on him. There was a triple bar among some other tough questions. He jumped so big and so careful, he was completely exhausted after the “warmup”, and I couldn’t put him through the regionals much less think about the finals and those airy jumps, even though he was one of the few options I had who didn’t have a stop in him.

                                        I think executing a 3’6 course and executing a Maclay type final, even if we can create various groups for those with less show practice opportunities, still requires a horse that is not widely accessible. There is a reason these finals veteran horses cost what they do. And riders in top programs compete for the opportunity to use them not just with their checkbooks—there is internal competitiveness and some favoritism (eg which one of you is in their last year). And for the horses who can get around but probably not get a callback, they are still in a fairly elite group. It is not the same as galloping around an outside course of the good ol’ days. Not even close.

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                                        • Original Poster

                                          Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                          Wait a sec. Above, I think you equated the blogger's call for creating equality of opportunity something like "welfare" for the kids whose families can't afford what it takes to get to any of the Medal finals. It seems to me that no dues-paying member of the USEF is asking for welfare, rather, they are asking to have their interests represented in an organization where, presumably, everyone paying in has an equal say in how things go.

                                          Since the 1990s and the advent of the Mileage Rule, however, I would argue that our NGB has played more and more to horse show managers-cum-real estate investors and the level of trainer who can patronized those shows/that real estate investment. The level of wealth required of the clients behind those pros has to be there, but I don't think the experience of those clients, any kind for "fairness" in the sport (so long as enough money still wants to come to fill the horse show days), or the fate of the US Olympic team matters a whole lot to the USEF.

                                          But you can't pat the po' folks on the head and send them of to some Elsewhere Shows at the grass roots level while you explain, too, how many show grounds are being paved over. Amirite? So your solution isn't a solution so much as a STFU to people who can't afford to play within the USEF's business model.

                                          And to return to the correct premise-- dues paying members are not asking for charity when they'd like their interest represented.
                                          This is exactly the discussion I was looking for when I started this link. Caveat: maybe with a little less enthusiasm. USEF and USHJA need to be more aware of and provide more for every member which is my point at looking and talking about ways to make it more inclusive. Uber rich will do whatever they like and be dammed to the rest of us. If our international teams consist of only uber rich and their supported, fine with me, but I hate to see all the money and focus on that group while the rest of us are told to accept our lot, work harder or just STFU. I pay the same dues as the uber rich riders/owners and I should be heard just as loudly. This blogger was speaking of that, I think, more than complaining that his children didn't get to go to Finals. Equality of opportunity is not possible if the opportunity is meted out by a system that is inherently unfair. I absolutely agree (as a lawyer myself) that having it all interpreted and enforced by white men is a shocking part of our country's justice system. Even during the time that I have been a lawyer and I'm pretty old, the judges, and directors of the justice system are overwhelmingly rich white men. USEF/USHJA is the same. I am not attacking those people, just trying to say that we need to talk about the sport and how to make and keep it inclusive for a lot more people than it is. Other sports have managed to do that, so maybe we can too. At least we should talk about trying to do it.
                                          kenyagirl

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