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" Junior superstars" article in COTH- is it just me or

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    Hmmm, I read this article and found I do have to agree that when you are under the age of 16 you are NOT the writer of the checks that pays for all of the showing, training, buying of horses and so on, however you ARE the one that puts the time in, in the saddle. My family was NOT made of money I had a $1500 Trak mare that reared so bad no one wanted her, I spent years bringing her along enough that I could make into the ring with her...and back out in one piece. And then we qualified for Penn. National, and Washington...and the list went on. I never went to any of those finals because keeping her sound and happy drained what little money I had from my job as a stable hand, I didn't have another horse and I simply didn't have the money to pay the entry fee's. It stunk watching my friends go off to show with the 3 or 4 horses they owned, but so be it, those were the cards I was delt. So I stayed home and rode the trainers horses while she was gone. From there I got my first catch ride, and then another and another then went on to groom for a very sucessful rider/trainer in my area, thus giving me more opportunities then I could hope for. Still the never ending entry fee's were tough for me to cover. So I went to college, re-trained OTTB's and paid my way through school, STILL getting to ride and do what showing I could. I could only pull together enough money to get to one big week long show a year so all of the rest of the time was spent at local lower rated shows, getting miles.

    I am now done with college, married and own a new 15 stall training facility, I have some horses that I have worked very hard on and now as an adult with the ability to get myself and my multiple horses to the "big A shows" I am doing what I would have killed to have done as a kid. The biggest thing I look back at is that no matter how I look at it, I never would be where I am at now if I didn't get the opportunites that I did when I was younger, even if it ment staying home and riding extra horses, THOSE were my best lessons! Now looking forward at my future I'm thrilled to be carving my own path!

    I guess the point of all of this is like I said at the beginning, no matter who the kid is and what money they have backing them THEY are the one's putting the time in, in the saddle. If they are driven enough to jump on any and all opportunities that come their way, they WILL be successful whether it is now or later. Cheers kids, and kick on!
    Throw your heart over first....then jump after it!


      Originally posted by Mara View Post
      I wonder how many of the posters here who have OPENLY stated that "it's the money, or because they had opportunities I didn't" would really have the mindset to be successful under the rigors of these girls' lives?

      Because riding 7-16 horses a day, EVERY day, is WORK. It is a JOB, no longer a hobby or a competitive sport one takes up for fun and fitness. Unless you're wired mentally for it, that aspect can suck the fun out of riding. It's hard to not become one-dimensional in that world, when the statement uttered daily morphs from "I want to go to the barn instead of the movies/lunch with friends" to "I have to go to the barn."

      There are very few people at any age who can handle the workload and the pressure and still find it "fun".
      Nicely said!

      A trainer at my barn used to do the big eq back in the day. She was talking to me about all of her horses and how if you really wanted to be successful in the big eq, it almost became a job and was no longer fun. I remember her saying you almost had to ride like it was your job, and not ride just to go out there and have fun. After hearing her experiences with the big eq, it made me appreciate what all of these riders, not just the juniors, put into just to make it.


        Wicked - That was beautiful. Thank you.


          Originally posted by Mara View Post
          I wonder how many of the posters here who have OPENLY stated that "it's the money, or because they had opportunities I didn't" would really have the mindset to be successful under the rigors of these girls' lives?

          Because riding 7-16 horses a day, EVERY day, is WORK. It is a JOB, no longer a hobby or a competitive sport one takes up for fun and fitness. Unless you're wired mentally for it, that aspect can suck the fun out of riding. It's hard to not become one-dimensional in that world, when the statement uttered daily morphs from "I want to go to the barn instead of the movies/lunch with friends" to "I have to go to the barn."

          There are very few people at any age who can handle the workload and the pressure and still find it "fun".
          This may be a bit off topic to the original issue, but I don't think these girls are even old enough to have been faced with the "big decisions" that make the job hard. Its not just the work load that makes people burn out, its the HARD decisions that come with being a working pro.

          I know that turning down a prom invitation or deciding not to go on vacation or out with friends may seem like a big deal to teenagers but come on, those aren't even life changing events. I think where you REALLY start sorting out the faint of heart is when you hit college age. You start with the decision of "Do I want to go to college or put everything into my riding career?"... Then you get to make decisions like "Do I want to get married or can I even FIND a guy that is willing to put up with the crazy schedule??"... which turns into "Do I even want to start a family or do I have time for kids??"... etc, etc. The stakes are MUCH higher as an adult and from what I have seen, it is because of those types of life changing decisions, that we see promising young pros fizzle out. Then you add on the reality that most young adults have to support themselves rather than having parents there for financial support.

          So for me, I DO applaud their efforts for what they have accomplished as juniors, but I think its too early to say that these kids have what it takes to keep going as pros or to not burn out. And I say that as a pro who spends 80+ hours a week and has to face those same big decisions (and am currently working on the "do I want to have children?" question).


            Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
            Look the Chronicle is a magazine that caters to the horseshow world...... so the kids won at that game....

            I'd call it a Disney movie if the kid lived and won, and a local show if the kid merely survived.

            At 13, the child did a Grand Prix. At 37, I can barely jump a crossrail course. I'm impressed. She rode 11 ponies, that is impressive. She made up some ponies.

            Does she deserve the cover of Life Magazine or Sports Illustrated, no. But if we define success as a junior rider as winning a lot at the biggest shows, on a number of horses across two disciplines and multiple divsions, than I think it reasonable for the publication that reports on these shows to have an article about her.

            There probably are harder working riders, but it hardly sounds like she sits around filing her nails and texting while mumsy holds her show coat and Rico brings up the next pre-programmed pony.

            I get SO SICK of adults being mean about kids who won the family lottery. What would make you happy? If they took a vow of poverty? The young rider at my barn with the fancy junior horse appparently did a missionary trip to Africa.... can we please not classify her as a spoiled brat? Or maybe the gal at my barn who shows junior jumpers who pretty much manages her own barn and horses- can we give her the benefit of the doubt that she rides because she loves it? Or the kid making up a project pony to fund her next purchase- can we give her credit for being a good rider?

            AMEN! If these girls didn't have talent and a passion for the sport, all the money in the world would not make them successful.

            And as far as adults providing oppourtunities...well why not if it is feasible. I bend over backwards to make sure my kids can do the horse thing, and I still don't have enough money at the moment to let them show like their talent allows. I do not begrudge the girls in the article anything, and I am tickled to death for them. Why can some of these posters not be happy for a fellow competitor-the kids are the future of this sport. Without them, there is no more equestrian sport.

            She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good unknown


              As someone who isn't naturally gifted at this sport and is worried that she's hit her limits, will never get any better, and is not good enough for her wonderful horse, I enjoyed the article, although I would be lying if I said that reading it wasn't a bittersweet experience. I tip my hat to the girls for taking what they got naturally and working so hard to develop their skills to the absolute fullest.