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Story re: an up & coming rider from the inner city (DC area)

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  • Story re: an up & coming rider from the inner city (DC area)

    This article about Jamal Brown was in the Washington Post yesterday. He sounds like a great kid who just needs some help to realize his dreams! I hope he can keep riding...what an inspirational story.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...r=emailarticle

  • #2
    What a great story! I would love to be able to help him out, but I didn't see any contact information. Did I miss something? Any kid nowadays that is willing to work and to dedicate themselves to ANYTHING should be given every opportunity to do so.

    I have to say, though, that I found Kathy Clark's comment EXTREMELY offensive and rude, and completely off base. I'm surprised they published it. But, then again, it IS the Post.

    ETA: I just emailed John Kelly with an offer to help.
    Whoever said money can't buy happiness never owned a horse.

    Comment


    • #3
      I contacted the reporter directly and will let y'all know if I hear back with contact info.
      www.quiethavenfarm.com

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think she was that off base. Yeah, a majority of us aren't rich*, and yeah, the sport is more diverse these days,.... but go to an A show and who is the majority there? Rich white girls. *shrug*

        (and yes, I know that even rich white girls work their butts off to get good, and many put in more hours than I can even begin to comprehend, but demographics is demographics.)

        But for all of us who shoveled lots of poo just to afford lessons, and scrimped and saved to go to the occasional C show, and stayed up till 4 AM on school nights reading "Winning" or "Hunt Seat Equitation" under the covers with flashlights, I hope Jamal makes it and lives his dream, 'cause really, it's our dream too

        *by which I mean the majority of horse owners, as a whole. Not just "h/j show people," who I think by and large are much more likely to be affluent, by the standards of our society anyway.
        Last edited by caffeinated; Apr. 10, 2009, 11:02 AM.
        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

        My CANTER blog.

        Comment


        • #5
          What a great story. I love seeing young kids who are willing to work for their dreams.
          A proud friend of bar.ka.

          Comment


          • #6
            As you wrote, the majority of horse show folks aren't rich white girls, and making such a statement makes Kathy, as a rich white girl, sound VERY elitist. Especially when that statement is included in an article about a not-so-fortunate young black man trying to pursue a dream.

            Granted, the vast majority of horse people are white women, but I must disagree that the majority are rich. Certainly the most visible ones are at least wealthy, but there are many others that never get noticed that scrimp and save to be able to compete and pursue THEIR dreams.

            Not much offends me, but I DID find Kathy's statement to be offensive, especially considering the context in which it was published. A little condescending, as if she was saying: "You're a young black man and I'm a rich white girl. I'll help you play in MY sandbox and won't all my friends think I'm generous!!!"
            Whoever said money can't buy happiness never owned a horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              You clearly took what she said out of context. When she said "It's a rich white girl's sport.", she said, in not so many words, that the wealthy white girls are the ones who are competing at the highest levels and winning acclaim. It's a completely accurate statement given the context of the young man who is neither wealthy nor remotely of Caucasian ethnicity. I highly doubt her decision to lease him a horse was based on any sort of "Trading Places"-esque idea to live an otherwise unattainable dream.
              Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I bristled at her comment, too, but mostly because I am really hopeful that equestrian sports won't always be elitist. It'd be great to get some more diversity.

                I'd totally donate a modest amount of money to help this kid. But it sounds like maybe more than that, he needs the mileage and experience that he can only get by spending more time in the barn and in the saddle. I hope he gets some solid contacts and opportunities through this article.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am most impressed with his mother, so obviously out of her comfort zone, but willing to go the distance for her kid. BRAVO.
                  Can you stress-fracture your brain?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "A lot of guys when they ride, they don't love their horse," Paige Dunn, the Barrie coach, told me. "Jamal loves his horses. He gives them big pats and hugs. He treats them like they're more than just a vehicle," unlike most boy riders. "I think if he keeps this up, he'll go as far as he wants to."

                    [edit] As a male rider who was once a boy, I loved my horses and didn't know any other guys my age who also didn't. It's the riders (males and females) later in life who never rode who see horses as "motorcycles with hearts"...usually polo or the foxhunters who only get on their horse at the hunt.

                    Sorry, but I don't feel for the boy. He's got a great scholarship to a good school...but he's got wine taste on a beer budget. He wants to show horses...great! Pay for it yourself?

                    "Rich white girl sport?" vs. "Middle class black boy typical sport?" I'm a white male, I worked my butt off to pay for my horses and shows, rode anything, taught lessons, cleaned stalls and braided more manes than I ever imagined existed...but I wasn't expecting anyone to pay my way. He wrote to the black president and the black rich woman in Middleburg...sounds like for a handout. Sorry, get rid of the race (the story is full of subtle hints) and get yourself on the skinny end of a fork and broom, be a groom at shows...it's called "Earning your way" vs. "My own stimulus package-because I'm not a rich white girl".

                    Jeeze, good thing he doesn't want to do one-design sailboat racing, we'd be hearing how no blacks race America's Cup in the Potomac and it's a rich white boys sport.
                    Last edited by Moderator 1; Apr. 10, 2009, 01:47 PM. Reason: language
                    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      While I'm hesitant to stick my neck out around here much anymore, I feel compelled to comment on the offense taken to "rich white girls"--whomever above said that the vast majority of the sport isn't rich white girls needs a reality check...bottom line, even though many of us "working class white girls" in our sport don't like to think of ourselves as "rich", by most of America's standards we are, even if we're not Georgina Bloomberg rich. Yes, we may have to work off bills, braid ourselves, etc etc but we're still living better than the non-lobbying/lawyering/politicoing residents of DC. It's kind of like the (in my opinion offensive) license plate frame "poverty is owning a horse"--people living in real poverty would love to have the luxury of a hobby that's making them broke.
                      www.quiethavenfarm.com

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        The reporter who wrote the story is having a live online discussion at noon in case anyone is interested in discussing the article with him:

                        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...id=discussions

                        And I happen to think Jamal and his family simply don't know where to look for opportunities. I definitely don't think they're looking for handouts! So much of the horse world is who you know and the kinds of connections you have.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                          "A lot of guys when they ride, they don't love their horse," Paige Dunn, the Barrie coach, told me. "Jamal loves his horses. He gives them big pats and hugs. He treats them like they're more than just a vehicle," unlike most boy riders. "I think if he keeps this up, he'll go as far as he wants to."

                          [edit] As a male rider who was once a boy, I loved my horses and didn't know any other guys my age who also didn't. It's the riders (males and females) later in life who never rode who see horses as "motorcycles with hearts"...usually polo or the foxhunters who only get on their horse at the hunt.

                          Sorry, but I don't feel for the boy. He's got a great scholarship to a good school...but he's got wine taste on a beer budget. He wants to show horses...great! Pay for it yourself?

                          "Rich white girl sport?" vs. "Middle class black boy typical sport?" I'm a white male, I worked my butt off to pay for my horses and shows, rode anything, taught lessons, cleaned stalls and braided more manes than I ever imagined existed...but I wasn't expecting anyone to pay my way. He wrote to the black president and the black rich woman in Middleburg...sounds like for a handout. Sorry, get rid of the race (the story is full of subtle hints) and get yourself on the skinny end of a fork and broom, be a groom at shows...it's called "Earning your way" vs. "My own stimulus package-because I'm not a rich white girl".

                          Jeeze, good thing he doesn't want to do one-design sailboat racing, we'd be hearing how no blacks race America's Cup in the Potomac and it's a rich white boys sport.
                          Wow - did we even read the same article?

                          Jamal's mom wrote to Sheila Johnson, the wealthy co-founder of BET, whose daughter, Paige, is a competitive rider. Dannielle thought it would be instructive for Jamal to muck out the stalls at Johnson's Middleburg stables. She's still waiting to hear back. "We're not sure we wrote to the correct place," Dannielle said.

                          Jamal also sent a letter to the Obamas, offering to show Malia and Sasha around Rock Creek Stables, where he works and rides most weekends.
                          Last edited by Moderator 1; Apr. 10, 2009, 01:47 PM. Reason: language
                          http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

                          Originally Posted by JSwan
                          I love feral children. They taste like chicken.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Other than the fact that he's a black male student, I don't see where the "story" is here. For the most part, I'm with Trakehner--and I say this as a non-white rider who came from a middle class family that struggled to afford even one riding lesson per week (and yes, I did pick up the pitchfork and do barn work to increase my riding opportunities). And it appears that Jamal has a one-up on me because at least he's got people involved who are willing to help him financially and in terms of connections. The kid is on his way, so to speak.

                            OTOH, I'd give the REPORTER a piece of my mind for failing to actually let Jamal speak for himself. Although it's hard to say with such minimal input from Jamal himself in the article, but it's entirely possible that Jamal is deeply grateful for the opportunities he's already received and is NOT looking for a handout. It sounds like Jamal has a completely reasonable future plan that's all built around hard work: keep working at his local stable, continue to get great grades and try for a college scholarship, etc. It's not the route that's most likely to lead him to the US Equestrian Team, but at least the kid is smart enough to be focusing on education AND horses rather than putting all his eggs in one basket.
                            Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I love the story but am not sure about the article itself. In particular I was not sure what the last sentance was meant to convey. To me the metaphor seemed to say that Jamal will "stumble" in his quest.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Mayaty02 View Post
                                I love the story but am not sure about the article itself. In particular I was not sure what the last sentance was meant to convey. To me the metaphor seemed to say that Jamal will "stumble" in his quest.
                                I know...I read that and kept looking for a link to the next page...it could have been a really good story, but it was just poorly/lazily written.
                                http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

                                Originally Posted by JSwan
                                I love feral children. They taste like chicken.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by IslandGirl View Post
                                  I have to say, though, that I found Kathy Clark's comment EXTREMELY offensive and rude, and completely off base. I'm surprised they published it. But, then again, it IS the Post.

                                  ETA: I just emailed John Kelly with an offer to help.
                                  ______

                                  What's rude about telling the truth? Look at any recent list of Medal/Maclay finalists and tell me otherwise; it takes an enormous amount of money to show on the A Circuit and Kathy Clark knows it.

                                  That said, love this story; good for her (and for you!) for helping this young man! Ms. Johnson, where are you!?
                                  "Go on, Bill — this is no place for a pony."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MyGiantPony View Post
                                    I know...I read that and kept looking for a link to the next page...it could have been a really good story, but it was just poorly/lazily written.


                                    I did that too! I looked twice to see if I was missing something

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
                                      When she said "It's a rich white girl's sport.", she said, in not so many words, that the wealthy white girls are the ones who are competing at the highest levels and winning acclaim. It's a completely accurate statement given the context of the young man who is neither wealthy nor remotely of Caucasian ethnicity.
                                      Wealthy white girls are the ones who are competing at the highest levels and winning acclaim????

                                      I thought the Grand Prixs and World Cup events were the highest levels. At least 50% of the riders are male in those events.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Dun Ciarain View Post
                                        Wealthy white girls are the ones who are competing at the highest levels and winning acclaim????
                                        In the equitation ring and in the under 21 age group, I would say yes.
                                        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                        My CANTER blog.

                                        Comment

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