I find it slightly insulting to hear some people say that if I only worked harder, I'd be better. I work my butt off to show locally. I can afford one lesson a week, and that gets fit in between a full-time job and the freelance work I take on. I ride whenever I can, my $700 horse is given proper nutrition and grooming, and he is round and shiny, healthy and clean. I don't think that because we're not good enough to show at the "A's" that we don't work just as hard with what we have as those who are lucky enough to have the means.
We can all only work within our means. Some have more means than others, which means that they have a little more leeway. They might move up faster than those of us riding green horses or horses that need more work. But generally if a rider really keeps at it – reads everything they can, attends clinics when they can afford it, watches videos of the best riding and competing, and really puts in the elbow grease – they wind up being quite competent indeed, and often quite competitive as well.
FWIW, I was responding to Mardi’s commentary, which basically tells folks that they’ll NEVER measure up so don’t try, and the concept that it’s simply better to keep those that are better out of the picture. I disagree.