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Prudent Podcast

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  • Prudent Podcast

    Katie Prudent just made some really unvarnished observations in this podcast from WiSP sports-
    http://www.wispsports.com

    I listened to it on ITunes, other links appear to be not working.

    ........The Horse Show Podcast former US Team Show Jumper pulls no punches when it comes to the state of the sport in the U.S. "The sport has become for the fearful, talentless amateur, that's how the sport has been dummied down!"
    thoughts?

  • #2
    While prevalent by the likes of Prudent, Morris (and COTH), I think it's somewhat useless to talk about the good old days and how things worked back then and how things today aren't what they used to be....and I think it's useless because it doesn't really matter. At the end of the day, we are where we are. The sport is what it is NOW.

    I think the more appropriate and useful conversation is "This is how things are now. How do we fill a team in 10 years with the weaknesses and strengths of today's modern sport?"

    The fact is that today's sport is a money sport. Our top international young riders, like Reed Kessler, Jessie Springsteen, Katie Dinan, and Lillie Keenan come from an incredible financial backing that no regular person can hope to achieve. With the strength of those people having access to top horses and top coaching and the budget to show and train in Europe comes a set of weaknesses, such as Katie mentioned their experience only riding top horses and being carefully managed by trainers.

    But that's what this sport is now.

    When was the last time you heard of a top international young rider (headed for the USET) who truly came from nothing? And I would respectfully ask Ms. Prudent....what kind of client makes up her clientele? Certainly those with at the very least the budget to be able to do this sport the way it is done now, and yet that seems to be the very thing she criticizes.

    AMERICA has changed. This sport has changed. This isn't 1970 anymore. And in a really good way, this sport is actually accessible to the average person who maybe only is talented or rich enough to ride around 2'6. She sounds very out of touch with reality, because the fact is there's a HOST of really good, really talented riders (who have ridden plenty of green and naughty and rank horses) out there who would kill for the ability to ride at a high level, and yet haven't had the financial backing that absolutely is required nowadays.

    And while there's a lot of problems in our sport today to be sure, I'd have a lot more interest in what Ms. Prudent had to say if her words were filled more with solutions or ideas of how to make the under-funded rider actually be able to attain international success.

    It's a bit like George Morris' background. He didn't exactly come from no money and he'd always been able to be involved in the sport in the higher circles. You lose a bit of touch of what it's really like to be an average American these days - the kind of person for whom board and training and 5 shows a year is a struggle and a sacrifice.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah the good old days. The world was a bit different then. Most of those kids who weren't made from money still could have a horse in the backyard and hack over to a high quality trainer, or ride their bike over and spend the day. That integration of horses and residential is pretty rare now.

      There are still kids who like to work hard and love horses and will ride anything. But, I wonder how many of them would have a path to a great trainer who will put them on horses. In California, school horse strings are becoming hard to find. Sales barns are running with such expensive horses that they won't just put any barn rat kid on them. So, making that jump if your parents don't have thousands of dollars a month to spend on a horse and training is becoming harder.

      As for her suggestion (and rather unkindly naming specific riders) that kids who have been well mounted their whole lives probably won't have what it takes, I'd suggest that Meredith Michaels Beerbaum always seemed to have super nice horses growing up. I think she turned out OK.

      Katie is an amazing rider and horseman. I would love to hear more solutions. How does she get her fellow professionals to make riding more about playing and loving horses? How do you get kids the opportunity to sit on a 3'6" horse if the families don't have $20k a year to spend on horses, in a world where the median household income is $52k and half of American kids qualify for free or reduced lunches?

      There are still kids out there who are hungry for the opportunity.
      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


      • #4
        The questions always pops up: How come they all are against the new trends but always seem to work with the money kids?
        How come they don't buy the young horse with the kid and teach them? It can't always be the fault of the parents. Like if you are a bit horsey as a parent and George or Katie tell you buy the younger horse, the harder horse to let the kid develop not everyone will go against their advise.

        She and many others complaining are in a better position to make changes...

        Comment


        • #5
          Additionally, I think she also fails to mention that the cost of keeping a horse has risen (especially if you are living in a high cost area such as LA, NY etc.) and the cost of horse showing has risen. These days most top barns are on the road almost every weekend of the year with shows costing thousands of dollars per week. Even if a family could save up to buy their kid a horse (and these days you can't have just one - you've gotta have the junior hunter, the eq horse (or two), and the jumper), could they afford to keep it, let alone campaign it on the 'A' circuit would be a completely different question.

          Whenever I hear people like George and Katie complaining about the "good old days" where you could come from nothing and make it to the Olympics, I wonder why they don't take on clients who are less privileged. I seem to see the same people who complain about the spoiled rich kids and the trainers who enable them, also working with those spoiled rich kids. It seems that if you're as well known and respected as Katie and George, wouldn't you be in a better position to make changes and lead by example?

          Comment


          • #6
            You know I've been watching, competing, reporting etc on the two disciplines of Show Jumping and Eventing now for well over 25 years. I will be 46 next month. The thing I have seen shifting is an utter disregard for the over 25 but under 40 crowd. Selectors in both disciplines have almost no programs for folks in that age range. We do have The EAP and lots of young riders and Under 25 stuff. But really? I mean the folks I see with tons of promise aren't the rich kids on the 6 figure horses. It's the ones who dug deep and worked hard and now have a more solid job and are making enough money to broaden to two horses and regularly competing and establishing their own thing. Those folks have limited opportunities to enhance their already existent talent and move it forward.

            I have long wished that there could be an adult version of the EAP and the Under 25 program. The folks who are still riding between ages 26-40 on their own dime or with sponsors I think could bring more to the table and would relish a chance to prove themselves on a bigger stage.

            ~Emily
            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

            Comment


            • #7
              Dang, son.

              "It’s just become a sport for rich, talentless people."
              I know I walk around like everything is fine and good in my life but sometimes, deep down, inside, one of my socks has slipped down :/

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with the above--that while her words obviously carry quite a bit of weight, and certainly have a lot of truth behind them, she's not accepting that she and other incredibly well-known trainers are part of the problem. As all of you already noted--BNT's cater to these very rich people. I don't entirely fault them for it, since they are experts and have a right to demand a fair price for their work. But, it excludes the majority of horse owners, even those who are ambitious and talented, since most of us won't ever have pockets deep enough to train with these people, much less show with their barns.

                And I also bristle a bit at the derisive attitude directed towards those who show at lower heights, because it also smacks of elitism. Even if you ride well enough to jump around 3'6" or better, once again, money can quickly become a barrier, as horses with even potential to actually be competitive in those divisions don't come cheap. Of course you can say that truly talented "self-made" horse people can find ottb's and other diamonds in the rough and train them up to that level on the cheap, but that's not actually realistic for most amateurs, not now, and frankly, I doubt it really was back then either. As some have noted, people like George Morris didn't exactly have to claw their way up through the ranks riding whatever they could get their hands on because they lacked funds to pay for nice horses and training.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am completely in Prudent's court. Just look at the common threads in the H/J forum here! Look at Glefke's impotent defense of his cheating. Commoditization of horses is the biggest issue. You don't create horsemen when the goal is to get rich.

                  The lowest level at A shows used to be 3'6" and we had to get our pukes from the pastures to that level to go show. To see low level classes with kids in shadbellies is an insult to the past.

                  Whining that is it all so expensive is a cop out to actually working on being a better horseman. Any activity where a person can buy their way into the top levels is NOT a sport. Any person who puts themselves ahead of their horse and hands the horse off for somebody else to care for so they can go to lunch, socialize, have a spa day etc. is not an athlete, nor are they horsemen. And, yes, some of my family members do this and it pisses me off.
                  Last edited by RAyers; Jul. 13, 2017, 10:37 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I find it interesting that most comments are leaning toward the negative. I found the article spot on.. The only comment I have is that you all keep referring to this as a sport , it's not , there is no comparison to the Sport of Show Jumping of the Pre 80's to the ACTIVITY of riding jumpers today . When as she said any Talent-less Amateur with money can compete in a 2'6" jumper division , as long as they buy the best and the trainer drugs to suit. This is the activity that has been created over the last 3 decades , but it serves a purpose , it supports lots of trainers, grooms, show managers, horse sellers , vets blacksmiths ect.. all of whom have capitalized off the wealth off the clients. IS that a bad thing , not necessarily, it's just the way it is , we as a country have settled for mediocrity.. that's seems to be what we strive for now in just about everything. Excelling on a world stage is no longer relevant to the average American . The value of your portfolio seems to be the only measure of success left and how you get it or create it is irrelevant.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                      You know I've been watching, competing, reporting etc on the two disciplines of Show Jumping and Eventing now for well over 25 years. I will be 46 next month. The thing I have seen shifting is an utter disregard for the over 25 but under 40 crowd. Selectors in both disciplines have almost no programs for folks in that age range. We do have The EAP and lots of young riders and Under 25 stuff. But really? I mean the folks I see with tons of promise aren't the rich kids on the 6 figure horses. It's the ones who dug deep and worked hard and now have a more solid job and are making enough money to broaden to two horses and regularly competing and establishing their own thing. Those folks have limited opportunities to enhance their already existent talent and move it forward.

                      I have long wished that there could be an adult version of the EAP and the Under 25 program. The folks who are still riding between ages 26-40 on their own dime or with sponsors I think could bring more to the table and would relish a chance to prove themselves on a bigger stage.

                      ~Emily
                      Yes yes yes! I've often thought this! So many of us on this board were the barn rat kids growing up, now establishing or already established in our careers with a bit more income to play with finally but always considered "too old" to be worth any investment. I mean come on.... sure you wouldn't invest in a beginner adult rider at 30. But if they've been riding their whole life already its not like you're starting them from nothing at age 30. And at least you know that chances are if they've stuck with the sport up to the age they are at and struggled to maintain their riding through school and career you know they've got the commitment and drive to really take any training and showing opportunities seriously!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Natalie View Post
                        And I also bristle a bit at the derisive attitude directed towards those who show at lower heights, because it also smacks of elitism. Even if you ride well enough to jump around 3'6" or better, once again, money can quickly become a barrier, as horses with even potential to actually be competitive in those divisions don't come cheap. Of course you can say that truly talented "self-made" horse people can find ottb's and other diamonds in the rough and train them up to that level on the cheap, but that's not actually realistic for most amateurs, not now, and frankly, I doubt it really was back then either.
                        Natalie I agree with the bristling at the derisve attitude towards showing at the lower levels part of what you said, but I don't see why amateurs can't bring along an OTTB? To my mind (and I'm relatively new to this sport, I came from the ranching, reining and AQHA world) part of the problem goes back a little bit to the desire for the half-dead warmblood hunter. If hunters went back to be more like a true hunting horse and having a bit more pace and thoroughbreds weren't scoffed at unless they look like a warmblood I think more amateurs would consider bringing along an OTTB. Plenty of those OTTBs can jump big jumps. I have 2 cheap TBs (one off the track and one not) and my horsey besty has one too. We didn't look very hard, they actually fell into our laps, and all 3 are or will be competitive at least regionally in the hunter and jumper divisions and have been pretty easy to bring along. My 3yo OTTB is lazier than my 24yo QH!

                        I grew up on Montana so showing hunters and jumpers was really only an option in the AQHA shows that were nearby, but I read as many publications as I could get my hands on. Even I noticed the shift through the 90's to now away from the thoroughbred to the warmblood. Like Katie says, it used to be cheap to get a nice horse from Europe. Now it has become a badge similar to the Louis Vuitton bag and the Hermes belts the kids at A shows are wearing to say their horse was imported from Europe. What great riders many of those kids would be if they got an OTTB when they are 15/16/17 to bring along themselves and learn how to train a horse under the guidance of a true expert. We learn so much more as riders when we have to fix real training problems ourselves rather than hand the reins over to someone else to fix so we can just jump on, push our heels down and count strides.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Any class that has jumps that a person can step over or swing their legs over isn't a sport at all.
                          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                          Thread killer Extraordinaire

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I quite honestly agree with a lot of what she's saying. We are seeing these very capable and tough Irish kids who can ride absolutely anything take our lunch money.

                            I don't think all is lost however. We DO have some younger riders, who have hustled like crazy to be successful. Look at Mavis Spencer working as a groom here and in Europe for years and rising to now ride Grand Prix. Or Zazou Hoffman starting as a working student for Missy Clark to now being supported by one of her clients to ride at the Grand Prix level today. Beating the Kents and Erics at Spruce no less. It is possible.

                            I think we need to do a better job finding kids who have the real desire and gumption and making sure they find their way into good working student positions and eventually becoming grooms in Europe. I really think there's a strong opportunity to develop talent by forging a clear path for young folks and getting them comfortable with the discomfort it takes to be truly successful. We at least have the opportunity in our equitation program of exposing young kids at an early age to intense pressure.

                            We don't need thousands of Zazou's and Mavis'. We certainly need many more. My only major disagreement with her is the idea of lower levels being bad for the sport. I think the more we can improve the sport at the bookends, the lower levels to encourage participation and the higher levels to drive engagement and excitement, the better. We all agree it has gotten so expensive to have horses, we can't all afford a high amateur jumper, though we might like to.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Somehow I doubt that KMP or GHM would be willing to buy a horse that is competitive at the highest levels and let a no money working student on it. It is ridiculously expensive to bring young horses along, and if you need to sell your horses because that is what you do for a living, your not going to give some no name kid a shot; you just can't. Too much at stake. Plus there is the general liability, and constant fear of injury to horse and rider. The Tb's of yesteryear simply couldn't compete at the higher level of today, even in the mid/upper level hunters.

                              And what is so wrong about people competing at the 2'6 hunter or jumper division? Is this not primarily recreation? Most juniors or amateurs are not going to the Olympics anytime soon, much less moving up 1 or 2 levels. They are doing it for fun, for exercise, for therapy, for the love of horses. Let them have their fun; maybe they are moms who lived vicariously through their kids and now it's their turn. Maybe it's a young (non horse) professional who can finally afford to buy something. Maybe it's an older adult who has lost their confidence at 1.30m, but still wants to have fun and compete at 1.0m. I find the snobbishness of "Oh, Lovey, back in the day we only jumped 3'6 or better" highly offensive.

                              As to the fact that most BNT's only cater to the uber wealthy, well.....it is a business with an outrageously high overhead, liability and risk. Doesn't any business want to cater to it's best clients? That doesn't mean you ignore the rest; that is what the above paragraph is about. But remember....the rich are different, dear.... your best clients generally have to be handled with care, because this is a cut throat business also

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                So why can't the puddle jumpers compete in unrecognized shows and unrecognized classes. The embrace of USEF Championships for puddle jumpers has cheapened the higher divisions, which are worth as much as the lower ones.
                                "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                Thread killer Extraordinaire

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                  So why can't the puddle jumpers compete in unrecognized shows and unrecognized classes. The embrace of USEF Championships for puddle jumpers has cheapened the higher divisions, which are worth as much as the lower ones.
                                  I mean, not really? The Classics for the high amateurs pay out quite differently than the low adults. And I don't think anyone would say the prestige is on equal footing. It's quite a different class altogether.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                    Any class that has jumps that a person can step over or swing their legs over isn't a sport at all.
                                    See now I disagree. There's an automatic assumption in these kind of discussions that people riding a horse are all normal healthy people who want to do the things in their wheelhouse and then progress higher. But the truth is that this isn't always true. There are people in the horse world who are combatting physical and mental limitations. So too can the horses be needing extra help or time and also be facing limitations or lesser goals.

                                    I appreciate that your comment is meant to apply to those who can progress up the levels, but it's a bit unfair to say that while the level is held with disdain for many, for another amount of the horsey population it's a HUGE accomplishment. To lessen the elitism that is running throughout the horse world, we all have to check ourselves and remember that not all horses and riders are created equal. Katie besmirched the 3'6" and under crowd, but if we continue this looking down the nose sense of betterness, then soon we will all be made to feel useless by everyone above us. And that's not something that needs to continue. Acceptance (however cosmically unlikely as it may seem) will get all of us a WHOLE lot further.

                                    Emily
                                    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Katie Prudent
                                      I make those kids work hard. If they sass me, I take those stirrups off. I still teach like I grew up, where I want the riders to be tough and to appreciate the horse and to learn how to ride every problem. In today’s world, the trainers take away the problems. They don’t want the riders to have a problem. Every horse has to go out of the barn with earplugs in, so that they don’t hear or look or spook at anything.
                                      Oh she gives the solution, and lays it down squarely in the trainer's lap. And while she may take on the moneyed child, she does not spoil them. And therein lies the difference.

                                      I applaud every word of it. The "accessible" levels (<3') need to be at accessible horse shows, otherwise "accessibility" is just a joke we keep telling ourselves.

                                      EHJ | FB | #140 | watch | #insta

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm of a divided mind on the interview. While I do strongly believe that horsemanship and hard work should be foremost, and that it would be great if people (not just kids!) with drive and talent but not a big bankroll had more opportunities, I also don't think it's a bad thing that people like me are bopping around the 2'6-3' divisions, having fun (on an OTTB I made up myself, thank you very much).

                                        Maybe we just need to be more explicit in realizing that there is a division in this sport, between those aiming at the elite level and needing to do things like WEF and Spruce and HITS all summer, and those of us who do not have Olympic ambition, who want to do a little showing on the weekends between working and spending time with family and having a life, and don't need to go spend weeks at a time on a horse show circuit. But we have, in large part, lost those one day/weekend rated shows, so if we want to go show, we're forced to the megacircuits, too, with our piddly .80 jumpers. But at this point, if you got rid of those lower levels, you also take away the financial base of support for the show, where then 35 horses in the 2'6 PreAdults are carrying the cost of the 6 in the 3'6 AOs at most shows.

                                        So by all means, encourage good riding and good horsemanship and give talent without deep wallets an opportunity. But realize that good riding can and should happen at all levels, and not everyone is going to the top levels, which is fine, too.
                                        A Year In the Saddle

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