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  • Originally posted by DrBeckett View Post
    Well if all it took was money, Athina Onassis, Jennifer Gates, and Eve Jobs would be the top three riders in the world. Obviously it takes more than just money. But you can't get to the 5* level without it - whether you are rich on your own or you have very wealthy sponsors. It is an elite sport. It always has been and it always will.
    I don't think your last sentence is true, if by elite you mean billionaires and multi-millionaires. I can assure you that Pony Club, where so many of the best modern riders got their first education in horses and horsemanship, was not now and never was the haunt of the uber rich. H/J Trainers today dismiss Pony Club, perhaps BECAUSE it does foster an egalitarian culture. It takes work to move up the levels, as well as knowledge of many other facets of horses other than riding.

    Most Pony Clubbers are the children of the middle and upper middle class. They are far from the one tenth of one percent who seem to hang around in the show jumper ranks.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

    Comment


    • Originally posted by vineyridge View Post

      I don't think your last sentence is true, if by elite you mean billionaires and multi-millionaires. I can assure you that Pony Club, where so many of the best modern riders got their first education in horses and horsemanship, was not now and never was the haunt of the uber rich. H/J Trainers today dismiss Pony Club, perhaps BECAUSE it does foster an egalitarian culture. It takes work to move up the levels, as well as knowledge of many other facets of horses other than riding.

      Most Pony Clubbers are the children of the middle and upper middle class. They are far from the one tenth of one percent who seem to hang around in the show jumper ranks.
      Are there any modern jumper riders who started out in pony club? I know many started out in hunters and eq, but I can't think of any of the top riders today who started in pony club. I'm not saying they don't exist, but pony club as a pathway to upper level success seems to have really seen its hay day long ago. At least in hunter jumpers. I feel like it's much more likely to produce eventers these days.

      This is only slightly an aside, but I think the economics of modern horse ownership makes hunter/jumper/dressage more accessible for many than the pony club model. Fewer people own, fewer people have their horses at home, and it is way, way easier (and safer) to have kids and horses in a micromanaged program and ring rather than the more independent program of pony clubs and horse trials.

      It's hard, the horse world has changed in so many ways; on some level riders and horses and horse care are better than ever, in other ways we are losing things that I think really helped to produce generations of great riders. Specifically,
      I think the American model will ultimately continue to move toward a more consolidated Euro model just because there are way fewer kids growing up loose and wild on their horses and ponies. People don't have the land, parents don't have the money, kids don't have the time? the access?


      Denny Emerson addresses this much better than I, but we lose so much when kids don't have the opportunity, the space, or the time to be stupid for hours on end with their ponies and their friends.

      For many of us, horses were our lifestyle growing up, more than a hobby.

      These days that lifestyle is not an option for many people, and that has much much less to do with the sport being elitist and expensive, and much more to do with an economy/property/education/etc costs that price many people out of horse and "horse property" ownership entirely.

      Let me apologize in advance.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post

        These days that lifestyle is not an option for many people, and that has much much less to do with the sport being elitist and expensive, and much more to do with an economy/property/education/etc costs that price many people out of horse and "horse property" ownership entirely.
        I'm not quite 30 and this is exactly the case for me, and I had a horse. We lived smack in suburbia, horse was 45 minutes away. We went out every Saturday because it was too tough for mom to juggle two little kids and a horse, so she passed my brother off to my dad on weekends. There was no way for me to get to any sort of horses without a car, even though I would have eat/breathed/slept horses if I could have. That time in my life didn't occur until college/grad school, because that desire never died in me like it did to so many others I knew.

        No one in my school had any inkling about horses, but I distinctly remember being told by one of my friends that I must be rich because we had a horse. This girl's house was easily worth at least mid-five figures more than mine. Now obviously we were children, but that's just the assumption that gets made - horses are for rich people.

        So how do people get into horses? It's so different because you don't just head to the Y or your local town organization. So many of the lesson kids I knew, the parents just googled to see what barn was closest and/or cheapest. And unfortunately, because they have no background knowledge, if the trainer says oh sure we'll have Suzy jumping in two months and we can go to this fancy A show - what are they going to do? Some of them luck into real horsepeople, but for everyone of those there's someone fully willing to take advantage of their naivete. They don't know what they don't know often until it's too late, if they ever learn anything different. Et voila.

        Comment


        • ladyj79

          I agree with you both that the "pony club as pathway to the top levels of sport" is both more common for eventing than showjumping AND that it's heyday is probably behind us... but that's not to say that pony club is not creating a path to the top for some people.

          This press release indicates that 11 riders/coaches in the last Olympics/paralympics came up through PC (though not necessarily American PC in the case of Dutton/Martin)

          https://www.ponyclub.org/News/pdfVer...ection%202.pdf

          I think if you're in a very competitive PC/PC region and you can make your way to the A levels, with a little luck you may have a future ahead of you in the high professional levels of dressage/eventing. It still takes some luck and some money, but I think in general eventing in particular is more egalitarian and some people are finding their way there through PC. It's never a done deal. One horse injury, one personal injury, etc. can knock someone out/back but I do think in the field of eventing that there are people coming up who are not gagillionaires and are using PC as a means to get the right education/experience to be top level pros. But it still requires you be lucky enough to have the right horses at the right time, to be in a competitive PC area with good coaching, and to work hard.
          ~Veronica
          "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
          http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

          Comment


          • However, with regards to Eventing, when a Beginner Novice horse with experience goes for $25,000 or above, that's a bit above most people's price range. I make a very good living, am looking for a packer who won't go higher than BN, but I'm not spending 20-25,000. Eventing is becoming out of range for a lot of people.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by DrBeckett View Post
              However, with regards to Eventing, when a Beginner Novice horse with experience goes for $25,000 or above, that's a bit above most people's price range. I make a very good living, am looking for a packer who won't go higher than BN, but I'm not spending 20-25,000. Eventing is becoming out of range for a lot of people.
              You CAN spend that, but you definitely don't HAVE to unless you must have 100% made/perfect and you must have it immediately.

              I can say that confidently as someone who is horse shopping right now and who always buys cheaper horses (cheaper comparatively to what other people are spending). You may have to be patient or compromise or really turn over stone or make one-- but for people who are aspiring to be professionals-- those sorts of things (patience, compromise, looking hard, making up) should not be impediments.

              I hear you though that the cost of EVERYTHING is going up. If I come across some eventers in my search for a hunter, I'll PM you I have seen horses with novice experience well under that, especially if you don't mind a little old/a little small/in the middle of nowhere etc.
              ~Veronica
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

              Comment


              • Originally posted by silver_charm View Post

                I'm not quite 30 and this is exactly the case for me, and I had a horse. We lived smack in suburbia, horse was 45 minutes away. We went out every Saturday because it was too tough for mom to juggle two little kids and a horse, so she passed my brother off to my dad on weekends. There was no way for me to get to any sort of horses without a car, even though I would have eat/breathed/slept horses if I could have. That time in my life didn't occur until college/grad school, because that desire never died in me like it did to so many others I knew.

                No one in my school had any inkling about horses, but I distinctly remember being told by one of my friends that I must be rich because we had a horse. This girl's house was easily worth at least mid-five figures more than mine. Now obviously we were children, but that's just the assumption that gets made - horses are for rich people.

                So how do people get into horses? It's so different because you don't just head to the Y or your local town organization. So many of the lesson kids I knew, the parents just googled to see what barn was closest and/or cheapest. And unfortunately, because they have no background knowledge, if the trainer says oh sure we'll have Suzy jumping in two months and we can go to this fancy A show - what are they going to do? Some of them luck into real horse people, but for everyone of those there's someone fully willing to take advantage of their naivete. They don't know what they don't know often until it's too late, if they ever learn anything different. Et voila.

                Whereas where I grew up, there were way more people who had horses than who took lessons. My family was one of the weird ones because we took lessons, except my dad but he could get on and ride, because he grew up a farm kid. Not with horses, but they had enough friends with horses that as you said, no one knew what they didn't know, which had both good and bad results haha

                Many of the people in my area had 3-10 acre parcels, lots of horses, lots of trail riding. It was a world where when my brother made a new friend, and my brother rode some, his new friend's family went and got him a horse and stuck it in their garage. We all trail rode, some showed, some didn't, some lessoned, some didn't. We had a lot of fun.

                It was a world where I rode my pony to friends' houses, our house backed up to a couple hundred acres of trails, so people were headed up our driveway pretty regularly.

                I would ride my pony down through my grandparent's field and pick wild plums off the trees and wipe sticky fingers in my pony's mane.

                My blue collar father and my then-stay at home mother bought this small acreage from my dad's parents, who sold similar small parcels to a few more of my dad's siblings. It was cheap in 1983. It's a property I will never be able to afford, in an area I will never be able to afford.

                Of my many friends who grew up with ponies and horses, only a few have "stuck with it" in one way or another. And of those, few have their own horse property, fewer still are competing. Not from lack of love for horses, and not even because showing has priced them out of horses, but because most of us can't provide the properties our parents had that helped us develop as horseman and riders. Many of those properties don't even exist anymore.

                I am way sadder about the loss of this lifestyle than I am about how the sport has (or really hasn't) changed.

                Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                ladyj79

                I agree with you both that the "pony club as pathway to the top levels of sport" is both more common for eventing than showjumping AND that it's heyday is probably behind us... but that's not to say that pony club is not creating a path to the top for some people.

                This press release indicates that 11 riders/coaches in the last Olympics/paralympics came up through PC (though not necessarily American PC in the case of Dutton/Martin)

                https://www.ponyclub.org/News/pdfVer...ection%202.pdf

                I think if you're in a very competitive PC/PC region and you can make your way to the A levels, with a little luck you may have a future ahead of you in the high professional levels of dressage/eventing. It still takes some luck and some money, but I think in general eventing in particular is more egalitarian and some people are finding their way there through PC. It's never a done deal. One horse injury, one personal injury, etc. can knock someone out/back but I do think in the field of eventing that there are people coming up who are not gagillionaires and are using PC as a means to get the right education/experience to be top level pros. But it still requires you be lucky enough to have the right horses at the right time, to be in a competitive PC area with good coaching, and to work hard.

                Even looking at that list, David O'Connor, Robert Dover, old (or old enough that their competitive careers are over and they've moved primarily to teaching). 4 people who are c/d level, so let's be honest, that doesn't really count haha and then the eventing contingent and what? sisters? who do modern pentathalon. So really, yeah, it has a very modest impact on modern horse sport. I'm actually surprised and saddened to see that its impact is even less than I imagined, but as I said, it's just such a different world.

                I know one youngish pretty competitive jumper rider in Maryland who went up through the levels in pony club. Her dad owns a car dealership. She had some very, very nice horses that brought her to nationals.

                I sold a horse to a pony club mistress/teacher. She bought the horse as a lessons horse, because it is such a different world, and many kids will never ever have the opportunity to look out their window and see their best friend and partner in their backyard
                Let me apologize in advance.

                Comment


                • ladyj79 I agree with you, it's not a lot of people. But it's a path that's out there and I think some people are still going to be able to take it today.

                  Being realistic, how many of ANY system have turned out numerous top level pros? Even the best barns will maybe have 2-3 students who make it at the top level as a pro. If PC turns out 2-3 students, that's not hugely different.
                  ~Veronica
                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                    ladyj79 I agree with you, it's not a lot of people. But it's a path that's out there and I think some people are still going to be able to take it today.

                    Being realistic, how many of ANY system have turned out numerous top level pros? Even the best barns will maybe have 2-3 students who make it at the top level as a pro. If PC turns out 2-3 students, that's not hugely different.
                    But if we are comparing "pony club" in general, we aren't comparing a nation wide organization to then one farm or another, we are comparing "pony club" to "hunters" or "equitation" or "jumpers", and there's little doubt that the eq ring in particular is producing a lot of our top riders. But if we're going to talk about specifics, Nelson Pessoa has single-handedly produced more top riders than the whole of the US pony club. That's...disheartening

                    Like, the pony pipeline still produce a lot of top riders in Europe. The young riders programs are producing here and in Europe, but on the continent in particular you are still talking a lot about kids who have a certain level of parental investment and support because it's just not the culture for everyone to have horses at home, or even owning horses, and there's lots of more riding at a club, the top kids compete on club horses, when they age out of ponies they get younger rider horses, or they go ride for another program. Maybe pony club can do this?? But compared to the support the horse industry gets in a number of European countries, it just doesn't seem likely.

                    I think the one advantage the US had was for a long time we had more "wild cards" which is to say because horse ownership and having horses at home was more common than in Europe, you could have a Denny Emerson or a Katie Prudent crop up. But now, because of shifting economy, shifting priorities, shifting land use, we don't even have that advantage.

                    I don't know that it is an issue that can even be addressed. It's not a question of training, it's not a question of talent, or animal welfare or rich people or cowardly talentless ammies, it's really the product of a national economy that no longer supports the even completely low key horsey lifestyle some of us were lucky enough to grow up with.






                    Let me apologize in advance.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post


                      I sold a horse to a pony club mistress/teacher. She bought the horse as a lessons horse, because it is such a different world, and many kids will never ever have the opportunity to look out their window and see their best friend and partner in their backyard

                      ......

                      Please, go on....
                      Talking to some people is like folding a fitted sheet.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by AffirmedHope View Post


                        ......

                        Please, go on....
                        ???

                        Um, my pony club mistress, ie leader, was old Virginia money. So she was the pony club mistress. But we weren't the only ones who used this term. It was the 80s and early 90s and we rode with a lot of people who were born in the 1930s.


                        Let me apologize in advance.

                        Comment


                        • I suggest you watch this hour long Pony Club Hall of Fame video.
                          https://www.ponyclub.org/Alumni/Hall...aspx?edit=true

                          There are one hell of a lot of the most prominent US event riders in there. As they point out, in 2000, not so very long ago, all four of the US eventing team members were PC graduates.

                          If PC was that effective only 17 years ago and in eventing today which does include sj, albeit not GP heights, why would its system not be effective in training riders today? The basics of horsemanship are not different in any of the disciplines.
                          Last edited by vineyridge; Jul. 17, 2017, 05:49 PM.
                          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                          Thread killer Extraordinaire

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by AffirmedHope View Post


                            ......

                            Please, go on....
                            Mistress is another word for teacher (comes from the British).

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by ladyj79 View Post

                              These days that lifestyle is not an option for many people, and that has much much less to do with the sport being elitist and expensive, and much more to do with an economy/property/education/etc costs that price many people out of horse and "horse property" ownership entirely.
                              If you are speaking about areas where urban sprawl creeps in. Totally can understand. If you are talking about getting a horse on your own, training and competing for what you can. Totally can understand how that begins to clash with urban sprawl. Watched it happen with me and around me.

                              Never did it but think the concept of pony club is wonderful from viewing some of it in horse trials in the 90s, but its obvious that some are as elusive, deep pockets, club rooted and political as anything in equestrian showing can become.

                              Some thing to deal with were kids who were barn rats that read all about pony club, but reality was there were none near them that would accept them without a horse and/or the status to be involved in clubs. You ca tell them how wonderful it is, but after awhile it does get to be double speak.. So you have the h/j and western barns that hopefully still offered group lessons while they search for the owners and leases.

                              All that goes away with sprawl and pockets remain. Not surprised. I saw those pockets closer to the city growing up and then was amazed that I could actually access horses if I travelled just a bit further out and now that just a bit further is way past what used to be realistic. Yet there is a huge expanse of rural land beyond that point.

                              So.. yes, the economy etc. However the US is filled with xxx flyover and horses. People who ride all kinds of horses.. LOTS of kids and people like LOTS of "Boys from Ireland". One problem. They don't have an attraction to this type of sport and they don't have the kind of money/economy that the Horse Show Business demands..

                              So, I can agree that there is an economy involved, but I think that the horse show h/j economy is the factor, not the real economy surrounding in the US.
                              Last edited by skyon; Jul. 17, 2017, 05:39 PM.

                              Comment


                              • 213 posts already - guess KP really hit a nerve.

                                Top athletes can be ordinary people doing extraordinary things - they have the inner heart and desire....but in the show world there is that darned problem of wealth.

                                My daughter worked during her GAP year for Jay Hayes (in Zucarlos, Ali Baba and Raven days)... she had good opportunities and learned a lot, but in the end she came home with the knowledge that she could never reach her showjumping goal as her parents did not have the buckets of money.

                                What she does have is a wealth of varied horse experiences as well as Pony Club behind her and has had some pretty nice job offers.

                                Overall - I have no time for the 'meanie' people of this word. Does it make them feel superior in any way?
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by skyon View Post

                                  If you are speaking about areas where urban sprawl creeps in. Totally can understand. If you are talking about getting a horse on your own, training and competing for what you can. Totally can understand how that begins to clash with urban sprawl. Watched it happen with me and around me.

                                  Never did it but think the concept of pony club is wonderful from viewing some of it in horse trials in the 90s, but its obvious that some are as elusive, deep pockets, club rooted and political.

                                  Some thing to deal with were kids who were barn rats that read all about pony club, but reality was there were none near them that would accept them without a horse and/or the status to be involved in clubs. You ca tell them how wonderful it is, but after awhile it does get to be double speak.. So you have the h/j and western barns that hopefully still offered group lessons while they search for the owners and leases.

                                  All that goes away with sprawl and pockets remain. Not surprised. I saw those pockets closer to the city growing up and then was amazed that I could actually access horses if I travelled just a bit further out and now that just a bit further is way past what used to be realistic. Yet there is a huge expanse of rural land beyond that point.

                                  So.. yes, the economy etc. However the US is filled with xxx flyover and horses. People who ride all kinds of horses.. LOTS of kids and people like LOTS of "Boys from Ireland". One problem. They don't have an attraction to this type of sport and they don't have the kind of money/economy that the Horse Show Business demands..

                                  So, I can agree that there is an economy involved, but I think that the horse show h/j economy is the factor, not the real economy surrounding in the US.
                                  In 1920, the US census revealed that for the first time in the US, more people lived in cities than "on the land", a direct product of industrialization. That number has only increased over the last almost 100 years.

                                  The reality is, most people aren't going to move to Wyoming or Nebraska or North Dakota to buy a horse property because they have careers, and lives, that don't allow for moving to the middle of nowhere where horse property is more affordable.

                                  And even if you move to those places, there really isn't industry and an economy in place to support developing your own or your children's equestrian careers. Unless you're Karen Cudmore haha

                                  Additionally, most teachers/trainers set up shop near urban centers because that's where clients live. So we're kind of back to if you don't really have to earn a living you can go wherever you want, but even when you can go wherever you want, most people do not choose to go where no man has gone before...except Karen Cudmore haha

                                  I do wonder if telecommuting becomes more prominent if people will head to some of these less populated areas. But probably not.
                                  Let me apologize in advance.

                                  Comment


                                  • OMG Foxtrot's, did your daughter come home with all her fingers? Zucarlos was a notorious carnivore.

                                    Comment


                                    • But again.. I'm not certain how many are telecommuting in rural Ireland and other rural areas in other countries to become these super clients to trainers with uber facilities and participating in horse shows on expensive well trained mounts.......yet they are the ones that are wiping up at these US and other shows.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by skyon View Post
                                        But again.. I'm not certain how many are telecommuting in rural Ireland and other rural areas in other countries to become these super clients to trainers with uber facilities and participating in horse shows on expensive well trained mounts.......yet they are the ones that are wiping up at these US and other shows.

                                        Oh, this is an easy one, having lived and worked in Ireland: Ireland is the size of Connecticut. Done.
                                        Let me apologize in advance.

                                        Comment


                                        • lol.. Even if the size of CT - are they traveling to uber trainers as uber clients.. to ride six figure horses and then coming to the US?

                                          Comment

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