I want to say first that I know you are speaking about one part of showing and that you know not everyone falls into the stereotypes you are condemning above. I get that. So please don't think I'm arguing. I just want to comment.
But I do want to take a second to say that I have been riding since I was 7. Getting to take a lesson every 1 - 2 weeks before I could afford my own leases. I bought my horse a year ago when I was 26, out of college, and paying my own bills. It took my 19 years to get my own horse. And I bought an OTTB (clearly) and have been training him with the assistance of a trainer. Not solely by a trainer. I didn't think I would show again, but got the bug as soon as the season hit. And bought the appropriate clothes to look my best.
I don't like seeing kids who's mommy's bought their tall boots and paid their USEF fees, but I don't resent them for having what I didnt. That's not fair. So I guess what Im saying, in a long winded manner, is that everyone is held to the same standard despite how rich you are. And I am sure there are plenty of people out there like me who didn't show until they saved up enough money to have the clothes they feel good in.
Yeah, I do know that :] And it's all good, I love a healthy debate.
I don't really get mad at the people who's parents buy them things that mine couldn't. I get mad at the ones who use that as an excuse to not put in any work. I.e. Buy a finished show horse, get someone else to ride it, someone else to groom it, and just hop on up for the show and collect a few ribbons. I worked so hard to get my ay-rab to stop star-gazing, to relax and collect, to be soft and supple, to get reliable lengthening and immediate changes... And to get railroaded by people who used money as a substitute for good riding would crush me. If they earned the ribbon? Sure. No problem.
I have an amazing little arab that I did everything on. But there is such prejudice against arabs in the showing world, at least in AUS. He was the world to me but judges didnt think so. He would not put a foot wrong, yet I never once won a champion ribbon on him, despite some amazing workouts and many expereinced opinions that he should have won. I got reserve champion arab in the arab ring because, wait for it: The other horse had better movement due to it's NON-arab half, being a derivative. How you can place the derivative over the arab because of it's non-arab traits in the arab ring is beyond me.
^ That's the gripe I have about showing. The political side... The fact that personal opinion plays into the judging. I would actually quite enjoy showing if there were no judges :]
* Now I am a bit of a hypocrite as I am dipping my toes back into the showing world, albeit the ASH shows are a bit different... (National show this weekend, and definitely cr*pping myself that my horse will look scruffy, tack isn't fancy enough, etc...).