socioeconomic backgrounds..?
 
 

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socioeconomic backgrounds..?

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  • Socioeconomic backgrounds of american olympians

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    02-09-2013, 02:10 PM
  #1
Foal
socioeconomic backgrounds..?

My husband said to me the other day that you would never see an inner city kid doing the 3 day event during the olympics. I like to think that as long as I work hard and never give up that I can get almost anywhere with my equestrian dreams, even the olympics if I so chose to go on that path.

Do you think that as long as someone has the passion and drive for horses that they can do whatever they set their mind to or do you think someone can only get so far considering their financial status..?

I don't come from a middle upper class family. In fact I grew up in a pretty bad neighborhood. We're middle-lower class income. Now I don't live with my parents anymore and I don't even have my own horse. But I am not going to let that stop me from pursing my dream. I've had to take a month or so off from lessons because I started school and my husband has been without a job for a few months.
It does make me wonder sometimes just how far I can get. I'm in school because I want to get a job that will pay enough so that I can follow my passion.
I get a little bit discouraged sometimes because I will see kids that ride and their parents pay for it and I have to wonder how much money they are putting towards it. And sometimes I feel a little out of place because I don't have money at all. My extra money goes towards riding when I can afford it. The feeling I get is that there is a divide between people that ride and have a lot of money and people that ride and have not much money.
I guess I'm just trying to ask for advice here... :-/
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    02-09-2013, 02:49 PM
  #2
Weanling
I think as long as you're passionate, and you have the drive, you can do anything you want (with the exception of training flying blue elephants to dance...) If it's what you want to do, and believe in yourself, then you can do it. That being said, the majority of olympians, especially the equestrian team, have had a lot of financial backing and have been brought up in a setting where they've been provided with great horses since they were born, and as they progress, they are provided with top level horses to take them ever further. Plus, they are incredbly good riders because they are dedicated, and ride daily at a very high level.

It would be an uphill struggle, but if you rode and got noticed by someone who could sponsor you, who knows where you could be in the next couple years.
     
    02-09-2013, 03:10 PM
  #3
Showing
Altho my dreams weren't the Olympics I saved my money and fed, shovelled and bedded many stalls for the chance of a lesson. I knew I was getting the short end of the deal but I learned how to harness and drive a horse as the manure was piled on a stoneboat and skidded out to the rows of manure. I also leaned how to bed a good stall. I was given the opportunity to ride horses of varying skills and temperments. When I look back, I was getting the better end of the deal.
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    02-09-2013, 03:17 PM
  #4
Started
I grew up poor. I will never be in the Olympics. If you don't have the money for lessons, you're never going to get into the Olympics. You're not going to get the time, training, and help you need, and in most sports, if you don't start young, you're not going to ever make it to that level. Horse events are a little more forgiving, since you can be competitive at much higher ages than other events, that said, you're still working at a heck of a disadvantage if you don't have money. Not saying it's impossible to overcome, just unlikely.

That's just fact as I see it.
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    02-09-2013, 03:33 PM
  #5
Green Broke
I was called a "street urchin" growing up in a huge, decaying city. Bummed and did chores for food. Slept outside at times.

I vote for passion and hard work equaling success. I now ranch and work with polo horses. I don't want to play. I like being behind the scenes, but I've been asked to play. I used to catch ride, mainly in the old "handy hunter" classes when I was a young teen. If I had stayed with that discipline, who knows if I would have been successful, but I wanted to experience different things.

Check out the "Work to Ride" program in Philidelphia. At least one of the kids has made it to the Team USPA program and is doing well. He was not from an even middle class family.

I've met several players from South America, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. That worked their way up from lower income status to playing professionally. I don't know if the income is fantastic, but they are playing medium and high goal polo and can afford a nice lifestyle.
     
    02-09-2013, 04:18 PM
  #6
Yearling
Kind of depends on what your dreams are. If you're seriously dreaming at competing in the Olympics, or at higher levels in any sport, you aren't going to get there without money behind you, and the sort of obsessiveness that will allow you to give up anything and everything else in life if it gets in the way of winning. And with horses it's worse, because they cost a lot of money to buy and keep. If you look through past threads, you'll find the story of a woman who embezzled millions of dollars to support her horse competition habit.

Now if what you want is just to have horses and enjoy riding them, it's perfectly possible to come from sleeping on the streets and dumpster diving for your meals, and get to a position where you can easily support a horse. I did.
     
    02-09-2013, 04:31 PM
  #7
Banned
I think that dreaming of the Olympics is a little unrealistic. It's just not possible that everyone can be that good with just hard work.

However it is possible for someone without massive income to be successful, it's harder of course, but possible. At the top levels of riding, it's normal for others to own the horse, and for there to be plenty of sponsors. But it's hard to get there.

If I could, I'd buy a $20k + horse, to be showing at the level I'd like to show at.
I simply don't have that kind of income, so I bought a $2k OTTB and am trying to bring him on. He's probably never going to be at the level I'd like him to be at, but he has a chance to be maybe good enough - we'll see.
If I had the income, I'd be showing already. I don't, so I am working towards it.


When I was MUCH younger, I had a fantastically talented pony, and we were very successful together. But I found that the higher up we got, the harder it was, obviously. My one single pony with massive heart and I were competing against girls bringing up to 8 ponies to a show. Each class, they had a new fresh, none tired pony. They brought so many horses, so they always had a back up and would often leave with some of their expensive horses having never been ridden.

I'd ride in two classes, each with jump offs, so 4 times in the ring and my little mare would still whoop their fancy rides. But then I couldn't ask more of her than that, so had to choose my classes carefully.

With limited income, it's more likely that you would need to buy a young horse as a prospect than an already made one. And do the work yourself.
I feel that's more rewarding, if it does pay off - but it's equally, and in fact, probably more likely that it won't pay off.


However focusing on what other people can do because of their income, isn't the least bit helpful to you. Focus on what you can do, and try your best.
     
    02-09-2013, 04:31 PM
  #8
Green Broke
In anything, luck has as much to do with it, if you are not born into horsey family, or rich.

Even rich kids/people may not realize their dreams too. In wrong place at wrong time to meet a sponsor, or to meet trainer looking to hire staff, or tied up with things that preclude being in heavy training.

Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw.

And part of it to, with so many of the kids of whatever background, that in the rush to make everyone believe they can "dream a dream" and that they are just as good as anyone else? We have accomplished entire generations of people who refuse to put in the work and time necessary to achieve even the most attainable dreams, but think they are just as good as someone that has, and I am not talking horses here, but baton twirling???

Can it be done? Possibly? If you don't put the time and effort into it? No.

And even then? Iffy? So many things have to also align here.
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    02-09-2013, 04:41 PM
  #9
Yearling
...and all this sums up to ...

IF YOU DON'T TRY, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.
     
    02-09-2013, 06:48 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Then change your financial status. That you can change.
     

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