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So I thought this would be an interesting discussion.

This article came across my Facebook news feed today and I can't help but think it a bit too true.

One Big Reason Horse Sports Will Decline In Favor | Horse Collaborative

I know I've been there especially when I was younger. I used to get discouraged because I thought that the only way to make it to the "big shows" was to buy/own an overpriced hay burner on legs. Not saying that some high priced horses aren't worth it and in reality a horse (or anything really) is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

What the article is trying to get at is that we may see a decline in horse sport favor because young talented riders get to as far as they can go and then when they want to move up most of the horses that meet their criteria are well above their price range. And I know the article focuses on mainly English but I've seen it in Western types of riding as well.

My thing is how many possibly amazing equestrian riders take a huge fall due to not being able to afford the best of the best horse? Or even sometimes the next level up? I've seen prices vary between divisions like you wouldn't believe. At least around my way.

Why do most top rated shows have famous horses/bloodlines in them?

Do judges discriminate so bad that people feel the need to find/buy specific types of horses?

Why can't someone on a $1,000 Mr. No Papered No Well Known Mamma or Pappa compete against the big guys if they have the talent?


It's not just the horses it's entry fees, you "need" the best of the best saddle, bridle, saddle pad, riding outfit, etc. Say I showed up at a High Rated show in $20 breeches and a $30 riding jacket would I be discriminated against?

I mean I know the people that own the venues have to make a living as well.

Just hypothetical no-need-answer-thinking questions.

And then almost 20 minutes after seeing that article I found this one. I love these kind of "rags to riches" stories. This girl found herself an amazing little diamond in the rough. Who's to say someone who wanted to ride with the "big dogs" couldn't do that as well. :D
How a $600 rescue horse became my winning Adult Jumper

This thread is just merely a product of my mind going a bajillion miles a minute haha. This is what happens when I either can't sleep or have very little to no sleep. In this case it's both.

Not meant to be a heated debate in any way, shape, or form just a nice, friendly, (hopefully) informative discussion.
 

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I totally agree. I have been looking at a ton of horses for around 600-800 dollars that have the talent! Just not the rider. Its crazy how everyone automatically assumes that the more money it costs the better. Its one of those things that humans do I guess. I have a pretty lazy horse that once I fix up might do great in western pleasure. I don't know his mama or his daddy. i dont really know if anyone does actually :p haha. I have though a lot about what you are saying before this thread and I 100 % agree. Some of the best horses are the cheapest. Hidden behind a not so well groomed coat and and a scar on their stomach.
 

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Just off the cuff and not putting a lot of thought into it, I am going to say as whole that maybe true but not completely.

Look at California Chrome... cheap mare, cheap stud fee to make a Triple Crown contender.(in this days racing)

I know a guy that is a cowhorse trainer showing in the open classes against Ted Robinson and the like of Bob Avila on a grade horse-placing and winning money.

Charmayne James and Scamper is another example.

I realize those are favorable 'under dog" stories and they seem few and far in between but they do happen.

I can see the other side where sports have become so competitive and so elite that it requires the best of the best and those that can afford it can compete. On that note I have seen some pretty untalented riders spend a lot of money on horses, tack, training and still couldn't show their way out of a wet paper sack....
 

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For me, the real question would be why all the emphasis on competing (and winning, naturally), rather than just going out to have fun? Not just equestrian sports, either, but anything. As for instance, I enjoy biking, and even pushing myself to lower my times for given rides, but I'd never sign up for an actual race, much less spend $10K on a high-end racing bike.
 

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Maybe, maybe not. I do endurance, and MOST of the horses competing and completing cost anything from FREE to about $2k. There are certainly higher end horses and no limit to the amount that someone can spend on trucks, trailers, tack and feeds, but when it comes down to it, that doesn't matter much. Most people around me are riding $500 "just want a good home" horses and competing well.
 

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For me, the real question would be why all the emphasis on competing (and winning, naturally), rather than just going out to have fun? Not just equestrian sports, either, but anything. As for instance, I enjoy biking, and even pushing myself to lower my times for given rides, but I'd never sign up for an actual race, much less spend $10K on a high-end racing bike.
James, we're on the same page with this.

As I grow older (and wiser I hope) I find that competition leads to a lot of issues.

I don't mind a timed event so much as the rider breaks the laser beam and the timer starts.....break it again and the timer stops. Quickest time wins. Pretty simple and not much way to cheat.

It's the subjective events that I find troubling. Buddy Buddy stuff, high dollar equipment etc. Lots of room for fudging the scores. Just look at the last Olympics and figure skating....

Often competition turns into a battle of equipment and the guy/gal who's willing to spend the most money has an advantage.

This is a very competitive world and the last thing I want to do when I get home and off work is compete. Heck, I don't want my horse to be perfect....just sane and willing.

I don't want to live my life beating other people at something. Been there, done that, wore out the tee shirt. Life is challenging enough.
 

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IMO when I buy a horse or anyone buys a horse for that matter are buying the training not the horse. Now I know this isn't how they are priced but as a buyer it's the determining factor on how much I'll actually pay for any given horse. I expect a $5000 horse to have more training than a $500 horse. But this doesn't mean the $500 horse doesn't have the potential to be worth $5000. Grade or fancy pedigree aside people pay money for well trained horses. The more training the more $$$. Anyone with proper training skills can turn a $500 into a $5000. Problem is that it takes more than $5000 in personal time and other training costs to be worth it to a trainer. Its easier to sell and let someone else do the work. More profitable in the long run. Hence why not very many people can make a living solely in training. I got distracted with my kids and lost my point lol oops :D
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I think this has been happening for a while now. I know it's happening around here with dressage. Show prices are so high that most people can't afford to go (me included).
I was told that my first recognized dressage show could cost around $900-$1,000 (with all the membership fees included in this, as well as tack), and all of the others after that would end up costing me $400 (that doesn't include your hotel or meals) for one weekend. That is completely preposterous! And the attendance at the shows is proving it. A recent recognized show only yielded 17 riders! Another show, that's taking place tomorrow, extended their entry deadline until today because they didn't have enough participants. When are they going to get the picture?

I hear of all these younger riders competing and doing well, and I can't help but envy them! I'd love to be in their shoes! But alas, I don't come from a family of successful, wealthy riders.
My first million will definitely be "wasted" on horses though! :lol:
 

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For the most part, I believe it's true...but only if you're looking at the upper levels. Low levels, just about anyone can take a $200 horse and place/win...if the training is there.

However, you start looking at upper levels of anything and you're looking at horses that have been specifically bred for generations to excel at a certain discipline. Because of all the costs related to creating said foal, of course said foal will be expensive to buy. Then, because of the quality of training needed to reach and compete at the upper levels, you have to find a trainer who is accomplished and successful at the levels you want to compete. Because said trainers are accomplished and in demand, their training rates are high (some are well over $1000 per month) and in certain disciplines, training for the upper levels can take years.

So, you have to spend $5000 on a prospect, then spend $1000 a month for 3-5 years getting them trained and tuned up, not counting the feed and basic care going into the horse...and the cost of entry fees and gas and lodging to haul them to shows, etc. Essentially, a horse that has lived that life from the ages of 3 to 8 already has more than $65K invested in them, whether they win or not.

It's about like cars. If you know how to race, you can win a dirt track race in the boonies with just about any old $500 clunker that will run....but you wouldn't stand a chance in the Indy 500.
 

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^ love this post. Folks...it's competition and the people with the best training and most talented horse wins.....period. Many times people will show their "sour grapes" when they lose, or say they can't compete on a certain level and so on and it kind of irks me. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to be competitive enough. I did and I don't have a ton of money. The diamonds in the rough are far and few between if you want to compete on a top level. It's not being snobby....it's a reality. But I know people that just want to be top dog on a smaller open show level and they are, happy as a clam and they own a $5K horse. I love it when I see that. It's takes sacrifice.....hard work, a good horse and a good rider. If you aren't willing to pay your dues....and just complain it's not fair, I don't know what to tell you.
 

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The big question is: "What do you want with a horse?"

Do you want to win trophies and ribbons? Do you want a status symbol? Do you want a companion who can reflect your emotions and react honestly to your actions? Do you want a slave you can boss around and force to obey your demands? Do you want a living being that can teach you how to become a good leader who teaches, guides, and encourages his partner to develop and perform to his potential?
 

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I just finished reading a book by eventers Kaen and David O'Connor. I had to laugh when they both said they "came from nothing" even though they both had horsey families and owned horses as kids. Plus, they later did most of the their horse shopping in Ireland! Some people have no idea...

And I still say that cross-country needs to be its own sport.
 

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I didn't read the whole article, but I think it had more value then people just crying "woes me".

First I think there is nothing wrong with seriously competing to COMPETE, not just to have a good time. What wrong is that nobody knows how to lose graciously. That's when you get people making nasty remarks, doing dirty things to win or "punishing" the horse for a poor preformance. No one knows how to smile at a winner and say "good job!" Or how to be proud of yourself for giving it your best shot.

Onto the real question at hand... I see the problem right before my own eyes. This coming spring/summer I'll be looking into buying my own reiner. To be competitive I'll be looking for a horse in the 7-10,000 range. That's for LOCAL and maybe regional showing. And if I want to get into move competitve showing... Forget about it. The sheer price of a reining horse wipes out a lot of the competion alone, I'm sure. Will I ever be able to afford a $40,000 horse to campagine all over the country, doubt it. In a sport like reining you can't just run to Camelot or New holland and find a diamond in the rough like you can for jumping or barrels.
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Why can't someone on a $1,000 Mr. No Papered No Well Known Mamma or Pappa compete against the big guys if they have the talent?

It's not just the horses it's entry fees, you "need" the best of the best saddle, bridle, saddle pad, riding outfit, etc. Say I showed up at a High Rated show in $20 breeches and a $30 riding jacket would I be discriminated against?
Yes, very talented riders are shut out from showing or even serious training due to finances. It is very frustrating for sure.

I ride dressage. In general, if a $1000 horse has the talent to compete on a large scale he wouldn't cost $1000 :) And in general you'll need to pay many, many times that for training. If your goal is to be seriously competitive you are going to spend thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars a year on that horse, so you'll want something that is either 1) proven or 2) a prospect with bloodlines from which you can predict future ability so you're spending this money on a horse that will be likely to benefit from it. Both of those cost money. There is always a friend of a friend of a friend who found a horse sitting in a field and bought it for $3000 and now they're doing Prix St. George, but if someone is banking on that scenario they are likely to be very disappointed.

And this isn't just about showing. Even if you never show, horses with the ability to do really good high level work cost money. For a lot of people, doing that work together *is* the relationship. My horse loves anyone with a carrot, but being able to ride him well and bring out the potential in both of us is the emotionally fulfilling part, regardless of whether that culminates in the show ring.

I think clothing and that sort of thing is more important in hunters than dressage so I don't think it's a big factor in my sport, which is nice.
 

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First I think there is nothing wrong with seriously competing to COMPETE, not just to have a good time.
I completely agree. There's also nothing wrong with not having an emotional relationship with your horse. Realistically, pretty much all of us could disappear tomorrow and our horses wouldn't give it a second thought. You need to respect your horse and treat it well, but if your primary motivation is competition that's fine.
 

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I completely agree. There's also nothing wrong with not having an emotional relationship with your horse. Realistically, pretty much all of us could disappear tomorrow and our horses wouldn't give it a second thought. You need to respect your horse and treat it well, but if your primary motivation is competition that's fine.
Who says you can't seriously compete, have an emotional relationship with your horse AND treat It well? Personally when I go to a show I want to win. The last she I went to I placed last in every undersaddle class. I had no area to warm her up in since the warm up ring was about fetlock deep with mud. Not a risk I was willing to take. Anyway, she acted like a total ding bat, doing old habits I thought I had broken her of a very long time ago. For comparison sake her and I took home reserve and grand champion a the two shoes we went to the year before. I was disappointed but I never took it out on my horse. I never got angry with her. Losing is A PART of competition, and someone has to do it. It's when people resent losing that the ugly comes out. Win or lose, I love my mare all the same!!
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