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Discussion Starter #21
Sorry for the absence guys, life got in the way of computer time.

And THIS is why I love this forum. Answers from every corner of the board.

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....
Love the comparison because it is seen everywhere from the rated shows to the backyard shows. You've got those that are the "best" and those that think they are the "best." Unfortunately some that truly due have the talent may not have the chance to compete due to the finances that come with showing.

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.
It's true. There is a lot of "politics" involved in showing. I showed in a 4H show once. Their choices of judges are not exactly fair. I rode in English Equitation, English Pleasure, and Hunter hack. The Judge chosen was a western pleasure judge. He bypassed the GORGEOUS true English riding horses and placed the peanut rolling, 4beat cantering western pleasure horses in the high ribbons.

I much prefer the timed events. I run western games/barrel race and when I show English I do jumper divisions. Much rather beat the clock than get points off because my horse's mane braids came loose.

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.
Love this answer very much!

To counter a grade horse(or perhaps an oops baby) very well could be born with the right conformation and mindset to make it in the big leagues. Who knows what could be in two grade horses' genetics and when they get together it's possible they could give that foal the best of everything. Improbable? Yes. But not impossible. Someone would just have to give that grade horse a chance but not very many do because they can't get past the "grade" aspect.

(I always love your answers!)

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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On the first bolded. Exactly it's not a woe is me, it's showing that some of those who have the talent and drive to compete but do not have the finances.

On the rest of the bolded. Completely agree! I'll give a few instances.

1) I was at an open 4H show. Apparently NO ONE in my local 4H groups is taught sportsmanship. I was showing in a Hunter hack class (Flat work and two 2'6" fences each rider went alone.) There was a girl ahead of me (Mind you this was an open show) and while the girl that was before her went to leave I turned and said "Good Luck!" she gave me the snottiest look and turned away.

2) Same 4H show a kid came out of the "reining" class and did a, I thought, great job. My friend and I said good job and they said thank you. And you could tell she was pleased with herself. As soon as she got back to the trailer her mother yanked her horse's reins and started reeming her out for everything she "did wrong." The poor child was in tears. Sometimes parents put too much pressure on their kids.

There used to be someone at my shows who if her horse didn't run faster every week she would take it out on her horse. Mind you she was ALWAYS in the ribbons. And asking a horse to go faster than it physically can and then getting mad at it when it doesn't is just wrong. She was banned.

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.
Very frustrating and a bit sad. When you can see that someone has the talent to go so far but they're held back due to the shear expense.

Agree with the bolded.

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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I am the same. I am looking to moving up to bigger barrel competitions with my Appy and I do work on building up that relationship aspect. Having the relationship can help you a ton with training, competition, and their overall well being. You know the horse, you know when something is off, wrong, what-have-you.

If you know them well enough you can tell when you're going to have a good ride, or a bad ride. Though sometimes they do and will (because you know, horses) throw you a wild card be it good or bad.

As you said, losing IS a part of competition and yes someone has to do it. Not everyone could win because if they did, well it wouldn't be a competition now would it? haha. Resenting losing just seems like a waste of energy. You went to a show, you did bad, you may have lost some money, but you gained the experience. Your horse gained the experience. Experience is GREAT! You learn from them.

By the way don't feel bad my Appy and QH gave me a HORRIBLE year last year. Every single show was a nightmare! Took forever to work everything out.

After one show I was so upset with MYSELF because I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong that I took my horse into the empty arena and wandered around aimlessly while bawling my eyes out and cursing myself for not figuring out the problems. My friend came in and told me not to be mad at Dice. I said "I'm not mad at him, far from it he's just doing what he thinks he should. I'm angry with myself for not being able to figure it out." She was like "I think you need an easy ride where you don't need to think."

We swapped horses and she let me take a spin on her auto-barrel-boy around the barrels. It was so nice to not have to THINK for one run.

I pat my boys after every run good, bad, or ugly. Though I do think it's hilarious sometimes when we have a completely crap run and my horses come prancing out of the arena like they just won the show. I have to roll my eyes and I don't have the heart to tell them that we botched it completely hahaha.

Love your answers guys. This is just one reason why I love this forum.
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