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Wrangling on the Range #75

Take to Heart

                        WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #75


MAIL CALL

LETTER OF THE MONTH

From "Horse and Rider" May 2010


WANTED: MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE IN THE MIDDLE 

As the horse hobby/industry tries to stay afloat in these tough
times, it seems to me there is a gaping hole in the castes of the
horse world, particularly when it comes to showing: There's no
longer a place for the middle-class horse owner. Breeding has
become so specialized and showing has become so sophisticated
that on one end of the spectrum, you have the upper-class owner
with the time, money, and desire to compete. On the other end,
you've got the pasture-pet set. Unfortunately, the majority of
owners fall somewhere in the middle, and they're finding it
increasingly difficult to fit in.

The average owner has enough trouble covering vet, farrier, and
feed costs, much less shelling out thousands of dollars for
expensive show horses and fulltime trainers. Not to mention other
time demands, like family and jobs. There used to be events for
these owners to get together and compete in a relaxed,
justfor-fun setting without professional trainers' proteges and
five-figure prospects crashing the party, but now those venues
are scarce.

I'm a big fan of professional horsemanship, and top-level
competition has an important place in enhancing the quality of
performance and breeding horses. But opportunities for more
casual competitions and activities have dried up. Owners are now
forced to decide whether they have the time and resources to be
truly competitive (which most of us don't), or if they are
relegated to tooling around the backyard. If the horse industry
doesn't get more creative in providing opportunities for
middle-class owners to show and enjoy their horses, then it's
missing the mark on the largest horse population out there, and
turning its back on the revenue and enthusiasm for the hobby it
generates.

BECKY BOYETTE, VIRGINIA

E-mail your letters to HorseandRider@EquiNetwork.com. Or, send
them to Horse&Rider, 2000 S. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 101, Lake
Dallas, TX 75065. To be considered for publication, your
submission must include your full name and your state. Published
letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity, and
accuracy.
......

Wow...fully agree with Becky. Something has disappeared from the
horse world - just fun and games for people who do not have the
time, money, or interest to be in the pro horse activity world.
I hope you young ones coming up will take this to heart. Why not
start to organize in your local area just fun stuff for horse
owners, be it trail riding, or fun games for the none pros.

Keith Hunt

To be continued


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