Hi “Of Horse,” audience. It’s Gucci, Sweetsie and Leggs (Pony Bloggers) here to talk about the decline in horse showing. Where have all the competitors gone?
Just to remind everyone we are three different horses competing in three very different disciplines. During our summer show season we noticed a significant drop in our class sizes. Well, all of us, except Sweetsie, the barrel racer. Barrel Racing seems to be growing. More people seem to be switching over to timed events such as barrel racing and Jumpers. Is the economy to blame?
We Pony Bloggers believe the economy plays a small part. Equestrians are tired of paying high entry fees, office fees, drug fee, and parking, trailer hook-up, etc. Gas prices are also high so there is less of a desire for equestrians to travel far to compete. Equestrians who choose timed events, pay less for classes, less for travel, can compete locally and against a time clock instead of a judge’s opinion. The added winning money offered at these types of events is an incentive also.
Unfortunately the upper class has wiped the middle class and the mediocre rider (who will someday be great) right out of the hunter and equitation rings. Together with the lack of classes for novice horses and riders have also added to the numbers decreasing. We Pony Bloggers have also noticed many advanced equestrians showing down in their levels. This prevents many novice horses and riders from having any sort of competitive chance. The local shows have also become swamped with high caliber horses and riders thus thrusting the average horse and competitor out of that venue as well.
All this being said, it is obvious why so many have decided to switch riding venues. More equestrians have a competitive chance in the timed events. There is no room for opinions from others on horse breeds or colors, braiding, outfits and tack. The timer is the only judge. At a recent barrel show there were over 200 competitors and the parking lot was filled to maximum. Not to mention the bleachers are filled with fans. The Open and Rated Shows had at most ten competitors, empty trailer parking areas and the only spectators were related to the competitor.
A quick suggestion from the Pony Bloggers take a good luck at what Horse Showing has become and revamp the program to include not only the few but all equestrians once again. Lets enjoy all the equestrian events!