Thoughts On The Words Of Katie Prudent

If you have been on the internet the past couple days you probably heard or read a recent interview with Katie Prudent. People got their panties in a BIG wad about the things that were discussed. I am not saying that I disagree with the way she said things but she makes some good points. I think this is a conversation that needs to be had or at least considered.

Amateurs Like Us…

It seems like the only sentence that people read of this whole article is where Prudent said “The sport has become for the fearful, talentless amateur. That’s what the sport has been dummied down to.”

Here’s the thing people – she isn’t lying! The culture just isn’t the same. More so in certain disciplines in others maybe but young riders simply aren’t being developed into great horsemen/women. Talent isn’t being cultivated the way it used to be. Heck pretty much every other day you see someone post about the fact that kids just don’t want to do the work that barn rats used to. They don’t want to put in the time or effort to learn all the things.

As an adult amateur I am fearful and I definitely don’t have the talent for the upper levels of really any discipline…maybe ever? I am not entirely talentless or totally consumed by fear but most of us are not the population that she was referring to. The majority of us have a full time job that we have to go to to pay the bills. Sometimes life gets in the way of the things that we would like to do. We don’t have a string of horses that (help)pack us around at upper levels.

Please note that I am not saying that that is what happens for all that ride at top levels. It seems like the point she was trying to make is that a lot of people riding in the upper levels might not have ever had to ride an unmade horse. Have they really struggled or worked as hard as you used to have to get where they are?

Trainers These Days…

I think that there could have been a little more response in regards to what she said about the current day professionals of this industry. Everyone wants to talk about how the barn rats don’t exist or how amateurs just want to waltz into a barn with a tacked horse waiting for them. Well, for those people the trainers are facilitating that behavior in some ways. Thankfully this isn’t a very prevalent attitude in eventer land… But I won’t even try to name all of the HJ trainers that I know of or have personally worked with that won’t even let you do self care. It is super laughable to actually be charged for doing self care but thats for another day.

Those trainers are the ones that are helping to cement this new culture. Can you blame them? They follow the money… I am by no means shaming the professionals – where would all of us be without them? They too have to make a living… That said, I respect a trainer that pushes me and expects more from me under saddle and in the barn most. Much more, in fact, than the pro that sees us (amateurs) as a meal ticket and is just looking for different ways to leach more money from the general amateur population. Unfortunately it can be hard to find those truly good trainers.

Like others have said we, the amateurs, are the foundation of the sport in so many ways. It is fine if some people want that luxury barn experience. However, I don’t think that that should be the assumed way to operate business. I guess at the end of the day I don’t fully understand why people are so vehemently offended by Katie Prudents words. The truth sometimes hurts but these difficult conversations need to be had.


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  1. “Talent isn’t being cultivated the way it used to be.” So true. Barn rats are not yet extinct, but they are endangered.

  2. I think it hit a nerve because there are SO many amateurs who are trying very hard, that either do or don’t have money…and to see someone of her “status (or whatever) say such harsh things about the industry in a black and white context was just irritating. My guess. I thoughtthe hastag was cute so I played along.

    I see both sides. People always say “oh the kids in Europe jump ponies in the 3’6 jumpers blah blah”. Same with pony eventers, what they don’t get is that, um…those ponies are like 30k Euros. It’s the same thing she is saying. I don’t really know what point she was trying to make though. Who wouldn’t want to buy a made top horse if they could afford it? I know I would…. I definitely wouldn’t be like no it’s ok..I’ll just stick to the free ones with more issues than National Geographic lol

  3. Well put Hillary. I of course come from saddleseat land where it is mostly “ride once a week and show up and your horse is tacked up for you” land. Thankfully I was also taught hard work, barn chores, etc. etc. but many of my friends did not take that path and because they have real careers, choose to pay for the horse to be trained, tacked up, etc. so that they can show in their class and then go drink. Instead of you and me who do ALL THE WORK, show, and THEN still drink. Ha. But I get the point – more about the development of the sport as a whole.

  4. Coming from a ammy H/J whos been at this for years… there are SO many riders who want to show up and do well without the work, have trainer school the horse/course and then go do the same course and think they are accomplished, just ride once a week and not actually know their horse or have any skill to manage them, don’t want to be told they need to buck up and work hard or to get off social media and care more about their horses and riding them posting perfect pics and video and having a million likes….

    I am no pro, I need lots of work still, I am not fearless BUT I do give 100% to my lessons and Henry. I take it seriously.

    Also, I get that the trainer have to make money and people want glitter blown up either booties BUT they are coddling the majority in order to get a pay check.

    Lastly, there are SO many people who claim to be trainers and have NO business teaching ANYONE… this really really really cheapens all disciplines. At least a legit trainer will make sure that their clients and horses are up to par, b/c it’s their reputation… even if the riders not really doing much or any work.