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.