In a recent blog post on the Chronicle of the Horse I proposed a classification system which would both allow for more cost effective introductory levels as well as a top tier event which would offer world class atmosphere and competition. With the ultimate goal of growing our sport and helping all who participate in sanctioned and unsanctioned competitions.
I am dismayed that a few have interpreted my message as a power and money grab redistributing from the lower end to the high end being that this is no way my intent. Below is a response posted on Eventing Nation.
"Everyone seems to be focusing on the upper level prize money as my primary motivation for writing this piece. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. I open the COTH article explaining that I’ve found it cost prohibitive to compete at the lower levels, in searching for alternatives for our horses I chose to limit my events in favor of jumper shows. This allowed me to gain much needed experience for the horses under my care at a much more reasonable cost due to add back money.
It’s only logical that more riders are choosing to go to other disciplines or unrecognized competitions which offer a welcoming competition for reasonable fees. As a judge, TD, rider and a member of the organizing committee of the Carolina International I have a unique perspective on this topic. I have spoken to multiple organizers who said that running unrecognized events costs them half as much and offers the same profit margins. If the USEA became more flexible with their fee structure and rules, organizers would have more flexibility to price their events reasonably. It’s crucial that we drop the barriers to entry at sanctioned events, allowing more participants at the grassroots levels. We have a great sport comprised of a great breath of people. I wrote this looking to allow more to participate at reasonable fees, as well as support our team members and owners to help our country succeed on the international stage!
One quick side note with regards to prize money, Carolina International this weekend is a great example of what we need for ‘A’ class events. Entries cost about as much as other events and horses finishing in the top placings will be able to pay for their weekend or more. These funds were raised under the great leadership of Jane Murray at the CI not on the back of other competitors!
I want our sport to thrive and it’s not going to happen by pricing competitors, owners, riders or organizers out of the market!”