By: Real Riderz
I think we’ve all heard the story behind the riders at the top. They all preach about their team, and they are quite frankly not wrong. Afterall, there is a team behind every blue ribbon, starting from the horse and ending in the person who crafted the 5K USD Hermes saddle. Oh and let us not forget that rich parents which pour hundred of thousands (if not millions) of dollars (and euros) into the sport each year. Yeah, those often don’t get mentioned in the Instagram posts of the “self-made” juniors turned pro after winning at LGCT. Well, we aren’t here to be jelly and trash talk the lucky people, but we are here to appreciate those that still do incredible things (even if they don’t end up with a cup in their hands).
Poor kids in the equine world are lightyears ahead of poor kids who don’t have a gram to eat on the table. Poor kids in the equine world are still fortunate, and they still have a strong support team. However, that is sometimes difficult to appreciate when you get caught up with the bright lights brought on by the “kings and queens” of the sport. A poor kid in the equine world is lucky to have their parents support. The parent works endlessly to support their passion, but a lot of times, it is just enough. Sometimes, the parents never cave in and the poor kid has to work for themselves. Some take up a side hustle, while other become working students. All in hopes to be taken seriously in the sport.
If the poor kids is especially lucky, they have their own horse (or maybe a lease horse). This horse is a substantial part of the team for any rider, but especially for the poor kid. This is their one shot. There’s no string waiting for them as a back up plan. The horse might barely pick up it’s feet and have obvious conformational defects, but it is enough. The poor kid and the horse work hard in hoped of becoming better, learning everyday (and actually getting better). However, it still does not look as glamorous as a big win at Hampton Classics. Does that defeat the works worth?
The poor kid often doesn’t have big sponsors. How can they if they can barely afford to compete? They’ll be lucky if a treat company finds them interesting. The poor kid does not give up and saves money, trying to be smart about it. Some invest while some spend on horses. Sure, spending on horses could be called an investment, but it’s more of a gamble than a game of poker. The poor kid uses the tack they can find for their horse. Sometimes they go bareback or tackless, because nothing cheap will fit. If affordable tack is found, the kid is lucky, they kinda fit in with the scene. At that point, whoever created and whoever bought the saddle becomes the immediate sponsor of the poor kid, whether they know it or not.
Ok, it makes no sense, so who is the team behind the poor kid? Simple answer, whoever was lucky enough to witness the journey and maybe even be a part of it, either directly or indirectly. It could be the writers of a theory book or the people melting the metal into buckles. It may be a far stretch, but the poor kid is their representation. These people become a real team, not just workers for the elites. It is great to have finances and support system from the start, but it is even better to make something out of nothing.