Professional Eventer and Blogger Doug Payne wrote this week about an issue to which we can all relate: the ballooning cost of horse ownership and competition. He suggested a fundamental change to the sport of eventing. Concerned about the unintended impacts of his proposal, I wrote a response. But fundamentally, Doug and I agree that the sport must grow and that cost is a barrier to entry. As we grow, it’s so important to maintain the culture that makes our discipline special. So, what do you think? What creative ideas do you have? Here are a few to start the conversation:
- If each venue offered one bare-bones recognized event each year, and those events filled up lightning fast, the farm still makes a profit, and everyone can compete. Eventually, this will drive the price of all events down.
- Charge a small ($4) spectator fee and use it to offset the entry fee for riders.
- Make horse trials a more social event. Red Hills Horse Trials has used this model and several non-equestrians sponsor every year. In return, there is a sponsors tent where they can mingle and be introduced to the sport.
- Have more one-day events so that competitors can haul in and haul out without paying for a stall.