The Problems Haunting Our Sport

If the older generation says they wouldn’t want to be a Young Professional these days, we should be very concerned

“I wouldn’t want to be a young professional in this business now.”

“It is so much more difficult now than when I was starting… and you have 50 years of this ahead of you.”

These are not words you want to hear as a young professional hoping to succeed as a horsewoman in this sport… especially repeated to you seven or eight times in the past several months by respected horsemen.

There are several major issues that professionals in the horse business are battling these days, the next one bigger than the last. Between friendly get together’s and casual ring- side chats, I hear this being talked about every week. A lot of people are worried. A lot of people have ideas of what could help. No one is taking action. I think most people think it is useless to try because they feel trying to work with USEF is like talking to a brick wall. I was inspired to write this in the hopes that it would be the first step to fixing these problems… to bring even more attention to it and start a broader discussion. When experienced horsemen are worried about the direction the sport is taking, I think we should all be worried.

Horse Shows & USEF

  1. The cost of showing. “Fostering growth among newcomers as well as the coming generation is paramount to US Equestrian’s continued success.” USEF’s website. How do we “foster growth” with exorbitant costs?
  2. Footing, lunging areas included. USEF claims to contribute to the protection and welfare of horses- footing should fall under that umbrella.
  3. Complaint forms should be available at the ingate – if they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind
  4. USEF Membership is apparently at an all time high- but is it at an all time satisfaction level?
  5. Memberships dollars may have been used to fund private flight charters for USEF Executive staff
  6. Behavior of USEF Executives at a Town Hall Meeting in 2017 – questionable at best. Could also be described as unprofessional, uncomfortable, and uncalled for.
  7. USEF’S Laboratory and Drug Testing Procedure- obviously in need of some work when our livelihood is at stake if given a false positive.

Hunter Divisions

  1. “Hunter people cheat.” – USEF President Murray Kessler. As a young professional who likes to play by the rules and who is in this business for my love of horses, this hits me where it hurts
  2. The failure of the Hunter Derby. The inception of which was meant to be the “Grand Prix” for hunters. Now it has taken on my next listed problem…
  3. “No mistakes” is rewarded versus Scope and Jumping Ability. This may be the “hunters”, but is it not still a jumping competition?


  1. Viewed as an “Elitist” sport.
  2. 25 and Under GP Division – Where are the young professionals?
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