All My Daddy’s Horses: Wealth In The Showring

It should be no surprise to anyone in the equestrian sport that being a participant in the show ring comes with a lofty price tag: between the cost of equipment, horses, horse care, show fees, veterinarian bills, shoeing, and show clothes, you are already looking at an annual bill that would make the lease of a ferrari look like chump change.

Pictured: Moorlands Totilas, one of the dressage world's most expensive, and most talented performers. Image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk.

In a recent article in Forbes, high-profile riders such as Georgina Bloomberg and Jennifer Gates are mentioned, both of whom compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival. An unnamed source mentions that because these girls are pampered and given tutors and funds, that riding is often “the only part of their life that they care about”. As an equestrian I take a lot of offense to that statement, and find it highly unprofessional that a journalistic source of information like Forbes would not name whoever made such an inflammatory remark. Furthermore, I highly doubt than any equestrian, celebrity or otherwise, only cares about riding competitively and nothing else.

So then they don’t care about charity work, the welfare of animals, or anything else except spending daddy’s money on their horses? Really?

Pictured: Georgina Bloomberg's new book 'My Favorite Mistake' detailing her life as an heiress equestrian. Image courtesy of Picasa.

While it is true that many of these girls are being supported by their wealthy family to ride, I would not say it is “the only thing they care about”. Georgina Bloomberg, for example, participates in a program called the Equestrian Aid Foundation with 6-time Olympic medalist, Robert Dover. According to the program’s mission statement, the program hopes to:”assist anyone in the equestrian world suffering from life threatening illness, catastrophic accidents or injuries by providing direct financial support for their medical or other basic needs”. Additionally, the New York based heiress is also an active ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador and is noted for saving over 88 puppies and a pregnant cat in humanitarian efforts alongside the Humane Society.

Pictured: Georgina Bloomberg signing the an Anti-Cruelty Pledge for the ASPCA.Image courtesy of ASPCA.

Perhaps rather than painting a picture of spoiled princesses living in lavish homes, Forbes should report on these equestrians with more dignity. Not every competitor at the Winter Equestrian Festival is a celebrity’s child, and if they are going to quote a source that makes such wide-sweeping claims, perhaps it would behoove them to name the source.

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