Gone are the days when a good rider could take a racehorse off the track and bring it through the levels to the international arena. As the sport of eventing continues to evolve, so does the caliber of the horse necessary to be competitive. Today, competitiveness in dressage, cross-country, and show jumping are all equally important. As such, the costs to be competitive at the international levels have increased dramatically over the past 20 years.
At the international level, most countries Team USA competes against have financial support from their governments. Individual professional riders from Europe and Great Britain do not have to finance their eventing careers alone. For example, in Great Britain, national lottery money is used to cover the majority of the costs associated with supporting a professional horse for a professional rider. This is not the case in the US.
In the US, professional riders receive modest support through donated funds to the USEF, USET Foundation and the United States Olympic Committee. These funds, however, do not even cover the total travel costs to international competitions, (let alone help with development and training). In short, there is not enough financial support to help our professional riders obtain and maintain high performance horses. As such, Team USA has fallen behind because our professional riders (both experienced and emerging) have no depth to their stables.
To state the problem more clearly, there are recent US Olympic Team riders—winners of medals—who are currently without the means to acquire a high performance horse. In other words, these past Olympians will not be representing our country in future games because they lack talent, but because—after retiring their former Olympic partner—they lack the means to acquire their next one. Sadly for Team USA, the careers of many professional eventers have been put on hold, or have ended precipitously, all because their one top level competition horse has either retired or fallen unsound.
While our sport may not have the broad national popularity that it enjoys in Europe, Great Britain, and Australia—3-Day Eventing in the US has a tremendous grassroots following. This is apparent by the tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans that make an annual pilgrimage to Lexington to attend the Kentucky Rolex CCI****. These fans are made up of volunteers, amateur riders, parents of riders, Pony Clubbers, veterinarians and horse lovers of all ages.
Syndicates allow us eventing fans to play a larger role in our sport. Instead of simply being spectators, we now have the opportunity to be very meaningful stakeholders in the future of individual riders, Team USA, and our sport.
Eventing is a unique sport that naturally creates a special connection between riders and owners at all levels of competition. It is truly amazing to participate in the process of competing at Rolex, or winning a medal at the Olympic Games, from the vantage point of an insider—being a member of a great team.
We hope that you will consider joining us in this exciting adventure and become part of the team on the journey to the top. Without broadening the ownership base in US eventing, our riders will be unable to compete on the world stage. Syndications through prospective owners like you will make it all possible.