We all joke about how expensive this sport is, but I really started thinking about your typical Annie Newbie-Trainer and young adult amateur, Sarah Former-Young Rider.
Lets say that Annie is teaching lessons at $50/45 minutes. If she has a horse of her own and boards him, that is about $12,000 a year in costs and about $1500 a year in showing fees for the minimum to qualify and get to Regional Championships. Say her rent is $12,000 a year with utilities and her car costs her $6,000 a year in gas, maintenance and insurance. Food is $3600 a year. $2,000 in replacement equipment (boots, gloves, breeches) and $6,000 in health insurance that she has to cover herself. If Annie needs $43,100 to simply survive and have 1 horse to campaign, she needs to teach 17 lessons a week without a week off just to survive. More, if she discounts the lessons for "training packages".
I did not count training for her own horse and paying a trainer to help her throughout the week, which is another $15,000 or so a year in fees.
Sarah Former-Young Rider also has this issue, since her horse is now ready to go Grand Prix and she is probably working as a paralegal to get ready for law school. She has company health insurance, but other expenses related to driving 1.5 hours to get to the barn out in a rural area.
So here we are, both need about $58,100 to have 1 competition horse that is showing as little as possible. The horse and rider cannot get hurt, both need to make more than $60,000 a year from work if they want to eat out or take a vacation or buy street clothing anytime soon.
I have to say, I am shocked that there are so many people that are able to do this... because I assume that not everyone is living off of a trust fund.
I think that this is a great argument for more sponsorship/grants for riders in their twenties and early thirties... because there really is not much out there!