I believe that the back bone of the horse industry is and has always been average folks taking their kids to shows on the weekends and everday people living out their dream of owning a horse after their kids have left home and they have time to devote to their own wants and goals.
These fine people give up much in terms of time and money, often leaving little or no time for vacations or getaways that aren't somehow horse-related. Their spare time is spent driving to lessons or shows or watching their horse being worked by trainer. Their spare money is spend on tack, trailers, clothes and vet and farrier bills.
Likewise, I think this is true of breeding. All breeds depend on small breeders who breed horses for the love of a particular mare, the hope and dreams that new foals bring, and a committment to a certain breed. Often, these breeders truely desire to advance their chosen breed or discipline. Yes, many want to produce winners but unlike the big breeders and barns, they cannot affort to just experiment so these small breeders are often very thoughtful and careful in their selections, which benefits everyone concerned.
My hat is off to all these people because without them, we would not have a horse industry, instead we would have only an elite sport for a small and unsustainable audience. I fear, and greatly so, that there's a perception that the Arabian breed, along with AQHA, and reiners, hunter/jumpers, dressage and cutting horses are heading down that road to where only a privileged few will have the time or the money required to "play".
This perception is based on some unseemly truths and I really believe that as an industry we must find ways of improving our image and being open and accessible to everyone or we will all suffer. Talk to you next week! JD