Katie Monahan Prudent, 63, once one of America's top riders, is deeply concerned about show jumping in the United States. “Our sport has become an amateur sport without fear and without talent. Money can put them at a certain level where they don't belong at all. I don't think America will be able to field a decent team in about ten years,” he says in a major interview with The Chronicle of the Horse.
According to Monahan-Prudent, show jumping in America is now a sport where amateurs with the most expensive and best horses they can buy can see how far they can go. “I'm tired of this sport today. We can't seem to produce decent riders here in America.
“In America, amateurs discovered that they could ride with amateurs with good horses from Europe. Wealthy parents realized they could buy success for their children. One thing led to another and now we're at a point where we actually have very few good riders.
According to Monahan-Prudent, there is no simple way out of this situation. “I think we have to hit rock bottom first. In five to ten years, I don't think we can put together a decent team in America. An amazing statement from Monahan-Prudent, especially given the current state of the United States in show jumping.
“If you look at the best riders today, they're all riders who worked hard for it themselves. McLean Ward was the son of a tradesman and drove everything for his father at home. Kent Farrington is a boy from humble backgrounds who worked hard. Beezie Madden sat on it all when She started working for John Madden.Laura Kraut sent every horse she was offered to the track.
And that's exactly the difference with the new generation of America's best riders, like Reed Kessler, Jessica Springsteen and Katie Dinan. “They have the right foundation, and they're good riders, but they've always ridden the best horses money can buy. It's always been that way, from their first foals.
Money spoils it
According to Monahan-Prudent, having wealthy parents is disastrous for a rider's mentality. “My impression is that children of wealthy parents don't want to work hard for their sport. I see that as a problem.”
Source: History of the Horse
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