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The Self-Funded Amateur: Is It Worth It?

The Challenge of Being A Self-Funded Amateur Comes At Some Steep Prices - But Is It All Worth It In the End?

As a self-funded amateur in the horse show industry, you may sometimes feel like the underdog. While others may have access to top trainers, expensive tack, top of the line rigs, and unlimited resources, you're forced to be resourceful, determined, and adaptable. But the truth is, being a self-funded amateur can be incredibly rewarding in ways that go far beyond ribbons and prizes.

Sense of Accomplishment

One the of the greatest rewards of being a self-funded amateur is the sense of accomplishment that comes from hard work and dedication. Every show you attend and every ribbon you earn feels like a hard-earned victory, and this sense of achievement can be incredibly fulfilling. Whether you're aiming for a personal best or striving to overcome a particular challenge, the feeling of pride that comes from accomplishing your goals is something that can't be bought or manufactured.

Connection With Your Horse

Another reward of being a self-funded amateur is the connection you develop with your horse. When you're the one responsible for every aspect of your horse's care and training, you develop a deep bond that goes beyond the show ring. This connection can be incredibly rewarding, and can make every ride and every show feel more meaningful. You'll learn to communicate with your horse on a level that's hard to describe, and you'll share a mutual respect and trust that will only grow stronger over time.


But perhaps one of the greatest rewards of being a self-funded amateur is the community of fellow amateurs that you'll become a part of. While the horse show industry can be competitive, many self-funded amateurs find support and camaraderie among their fellow riders. You'll meet people who share your passion for horses and riding, and who will offer advice, support, and encouragement when you need it most. You'll also find yourself surrounded by people who understand the unique challenges and joys of being a self-funded amateur, and who will help you celebrate every victory along the way.

If you're in need of a community within this industry, please be sure to check out one of the BEST Facebook groups for doing just that. Jenna Tolsen has created the Add More Leg - Breed Show Amateurs Community just for this reason. It's a place for riders to chat about their beloved horses, seek advice & opinions, commiserate when things go wrong, and to get that feeling of being in a community with people who understand the struggle of balancing horses, showing, work, and life.

Completely Priceless

Being a self-funded amateur can teach valuable life skills and foster personal growth. When you're forced to be resourceful and adaptable, you learn to problem-solve, budget, and persevere in the face of challenges. These skills can translate into success outside of the horse show world, and can help you achieve goals in other areas of your life as well.

At the end of the day, the reason we all participate in the horse show industry is because we love riding and being around horses. As a self-funded amateur, you may not have access to the same resources as your competitors, but you have something even more valuable: a love for the sport that runs deep in your soul. This love of riding and being around horses is something that can't be bought or sold, and it's what makes being a self-funded amateur so rewarding.

So if you're a self-funded amateur in the show horse industry, don't be discouraged by the challenges you face. Embrace the rewards of this lifestyle, from the sense of accomplishment to the community of fellow amateurs, and cherish every moment you spend in the saddle. Remember that the joy of riding and being around horses is what makes this sport so special, and that as a self-funded amateur, you have the privilege of experiencing this joy on a deeper level than many others. Ride on, and embrace the rewards of being a self-funded amateur in the show horse industry!

If this post resonated with you, be sure to check out the On The Rail Podcast episode with 3 World Class DIY Amateurs who tell their story about being self-funded and DIY & how they all three get to participate in the World Show of their association - listen here and be sure to like and follow the podcast for more great episodes within our industry.



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