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Re: [RC] Arabians in Endurance - heidi

I posted some statistics on Arabians in Endurance in my Feb 2004 VP
column "A little about the horses we ride".  There are some stats that
apply to the thread on arabians here on RC.

Interesting how the numbers in the sport have increased.  I did some stats
myself back in "yesteryear"--must have been about the same era as your
early stats (I think you said 1984--mine might have been even earlier).  I
had roughly the same number of Arabs and Arab crosses starting as you did
in your 1984 stats, but also found that with 60% of starters being Arabs
or crosses, nonetheless roughly 90% of the winners and Top Ten horses were
Arabs or Arab crosses.  And I think it was that difference that caused
people to look even harder at riding Arabs.

The Arabian registry's own "owner-use" stats have shown that competitive
forms of distance riding (endurance, CTR) have now pulled ahead of Class A
shows in terms of what activities owners do with their Arabians.  Here in
the NW, it is even more noticeable--we are roughly the same geographical
area as AHA's Regions 4 and 5, and if one looks at the numbers of Class A
shows and the numbers of people involved and horses entered, and then at
the numbers of endurance rides sanctioned in the NW region and the numbers
of people involved and horses entered, endurance is WAAAAY ahead of the
Class A show ring.  And that doesn't even add in the CTRs--this isn't the
most active CTR area of the country, but there ARE some--which would push
the "distance" participation numbers even higher.

Those who have said that AHA is missing the boat in terms of its breed
marketing strategy are right on--if the pleasure trail rider is to be
induced to buy an Arabian, it would be pictures of horses calmly munching
away in ride camps, going pleasantly down the trail, etc. that would
"sell" the breed, not trainer-ridden English horses and greased-up
pop-eyed halter horses.  It would be pictures of grannies and kids on
their Arabs--not of pro trainers on other people's Arabs.

That said, I also don't mind if Arabs become the breed for the serious
amateur athletic rider for competitions such as distance riding, dressage,
etc.--as our population becomes less rural and less in tune to horses as a
whole, it is scarier to sell horses to the "casual" rider (there are some
definite exceptions to this, but the trend is there, nonetheless, as
others have mentioned).  If we can get past the show-ring image and
concentrate on sport horses (yes, endurance is considered one of the
"sport horse" applications), I'd far rather see the breed strive for
quality in performance rather than numbers anyway.




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[RC] Arabians in Endurance, Michael Maul