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Re: [RC] Enduring post and lifestyle musing - Maryanne Gabbani

I'm not all that convinced that Lynn and Cindy's thoughts about making a living and endurance are irrelevant. Much discussion has been put to the question of performance of your horses and riders abroad, the need to sell/not sell your trained horses, what it takes to "make it" in international endurance, and actually the issue of just what you are willing to do or not do for your sport is pretty central. Comparing the lifestyles of American riders to UAE riders who are encountered in the President's Cup or WEC is pretty much like comparing apples to roast beef. Even the lifestyle here in Egypt is so totally different from the UAE as to make comparisons ludicrous. For example:

Cost of labour: very cheap in Egypt in comparison to cost of time for doing the work. Having a job here means 60 hour weeks with days often extending to 10 pm. Add this to the need to keep the Sahara out of your living quarters, only having whole foods to cook (no nice microwave dinners), and so on, means that it's pretty much impossible for a working rider to take care of his/her own horses.....and also meaning that much of the control over your horses' care is lost. In the UAE, money isn't a problem at all and culture dictates that for probably 99% of the riders, someone else does the scut work that is also an important part of knowing your horse.

Availability of assets: Horse trailers in Egypt? Probably less than 20 in the entire country and most of them are 2 horse tinies. We look at your cheapo rigs and drool. If I want to ride my horses somewhere else, I have to ride them there too...and then ride them back. Feeds? Forget it. Nothing here and we can't afford to import, or at least none of the riding people I know can. Our horses get what grows here or, in the case of barley or corn, what is imported, but no one has the bucks for timothy or Equine Senior or any of those lovely formulated feeds. Vitamins are like gold as are other supplements. One tube of electrolytes costs a day's pay for a person with what is laughingly called a "great" salary here. A vet clinic if your horse colics? Nope. Surgery is done in a box-stall IF you have a decent vet here (and the best one is an American who comes about 4 times a year, so you pray that nothing happens in the meantime AND that your grandmother has just died so that you can afford to pay the bill). UAE seems to have about anything anyone could want imported, along with fairly secure sources of cash to pay for them.

Saddles and saddle fitting; My horses are among the most pampered in Egypt on that score because about 5 years ago Sharon Saare wandered through and measured three of them for saddles. Luckily, the saddles that I have seem to fit most of my horses, but I have to find some new ones and there is no way in the world to try them out ahead of time unless I can find a decent used one, an item that is scarce as hen's teeth around here.

All of this means that even for someone like myself who is more interested in multidays than FEI, endurance of any sort is a VERY high expense game. I honestly see no real possibility of anyone who can compete in the UAE ever happening here. And for me to do the sort of riding that I want to do has meant that I move out of the city into the Egyptian boonies to live. I could have had a much higher income if I were willing to slave away in my late husband's companies, but I've chosen to need a more frugal lifestyle.

Choosing to compete in endurance is a lifestyle choice. Choosing to compete internationally is another one. It's worth looking at the costs of each.


On Sat, 19 Feb 2005 11:29:31 -0800 Steve Shaw <sshaw@xxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> What happened to ridecamp being about horses, rides, equipment and
> such?
> (Not including someone defending their lack or access to $$)
> Where is Steph when we need her?
> Stev

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

[RC] Enduring post., Chris T. Martin