Scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I saw a post from a horse show organizer who was considering only allowing entries for her shows from riders aged 19 plus. Her post, which has since been removed, also called for larger organizations to potentially do the same thing in light of SafeSport rules.
This got me thinking – why haven’t adult-only horse shows ever become a thing?
I’ve thought about this at length on more than one occasion, long before SafeSport. I even talked it over with a trainer friend of mine and threw the idea out there on my personal Facebook. In my head, I’m envisioning a one-day show that starts at 10 a.m. (because what working adult wants to be somewhere super early on a weekend if they don’t have to), an entry fee that includes a voucher for a free margarita from a margarita truck, and prizes like money off entry fees or Amazon gift cards. Everything from food, to prizes, to schedule would be geared towards working people who like to ride horses and whom happen to be over the age of 18 or 21.
In my fantasy, the show vibe would be relaxed, however the reality is that junior riders aren’t responsible for all the stresses that comes with horse shows (there’s also show-day lameness, forgetting tack at home, and show-day nerves, to name a few). No juniors would mean riders who are also parents of riding children would be able to show without having to worry about whether their kid was missing their class. Or covered in ketchup stains. Or crashing the golf cart. It would mean they have a show all to themselves, a well-deserved break.
More positives to an adult-only show: a more relaxed atmosphere, alleviation of some SafeSport constraints for organizers and participants, potential for *slightly* less chaos and a margarita truck. I’m in.
The very obvious downside to having an adult-only show would be that trainers whose primary focus is on young riders wouldn’t attend. There is also the issue of childcare – parents who have to bring their kids with them to shows – and who may not wish to attend if their aren’t classes for their children. No kids also doesn’t mean no drama. Adults can be just as bad, if not more badly behaved than children.
I’m not a horse show organizer by trade, so I’m not sure if adult-only shows are 100% feasible by design or if there’s even enough people interested in the idea to make one profitable. But I’m definitely adding it to the list of things I’d like to try to do, should one pop up in my area.