Big, international events - like the World Cup, held this year in Omaha - are more than a wonderful opportunity to watch top competition in dressage and show jumping. They're also a meeting-place for groups of like-minded horse people. Thousands of people attend for the event itself, which makes it an unparalleled networking opportunity as well. Our governing bodies of equestrian sport often schedule board meetings, or sub-committee meetings, at big events. Social groups on Facebook or online forums will organize meet-and-greet parties where online friends can enjoy chatting in person.
This year the US Sport Horse Breeders Association sponsored a networking breakfast that was attended by about twenty-five breeders from around the country. My mission at the World Cup was to see it from the perspective of a breeder of horses for these disciplines, and at the USSHBA breakfast - and throughout the World Cup competition - I was able to interview breeders who came for the event. Some members of the USSHBA attended primarily to represent breeders and staff their booth, some breeders were also experienced scribes who came to scribe for the dressage, some just came as spectators - but all were watching with the knowledge of what it takes to produce horses for sport. A breeder never stops seeing with the eyes of a breeder.
In the next couple of weeks I'll be posting a series articles that are the result of these interviews. Please stop back as we look at what it means to watch the World Cup as a breeder!