Friday, February 4, 2011

Advantages are well, advantageous...

In 18th century novels of manners and society, we read about women with natural advantages. Back then, an advantage could be a pretty face, a good singing voice, talent for needlework or a pleasant demeanor. Wealth is an advantage, albeit not a natural one.

That was then, this is... my blog post
These days, advantages are something different. Intelligence. Wit. Athleticism. Toughness. And okay, a looking great. I was perusing an old horse magazine and saw the engagement announcement for Hillary Dobbs: accomplished show jumper, Harvard graduate this year, daughter of the famous and wealthy Lou Dobbs. And if you can believe the blurb, she sings. See what I mean? Advantages.

Admit it! Doesn't part of you just want to roll your eyes? I fought the urge. And as with most things, scratching even a little bit beneath the surface reveals a truer picture. Here's a really cool article where Hillary Dobbs talks candidly about what it's like to be affluent and especially how it helped her to succeed in the horse world. I admire that she tells us, in a roundabout way, what her five horses cost.  You also read about the plain old hard work it took to get her where she is. No shortcuts. As my husband says, the rich are rich for a reason (usually), and keeping wealth is a lot of work.

Another thought -- here's someone who could convincingly model riding apparel. Tailored Sportsman, are you listening?


  1. *Turns green*

    Sigh. Yes, I've heard of her. No, I didn't realize she had the looks of a model, the brains of a Harvard government major, and the means to purchase a half-dozen 6-figure horses and board them for $1800/mo.(sans extras) apiece. Good Lord in heaven. Oh, and I did I mention the cute, probably rich, fiance?

    I dunno, Stacey, this is a bit much to swallow. It does sound like she knows the value of hard work. Albeit generously padded with an unlimited expense account. There I go again...

    SERIOUSLY, she's probably a very nice girl. If she genuinely cares about her horses, the equestrian world could do much worse. :-)

  2. It takes the rest of us slobs to be the crowed that the stars stand out from. Seriously, it takes money to be successful at the higher levels in horses and stay there, Cinderella stories are fairy tales (mostly). But money can't buy hard work and talent. Yes, there are advantages that most of us will never know, to being born wealthy, smart, having the right environment to encourage boldness and hard work, having emotional support to go with the financial support.....and the hairdresser.

  3. The money does make a huge difference, of course, but, particularly in show jumping, she has to have talent and skill, so I can't really be too negative. Sure, she's beautiful, intelligent, and privileged, but none of that gets you safely over a 5 foot fence in the kinds of competition she's been winning.

    I'll just go brush off my adopted "at a nominal fee" horses, pick out my pole barn stalls, and cart the manure off to the emergency pile by the barn because I simply don't have the strength to shovel a path to the other pile. Ms. Dobbs? Do you want to come help? *sigh*

  4. How many smart, pretty, and athletic girls will we never hear about because they lack the financial advantages this young lady has had?

    Not that she doesn't work hard to compete at that level. However, at 19 (her age when the article was written), I was 10 years away from even owning a horse.

    Lucky her.

  5. Well, you know I was a little teensy bit envious when I saw the announcement.

    But envy is stupid. Any of us with horses in our lives is very, very lucky. I marvel every day that I have Harv and Ri. I think we are the last generation of "regular folks" who will be able to afford horses.

  6. I have dreamed of a horse since I first sat on one at the age of three. I worked my butt off for lessons, riding, and (minimal) showing, including working 40 hour weeks with barn work on my days off throughout my high school and college summers. I earned nothing but A's in all of my schooling, always with the motivation of landing a career that could afford me a horse. After 24 years of waiting, and with a supportive husband, I finally bought my first horse. I love him dearly.

    I just cannot relate to those who have been fortunate enough to be enrobed by horses from day one. I try to hide it, but, frankly, it makes me a little sick.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I dunno. There are always people less fortunate than us, that look at us, and our access to horses, and probably feel a little jealous. I don't think people are jealous of me specifically, but I have felt resentment esp when I bought my second horse. Even fellow horse people were a little snarky. I try/tried to ignore it because I work hard to be where I am. Even now every week is at least 50 hours at one job or another. I don't see any of the resenters recognizing this. I don't want to resent people for their good fortune, especially if they're not squandering their opportunities.

  9. Well I suppose this makes it official; you are a better person than I ('cause I did roll my eyes *grin*).

  10. As I posted earlier, I bought my first - and only- horse when I was well into my forties, after a lifetime of wanting one. He has been nothing but calamity after calamity from the time the check cleared- from navicular to glaucoma (blind in that eye and drops every day). He will never be the horse I was dreaming of, we will never work up the levels, I will never bring him to Wellington. And I will never be able to afford another, not while I keep him going. But keeping him going has it's own unique rewards that go beyond anything they can hand out at a show. While I do feel a twinge of envy when I see someone with a bottomless bank account ( and there are plenty still) it is outweighed as soon as I walk up the barn aisle and he calls me. No use envying anyone- we are all unbelievably lucky to have a passion that we can indulge. Few people do these days.
    Stacy, your comment was excellent, though sobering. We probably are the last of the regular folks who can do this. Better enjoy every minute!!!

  11. I don't own a horse and probably never will. I didn't even start riding until age 57. Ms. Dobbs' intelligence, money, looks and talent are almost unfeasible to me. I wish her nothing but the best. I am content as I hand out carrots to other people's horses. This is as close to heaven on earth as I will ever get.

  12. Money can't find you happiness but it sure can help with the search...
    I feel lucky for the opportunities that I have and the horses in my life. Everyone has their own journey and I can not be jealous of someone's life that I really do not know. I appreciate my own journey and love the horses in my life and the lessons that I learn from them.

  13. It's not the oodles of expensive horses that make me jealous, it's the Harvard education. More and more I realize how lucky I am to have an education (though not from an ivy-league school) as it is the reason why I can afford to have a horse today. Undoubtedly, it's the education that Hilary's parents got that allows them to support her incredibly expensive education and lifestyle, and she is very lucky for it.

  14. AND she's just beautiful! I say kudos to her for making the most out of what life handed her, and still being fairly level headed!


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.