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Effective patronage for local horse sport?

My local community is wonderful and active, but unfortunately I am afraid of a market contraction that might threaten some of our venues, including boarding facilities.

There are many ways one could contribute money to patronize grassroots horse sport and help support our barns, show facilities, and local clubs. What do you think are the most effective?

Some examples I know of

  • Buy/sponsor jumps
  • Sponsor classes or prizes at shows
  • Donations to local clubs
  • Sponsorship of year end awards
  • Sponsoring educational grants

Also, any thoughts on ways to support good young trainers beyond just purchasing their services?

As one person trying to help, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Lets just suppose you have $1000. Nice round number. I would rule out the educational grants…they only help a few people who are selected by some process. Yearend awards would get you a little more but again, smallish group (the winners) benefit. Sponsoring a class gets you more. Donation to a club to have them be able to host a clinic or some training thing would get you more.
Re helping young trainers - if you’ve used them, you can be a reference. You could buy them ads in local show programs.
Will add that if your # is $10,000 it is easier to spread the wealth and do multiple things.
But - and you get this - in the end it all starts at the farm level. If boarding farms can’t manage financially, they will close. If younger riders cant find a place to learn, they wont ride and show. This is a growing problem. I’m in central Florida- very horsy part of the world, and I see fewer options over the last 10 years for boarding/training. And the ones that are still around are not cheap. Land values are way up, people get older and sell, etc. You, as a donor, can’t do much to stem the tide.
Finally, being a financially trained person, I would suggest that the bigger the number you have, the more you should think about the tax consequences and be sure you can take advantage of a tax deduction…


Hard question to answer because rising costs mean fewer people can afford to own horses or start thinking about owning them

I have come across something that I think could be explosive, but I have no idea how to implement it. First off, I am obsessing about the Chiefs these days. I was listening to Travis Kelce on a chat show, and he said he and his brother would like to invest in an Olympic sport! Well, his brother lives in Philidelphia! That is probably the center of the universe for eventing peeps in this country. I am keen to introduce them to eventing. What is not to love? They could support the team, or even better, help local groups, (like here in the Midwest,) or even Philly. That is one isolated idea but I have no idea how to go about it. Does anyone else have any ideas?


Given the rising cost of horse ownership, perhaps a good approach would be to sponsor or support one or two school horses. If barns can offer lessons without requiring leases, then more people (kids) can get exposure to riding and the horse world.



I was thinking similar. Scholarships or partial scholarships for students.

Also we need more horse activities in the non profit subsidized sector. Riding is pretty much the only major sport still in the for profit small business sector. If skating, swimming, tennis, golf, even field sports like soccer, had to pass on the full cost of the facilities and coaching, they would be priced out of most people’s reach — as indeed they were in country club days, before municipal recreation, and some parts of the US are still country club only.

Where I live in Canada there’s even discount access to skiing. And a non profit sail boat club.


Any thoughts or ideas on how that would look for horse sports?

One of the only reasons I was able to ride as much as I did, and get a horse when I did in my teens, was the nonprofit organization I was a part of. It had organization owned horses that it essentially leased (2 riders max per horse) to girls 12-18 for a low fee ($50-75/month) for unlimited rides (with parental supervision) and 4 required meetings a month (every Saturday). The parents of girls in the program had to work on the farm - dads did fencing, haying, discing arena and moms worked the concession stand at shows, kept up the lodge, etc. The barn was a parent free zone during set hours on Saturdays and the girls had a mostly free for all with the horses. There were tests required for certain privileges - to ride in the big arena, show in the shows we put on, ride on the trails, ride bareback, ride in parades, etc. This encouraged girls to increase their knowledge (tests were written and ridden) and provided some structure but not a set lesson type thing. I loved my time there and am forever grateful that it was the “gateway” to horse ownership as I have it now.


I keep my horse in a nonprofit club barn in the suburbs. It’s self board but the dry stall rental is very low. There’s no staff, the members run everything. It’s very affordable if you are set up to do self board. We lease our land for free from a city park. Half leases end up being very affordable but are privately arranged. We don’t have the capacity to have club horses and have public access that way, we’d need staff to run a program like that.

There are nonprofit youth riding programs in Philly like work to ride https://worktoride.net/work-to-ride/

It would be really great if investing in eventing brought about more public awareness about our sports. Yes it is expensive (now very expensive :frowning: ), and dirty and dangerous, but wonderful and fun, and provides structure and responsibility for kids. Programs like work to ride are good for demonstrating the benefits and value of keeping horses in our collective lives.

It would be really cool if sponsoring the sport included things like bringing the eventing community and youth programs together somehow.

are you near Philly? Do you know of a way to get Jason Kelce’s attention to ask about this? It would be a golden opportunity if someone could actually get to ask them.

I always donate lessons at school and community fundraisers. It gets the barn name out, a couple of new people get introduced.

Plus it’s tax deductible. For the higher amounts of money, I have horses, they spend it in vet bills.

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Sponsor free auditing at a clinic? Lower riding fees. Hire a clinician that is good at speaking/teaching sharing wits and wisdoms. Key moments for me were getting to witness Jack LeGoff, Bruce Davidson, Ralph Hill, Denny Emerson, Jimmy Wofford, Kim Walnes, Susan Harris (both of them), Anne Kursinski, Linda Allen, Karl Milkolka a few off the top of my head.

Jimmy would always have a sitdown session for everyone first. He actually needed a chalkboard to illustrate. Some stories and all the theory to know before seeing it in practice. I made it a mother-daughter thing to drag them multi states for this. Sitting in the bleachers they would actually get more out of a clinic watching. Now they have the memories of the unique personalities of many of the names in the sport. The history. And signed book editions!

ETA: Don’t need a big name, just a real teacher, who wants to leave a legacy. :grinning:


Nope. Not near Philly, no connections sorry :frowning:

Maybe a social media savvy person could come up with a strategy for getting his attention through social media? I am not such a person!

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I thought that only like $300 in charitable donations could be claimed on taxes anymore? I have never itemized so probably am missing something.

Love this. Can we start aggregating names here? Not just eventing, but also dressage and h/j?

This is a cool idea…

Would the place need to be a 501c?

I should have used income reduction vs tax credit. I’m not 100% on the whole taxes thing as I have a good accountant that just tells me to sign here and write a check.

Clinicians who have done any of the large state horse fairs have experience teaching to the bleachers. I have no idea what part of the country you’re speaking about. And I’m not in the loop with current instruction anymore. Best to ask that question posed to each discipline and find out their recommendations. You may have local trainers/barns already hosting clinics. It would just be a matter of your contribution expanding the idea of attendees and finding a clinician who can deliver an agenda.

It could be a draw for a local trainers business development. Bring in new people to experience the horsemanship.

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I have no idea. Why would it unless you want to deduct on your taxes? I simply thought that a sponsored lesson horse might allow more people to enter the sport.


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CPA here…hoping to help clear up tax stuff…

In 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic, people who took the standard deduction (ie not itemize) were allowed to deduct $300 (for single filers, $600 for married filing joint) as an “above the line” deduction. An “above the line” deduction is generally considered a deduction that reduces your taxable income.

Outside of 2020 and 2021, your charitable contributions are only “deductible” if you itemize on Schedule A. Due to the increases in the standard deduction, we are finding that significantly fewer clients itemize their deductions. The people who do itemize tend to have: high mortgage interest, high charitable contributions (think $17,000 or more) or high medical costs (subject to limitations). Property taxes, state and local income taxes and sales tax aka SALT taxes are limited to 10, 000…but if you are close to itemizing then you (g) have probably maxed out the SALT tax deduction.

If you expect a tax deduction (see above) yes. If you want to help out and take the standard deduction (and are able to help) then they do not need to be a 501©(3). You can give your money to whomever you want if you do not expect a tax benefit.

Let me know if you have anymore tax questions!