(there are some 4D events as well).
Why? Well there's a variety of reasons but chief among them is I don't have the time or money to rodeo - heck it ain't cheap! Nor do I have a horse that would be competitive at that level - although maybe one day that won't be a factor.
(sidenote, you can spend $8K to get a 2-3D jackpot horse in my area, and that's on the low end)
Another big reason for me is that horses are my hobby not my career, they're supposed to be fun - and usually they are, but of course there are 'those days'.
(I need to bring my competitive side out more - as per some friends - and trying to find the balance between that and fun is a whole 'nother blog post!)
Every once in awhile some discussion will pop up in some form or another regarding barrel racing and the D system and often in these discussions there will be some disparaging comments about the girls that place in the bottom Ds, things like "they could be 1 or 2 D if they worked harder".
Now there may be some that take it lightly or don't put much effort in, but there are others that do take it seriously (even if, like me, it's "just for fun"). They may not be able to afford the kind of athlete that places in the 1D so they take the horses they CAN afford and make them what they can. They train, take clinics, take lessons, read, study and devour everything barrel racing that they can get their hands on. They study feed, supplements, and therapies. They work to keep their horses conditioned and in shape. They work their butts off.
Comments about 1D (and sometimes 2D) riders and horses *deserving* better prizes/payout because they work harder may not be outright calling down on the 3/4D horses but it is belittling and saying they don't deserve the same for their achievements and is really disheartening for those riders to hear.
Now I'm not saying give everyone a participation ribbon, but if someone places they deserve to be treated like a winner because in their D they are!
Another one of the comments that is ugly is that because they're "only" 3 or 4 D they aren't really barrel racers - and to that I say excuse me, I've got a buckle that says otherwise ;) :p
(let's hope it's less than 20 seconds!)
What upsets me about this type of thinking, other than the fact that it's small, petty, and mean, is that in the grand scheme of things the horse world is a small place and it is widely acknowledged that equestrian sport (or heck even just owning and/or riding without competitive goals) faces a decline of new people - those baby boomers are aging out, who is stepping up to take their place!?
We need to do what we can to promote our sport and encourage others to give it a shot, which is exactly what the D system was designed to do! It creates a chance for riders and horses of any calibre to get some experience and maybe earn some cash/prizes/bragging rights. Instead of belittling or negating the achievements of the lower D people we need to encourage them... heck some of those "little" 3D racers ARE going to be 1D and rodeo winners some day! Might as well be on friendly terms with your competition ;)