Yes they do. Why not use horseback (or foot) races as a way to spread the word to the general public?
This could start with a race against a horse of sufficient weight to win the purse money. It could then become a competition between different horse classes, such as a top class horse and a sub-class horse. It could become a horse show like we have now with some sort of awards. Or it could be a horse fair like the one at the Belmont Stakes this year. Then you could sell the horse(s) to the lowest bidder. You could be paid $100 for one horse, $50, and $15 for the third, etc. This would put a tremendous amount of capital into the sport, giving rise to a new crop of breeders who would be desperate to have a better-known and better paying horse that would have access to the wider market.
This would also help keep the existing breeders, dealers, veterinarians and trainers happy. When people see more people involved in the sport, they are more likely to find a breed you are interested in. Many of the good owners would be motivated to give more to help out their own breeds. It’s also likely in the long run that the existing people would have a greater desire to keep out of a competition.
Another way to spread the word about the sport would be by using the horse as the mascot for the fair. For example a prize for best riding horse in the show ring might be a horse. This would raise the profile of the sport, and give hope to the people back in Kansas who might not go near the race. It may also give hope to potential new breeders who may feel like there is no future in the sport, but might be influenced to give the sport a try because of the success of some of the horses in the race.
And then, like today, the racehorse would be owned and cared for by the horse owners. And like that fair, the horse would also be fed and watered and treated just like any other horse of the breed. In other words the fair would be an environment where the horses are treated just like any other animal. This, in turn, will give the horses a sense of entitlement. Just as a dog might have a need for attention by a human, a horse might expect a similar reward in the sport. So would everyone else. Some people won’t try anything new for fear it’s going to be too tough or costly, but
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