Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Rated Shows and Going Broke
This is not a "WHY IS EVERYTHING SO EXPENSIVE????" whiney post. I actually understand why everything is so expensive. The facility needs to make some money off having a show their and keeping the grounds nice to show on. USDF and USEF need to make some money for putting in the time and effort to host a show and have reps there to monitor it. Big, beautiful ribbons (what we all really want) are expensive, as are prizes and swag. Judges have to be paid, the list goes on and on. In other words:
Hosting a horse show is NOT cheap!
From the average horse owner and competitor who isn't fortunate enough to have tons of expendable cash to throw at show after show, weekend after weekend....showing rated shows is tough, and EXPENSIVE. It often requires lots of planning, and saving. Often times one weekend of showing one horse is a minimum $500, and that does not include gas to and from the show, or my hotel room, or food while I'm there.
Next year I have 2 horses I want competing in rated shows, and my daughter wants to start competing as well. UGH! I can hear my bank account crying out in pain at the thought.
I think one of the biggest struggles is all the fees before you even enter a show for the year. I have a new horse that I want to compete next year, let's look at those fees.
USDF Lifetime Horse $95
USEF Lifetime Horse $200
Renew USDF Participating Membership $75
Renew USEF Competing Membership $55
That leaves us with a grant total of $425 before I even begin showing. That is just to give me the ability to show for the season.
Then once you log into Show Secretary you can break out your calculator. $150 for your stall plus another $150 for your tack room stall. Your at $300 for the weekend with no classes entered!
There are ways to cut costs. Pony pooling (hitching a ride with a friend showing the same vent or hauling someone's horse for them if you have an open spot on your trailer) and splitting the gas. Sharing hotel rooms with fellow competitors, packing snacks, drinks and sandwiches to cut down on food purchases, take advantage of the free meal typically given at the competitor's party most shows host, sharing a tack room and splitting the cost, etc. Most of these are of course dependent on having a friend, coach, fellow boarder who is showing the same venue you are.
Of course it's still expensive. Our best bet is typically to plan to do as many schooling shows as are available and pick our favorite rated shows and save for them. KDA hosts awesome shows and the horse park is a wonderful venue to show at. I honestly was disappointed with River Glen this year. It costs just as much as going to the horse park, but we received a tiny flat ribbon as our 1st place ribbons and a sad potted plant that I somehow managed to not kill in the first week. The one thing is it is really close, but we probably won't be doing it this year. Greystone was a fun show, however we learned not to show there in July....soooooo hot! We didn't care for the footing there and the warm up arena was a bit of a sauna, but may still go back. The Pony Cup is a must! We are already saving for it!
If your goal is Regional Championships, if your lucky and plan right you may be able to get both your qualifying scores at one show. I recommend doing an early spring one, in case you don't get both your scores you can save and squeeze in one more before Championships. If you get both in the spring you can save up until Championships in the fall.
What does everyone else do to make showing more affordable?