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Eventingjunkie
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:16 AM
I can't help myself...I know I am starting a train wreck here, so go ahead and get out your popcorn and wine...But the stabling fees at events have gotten RIDICULOUS. The first two we are attending stabling is $125 plus $25 for each additional day. For one you have to buy bedding, the other provides. Both you have to submit a check for $50 in case you don't clean your stall. Needless to say, we are trailering in, but still have to pay a $50 grounds fee per horse. Why isn't the $50 included in the registration fee? I can't compete a horse without bringing him on the grounds. Paying for events is seeming more and more like paying my cell phone bill.

I know, I know...if we want to see the sport of eventing continue and these venues stay in business, then these fees are a necessary evil. But at these prices they should at least have the stall bedded nicely for you and provide the final mucking. Also, I would think that with the price of stabling as high as the price of entry fees, the number of entries will start going down. Has anyone heard about the down turn in the economy? It costs 50% more to go to horse trials than it did four years ago.

I guess I could go on and on with my whining...but enough for today.

petit fromage
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:19 AM
Stabling is $160. Holy cow.

purplnurpl
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:24 AM
ours are bad here too.

I choose my events by price these days.

Auburn
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:30 AM
As I was told, when I started a similar thread a couple of years ago, the venues who have to put up tents are the ones who usually charge more. The cost of putting up the tents goes up, thus our cost of paying for them does, too.

For events held at the KHP, the price of stabling has stayed at $35/night. There are a couple of events held there that are over $40/night. Is that organizer being charged more or are they making money on the stalls?

I have found very few events that provide initial shavings. JFS, who posts on here and puts on Winona and Stonegate, keeps the price of her stalls low and gives bedding. I believe that Spring Run does this, too. The difference is that the stalls are permanent and the events are at family owned farms.

Eventingjunkie
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:46 AM
One of the venues has permanent stabling and just 2 years ago charged $25 per night. The $125 is for two days and one night...but they provide bedding.

sarah88
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:56 AM
Honestly, The stabling cost is one of the reasons I am not going to any early season event. I live close enough to do one day events w/o stabling (sometimes Im very sleep deprived!) but for me that is better than spending almost an entire entry I could use for another event/training etc,, on stabling. Its a catch 22 bc we, the riders, don't want to pay but so much money because lets face it, It is a horse show, something many of us do as a hobby, but the organizers need to make a profit too.

sarah88
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:58 AM
ours are bad here too.

I choose my events by price these days.

Same Here. Luckily I just compete at novice which is low enough that I have minimal worry about 'bad' courses and which ones are a better prep for which destination event... I just pick a show that works in my budget and my schedule then go and have a fun ride (most of the time) :)

lizanne
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:18 AM
These days I plan my eventing calendar around which events are close to friends who can lend us a stall. Luckily we have a great friend in Purcellville which we base ourselves at for about 2/3 of the events we do in Area 2. We also have a friend in NC who is lending stalls to us for Southern Pines and the Fork. Finding friends with stalls is a whole lot cheaper than stabling, but then we have to pay the off grounds fee, which I still don't understand. Can anyone explain the need for a grounds fee to me? Thank you ahead of time!

gooddirt
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:45 AM
Stabling fees are an important revenue source without which many events would not survive. Grounds fees are necessary in order to spread the financial burden a little more equitably.

Eventingjunkie
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:54 AM
why aren't grounds fees part of entry fees...and if you have a non-competing horse that is of course additional?

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:57 AM
gooddirt (or other organizer/secretary types) -
Sometimes I think the grounds fee would be more palatable if it were part of the entry, and then stabling would seem cheaper too if the grounds fee portion were already backed out of it.

That is, if entry(160) plus grounds fee (50) =$210 or
entry (160) plus stabling (125) = $285 sometimes I think I would whimper less if the info just read Entry = 210, stabling is 75 extra.

But then I think, well , entries are non-refundable, stabling and grounds fees are refundable. Is that why they are separated out on entries, do you know?

wildlifer
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:01 PM
I have to agree -- many events that I have gone to have permanent stabling that has been there for many years. I'm not paying half a board payment to stall my horse for one night, come on people! Just make the entry fee whatever it needs to be to cover costs -- don't make me add up 5 exorbitant fees on top of it.

eponacowgirl
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:07 PM
My board is $275/month. Paying half of that for 4 days of stabling at an event makes me cry a little inside.

PRS
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:18 PM
Most venues have set prices for the use of a horse stall per day or per event and it is included in the price that the event organizers pay to rent the facility. The organizers of the event very often pad the price of stabling to the participants to help pay their expenses (and make a profit in some cases) I have helped organize one of the largest annual horse shows at our local facility several times. The facility only charges $57 per 3 day event for the use of a horse stall which includes 2 bags of shavings but the organizers bump that up a little bit to help pay for the rental on the venue's arenas. The facility only charges a $10 per day grounds fee but the organizers charge participants $25.00. Some other events at the same facility charge their participants way more and add other charges such a timer fees etc.

What I'm saying is that it is not always the venue charging those rates...often your event organizers pad those rates for their own purposes.

ETA: In our case it would be impossible to roll stabling into the entry fees since everyone is running different events (or classes) and many use the same horse in multiple events or several different horses. Sometimes, at our shows, family members can compete the same horse in different age divisions. This would be nightmare to figure into entry fees so it is always a separate charge.

mg
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:29 PM
I have to try hard not to think about it when my stabling is more expensive than my entry fee.

LAZ
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:34 PM
gooddirt (or other organizer/secretary types) -
Sometimes I think the grounds fee would be more palatable if it were part of the entry, and then stabling would seem cheaper too if the grounds fee portion were already backed out of it.

That is, if entry(160) plus grounds fee (50) =$210 or
entry (160) plus stabling (125) = $285 sometimes I think I would whimper less if the info just read Entry = 210, stabling is 75 extra.

But then I think, well , entries are non-refundable, stabling and grounds fees are refundable. Is that why they are separated out on entries, do you know?

I'm a little curious as to why it matters if the total is the same? Not trying to stir the pot, but the bottom line is the bottom line....

I only run schooling shows on my farm, but I run a lot of them, and I run the T3DE at the Hoosier Horse Park and in the past have run sanctioned shows.

I have permanent, on grounds stabling.

Last year I rewired my stabling barns and fixed the plumbing so the wash stall in one of them works. This year I am reflooring stalls and going through all latch repairs. Next year it will be something else.

Last years repairs were close to $2000, this year will be $1000 in labor and a further $1200 in stone. I only charge $25/night for stabling but when I look at my upkeep numbers it seems like I should charge more! :cool:

I charge a $15 grounds fee for horses that do not stable because
A) there is wear and tear on the ground that I have to deal with afterwards (loose hay, trash, poop, places where a horse has dug)
B) I'd really rather people get a stall so I don't have A and also don't have the worry about a horse getting in the way or loose.

I do not provide shavings. I know of several events that quit providing shavings because other competitors stole them out of the stall and added them to their bedding rather than purchasing 2nd bags.

Shavings are expensive and not always easily available. I will have shavings on hand if a competitor wants to preorder, but the extra $1/bag I charge sure isn't profit by the time I go to TSC, buy them, load them, go back home and unload.

mg
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:53 PM
I'm a little curious as to why it matters if the total is the same? Not trying to stir the pot, but the bottom line is the bottom line....

Because it's just how people's brains work! ;) It's the same sort of deal as with paying for shipping when you order things online. People have negative reactions to seeing shipping broken out and feel as though they are getting gypped (think of all the rants on here about Dover's shipping charges). Free shipping has such a high perceived value in customers' eyes that studies have shown they'll pay the equivalent of $4 more in merchandise instead of $1 of shipping (of course, it wasn't spelled out like this, but that's what observations indicated).

I realize this is a different application, but I wonder if the same sort of reasoning might exist with entry fees? It could be an interesting experiment for someone who usually puts the grounds fee charge separately to just include it in the entry fee price and see if it makes a difference (though entries vary from year to year, so it would be difficult to measure). Unless, of course, most horse people think like me and ultimately don't care where the breakdown is and judge things by total cost ;)

JWB
Jan. 14, 2011, 02:20 PM
Ha - My favorite was a recent event where stabling was listed at a per night rate, but you had to declare which nights you wanted stabling for up front... long before ride times were posted.

Looked like you could save, but there was no way of knowing which night you'd need a stall for. In the end I paid for two nights, just to be safe, even though once ride times were published, it became obvious that I only needed one night of stabling.

I appreciate that the organizers need to recoup fees but the economy has hit everyone.... I predict Libby will spend a lot of time hanging out in her trailer this year.

TSHEventing
Jan. 14, 2011, 08:31 PM
I HATE HATE HATE grounds fees for competing horses.. OP was right. I can't COMPETE if I don't bring him to the grounds. GRRRRRRRR.

LAZ
Jan. 14, 2011, 08:51 PM
I HATE HATE HATE grounds fees for competing horses.. OP was right. I can't COMPETE if I don't bring him to the grounds. GRRRRRRRR.

Think of it as an either/or. Either you pay a stabling fee or you pay a fee to have your trailer on the grounds.

We're not getting rich here, folks...and we're trying to provide a quality product for as reasonable price as we can and still pay our bills....

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:56 PM
LAZ - intellectually, and to my checkbook, no it doesn't matter how the fees are broken out, but the brain is a weird zone. - Or mine is, at least, and I'm glad to see mg backing me up in my weirdness.

I'm not necessarily saying y'all should change things - just kind of musing out loud. I certainly couldn't tell you if gooddirt's events tend to be more or less expensive than others I go to - I just know they are great events I love to attend. (And I LOVE the muck it well/no strip/bedding included policy at Pine Top. I have always arrived to stalls I was happy to put a horse into, and even if bedding $$ is built into the stabling cost, it seems much friendlier than arriving and having to shell out another 12-18 bucks for shavings...)

enjoytheride
Jan. 15, 2011, 01:09 AM
What I have seen locally is one of two options.

A. facility has no stalls for horses showing, all horses tie to trailers. No haul in fee.

B. Facility has stalls for horses showing, charges stabling fee. Charges haul in fee for any horse tying to the trailer.

Frankly, even for a one day show I'd pay for a stall although I'd want to pay less if I wasn't allowed to haul in the night before. I never haul more then 45 minutes but it is so worth my money to haul in Friday night, hack before it gets dark, unpack, and then drive home. I never want to be running around at 4:30am to get a good trailer spot that doesn't include the side of a hill.

My horse will stand tied to a trailer all day long with no supervision, but I think it's kinder to them to have a stall especially if I'm riding them hard.

lecoeurtriste
Jan. 16, 2011, 08:48 PM
Many smaller, grass-roots recognized events still charge reasonable entry ($125-$150) and stabling rates ($35-$40/night) and provide an excellent showing experience.

But many riders pass them by to go to the "destination" events who continue to charge $200+ entry fees and $150+ for stabling. Personally, my checkbook prefers paying $200 compared to $350+.

retreadeventer
Jan. 17, 2011, 10:39 AM
These costs, Lecoer. & LAZ excepted, are high -- I sympathize with those competing! Wow! I hadn't really looked at the omnibus and did I get sticker shock at Southern Pines fees! Grounds fees are a trick! Man, I hate that. I wish grounds fees were outlawed...

Alex2
Jan. 17, 2011, 12:00 PM
I can understand the grounds fee for several of the events I attend. The parking for the haul-in competitors is not near the stabling and the organizers will have tanks of water as well as porta-potties and garbage cans set up and maintained for the haul-in riders. What is annoying is if the organizers do charge a haul-in fee but do not provide water, bathrooms and garbage cans.

So many of the events are located on private farms they do not have stabling for outside horses. There are not a lot of companies in the portable stall business so you're at the mercery of trying to afford what's available. The same tent stalls are often used at competitons 500-600 miles apart on the west coast. The organizers have to pay to have the temporary stabling shipped to their locations, erected, then taken down following the completion of the event and shipped back to the company. The portable stabling also takes a huge beating from competitors who cut the zip-ties or punch holes through the material in order to hang a stall guard or to give their horse a window.

Events that have to bring in portable stabling do not make money on the stabling and if they're lucky they hope to break even. Keep in mind that after the temporary stalls are gone, there is still all the muck that needs to be picked up and removed.

I'm sure that there are competitions out there that will nickle and dime the competitors to make a buck but from my experience the organizers are just hoping to break even.

wildlifer
Jan. 17, 2011, 12:00 PM
You are right, retread, CHP is one of the crazy ones. I never stable there, I stay with a friend nearby. It is ludicrous what they charge for a stall -- I know organizers have to cover their costs, but you know what, us competitors are barely scraping together our quarters and cannot just blithely write checks all day long, contrary to what seems to be expected of us.

ETA -- and CHP has permanent stabling. I understand costs of temps, but don't see many of those down here.

LAZ
Jan. 17, 2011, 12:08 PM
OK--so I have a question that I'd like some input on from you guys--our local venue, the Hoosier Horse Park, is struggling financially as part of a county park system.

I'm all for them raising their stall fees and/or other rental fees to help cover expenses in order that we can keep the park viable. I'd happily pay $20-$50 more a weekend if it means the facility stays around and continues to be maintained.

Would any of you be willing to do that? What other solutions might you come up with to help such a place remain viable?

wildlifer
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:10 PM
As far as covering expenses, what about hosting events that don't require so much overhead? Like schooling days (jumper, dressage, XC), where jump courses are set up but you don't need a judge or other officials. Surely, not every event at the facility has to be a recognized horse trial or show that costs a bajillion dollars to go to. It would seem that smaller opportunities that are accessible to the not-made-of-money among us would attract more people and thus bring in more revenue without requiring the massive outlay of a full horse trial. I am actually planning on attending several of these in the near future as, at less than $20 a go, it's something I can afford to actually do.

Eventingjunkie
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:29 AM
OK--so I have a question that I'd like some input on from you guys--our local venue, the Hoosier Horse Park, is struggling financially as part of a county park system.

I'm all for them raising their stall fees and/or other rental fees to help cover expenses in order that we can keep the park viable. I'd happily pay $20-$50 more a weekend if it means the facility stays around and continues to be maintained.

Would any of you be willing to do that? What other solutions might you come up with to help such a place remain viable?

The issue here is that the few people that stable should not hold the burden for keeping the park open. As an example, I have not stabled at Fair Hill in Maryland in a couple of years and have heard that they have made some improvements. But when we did stable there, it was $25 a night (now it is more) and we always had huge holes in the middle of our stalls and water running in and swamping things when it rained. The nightly stall fee should have been paying for maintenance of these stalls, and the entry fee which should include grounds fees should pay for the use of the rest of the facility. So, to answer LAZ's question, the fair thing to do is for everyone to pay more for entry fees...but a few horse trials is not and should not be expected to keep the park system running in the black.

LAZ
Jan. 18, 2011, 01:00 AM
I don't think I was clear...my thought was if it means paying $25-50 more per weekend per show to keep a venue open for business wouldn't you pay it? I know that though I try to support the grass root events I also like going to the KHP and the HHP as well as some other horse parks. They don't get built or run for free and I, personally, think that those of us that use them should be the ones paying for having them available.

wookie
Jan. 18, 2011, 02:25 AM
:eek: i have not looked at the stabling fees/grounds fees.
i think you raise either the entree fees or grounds fees. but to raise all including stabling is a bit crazy.

eventing junkie ( also known as my friend ...) i dont think they are raising the stabling in order to fund the events or do grounds improvement solely. in other words, i don't agree with the statement and it's implications that it is unfair to put that financial load on people who stable. i dont believe that is what organizers are doing. it is 50/night at plantation fields and at many other venues. chp in southern pines may still be trying to fund the new stabling and supposedly the temp stalls are expensive to rent and have put up.

i for one will not be attending southern pines which was on my agenda because of the stabling fees. it like everything else,,,,fuel, hotel etc has also gone up and last i checked the only one paying the bills is me. i would rather spend money on lessons and go to fewer shows then waste almost an entree fee on stabling.

pegasusmom
Jan. 18, 2011, 08:25 AM
Last time I checked, admittedly about 14 months ago, the cost per stall for temps was running around $80-90 and upwards per stall to the organizer.

Facility costs don't end when the last horse jumps the last fence. Most of the venues that host events have expenses that run year round, and profits from horse trials may very well fund the maintainence that happens the other 362 days of the year, to include mortgages and loans to pay for existing structures such as stabling.

It is tight for everyone right now. Everyone is having to make choices about where and how much to compete. I think it is dismaying to throw this back at organizers (of which I am a former) as I know they are making the hard choices as well.

deltawave
Jan. 18, 2011, 08:54 AM
There is always the option of hauling in every day (still leaves you with a grounds fee), finding stabling at a nearby barn (ditto), or finding a show that charges less. Oh, wait . . . those aren't very good options. So there is little choice but to go with it, make your complaints known to the organizers, or don't compete. :sigh:

Not being simply snarky, but trying to point out that there is NOTHING about horse sports that can be displayed as a model of economy and frugality. :) I don't begrudge organizers a profit, even a nice one. Seeing I don't know how many smaller shows just fade away over time makes me scared. If my budget now only allows me to show 4-5 times a year, well, I'm grateful still to have those opportunities.

lecoeurtriste
Jan. 18, 2011, 08:57 AM
There is always the option of hauling in every day (still leaves you with a grounds fee), finding stabling at a nearby barn (ditto), or finding a show that charges less. Oh, wait . . . those aren't very good options. So there is little choice but to go with it, make your complaints known to the organizers.

Why isn't this a good option?? Why not support the "little guy" who is more than likely running events to support the sport versus their bank account??

deltawave
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:02 AM
Because (at least where I am) there aren't "options" on any given weekend. You might find one or two shows in area 8 on a given weekend, or none. Never a whole bunch. :) And some of the "little guy" shows that ARE available here are not at great facilities, not great courses, not great stabling.

shea'smom
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:21 AM
As an instructor/coach, it is getting hard as hell to get people interested in eventing. The entries/stabling etc. are just crazy. Even 10 years ago i could compete two horses. Now when I talk to other coaches, we are the ones who can't afford to even show any more. I;m sure it doesn't affect Philip or Boyd, but I am almost out of eventing.

retreadeventer
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:41 AM
Little guys can be as good as big guys if they pay attention and stay organized. I have some little guys whose events I attend and love. The problem is, if they became big -- their events suffer. They aren't set up for big. Big events offer a lot and attract a lot and ... cost a lot. There are a couple of big events I do per year because I love them and the cost is worth it. But my problem is all those events in between.... the really, really mediocre medium sized events, who are CHARGING like they are "big" but providing very little like a big. That's my chief problem with fees. And given...horse sports aren't cheap. But come on, $160 for a stall. NO bedding. From Friday morning to Sunday night. $53 a day and you have to provide your own bedding. Wow. And do not forget, us novice and training people for the most part pay the exact same entry fee as the upper level people who jump a third MORE jumps and fences. What we get for our money is certainly not what they get for their money! Remember my $ per jump analysis I did a while back? I can't remember how to find it but I'll do it again if I get the time. That was a fun way to look at what eventing costs us and as I remember it proved that the lower level entry fees heavily supported the upper levels, as they got a significantly lower cost per "jump".

piaffeprincess98
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:49 AM
I just wish the events didn't charge a one time, huge fee. I would love to go to MCTA again since it's been years since I competed there, but I would only need one night of stabling, and it's $145! Similar situation with Southern Pines (although I'm guessing they're still paying for the permanent stabling. Last time I was there in 2006, it was much cheaper) Why can't there be per night fees?

I know some COTHers have asked if they can share a stall and use it one night, then pass it off to another competitor for the next night, but that's still pricey for only using a stall for two nights. I might have to consider that if I go to MCTA.

BigRuss1996
Jan. 18, 2011, 09:56 AM
I totally agree pegasusmom.... I think people don't realize what it costs to put on a nice event and to maintain that nice footing etc year round.
Also I can tell you first hand that the BNR's are having to watch their checkbooks like everyone else and times are tight for everyone. Be glad you don't have their hay bills, etc in an economy where people are taking less lessons and doing less clinics and buying less horses.



Last time I checked, admittedly about 14 months ago, the cost per stall for temps was running around $80-90 and upwards per stall to the organizer.

Facility costs don't end when the last horse jumps the last fence. Most of the venues that host events have expenses that run year round, and profits from horse trials may very well fund the maintainence that happens the other 362 days of the year, to include mortgages and loans to pay for existing structures such as stabling.

It is tight for everyone right now. Everyone is having to make choices about where and how much to compete. I think it is dismaying to throw this back at organizers (of which I am a former) as I know they are making the hard choices as well.

JFS
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:14 AM
Thanks Auburn for the positive comments about Winona & Stone Gate and thank you to lecoeurtriste for supporting the 'little guys'. Our entry fees are less than $150 and I just raised our stabling fees to $70 for the weekend because we put in wash racks last year and we're going to have to spend around $1,200 on stall gates for the smaller 12 stall barn that doesn't have doors.

Deltawave I'm sorry that you feel that the 'little' events in Area VIII aren't worth going to. I know we'll never be able to compete with the KHP or Richland because we just can't afford all those amenities therefore our prices reflect that. But that in no way means that you're getting some backyard below standard event. I'd like to think that we provide safe, appropriate (for the level) courses, both cross country and show jumping, that are beneficial to the development for both the horse and the rider. We choose NOT to spend money on carved works of art on our cross country courses and pass the expense on to our competitors.

My biggest fear is that the 'little guy' is going to be squeezed out of business because competitors are spending what limited funds they have going to the 'destination' events and the 'little guys' are going to fade away. I'm not concerned for myself, I've been at it for more than 25 years and am too hard headed to give it up completely. However, the thought of dropping the recognized events in favor of the more profitable unrecognized events has one crossed my mind more often than I care to admit. I do fear for the future Eventers and the sport itself if 'destination' events become the only choice for competitors.

Jackie Smith
Organizer
Licensed Eventing Judge, TD & CD

JFS
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:42 AM
Retreadeventer I totally agree with this.

"Little guys can be as good as big guys if they pay attention and stay organized. I have some little guys whose events I attend and love. The problem is, if they became big -- their events suffer. They aren't set up for big. Big events offer a lot and attract a lot and ... cost a lot. There are a couple of big events I do per year because I love them and the cost is worth it. But my problem is all those events in between.... the really, really mediocre medium sized events, who are CHARGING like they are "big" but providing very little like a big. That's my chief problem with fees."

Jackie

Auburn
Jan. 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
What JFS said!

I am giving a challenge to those folks in Area8, who are having to watch their pennies, to give JFS's events a try.

The cost of the stall is low and she gives initial bedding. Brant Gamma and Pete Landon would not shoot there, if they were not class events.

You will not be disappointed.

JFS,

The new wash racks will be greatly appreciated. :)

deltawave
Jan. 18, 2011, 11:57 AM
JFS, I don't consider Stone Gate, Winona or any of the other events in area 8 "little" in any way, shape or form. What I consider "little" are some of the local HTs here in Michigan and other places I've been that (IMO) are not really all that nice. Many of them are gone now, actually, and probably because they just couldn't put on as nice of a show as many of the others, where facilities/courses are shared with sanctioned USEA shows.

I'm blessed to not have to choose which shows to go to based on cost. It does matter to me, but is not my primary decision point. So I don't really make many distinctions between a Richland Park and a Stone Gate in my mind. (other than distance) If I can get the weekend off for either one and have a sound horse, they are on my calendar.

NO slight on sanctioned area 8 shows intended on my part. There is only one I consider not quite up to snuff, and I just don't go to that one. :) If you'll notice, I'm coming down on the side of the organizers here and write my checks with nary a grumble because I think I *am* able to see the hidden costs of running a good show. :)

JFS
Jan. 18, 2011, 01:18 PM
Thanks for the clarification Deltawave. Hope to see you at one of our events this year or maybe the Event Camp ;)

Jackie