I look at it this way. Shows can be a long, tiring day. There are certain things that make the day easier on both rider and horse, which in turn can make the ride better. A quiet stall in the shade makes the horse comfortable. Chairs, a table, an organized way to keep yourself, your tack, and your horse clean, etc., make you more comfortable and able to focus on your ride. These are basic things you need at a show anyway, why not at make that tiny bit more effort to make it look nice, professional, and inviting to others.
I'm buying stall curtains this year because I can't stand the heat anymore. I don't go all out with the matching directors chairs and potted plants, but I like having an organized tack stall and a banner up so that my friends can find me. And the curtains are a godsend for the horses. I also have an outdoor rug that is great on the tack room floor - keeps the dust off of everything.
In So. Cal. you usually only see "set ups" at the multi-day shows and Championships, and even then the most elaborate ones have custom pop-up tents, table & chairs, one tack room drape set and maybe stall signs. They don't typically have the long rows of fancy trunks or landscaping.
It's nice, especially in the heat of the summer, to have a shady, well-stocked place to relax between rides and gather with friends and neighbors at the end of the day, but it doesn't have to look like someone's living room at home. :)
The Dressage Association of Southern California (DASC) has been promoting set ups for years at the annual Championship show with a special award. This past year's winner was done in all purple. Never have I seen so much purple in one barn aisle - and it looked *awesome*! :D It really was done very well.
Something I would never expect to see at a Dressage show, Never have actually. Now A Circuit Hunters They go all out, I have never been to a breed show but I can imagine the Arabs! :eek: Seems like a huge extra expense. Does not seem to fit with Dressage to me. But I show out of a trailer. :yes:
You know, I find it interesting how much resistance is being voiced about having a nice set up for dressage shows.
I *do* understand the difference in the length of the shows - that makes sense. Even the H/J folks don't go "all out" for weekend shows (which there are plenty of, BTW - not all H/J shows are multi-week affairs.) But you do generally see a nice presentation. It takes very little time or effort to put up a set of drapes, pop up the awning frame, hang a few bridle racks and set out a tack trunk or two. And then you have a nice, professional, organized set up to use for the weekend.
It's also not terribly expensive, IMO. I mean, as a relative dressage newbie I have just gone through the process of getting dress boots, dressage tack* and a boat load of lessons. So it's clear to me that dressage people do spend money on tack and equipment just like the hunter folks do.
The cost of an extra stall, divided among 4-6 showing clients, would not be terribly costly. And it's so nice to have a comfortable place to hang out, review a test, or provide supporters (friends and family) with a bit of comfort while they wait for your ride time(s).
*complete with blingy browband, oh, how I love that thing, LOL - it's made all the torture, er... I mean lessons with that longer, straighter leg... worth the pain and suffering! :lol:
DEFINITELY hit the ASB/Morgan/Arabian shows. They're into it bigtime - and most shows (in the NE anyway) are indoors and 4 days long.
Where are the horses?
Originally Posted by GinGin74
"I think the OP just needs to determine not only who her market is but if she'll be able to offer "grades" in set ups. If so, there may be more demand out there then is professed here."
I think this is vital, especially as you're marketing to what may be a 'new' demographic. You might ask the company to set up a 'bare bones' package (e.g., valance for 4-6 stalls, curtains for tack stall, 4-6 director's chairs, fitted tablecloth for standard folding tables, trunk 'covers' [thinking like a fitted tablecloth to just cover the top - much less expensive than TRUNKS and easier than full covers]. Take some pictures of this to add to your 'portfolio' - to show that your product can go 'from reasonable to extravagant'.
The best idea yet! Far better than simply the 'pictures of' I just suggested. Maybe you could get the company to foot a gift certificate to the high score of the day for $X product. Con the show committee out of giving you an 'end cap' in a visible location. Fabulous marketing, Annandale!
Originally Posted by Annandale
Me, too, back when I showed! Of course with one horse, one me, and three sets of clothes for me & horse, running back & forth to the trailer in between classes was not a viable alternative. (back in the day when Apps were versatile)
Originally Posted by mjhco
how is this thread not advertising?
Well, if I take a horse to the Spring Break dressage show in NC and do two tests, the tests will run $45 a pop ($90), the stall is $70 (which includes two bags of bedding, the drug fee is $16 and the office fee is $20. Total to horseshow two tests: $190.
Originally Posted by Lucassb
If I then pay my 25% of an $85 tack stall (which are only available per weekend) that is $21.25, plus the $50 set up fee from the trainer for the wood chips, furniture and planter transportation and arrangement, that is an additional $70.
Maybe not that expensive overall, but really why should 20% of a horse show (before I even get any coaching) constitute the show set up?
If the trainer then additionally insists that I replace my perfectly servicable Stanley Tool Trunk with an $800 custom tack trunk in barn colors, and trade out my $60 a pop cooler for a $300 custom cooler from the clothes horse so that we can all make matchy matchy, then I will have spent
$190 on actually showing my horse
$1170 additionally on parading around in the barn colors.
Therein lies my resistance.
For the record, as far as comfort goes, I teach from a $20 folding camp chair and am plenty comfortable all day. It comes along easily in the back of the car, unfolds in a jif at arenas and horseshows, and even has a cupholder. The parents of my teenage students have them too and we manage to "socialize" comfortably with each other while sitting in them when kiddo is taking a walk break.
Many of my customers are not in the demographic to spend thousands on saddles/trunks/coolers/etc etc so in order for them to have access to the sport I whittle away all but the essential expenses. If I had some customers who insisted on fancy setups my other customers would be priced out of going to shows with them. Thankfully all my customers -even the ones who could easily afford it- are ok with keeping the pomp and circumstance at a minimum.
Originally Posted by meupatdoes
It is not necessary (nor would it be common, even in HJLand) to do the whole wood chips/planters/furniture thing for a weekend show. No one is suggesting that the clients have to go out and purchase new trunks, coolers, etc. That's like saying, "Oh, you need a six figure WB to do dressage." Some people have them, but it's not required, right?
What I was suggesting was much more along the lines of the $21.25 cost of getting a tack stall, that's all. If it doesn't work for you, no big deal.
There is a tack stall, and there is a set up.
Originally Posted by Lucassb
Tack stalls have tack, shavings, hay, feed, grooming supplies, and a wheelbarrow in them.
Set ups are for humans, and require additional real estate to the "tack stall" (unless people want to "socialize" from inside the wheelbarrow), plus additional labor for drape hanging and the like. If clients want to spend the extra $21.25 among them and do all of this drape hanging and awning set up labor themselves, I will certainly not stand in their way. If clients want to spend $21.25 plus an additional labor fee for me to do it for them, I will oblige.
But the reality for my customers is that cost minimization is more important than stall drapes, and it is a good thing for all that the better heeled clients don't treat the cost savers like it is "just" a little extra to add 20% to their show fees before they even pay coaching.
meupatdoes, in accounting there is a difference between buying a service (show fees and stall) and buying an asset, trunk, cooler etc. A service is consumed, an asset, you own and it retains some value. This difference makes your comparison invalid.
And why would you expect to be "forced" to buy anything or to contribute to the set up that your trainer brings? That sounds like hyperbole.
i.think there is some acceptance of hostiliy towards those who can indulge in things that many can't afford in our sport. It's not pretty. In the real world, that is called envy. Be careful, it's one of the 7 deadly sins. :lol:
But don't worry, when I win the lotto, you'll still be invited to my set up. I'll have warm beer wrapped in paper bags in the feed room for those who prefer steerage.:winkgrin:
I think the difference is a lot of dressage folks do their own horses (train/ride/show their own) while a lot of ASB/Morgan/Arabian shows are horses under full training and the trainers take them to the shows. Most of the trainers have barn help to do all the setup and the owners just show up and ride. These barns usually have 10+ horses at show ground. Quite a bit harder for people with one or two horses to do the same.
Coming from Morgan show world, I'm still quite astonished to see a lot of dressage folks don't bother with a tack stall... I mean, leaving your expensive saddle in the aisle is just.. unreal...
I agree with meupatdoes here. I like that dressage is about the horse and the training. I like that most adult amateurs and young riders do their own horse care and grooming to varying degrees at home and at shows. I like that they spend time with their horses at shows. I like that at the Palm Beach dressage derby, when the rider takes a food or bathroom break, Dad or mom is grazing the horse. I like that people have one or two horses that they ride for years. I like that there's no annual "in" saddle or breeches or brand of coat. I like that there is no feeling of "keeping up the the Jones'". I like that the older dressage ladies with the horses they struggle with, show up at the barn every day, groom and tack their horse, watch the trainer ride for 15 minutes, hop on and struggle away, get off, untack and groom the horse.
It may seem like overreacting to a show set up, but my first reaction was keep your expensive unnecessary showy stuff away from dressage. All the unnecessary stuff, from full time grooms to professional braiders to cool tack, to weeks of showing on end, to the mileage rule, to the constant nickel and diming has ruined the h/j show scene and has made it prohibitively expensive for all but a very select group of individuals. And now you have h/j converts coming over to dressage (and eventing) and demanding some of the same stuff that contributed to the skyrocketing costs of the sport they've left.
Yes a show set up is a very minor thing and looks nice. But so do a lot of other unnecessary things that add up (and become standard) to push the cost of horse showing past what most people can reasonably pay.
While perhaps the "envy" argument may apply to some, it does not apply to me.
Originally Posted by nhwr
I have my own personal horse who is leagues further along in his training than my training horses. Some of my customers regardless of financial status have green horses that will be very fancy one day and others have horses that will never be super fancy but benefit from good training all the same. Regardless, my own personal horse is the fanciest thing I've got going right now, so it is not like I am riding other people's very green horses because this is my ticket to a fancy ride. I already have a fancy ride.
I used to teach for twice the money I teach now, but I keep my rates absolutely cut rate because many of my customers (and their horses) simply would not have access to quality training otherwise. I have a day job which affords my bills, and my own very fancy horse, so I actually do not NEED to ride other people's baby green squirrels at 6am before work or teach in fifteen degrees for half the rate I charged downstate; I do it because I like making high quality training and instruction available to people who could otherwise not afford it, or people who could afford other trainers but like how I do what I do.
I have certainly been in my share of barns where the pressure from the trainer (and other customers) to buy matchy matchy everything and in the most expensive possible version of the item was intense. Some of my customers came from programs previously where a credit card was on file with the trainer and blankets/coolers/etc. would be purchased as the trainer deemed fit. My rates are a pittance comparatively and if they wanted to go train with people with stall drapes and $3,000 a month in fees they could.
I know that my other customers, who scrimp to afford even my cut-rate fees, appreciate that I keep that kind of extra fluff out of my program for the good of everyone's wallet. They do not need to hear (from their trainer who drives a Benz to the barn, rides a five digit warmblood, and chooses between 3 saddles cumulatively worth $8,000, $2,000 in bridles, the $850 'fancy' journeymans, the $400'plain' journeymans, three Charles Owens, the custom Vogel field boots or the Konig dress boots when getting dressed to ride in the morning, and thus is not ENVIOUS of other people's nice things, but rather can GET IT how prohibitive those expenses would be for many) that an $800 Oakcroft tack trunk is an "asset" when their board bill is $250 a month and the Stanley trunk they already have has been serving them faithfully for years already, or that, when their board bill is $250 a month and tacking on a $70 "set up" fee is 1/3 of their board bill again for no reason it is not *that* expensive and don't we want to have some place "nice" to sit.
Nope. I can afford it. I just think it's completely unnecessary, and snobbishly prohibitive to those who can't. Impressing people with stall drapes is not why I get up at 5am every morning to go ride other people's rehab project horses before getting on my schooling FEI horse and going to my real job.
Yes, I'm quite familiar with both tack stalls and set ups. In fact, I set up quite a few of both in my younger, working student days. It was a nice way to earn a bit of cash which helped fund my lesson and showing habit before I could afford it otherwise.
Originally Posted by meupatdoes
For the record, in most of the H/J barns I've been in, the clients did do the setting up. It wasn't a big deal; actually it was kind of fun and tended to be a bit of a party. Do the pretty set up and then sit down with a cold beverage and admire the handiwork.
But as I said, if it doesn't work for you, then skip it. It's not that big of a deal.
A reality check:
Trainer decides whether or not to get a tack stall. Not gouging clients, but clients also have relatively little input on this decision.
There is a difference between the kind of stuff the OP's company is selling-- trunks, drapes and such-- and the whole nine yards with sod and ficus trees.
Dressagers already spend plenty of money on fashion and bling. What differences does it make whether that goes into brow bands and the IT saddle or show equipment?
One person can do her own show set up. Been there, done that myself.
The best custom thing I designed and bought evah was the hanging halterboard that doubled as a saddle rack. That and a medium trunk will fit outside my one stall and keep things need as well as stuff off the ground.
Easy to work from, too. That's most important since I'm the groom as well as the rider. If you do bring a saddle stand and, say, a grooming box to your stall as most dressagers currently do, it will look messy but also be harder to work from.
I have done it both ways. I have paid for all of the show equipment (just once), and it really does work better if you designed your show set up intelligently.
Last, I don't think good barn set up and time spent getting a good performance from your horse are mutually exclusive. IME, the folks who bring thoroughness to one part of their horse life bring it to the others as well.
When I go to shows by myself I bring my vertical green plastic tack trunk that I bought used which locks and has room for two saddles, bridles, and all equipment and grooming supplies. It has wheels so I wheel it from the trailer to the outside of my horse's stall myself. The hay gets stacked immediately adjacent with the wash bucket plus grain tupperware on top. That plus a collapsible folding chair leaned up somewhere and voila, set up.
Originally Posted by mvp
Same applies when customer's horses go to shows.
If too many horses are going for their supplies to be efficiently stored in front of all of their stalls, then collective purchase of a tack stall is considered.
Not really seeing how then getting an additional extra tack stall in which to house the "display" tack and "display" trunks and covering all of it in stall drapes ala Christo would add to "thoroughness".