The distance to a show is less important that the quality of the show when we get there. That includes the facility, the management, and most of all the experience for the young horse. If my entries are getting close to the deadline I will hand-deliver to the show secretary if possible to avoid a late fee. Most of all I want to be welcome back, so I try to use my best company manners throughout the day. It is all for a $1 ribbon after all, and the judge's opinion is just that, nothing more. I heard a shopkeeper one time mutter this after being verbally laced by a customer after the customer left his shop, " If you want something real to worry about, go get a gallstone." Horse showing is far from life and death, and really not worth getting too upset about. Enjoy the moment and pat your horse. The judge and show management don't pay your feed bill or get to love on your nice horse.
"Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist
I ticked off all the boxes that I would consider acceptable in entering a show. Thus all of them. I also ticked off the fact that my horses will show at least three times this year. This poll was not drawn up in such a way that anything useful can be proven. Read into it what you will.
I think it is interesting that 20 responses said they would like a show to close 2 weeks or less before a show.
Not to go back to apples and oranges, a "B" rated H/J show in my region closes 3 days prior to the show, and provides FAXing of entries. I find that a real benefit.
Do H/J shows provide a printed show program listing all entries, the approx. time they are showing, which ring, which judge, owner's name (and ideally, breeder's name, breed/registry of horse, sire/dam/damsire, etc.)?
The last time I went to a H/J show - and I admit, it has been a few years - there was no such thing as a printed show program. By contrast, these are staple items at dressage shows, including DSHB shows. And the danged things take TIME to put together and get printed. A show organizer can't close entries 3 days prior to the event and have much hope of providing an ACCURATE printed show program.
The fact is that if they close entries 2 weeks prior to the event and only charge a $25.00 late fee, they are going to still be getting late entries right up until show day, which compromises the accuracy of the show program and wreaks havoc on the class scheduling. They have to give themselves enough lead time with the closing date to set the class schedules and finalize the program, and they have to make the late fee punitive enough that people will actually respect the closing date.
Naturally, it depends on so many factors! For my favorite shows, I'll still haul 5+ hours, enter a month in advance, and generally jump through hoops to get to.
But I have used gas prices as rationale to skip poorly managed shows I didn't really want to go to anyway.
I think most riders will free up the resources if they want to do a show badly enough. If anything, gas prices should be a big motivator to show managers (and I say this as a show manager of a breed show) to really go out of their way to not just put on a prestigious show, but make sure they do what they can to make their show a great experience for the owners & riders, within reason.
As a show manager, in the past we've offered "fluff" prizes such as prepaid gas cards to the entrant who traveled the farthest to be there- BIG hit. Great response, and helps them justify coming back.