Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
Economy and the shortening of shows
Anyone else notice that after the economy tanked a lot of formerly three day shows are now only two days? I actually like it better. A lot of people work and can only do two days (usually taking Friday off to get ready, if possible). This way people can see all the rides and have a chance to get into the class they really want on that weekend.
I just think this is a nice upside for a lot of weekend warriors.
There are many more expenses to operating a show than simply travel. To name a few; awards, insurance, fees, vet, shoer, EMT salaries and a lot more. Plus USEquestrian's reporting requirements have become so onerous and penalties so severe, many managers of smaller shows have decided its not worth it.
I am pretty indifferent to 2 vs. 3 day shows. Pretty much anywhere I have seen does their "big seller" classes on the weekend anyway.
I am somewhat unusual, though, as I own a consulting business, so only being available via phone or email on a Friday - not a big deal for me. I actually somewhat like the option of saving some expense and getting half my weekend back by showing Friday & Saturday, and not paying the additional $50+ in office fees, USEF fees, etc for a Sunday ride ... unless I am still looking for two qual scores.
On that note - what I find more frustrating are three day shows that are "double" shows, so in theory two qual scores, but they don't have enough entries for three S or R judges, so you can end up with two scores, but from the same judge. Esp above second level where they can't fill in with a local small r. I am looking at a prize list for a show right now. Only 2 S judges right now. No third judge declared at all. I would love to be able to toss in a fourth level ride. I don't think I will have an issue getting my score at third, but if I only enter it on two days, I am bound, with my luck, to get the same judge twice. I'd like to enter third on Friday, fourth on Sat, and third again on Sun. But to satisfy the weekend only riders, the show is more likely to have diff judges on Sat-Sun and overlap Fri-Sun. So that leaves me with the option of entering third all three days and hoping that I can find a way to ride fourth on Saturday if the judging panels work out.
I worked as a show scheduler and show secretary for years, so I know there is not a good option for managers that cannot afford to lose money on shows but there has to be a better solution out there. Like the federations could stipulate - if through no fault of your own - you enter a "double show" - and the management fails to provide you with two different judges - it still counts as two scores. I have to believe that the number of people that are not truly of the caliber to be "acceptable" at regionals or for any other awards would be very small.
We all know there are riders/trainers/owners that "judge shop", but I don't think it is as rampant as some would like to think. There are judges that I would not choose to ride under (Axel Steiner, I'm looking at you - I think you're a decent judge, but you loathe my horse and have implied as much on several of my rides), but I don't follow others that actually like my horse around the country for scores.
I am ok with the shortening of shows from 3 to 2 days as I rarely stable overnight.
What I am not ok with is the high cost of taking a non-competing horse to the competitions. I have 2 horses coming out at FEI and it would be easiest to have a 3rd horse come along for the road trip, keep the 2nd horse company on the trailer and then get a school off of the farm for some mileage EXCEPT it breaks the budget (such as it is) to have a horse costing an additional $60 just to leave home. And then I am trying to rationalize "what's another $60?" except that it is another $60.
For example from a show coming up in a few weeks - "Non-Competing Submit entry form, current Coggins, $30 office fee, and $30/day grounds fee or stabling fee ($125 for show or $65 per day). Horse must wear bridle number when not in trailer or stall."
It just seems steep to me.
But if I were to truly complain about something it is the "grounds fees". I did some eventing a few years ago at these same venues and there was no such thing as a Grounds Fee. That $25-35 might not be a large sum to some people but that is part of a tank of fuel, groceries, feed or hay for me. The fact that it was not charged by the event organizers at the same facility makes me go "hmmmm" when it is lurking on an entry form for a dressage show.
All of the whining aside - I am grateful to be able to show and looking forward to the 2013 season!