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When Do You Decide to Show at Recognized Shows

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  • When Do You Decide to Show at Recognized Shows

    I'm sitting on the fence trying to decide if I want to send in my entry for the March USDF show held just down the road. The venue is very enticing as there is no hotel or travel involved. My mare is young, green, and certainly isn't finished enough to truly show off any particular level. Exposure to the show environment would be my primary objective. One of my chief issues with her is that she shuts down in the show ring and I loose all sense of forward. She's not very responsive to my request to move out until halfway through the test. It has gotten somewhat better from the first show so I'm assuming that this is her way of handling baby nerves. Thought it would be interesting and encouraging to hear when others decided to make the leap from schooling shows to recognized shows.
    Susan B.

  • #2
    I think it depends on goals, interests, and finances.

    I want to move up the levels and get my medals, if I don't keep us back. That means that I don't want to chase points, because each time I go to a show I feel as if I miss out on the chance for forward progress in our training. However, it means I want the show miles for my horse who gets new places and thinks he's at a new race meet. I've discovered that, to him, a schooling show I trailer in day-of is different from a rated show he's stabled at, so I have trailered him to school/stay at several shows. We're at the point now where I think we need to actually be competing, to get THAT routine down, too. We'll be showing first level after showing last year we easily had training level down.
    We may not get the highest scores - due to his misbehavior new places. But we need the miles, and we're training above first level for everything at home. And we need to work on the behavior away from home aspect now.

    From what you shared of your situation, it sounds like you're better off at schooling shows for now, unless you're easily able to afford rated shows. They get pricey! Remember scores at rated shows will show up when people search on your horse, if you're interested in selling in the future, breeding, etc. The impression they can give of a horse when you look back at its record is something to think about, too.
    If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


    • #3
      I won't bother until we are very solid First/considering stepping up to Second. And then only at First to get us both used to the heightened atmosphere at rec. shows before we step up to Second.

      I just can't justify paying rec. show fees to show Training.

      However - it might be worth it in the situation you describe. With no hotel bills or need to pay a ton of money to trailer there, the cost wouldn't be too much more than a schooling show, so it might be worth it just for the convenience.

      Another consideration would be that rec. scores are easier to track than schooling scores, and there's some expectation that a horse showing a rec. show is ready for that level of competition. So if you ever intend to sell her, you'll need to be prepared to explain her scores (assuming she doesn't go forward and the scores reflect that). Some people will understand, some won't. If this might be an issue for you later, factor it into your decision making.
      She Gets Lost


      • #4
        For miles, I go to schooling shows. It's just so much more economical than recognized shows. All of my youngsters start out at schooling shows. When they've adjusted to going new places, and they're scoring well, then they go to recognized shows. If I'm moving them up a level at the beginning of a show year - they go to schooling shows to test the waters, and for me to ride tests in a show situation. Then they go to recognized shows.

        The exception to my rule was when I moved my mare from second to third. She did not need any show miles, and the footing is generally much better at recognized shows. So I only went to one schooling show at third before I started showing her at recognized shows.

        I am constantly amazed at the people around here - even very green beginners - who start out at recognized shows. It takes many shows to get comfortable with showing for most people - and at about $400 each for recognized shows entry fees, vs about $50-80 for schooling shows, it just makes no sense to me.

        Now, if you are in an area where you lack good schooling show judges - then I can see wanting to go to recognized shows. Fortunately we have many good schooling show judges in my area.
        Donerail Farm


        • #5
          We don't have much for schooling shows here. Most are in the winter, and I don't like showing if I can't have a proper warm up, the rest are in the fall, when I may take a youngster.

          I usually try to make my horse's first show a schooling show, so that if they loose it, I am out less $$, but once we can survive off property, I prefer showing recognized under certified judges so my horse (and I) get used to the "Real" routine of showing, and I get more accurate/useful scores.

          The provincial association is trying to encourage a provincial shows using Cadora tests. I am interested to see how that turns out. May not be a bad way to save money while getting miles at shows in the lower levels. Not sure what they will use for judges though.
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


          • #6
            When I have the funds available.
            "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


            • #7
              The NE Florida area is pretty good with both schooling and recognized shows. As well - many of the schooling shows take place in the same locations as the recognized ones...so the horses get used to the area. Also - with the recognized shows being 2 days long...if you are only showing one level of test and one horse...you are good with just one day of showing - cancelling out the need for a stall.

              I trailer in for schooling shows and will be in my first recognized one the beginning of April. We will trailer in for that one, too

              Cost - that is the kicker...for a schooling show - $50 - $75 for 2 tests. Recognized - $220 for the same 2 tests (Office fees double - drug tests - grounds fees double, etc.).

              As for choosing WHEN to go recognized...I think it's really up to you. In your case...sounds like she has her "baby nerves" pumping. Opt to go to the recognized show and just "school" there. Go through the same process that you would if you were actually showing (braiding, attire, etc.) and see how she acts. Most shows allow schooling for a grounds fee only. I'm going as a groom for my trainer's horse this weekend (recognized). If I had the time to school my guy - it would cost me $25 for grounds fee + $15 non-competing horse fee. $40 to get your horse off the farm and see what he/she is made of in a different atmosphere isn't too bad.

              Good Luck in your future showing endeavors!
              Green Cove Springs, FL


              • #8
                For me, it all depends on yearly and long term goals. My long term goals are to move up the levels and earn my USDF medals. Last year, my goals for the season were to get the necessary scores for my bronze at first level and to qualify for regionals and BLM finals and show at one or both of them. We were showing at first level and schooling second/some third at home and showed at 7-8 recognized shows. I met all my goals for last year. This year, we are just about ready to show at second, but probably not at the higher/highest tests of the level, therefore it would be more difficult to qualify. So, I have decided that I am going to spend my money on training and lessons to make sure we are confirmed at second and working well at third. I would also like to go to a few schooling shows (there are plenty in this area) and if things are going well, maybe do a recognized show or two and try to get the scores for my bronze at second.

                Each year, I have to evaluate where we are, what we accomplished in the previous year and what is a reasonable goal(s) for that year. That may or may not include showing at recognized shows.

                It sounds like your mare could benefit from show experience, however, it may be more cost effective to take her to some schooling shows first. On the other hand, if there aren't any hotel/gas/food expenses to worry about, it may be worth it to go for the recognized show. You could just haul in and school on the grounds during the show and maybe still get some of that show atmosphere. I assume you are taking about March Magic in Williamston? It is a great venue! And there is another recognized show there in late April...


                • #9
                  If the show is just down the road, you will save in travel costs so why not. Do you know anything about the judge? Will you be getting good feedback from this judge? Is the judge known for being tough but fair or easy on the scores? Do they make beneficial comments on the tests? I think this is important for the reasons you are going.

                  We don't really have many schooling shows here that have real judges, so I only do one and three star shows. I think every show is a great learning opportunity as well as a great chance to get feed back from someone different (the judge). Getting a test back with comments from a good "S" judge can have so much benefit to it

                  Go and enjoy your self and learn something new about you and your horse.


                  • #10
                    If you have your memberships (USDF and USEF) and the maresy has hers, I would consider going to March Magic simply because you live so close! Sure the cost simply to enter is a little more expensive than the schooling show, but if your long-term goal is to do the recognized stuff with her, this certainly is a good show to start with! When I've been, it's been laid back and fun...first "big" show of the season in the area, so folks are pretty keen about making it fun.


                    • Original Poster

                      YEs, the show is March Magic. I'm very familiar with the show and venue as I staff all the USDF shows held in Williamston. This year I have stepped down from supervising staff to wanting to show/school my mare. All of you have echoed the thoughts I have -- not really ready to show at recognized shows but location makes it financially feasible so perhaps I will. Still have a couple days before entries close. Enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts.

                      For those of you who will be at March Magic make sure you say hi and let me know if there is anything you need.

                      Sue Bothern
                      Susan B.


                      • #12
                        Hell, Sue, if you can "afford" it (since it's more than a schooling show), I say go for it. Hopefully me and Super Pony will see you there.

                        I think show stabling is a great adventure for the young/green ones, too. "Show camp" away from home can be very eye opening (to both of you )
                        From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                        • #13
                          1) You can afford it

                          2) Your scores at the level at which you are showing are in the mid to upper


                          • #14
                            I hadn't thought about the scores being available to others. Good point.
                            In my area, we only have 1 schooling show a year. We have several rated shows within 15 mins of home so I always just do the rated shows, even with greenies, etc. I rarely stable overnight. If I were to do schooling shows regularly, it would cost me more because I would have to travel at least an hour and a half.
                            Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


                            • #15
                              I did my first two recognized shows this past summer because my trainer thought we were ready. I'm SO glad we did. Although as others have pointed out, the fees for a recognized show so much higher, and I also had to join the USEF as well as the USDF.

                              It was well worth it though. I also have a greenbean and have learned she is much better the second day of a show, and for that reason alone recognized shows benefit us. The atomsphere is much different and that helps my horse get more experience as well.

                              I also appreciate being able to ride in front of a higher trained judge. Some of our local schooling shows don't use rated judges and the scoring reflects that.
                              Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                              • #16
                                If you go to licensed shows that offer Opportunity classes (Training through Second levels, depending on the license level of the show), then you don't need to be a member of anything, and your horse doesn't need any HID numbers. You don't need to pay non-member fees, and you don't need to pay the USEF drug fees, so it's almost like going to a schooling show cost-wise, but you get to show at a licensed show.


                                • #17
                                  What I meant about the scores is that it's not like you have to have a minimum score to show but licensed shows are a little harder. They aren't schooling. When I started showing schooling, I would have scores in the high 60's or higher. I remember a class at a licensed show where I had a 63% plus and was second in a class of almost 20 riders. And you know what? The first place rider had 63% as well and beat me by a fraction. It was a GAIG qualifying class and most did not qualify.

                                  If you are struggling at your level and barely getting 60%, be assured it will be tougher judging at a licensed show. Why go through that? That's what schooling shows are for. I believe that to make showing at a licensed show worth while, be very solid at your level--65% or better on your schooling show scores.


                                  • #18
                                    Normally one stays in schooling shows for several outings, to gain experience, work on the horse's/rider's show nerves, get over the "OMG, we left the farm!"

                                    My gelding went to several schooling shows last summer, where we spent the night before the show. It made the showing more expensive but it made it more real, i.e., like a USDF & USEF show. He was 10, and an idiot at the first show. He was good if one of us was touching him, and was fine while being ridden, but he had major separation anxiety over us! He did load and haul well, ate and drank normally, etc. Then just as he was about to enter the ring, the police department firing range right over the hill went into action. His score for Training Level Test 2 was barely over 40%. Plus, the people who organized and ran the show would NOT allow anyone to school in the arena, as they didn't want to have to drag the footing the morning of the show.

                                    Our second schooling show he was fine about stuff as he could see other horses on each side of him. He did well the evening before until the goats and sheep came out, then got loose and ran around like an idiot. We were very discouraged. He grew up a bit overnight and went on to score well a ~ 55% in TL2. He would have done well in TL3 but the goats came out again. Sigh....

                                    Our third schooling show he was fine about everything, and won TL 2 with a 62%.

                                    Our third show was an all Arabian USEF/USDF show, he had a 68% and a 65% and was reserve champion at TL.

                                    I tell this story to point out why your horse might need to stay overnight. If I had to keep my expenses down, I'd get a stall and school in the warm-up arena but not show, rather than show from the trailer. They can really need the experience of hauling away from home and spending the night. Some horses are so laid back they do fine. You will have to judge for yourself how your horse is.

                                    We are now firmly in the Recognized shows only camp. The footing is better, they try not to use the small arena for any rides, management lets you ride around the outside of the arena, or perhaps even IN the arena, the night before. And there are no goats!


                                    • #19
                                      My mare is young, green, and certainly isn't finished enough to truly show off any particular level. Exposure to the show environment would be my primary objective. One of my chief issues with her is that she shuts down in the show ring and I loose all sense of forward. She's not very responsive to my request to move out until halfway through the test
                                      I would move to a recognized show after you move through the 'shutting down' issue, until then you're not really showing your mare at her true potential.

                                      Also until you're scoring 60's at a schooling show I would also stick with schooling shows.

                                      Thats said I hate our local schooling shows (no where to warm up) so show only at recognized shows.
                                      I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.