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Cost of Recognized Shows

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  • #21
    it would be really interesting to see what the profit margin is on shows.... because clearly they are making $$$ or they would not exist.. anyone know for sure?


    • #22
      I can tell you for sure that the margin is very small. I used to work for a professional dressage show manager. There is a reason that there are very few professional dressage show managers compared to H-J. And that the professional managers that are out there do tons of shows since the margin is so small on a individual show.

      One of the reasons that stabling fees/grounds fees vary so much is they often are determined by the owner of the facility. Shows rarely make much, if any, money on the stabling/grounds fee.

      Think about it this way - an average show is going to only get about 8 rides in a ring in an hour. Figure an average of $30 per ride. $240 per hour. Average a 7 hour day. $1700 per ring. There is the bulk of your income.

      Now think about who they have to pay:

      *Judge is at least $400/day - before expenses -$500 airfare, $100/night hotel, $50/day for food. Ground transportation to and from airport $50.

      *TD, a requirement for a recognized show, at least $300/day. Plus expenses, going to be much like the judge, with either airfare or mileage for driving, hotel, food, etc..

      *EMT, $200/day.

      *USEF & USDF fees.

      *Required liability insurance.

      *Grounds crew for ring maintenance, trash, manure, water, repairs. At least 2 guys -$100/day.

      *Then you're either paying your workers or at bare minimum feeding them. Scribes, office person, ring steward, test runners.

      That is just a partial list of expenses. I know some of those are spread among multiple rings, but the expected expenses goes up for more rings as well.

      So while as competitors we look around and think "I paid $400 for the weekend, there are 120 other riders here, how is it that they are not making tons of money?" Try to remember that quite a bit of that money is not going to the show management, but to lots of other people with their hands out. And on top of that, show management is usually either paying a facility fee on top of the stabling fee or has a percentage split with the facility that cuts into the manager's income even more.


      • #23
        Our recognized shows are typically two 1 day shows back to back. For the weekend, our grand total is usually just under $250 per horse. This includes a stall, office/show fees, and two classes a day (total of 4). I'm a member of USEF and USDF so no non-member fees to worry about.

        So for us, a weekend of show experience at a nice venue (with a stall!) for less than $250 is a steal when you are bringing along young horses. For a rated hunter/jumper show at the same venues, I typically pay around $500 or more per horse for a couple days of showing!


        • #24
          The BCHP schooling series is awesome. I've spent plenty of time there myself.

          The main reasons you might want to do recognized include
          1) May want to sell horse one day, and show record could be important.
          2) May want to sell self one day (teach, judge, etc) so show record important.

          If there is any chance at all you will need to 'cash in' on these show miles in the future, then you should consider doing some sort of recognized shows.

          Otherwise, heck no. Party on and enjoy NOT spending 3x-4x as much per show!
          "Friend" me !



          • #25
            For the 2013 show season in Northeast Florida...these are the costs:

            *Training Level through Fourth Level = $40 per class
            *FEI & Freestyles = $55 per class
            *Great American/USDF Qualifying (add to regular class fee) $10 per Qual class
            *Office Fee $30 per horse/rider combo
            *Drug/USEF Fee $16 per horse (D&M = $8, USEF = $8)
            *USEF Senior & Junior Non-Member Fee $30 per non-member rider, owner or trainer
            *USDF Non-Members $25 per non-member rider or owner
            *Non-Competing Horse Fee $20 per horse (+ Office Fee, No Drug Fee)
            *Incomplete Entry Fee (required, fully refundable if 100% complete) $10 per entry
            *Stabling (Friday 1pm through Sunday 8pm) $105 (includes 2 bags of shavings) (NO OUTSIDE SHAVINGS MAY BE BROUGHT IN - Additional bags $8)
            *Tack Stall (Friday 1pm through Sunday 8pm) $95 (NO shavings)

            I just figured it up...it will cost me $321 for the weekend - no qualifying classes. Add $20 to that if I decide to press my luck with a qual ride.

            I'm local...so no hotel expense.

            It's the new "year" when this show is held (December)...so ALL fees will be due to USEF/USDF for myself and horse. (Horse is new to me - so have to register him for the first time).

            USDF - Rider = $75 (Participating Member) (add another $50 for GMO, too)
            USDF - Horse = $95 (Lifetime)

            USEF - Rider = $55 ($2500 Lifetime fee)
            USEF - Horse = $75 ($200 Lifetime)

            Green Cove Springs, FL


            • #26
              The fee that gets me the most is charging the same for a tack stall as the stall. Yes, I can see that if the show grounds are full, but if you have empty stalls for the show it seems like if you charged less for a tack stall, in the end you would make more money because then more people would rent them.

              The worst part for me is all of the entry is non-refundable if your horse comes up lame before the show. I really do not understand why they can't do partial refunds or at least show credits for the next show if you can provide a vet excuse.


              • #27
                Originally posted by keepersmom View Post

                The worst part for me is all of the entry is non-refundable if your horse comes up lame before the show. I really do not understand why they can't do partial refunds or at least show credits for the next show if you can provide a vet excuse.
                Because a lot of fees are FIXED, whether you show up or not. The judge/TD/EMT certainly aren't going to reduce their fees because you scratch. Ribbons are already purchased, the facility is already rented, etc. Those fees still have to be paid even if everybody scratches! If shows had to refund every scratch, eventually there would be no shows.

                Occasionally shows do have to eat those costs if a show gets cancelled due to weather, but if it happens too many times, no more show. (BTDT!)


                • Original Poster

                  I appreciate all the replies! I spent a long day at work and was surprised to see how long the thread had grown.

                  I want to clarify that I know there is a reason that recognized shows cost more due to using licensed officials, etc. And that the cost I specified--$121--doesn't seem like much in the scheme of recognized showing.

                  Thankfully, I have the opportunity to explore dressage showing outside of USDF shows. However, my experience reminds me why I'm so happy other organizations, such as the ADS and USEA, give their members a chance to show without being burdened by USEF's fees.

                  Thank you for providing the links to the dressage tests! Wouldn't it be nice if USDF or USEF just made them available on their websites?

                  Kudos to all the schooling shows that provide opportunities for horse people to experience a new sport or discipline. I find it interesting that the schooling shows in this area easily have twice as many entries as recognized shows...ultimately people vote with their feet.


                  • #29
                    As a general point of reference, at least for our GMO/Region:

                    A 1 ring USDF show loses money.
                    A 2 ring USDF show about breaks even if you are thrifty.
                    After 3+ rings, a USDF show will start to generate profit.

                    This assumes basically a full day/ring, and all the normal expenses.
                    From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Pony Fixer View Post
                      As a general point of reference, at least for our GMO/Region:

                      A 1 ring USDF show loses money.
                      A 2 ring USDF show about breaks even if you are thrifty.
                      After 3+ rings, a USDF show will start to generate profit.

                      This assumes basically a full day/ring, and all the normal expenses.
                      I think we are in the same Region 1, right? I did a quick estimate of costs to run a show. Many of ours are at the NJ Horsepark. Tell me where I have over or under estimated and if I have missed anything.

                      This is based on 200 entries and 3 rings

                      $6000 $30 office fee
                      9000 Class entry avg: $45

                      $15,000 TOTAL

                      $1200 One judge - 3 days $400
                      1200 Second judge - 3 days @ $400
                      1200 Third Judge - 3 days @ $400
                      1200 TD - 3 days @ $400
                      4000 Transportation & Meals for 3 judges and 1 TD = $4000 (very high est)

                      $ 8800 Total
                      Hotel/Travel judge/td est is high because one is usually local

                      $6200 left for paying for the facility, but some of that may be recouped by sharing stall rental profits with the facility.

                      $150 for a stall for 3 days show x 200 = $30,000!!


                      • #31
                        The high stabling fees really get to me too. In the Midwest a venue that hosts a dressage show charges $180 for the weekend for a stall! This is not CA or the East Coast...the same venue the next weekend will have a hunter show and stalls are $75 a weekend. I assume the venue charges the show organizer for ALL the stalls whether needed or not, instead of charging for ones needed. Stinks! For $180 I want to take the door home with me or something...
                        "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


                        • #32
                          ToN, I would say those numbers are not far off. Here stalls go anywhere from $90 -$150 for the weekend. There is usually some sort of facility rental fee as well. Often a paid announcer. Manager and secretary get paid as well. Ribbons/trophies/monies as awards. Photographer may/may not work straight on sold photos, but may also get a fee. Vendors generate some income by renting a booth/spot, and sponsors generate income to be in program/place banner in coliseum/ring, etc. One night there is usually a spectators party (wine/cheese all the way up to catered buffet) with usually one free ticket per horse entry.

                          Not all entries will use a stall, but there is usually a trailer-in fee. Others will use 2 stalls (tack) which may/may not be discounted. Stalls often include 2 bags shavings at $6-8/bag.

                          In my GMO, I'm not on the competition committee side of things, but I am on the board, so I've picked up that general rule of thumb I posted above. We ran a show at a loss for many years in western NC just to serve that area until it dwindled down to one ring because the facility itself began to fall apart and even the competitors from the area didn't want to go there. On the other hand, we are hosting the GAIGs again this year and at 7 or so rings there will be a tidy "profit". OF course the GMO is a non-profit so that money just gets used for other things like clinics, the year end awards, and subsidizing the shows that don't make money, etc.
                          From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                          • #33
                            And don't even get me started on what running a CDI costs. I never want to be part(y) to hosting one of those again! You'd be shocked what the manager's fee alone is for a CDI.
                            From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                            • #34
                              somebody is making $$ somewhere or the shows would not exist..... i wonder who get the $$ from stabling?

                              how much do show managers charge?


                              • #35
                                I couldn't tell you what a regular show manager fee is, although a good one will make/break your show re:happy competitors and number of sponsors. We paid our CDI manager the going rate of $10,000. Yes, 5 figures.

                                Most facilities either have a flat rate for stalls, a charge per number of stalls, or per number of barns, etc. The show then decides how much to mark that up for competitors. It is one of the main sources of revenue generation. Of the fees the competitor pays, the rest are pretty much ear-marked for fixed expenses.
                                From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Jumping in to say that the $$$ maker is USEF. I think the folks with the worst situation are the hunter/jumper people, who are in a similar situation where they have to pay fees to two organizations--USEF and USHJA.

                                  I've been involved with enough shows to realize that it's no money making endeavor or for the faint of heart. From my experience it's all the fees and increased expenses associated with putting on a recognized show that make it cost prohibitive for little 'ol joe like me. And I can't afford it...

                                  But it's about time that the national organizations start realizing that the majority of their members cannot absorb ever increasing costs.

                                  For example, when USEF is paying a 6-figure salary to Mark Phillips to coach the eventing team. that's a problem. Just multiply that one salary by all the coaches and people with their fingers the pot that make a lot of money off the backs of the rest of us.

                                  Oh wait, this is starting to sound like politics LOL!

                                  ETA: I've finally reached the point in my life where I have a real problem financially supporting a lot of these show/national associations that feel we should all go broke for the "honor" of competing in their shows. I'm happy to ride and show locally and make my foray into recognized competition when my horse and I have reached a certain point in our training (and I will only support shows and organizations that are competitor friendly).

                                  Guess the thread over on h/j about the pros wanting free entry fees has gotten me riled up this week. Not to mention those who support it who spend more money on horses in a year than I'll make in my lifetime.

                                  Phew! Thank goodness for Bucks County Horse Park's pink ribbon ride next weekend--raising money for a good cause and people that truly need that help.


                                  • #37
                                    Shows don't make much money

                                    My small local dressage club just finished our annual schooling show. When all expenses totaled we made $117! This is with the judge giving us a discount driving herself, no other paid help at all!
                                    Almost all our income went to paying for the county fairgrounds faciity we were using for the day. $650 + 10/stall, extra $100 to set up and use arena the night before.
                                    If a small club cannot make anything I doubt the big shows are making much either.
                                    The club is looking for other ideas for next year.


                                    • #38
                                      Here are the typical fees for a CA recognized show:

                                      CLASS FEES
                                      $25 Intro classes
                                      $50 Training-4th
                                      $65 FEI
                                      $35 Opportunity classes
                                      $50 Materiale classes

                                      $150 per stall, often with no bedding (5-6 bags @ $10 required to bed)
                                      No feed provided
                                      $100 tack stall

                                      MANDATORY FEES
                                      $16 USEF Federation fee
                                      $25 Office fee
                                      $5 CDFA drug fee
                                      $2 CDS scholarship fee
                                      $1 DASC fee

                                      OTHER FEES
                                      $25 Grounds fee for non-stabled horses
                                      $25 Late fee

                                      So for me trailering in to each day of a two-day show and doing one test per day, the cost is $174.

                                      If I spend the weekend instead of driving back and forth, the cost goes up to at least $299, more if I share a tack room with friends and have to buy shavings. Plus hay, of course, since my boarding barn doesn't let us take hay for shows.


                                      • #39
                                        We ran ours on a shoestring this year (we are a far flung GMO chapter)--we ran a one-day show in conjunction with another local organization, who ran a one day show the day before us about 3 miles away. We shared a judge and a TD, so split the costs between us. The facility was donated to us, but took all the stabling fees for both shows as the other venue couldn't offer stabling.

                                        One of the regional show managers around here does a very reasonably priced "show in a box" where the entries get sent to her, she does all the scheduling and entry paperwork and sends us back a binder with a sleeve for each entry, even with the number in it.

                                        The big expenses are USDF and USEF fees, insurance (which we get at a reduced rate through our GMO. Ribbons were sponsored, prizes donated.

                                        We relied heavily on volunteer labor to make it work (which really meant three of us and the TD nearly killed ourselves getting it all done, as our volunteers were classically flakey.)

                                        We didn't make a fortune, but it was an OK fundraiser for a teeny organization.

                                        I think the key was not having to pay for the facility.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by NJRider View Post
                                          The high stabling fees really get to me too. In the Midwest a venue that hosts a dressage show charges $180 for the weekend for a stall! This is not CA or the East Coast...the same venue the next weekend will have a hunter show and stalls are $75 a weekend. I assume the venue charges the show organizer for ALL the stalls whether needed or not, instead of charging for ones needed. Stinks! For $180 I want to take the door home with me or something...
                                          That gets me too. An eventing facility I know of charges $75/night for a stall for a recognized show, $50/night for unrecognized. Same stall, just a few weekends apart. And no, during the recognized show no one cleans it for you! I see it at other places too, same service but the price is 50% to 100% more during a recognized than unrecognized. I understand paying judges and all, but the stall? It's the same stall.