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How do YOU lower your costs for doing rated shows?

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  • How do YOU lower your costs for doing rated shows?

    For example, one that is a week long. Specifically, what if you don't have a trailer and have to pay a hauler to take your horse there at the beginning of the week, then pick up at the end. Do you choose shows close to home? Where do you sleep? How do you lower your schooling fees? Bring your own bedding? Pack a week's worth of food if it's not close enough to go back and forth? Not use a trainer, not use a groom?

  • #2
    I had my own trailer so that made it easier. It allowed me to bring more things with me than if I was hiring someone to truck me.

    I brought all my bedding and feed/hay, did not buy at the show.
    I did my own day care and grooming.
    I slept in my truck or shared a hotel room with a friend who braided so I had it at night and she had it all day.
    I packed (human) food so I did not have to buy at the food booth or eat out.


    • #3
      When I was 16-18 (and much braver than I am now) I did "A" shows all the time without a trainer. I rode at an eventing barn, and I was my trainer's only client that did jumpers. So his day fees to coach just me, plus his travel and accomodation were astronomical, since it wasn't divided up. I was confident and brave, and I did my homework so I didn't feel like I needed a trainer to hold my hand at shows. I did fine, won lots actually. I did end up switching to a H/J trainer later on, when I needed help moving up to bigger divisions.

      We had our own trailer, which helped a lot. When I was eventing or showing with other people, we did lots of carpooling (both kids and horses) to save gas. Our trailer had a rack on top, so we always brought our own hay and bedding if we had room.

      When showing out of town we lucked out a ton, because we usually had family or friends nearby that we could stay with for free. I was never opposed to camping, but my mom almost always came to shows with me and she would never camp!

      On the road we would always go to grocery stores instead of eating out. We steer clear of the mobile concession and tack shops at shows as much as possible.

      When my parents paid my entries, their rule was that all of the prize money I won would go towards show or horse expenses.


      • #4
        Well for starters...does the horse need to really go on Tuesday if it's not showing til Sat-Sun? I would find a shipper who will ship my horse on Friday. That is what I did prior to having our own trailer--I made shipping arrangements for when I needed to be there.

        I do choose shows closer to home. It saves on hotel costs for myself.

        I sleep at home. Or at hotels if the show is further away. But not 5 star fancy hotels...just places I can sleep & shower.

        I lower my schoolings fees by not having my trainer there. Or I just meet the trainer at the ring & do my own day care so I pay just a training fee.

        I do purchase some bedding from the shows, but I also bring my own sometimes. It just depends what the cost at the show v/s the feed store is. But again I have my own trailer...not sure a shipper would bring bags of shavings for you?

        I do bring my horse's hay & grain from the barn he boards at. It avoids the extra costs at shows & I know he will eat it. But again--I have a trailer to ship it & store it while we are there. For myself--I do try to pack some food to avoid eating horse show food & I definitely bring my own Gatorade to save money.

        I don't have a groom. I am fortunate both my parents can assist (Dad tries!) so I have help there setting jumps or getting ready if needed. Like I said earlier, sometimes I have a trainer there & sometimes I go it alone.
        "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


        • #5
          I am lucky to have a number of rated shows within an hour and a half drive, and access to a truck and trailer. The last I stayed over at a horse show was some four years ago for finals. I ship my own, braid my own, and, if my trainer can't go, go on my own. I'll pack sandwiches and such. I don't chase points, I do the state adult eq classes, so that certainly helps.
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


          • #6
            We have had one daughter show from short stirrup to Juniors and another one starting out so we have learned to cut a few corners.

            Hand me down show clothes, saddles, blankets, and just about anything has saved money over the years. We invested in our own truck and trailer and that has made a huge difference.

            We can't always be at the shows with our daughters, so sometimes it's hard to cut some costs down.

            I agree with the above post, we bring all our own water, gatorade and snacks. Show food is insane. Most shows have insane food vendors so we try to avoid eating at the shows altogether.

            Also Hay and shavings, when we can bring our own, save big.

            Tack stores at the shows are sometimes necessary but there is not reason to be paying inflated prices for the same thing you can get online. They get you on the want it, and want it now.

            Also I do not allow my girls to start a tab anywhere for any reason. As much as we try to teach the value of a dollar, things add up quickly and you may get a shocker on your next credit card statement.

            Hotels have become increasingly expensive. We try to stay where we can get awards and free nights. Also, we found the extended stay hotels to be a great buy. The have kitchens, laundry, and usually a great breakfast and sometimes dinner. It really racks up the savings when your at a show for a few weeks.
            I make Money, My horses eat it


            • #7
              As a working adult, unless you can get a whole week off? The only way I can see is to limit the number of days you are there to cut the day charges and hotel/feeding yourself costs as well as staying within an easy days drive of home.

              Last time I did a AA, it was $450 to take the horse off the trailer-one (unrated) division, stall, schooling fee, office fee, add scratch fee, parking pass and usef/ushja fees. Fortunately I was able to pick up a ride with another client on Thursday instead of shipping down Monday with the rest.

              You can't just pull a commercial shipper ride on a specific day out of your hat-not when they are picking 2 truckloads up for the same haul on Monday. And trainers go and come back once, they lack the time or additional staff to make multiple trips from grounds to home barn-unless it's within 2 hours or something.

              Day charges are the biggest bite, you can cut there. Anything else probably is just chipping away at it and not going to help much.

              Oh, that AA show is about 160 miles each way...I once tried driving back and forth instead of hoteling...ended up driving 320 miles a day 3 days straight-never again. Between exhaustion doing all that driving then waiting around for hours for the hack or a reschedualed round? And the fact you can darn near get a hotel for what you are spending in gas?? No thanks.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • #8
                We learned to braid so that we could braid our own horses to avoid that fee, and sometimes braid a few other horses when our show schedule allowed.

                We often shared hotel rooms, i.e. me and my mom with another junior and her mom. We would also let a parentless junior stay with us, and in return I would stay with her when my mom couldn't go.

                Brought our own hay and feed. For shorter shows, we would bag each serving of feed in individual freezer bags, so we took only what we needed (with an extra) and didn't waste any by accidentally leaving the partially full bag behind in our rush to load up at the end of the show.

                For longer shows, we would always have a small refrigerator in the tack room where people could keep fruit, sandwich stuff, etc. that might not be as easy to keep in a cooler. Never spent money on overpriced concession food. If people from our barn were staying in RVs on the grounds, we would grill out or have a potluck dinner most nights instead of going to a restaurant.
                Cowboy up.


                • #9
                  I dont do schooling classes, or have a pro ride my horse in any divisions. Im lucky enough to have a pretty decent packer, so he knows his job well enough.

                  Im local (within a 1.5hour drive) to the biggest show park in our area, and within a 2 hour drive from all the other ones so my horse horse ships in over his division days (usually they go over 2 days), and he stands on the trailer.

                  I do my own braiding, pack my own hay. I dont pay a groom as I have a wonderful friend who comes along to help me.

                  Generally, if the division I show in costs $180 my total bill at the end of the week including coaching, gas to get there (trailering), showing, admin fees etc. is never more than $300 and usually we bring home some sort of prize money.

                  I actually remember winning a classic last year, and I came home with $750!

                  If I do have to stable, I try to bring my own hay and do all the work myself. Stalls here are usually $350 per week, plus $8/bag for shavings. Adds a lot to the bill, which is why I usually try not to stable!

                  Im always amazed that horses in the same division as I was in, would be paying out a $2500 bill for a 1 week show.


                  • #10
                    AZ Jumper Gal

                    I always come in just for the days my horse shows and try to limit the day care fees that way! If I have to come in for longer than a few days I do my own day care!

                    Also, if its a show within a few hours drive I'll buy one stall and switch out my horses half way through the week so that I'm only paying for one stall. Of course this only works if you have horses that can go in classes at both ends of the show. I also try to limit the number of times the trainer is standing at the ring with me..it all adds up at the end.

                    One more thing is to make sure that you get an honest trainer with the "splits" or else stable "next to" your trainer and fill out your own bedding and feed requests. It can be quite a shock at the end of the show when you review your bill and see extra stalls and other items added on as a trainer "split"


                    • #11
                      Last year they put in a new indoor venue and are hosting A shows 25 minutes from me, which is going to help a LOT. I have a barn 5 houses down from me that I used to ride at, so if they're going to a show, I pay them to trailer. If not, a man at my barn does it fairly cheap.
                      I don't stable with other barns. I find that when you do, you're also helping pay for other horses. I get my own stalls, set up my own tack room/grooming stall, bring my own hay, shavings, and grain. All I pay the barn I'm riding with is the trainer fees.
                      I've also gotten smarter with scheduling. At the particular shows that are only 25 minutes from me, the jumpers are only on the first day. So I try to put my hunter in classes on the last two days. That way, I only have to get 2 stalls: 1 that my jumper stays in Thursday-Friday, then bring her home and bring my hunter there on Friday night, and 1 tack room.

                      I'm really curious to see if anyone can talk about ways to save in Florida? I'm wintering there for the first time next winter, and I'd love to save as much as I can.
                      "It's hard to wait for something you know might not happen, but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."
                      Blog | YouTube


                      • #12
                        Well, after getting my bill from HITS and trainer bills... I'm going to clean my own stall from now on! I always groom my horse. Feeding can be hard sometimes though, so I normally have someone else do it.

                        As for trailering, I have my own trailer so I can't help you there... My suggestion? Find an AWESOME friend who will trailer for a cheapish price. I had one of those before I had my trailer. She charged very little and we always bought her great presents for bday/Christmas!


                        • #13
                          Around here you generally can't come for a couple days for a division. Your division generally starts on day 1 and go to day 3 then you have the big money classes you want to do on the weekends. So you pretty much have to be there the whole week. If you do your big class saturday you could go home a day early, but if the class you want to do is sunday your kinda have to stay.
                          At Spruce Meadows shows you can't just trailer in and out when you want so you're stuck there too.

                          I never have a groom or anything. Not just to save money, but b/c I like to be in charge of my horse's care and I like to be involved.

                          Other than that, I don't have many cost saving tips.


                          • #14
                            As a junior I braided for myself and occasionally if I had time for others. I would at least try to do three tails a night if I wasn't branding manes. By doing that I was atleast able to pay for my stall fee. If I braided my trainers horses my day fee was waived. Any little bit helps. I also did my own grooming at summer shows when I wasn't leaving school to get to shows.
                            Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others.


                            • #15
                              Even if you do not have a truck and trailer learn how to drive one. who knows one day it may come in handy when either trainer can not haul as many or any and can ct you a deal if you can.

                              Learn how to braid. Actually what is better learn how to be a good groom from one of your barns best. and learn how to braid by one of the best braiders you've used then apply their trade to your horse. the best thing I've ever done ws be a groom before I ever had a horse. I made a friend who had a pony with a mane from h#$% it was thick, fipped over to one side to the other, you name it this mane dd it.. and that was when it was pulled.. And she expected perfect braids.. so I learned how to do prefect hunter braids into this unruley mane my fingers hurt and cramped etc.. But to this day 30some yrs later I can still do perfect hunter braids...

                              do your own day care and make sure your trainer knows this and doesnt bill you for the day care that they normally would.

                              carry your own shavings, grain, hay, etc to the show even if you have to buy it someplace like tsc, and store it seperate from your barns if they normally buy at show. large rubber trash cans are not that expensive..
                              get one for grain, one or two for shavings.

                              Like others have said:

                              avoid the show food stands...
                              share hotel rooms if you have to have one.
                              see if local camp grounds are cheaper and see if someone has a camper
                              see if show grounds has camper hook up that is cheapr than cheap hotel or local camp grounds
                              if have to use hotel see if non show hotel is cheaper
                              see if someone in your group of friends has a special discount that not thought of Ie military, veteran,veterans group, big box member, etc...
                              Friend of bar .ka