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Life on the A Circuit?

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  • Life on the A Circuit?

    Hello everyone I'm a freshman in high school and I have only ever competed on the state (local? Not sure) CHJA circuit. I want to eventually move over to the A Circuit for more experience but I have a couple questions.

    What is the A Circuit like?
    How much does it cost to show on the A Circuit?
    How can I save up for the A Circuit?
    Will it get me known better than the CHJA circuit?

    Thanks so much for your time and energy!
    -Annie
    "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
    R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

  • #2
    The A circuit can be stressful, but a lot of fun. For the most part though, it, like most anything else in horseback riding, is what you make it. Cost is completely dependent on whether you're stabling at the show grounds or hauling in, how many classes or divisions you plan to compete in, if you're going to compete in stakes, derbies, or other special/money classes, and how many days you show. When I used to compete, a week at a B show could cost up to $450-$500, at an A show it would cost me closer to $850-$900. If you plan to stay on for two weeks, double that. If you're going out of town or out of state, factor in your travel and hotel costs.

    Yes, riding on the A circuit will probably get you better known than competing at the local shows. However, there are a lot of people competing at the A circuit level. Being kind to your fellow competitors, a great rider, and a caring, genuine horsewoman is going to be what makes you stand apart. A lot of people can go in and win ribbons with a bit of dumb luck and a talented horse. Saving up for the A circuit is like saving up for a car, a house, or anything else. Get a job, budget, and save your money. Or, alternatively, win the lottery.

    Comment


    • #3
      When I showed with a BNT it was about 1000 bucks to the show (between stalls and entries) and about another 500-1000 (depending) in trainer fees (coaching, shipping, day care etc)

      Now that I'm on my own (and my trainer is my bf) It runs me about 300-500 a show depending on the divisions I go in etc. HOWEVER, I have my own truck and trailer, I am the braider, I rarely go to shows where I have to stable, and I usually am by myself (boyfriend only comes when/if he has time around the other horses) There are ways to cut costs (learning to braid a mane and tail VERY well etc) but for the most part, assume you need a small fortune and save every penny you have for it. (or win the lottery/find a rich husband or wife)

      Comment


      • #4
        What does your trainer advise? Are you very competitive in the CHJA? Do you own or lease a horse? What are your goals?

        In terms of costs, go on-line and look at some prize lists from A shows. Add up the class, stall and office fees, add in what your trainer would charge for trailering, coaching and your share of his expenses, add in your travel/hotel expenses = typically a few thousand dollars for a one-week show. If you're doing a local a show, of course it's considerably less, but still several hundred dollars. Annual USEF and USHJA fees are $125/year.

        So ... it really has to do mostly with your goals and your and your family's resources. Being a working student can be a great option. Actually, the horsemanship learn as a working student is worth at least as much as your actual show experience on the a circuit.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          shipping. training, braiding, grooming entry fees, clipping etc. aerage show is 2,000-3,000 for me 4 or 5k stabling for a week. if you are trying to save up for it you might have some trouble! ask your trainer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by adcurtiss View Post
            Hello everyone I'm a freshman in high school and I have only ever competed on the state (local? Not sure) CHJA circuit. I want to eventually move over to the A Circuit for more experience but I have a couple questions.

            What is the A Circuit like?
            How much does it cost to show on the A Circuit?
            How can I save up for the A Circuit?
            Will it get me known better than the CHJA circuit?

            Thanks so much for your time and energy!
            -Annie
            First off, there are varying levels of riding on the A circuit. Some people do exclusively A/AA shows and spend entire winters in Florida. Others do A/AA shows during the summer show season and stay local for winter. Others do mostly A/AA shows with some local ones thrown in for points.

            What level of commitment you are thinking about will greatly affect the cost. If you don't do WEF, that is going to be thousands of dollars less in costs. If you do Ocala instead of WEF that will be expensive but not as much, and if you stay local and don't show or do local shows then that will be even less money. And thats just concerning the winter! Are you in an area with a lot of A shows? If you are traveling and stabling at one show for weeks its going to be a very different expense than if you trailer in to an A show near you. Anyway you slice it though, you are looking at thousands of dollars. But its the different between a thousand dollars to trailer to a bunch of local A shows, and tens of thousand to spend a summer at a big A show for weeks on end. You can easily double or triple that that when you include the indoor circuit in the fall or the winter circuit in Florida. It is also going to depend on what you are showing in. Entries for nominated jumper sections accumulate much quicker than a 3ft hunter division - but you also have a chance of winning back prize money.

            Basically there is no easy answer to how much the A circuit costs, but maybe others on here can give more specific numbers. As far as saving goes - its no different than saving for anything else. The biggest difference is just the sheer amount of money you would have to save to put any sort of dent in the expenses. I am not trying to be discouraging, but it is very hard to save enough for horse shows with the kinds of job that a high schooler can get. I know, I've been there!

            I am not familiar with the CHJA circuit (by your profile I'm assuming you mean Colorado? There is a CHJA circuit in Connecticut too that I am familiar with.) What do you mean by "known better"? Do you want catch rides? Do you want to eventually train? Are you looking for a working student position?

            Honestly, the only people who get well known at big shows are those that do a ton of them and win. Its a much bigger pond so many more people get overlooked. The same names pop up from week to week and those are the people that get offered rides and opportunities. I am not saying that they are the only people! Just that at a show with massive amounts of entries there are more people competing for fewer chances.

            On a local circuit you might have more success and be more memorable. People in your area might remember seeing around at shows and might remember a really ride you had. I know that when I showed locally I got to know some of the judges and other trainers on a first name basis because you see the same people at all the shows. They might remember a really good ride and think of you if they have a riderless horse. Your trainer might also have more connections locally that could lead to opportunities. Honestly, being a big fish in a small pond might open more doors than being a small fish in a big pond. Those doors can then lead you to the big pond

            Anyway, good luck! And hopefully you will get some good advice from other posters.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Muggle Mom View Post
              What does your trainer advise? Are you very competitive in the CHJA? Do you own or lease a horse? What are your goals?

              In terms of costs, go on-line and look at some prize lists from A shows. Add up the class, stall and office fees, add in what your trainer would charge for trailering, coaching and your share of his expenses, add in your travel/hotel expenses = typically a few thousand dollars for a one-week show. If you're doing a local a show, of course it's considerably less, but still several hundred dollars. Annual USEF and USHJA fees are $125/year.

              So ... it really has to do mostly with your goals and your and your family's resources. Being a working student can be a great option. Actually, the horsemanship learn as a working student is worth at least as much as your actual show experience on the a circuit.

              Good luck!
              Very competitive in CHJA. I got reserve in my division last year. We go to about 16 shows every summer. We're trying an A show this season. I do own my very own horse And my goals are to do well in medal finals and maybe make it up to maclay level before I go to college (to hopefully show in the NCAA).

              Your advice is very helpful. I'm actually planning on being a working student for my trainer this summer. She takes off money from my lessons for the amount of time I work so that will be great
              "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
              R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Rel6 View Post
                First off, there are varying levels of riding on the A circuit. Some people do exclusively A/AA shows and spend entire winters in Florida. Others do A/AA shows during the summer show season and stay local for winter. Others do mostly A/AA shows with some local ones thrown in for points.

                What level of commitment you are thinking about will greatly affect the cost. If you don't do WEF, that is going to be thousands of dollars less in costs. If you do Ocala instead of WEF that will be expensive but not as much, and if you stay local and don't show or do local shows then that will be even less money. And thats just concerning the winter! Are you in an area with a lot of A shows? If you are traveling and stabling at one show for weeks its going to be a very different expense than if you trailer in to an A show near you. Anyway you slice it though, you are looking at thousands of dollars. But its the different between a thousand dollars to trailer to a bunch of local A shows, and tens of thousand to spend a summer at a big A show for weeks on end. You can easily double or triple that that when you include the indoor circuit in the fall or the winter circuit in Florida. It is also going to depend on what you are showing in. Entries for nominated jumper sections accumulate much quicker than a 3ft hunter division - but you also have a chance of winning back prize money.

                Basically there is no easy answer to how much the A circuit costs, but maybe others on here can give more specific numbers. As far as saving goes - its no different than saving for anything else. The biggest difference is just the sheer amount of money you would have to save to put any sort of dent in the expenses. I am not trying to be discouraging, but it is very hard to save enough for horse shows with the kinds of job that a high schooler can get. I know, I've been there!

                I am not familiar with the CHJA circuit (by your profile I'm assuming you mean Colorado? There is a CHJA circuit in Connecticut too that I am familiar with.) What do you mean by "known better"? Do you want catch rides? Do you want to eventually train? Are you looking for a working student position?

                Honestly, the only people who get well known at big shows are those that do a ton of them and win. Its a much bigger pond so many more people get overlooked. The same names pop up from week to week and those are the people that get offered rides and opportunities. I am not saying that they are the only people! Just that at a show with massive amounts of entries there are more people competing for fewer chances.

                On a local circuit you might have more success and be more memorable. People in your area might remember seeing around at shows and might remember a really ride you had. I know that when I showed locally I got to know some of the judges and other trainers on a first name basis because you see the same people at all the shows. They might remember a really good ride and think of you if they have a riderless horse. Your trainer might also have more connections locally that could lead to opportunities. Honestly, being a big fish in a small pond might open more doors than being a small fish in a big pond. Those doors can then lead you to the big pond

                Anyway, good luck! And hopefully you will get some good advice from other posters.
                Thank you, this was really helpful. Yes, I do mean the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association (: I'm planning on being a working student for my trainer this summer... I'm really hoping some doors will open for me between now and college!
                "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
                R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

                Comment


                • #9
                  You seem to have a good attitude so I hope things work out for you as planned! Having big goals are great and there's nothing to say that you can't and won't achieve them if you take all opportunities and immerse yourself in the experience, learn as much as you can! Just make sure you keep your head on your shoulders as life on the A circuit can be like living in a bubble, lots of people with lots of money, so you can't really compare yourself to anyone else or you will feel inadequate.

                  The best part about showing at shows with bigger divisions and bigger heights is that you get to watch so many amazing riders both in the ring and warming their students up. It's a great learning experience. It costs a lot, sure, but it's a great way to see how the top riders do things and further your own riding at higher level.

                  good luck

                  Comment

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