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getting tougher for mid-income

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  • getting tougher for mid-income

    I'm wondering if its just me or if this is a universal trend:

    It seems like unless you have tons of disposable income, keeping a nice horse and doing nice rated shows is getting farther out of my reach. I'm looking at a modest schedule of 8 rated and 2 AA shows per year and spending
    $16K-18K(inc. hotel, etc) on them. Add in lessons, board, farrier, vet, misc (maybe another $12K) and its creeping up on $30,000+ per year. There are no zone finals included or anything of that nature. Board is going up, trainers fees, vet fees are going up-am I just getting cheap or is anyone else feeling the pinch?

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    I choose not to add it up.

    I half-lease out my horse to help cut expenses, and even then it is a stretch for me to be in this game.
    where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?


    • #3
      The horse world is becoming a game of wealth and not riding, however when the "riders" have no real riders to be riding they're saints anymore, the middle class (and even the upper middle class) will rise again!
      Who needs wings when you've got a jumper?


      • #4
        That's the reason why I don't have a horse. I can afford to buy a horse but I can't afford the upkeep & maintenance. It's way too expensive. It really stinks that only wealthy people can do this sport while the rest of us struggle. I wish everything was cheap.


        • #5
          In the same boat as you are, or perhaps even a 'class' lower I can afford to purchase a horse, but board, hell no! So I'll take lessons, go to schooling shows, maybe an occasional Assoc. one or two and wait for the boys to grow up. Only 15 more years. Watch out for me in the olders That'll be my time.
          Jen Evans & DaBear


          • #6
            I totally agree. I did juniors and big eq when I was a kid, on my dad's dollar but with me working off my lessons by working around the barn. We were i'd say upper middle class and this was almost 20 years ago and he had to take a second mortgage on the house when I got serious and started showing every weekend trying to qualify. I am forever thankful that they sacrificed so I could achieve my dreams but sorry that I am not in the position to do that for my daughter. When I went to college, my parent sold my horse and bought me a used car

            I just started riding again as a 37 year old and I can only afford to take lessons. Like the other poster, I could buy a horse but can't afford the $1000 per month in board and any other training expenses. i am actually trying to buy a house in my area with a backyard barn as I realize that's the only way I'll ever have a horse again...and that my daughter will ever be able to have the pony I always wanted. It's very sad, but it is a sport of the rich...now that our land prices have skyrocketed, who can afford to even run a farm anymore?


            • #7
              Not just horseshowing I'm afraid

              I agree, it's getting rediculous, the cost of showing, I saw a bill the other day for Camden, SC, even the Child/Adult had to pay the Nominating fee of $150 for the jumpers, and then entries of $25 per class with first getting $60. At that rate you would have to win all 3 classes, and the Classic that cost an extra $125 to enter, just to break even and that is by hauling in and NOT getting a stall.
              But it doesn't stop at showing, look at the cost of everything, gas, food, LAND (for sure), and the fact that us late 30's early 40'ers, watched our parents work making $15/ an hour and paying $50k for a house. Now your "lucky" if you can find a job paying $15/hour and the same house your parents bought now costs $150k.
              " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs


              • #8
                Wow, you guys need to move to the midwest.
                Now I'm not saying that it is "cheap", but I can afford everything (board, shoes, *routine* vet care, truck/trailer, etc.) EXCEPT showing on $2000/month income. In addition, the local A's cost around 1000 dollars per show (including motels) on the do-it-yourself plan.
                "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."


                • #9
                  i'm a junior so my mom very generously supports my riding. she wants me to be able to show often and be as succesful as i can in my last couple of years as a junior because she knows how much it means to me, but showing every weekend and having multiple, fancy horses isn't possible. it's hard for me because i see her getting stressed out over how much money my horses cost and it makes me feel really bad that i'm putting her through all of this. i have friends who will constantly ask me "why are you not showing this weekend?!" "why are you only taking one horse?!" and i just don't understand how they have no idea how expensive this sport is. next year i'm going to start trying to qualify for eq finals and i'm going to have to sell my jumper in order to be able to go to them.


                  • #10
                    Trying to afford it!

                    When I was a kid, I wanted to ride, but my family did not have the money to afford even weekly lessons. So when I graduated from college and got a real job I got a horse and did lessons and local shows etc. However, now with two small children and staying home with them, I am back to not being able to afford it all. I do work at the barn to pay for board and help my bo/trainer with projects in exchange for lessons. Shows just do not fit in the mix. I'm just happy that my hubby is supportive and doesn't mind that I use all of my free time to support my habit, instead of taking care of the house !


                    • #11
                      As a trainer, I understand it is expensive to show, But it can be done believe it or not... I have a student who does this in order to show 6 to 8 shows per yr, andmay 10 if it all works out...

                      She puts 175.oo out of every check in a horseshow account only.. she getsw paid weekly we dont show from late nov, to march, season starts bk up in april, she really saves quite abit theu those months, every extra dollar goes to her horsshowing account and she does this all yr around... If she has a extra 100.oo it goes in the account...

                      She is my age, w/ a hubby just bought a house and trying to sart a family.. She works at a hospital, and isnt by any means rich, but seems to have her stuff paid for....

                      I think if you come up w/ a schedule of how many shows you want to do, budget it and figure it out, it can be done.....
                      Let the horse go, get out of its way, it knows what to do...Stop pulling and keep kicking!!!!!!


                      • #12
                        After only a few years hiatus I could not BELIEVE how much prices have gone up-- especially the cost of horses.

                        I only ride my trainer's horse when he's available and everyone is saying "how can you only stand to ride once or twice a week, lease a horse--you can make it work" I'm 23 and just out of college, I would like to KEEP my sanity and not having to worry about how to pay BOTH my rent and my horse's. My better half knows that when we get married my income will be going into the horses (he thankfully makes plenty to support the family).
                        Last edited by Kalele; Aug. 14, 2008, 04:19 PM.
                        aka Amanda
                        "For by the love that guides my pen, I know great horses live again."


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Trees4U View Post

                          Add in lessons, board, farrier, vet, misc (maybe another $12K) and its creeping up on $30,000+ per year.

                          Ha, I'd be happy if I MADE $30,000 a year!
                          "Men tended to discount the capacity of animals to enact, often with considerable panache, the foulest of crimes and the most daring stunts." --Michael Chabon

                          Smile! It won't mess up your hair!


                          • #14
                            You can do it!!!

                            I live in Orange, Va...which is right in between Keswick and Culpeper...and I have a full time job, (35K a year) and I bartend 3 nights a week at a small restuarant in town.

                            I have 2 horses, one is on stall board (my show pony!) and the other is at a different barn, but he lives there for free as long as I feed the other horses on the farm 5 nights a week. (so I guess I have 3 jobs???)

                            I have a very NOT fancy 2 horse Kingston bumper pull trailer, but have a nice truck which I traded in my zippy yellow car for to get a better payment. I live by myself in a 2 bedroom house and am pretty self-sufficient.

                            My full time job pays my bills, and my bartending is my horse show fund. I do things to save money, like keeping the thermostat higher in the summer than most people, and lower in the winter...(if I'm cold, that's what they make sweats and blankets for) and I am VERY careful at the grocery store. I have satellite TV, but the basic package. I have an old hand me down lawnmower and I do it myself. I NEVER pay for what I can do myself, no matter if it's a little tough. (did I mention I have a 2 ACRE YARD???)

                            In December, I plan on maybe 2 "A" shows a month with my horse, and my other one (coming 3) will be doing the local stuff, along with 2 other investment horses that I bought a small piece of. So I will be very busy, and exhausted, but it will be worth it when they sell!!! I am lucky that there are so many "A" shows close, and I don't ever have to get stalls or anything...it saves money! I also don't over do my horse...one division is enough for him...and I am lucky in that he's a brave one...no schooling classes necessary, so that eliminates that expense. I also ONLY lesson on off weeks, so twice a month...because you basically get a lesson at the shows, so why pay for another one the week of the show???

                            I am broke...and never buy new clothes or extras...and pretty much wrecked my savings on riding stuff...but I bought quality, so it will last. But I am very happy doing what I do, I wouldn't trade it for the world. You CAN do it...but you have to do it the hard way...WITHOUT the grooms and the perks...but when I go home with ribbons, I KNOW I EARNED THEM!!!!
                            My boys...
                            RIP Gem...for you are the greatest...thank you for the inspiration...I will always remember you!
                            Gem Twist (1979-2006)


                            • #15
                              Right there with you

                              Our schedule is about the same as yours and your numbers look accurate to me. It is becoming harder and harder to make ends meet. I have cut back in every way I can to keep from short changing my horse habit. My thermostat is already set at 82 in the summer and 52 in the winter. I thrive on Raman Noodles. I will have to chuckle because recently my retired father sent me to the store to get some new clothes because that has been off my budget for a while and I was beginning to look like a homeless person.
                              Thanks Dad.
                              Finally down to a manageable number!


                              • #16
                                Right there with you

                                Our schedule is about the same as yours and your numbers look accurate to me. It is becoming harder and harder to make ends meet. I have cut back in every way I can to keep from short changing my horse habit. We do all our own work at shows where possible. I feed, muck and braid. My thermostat is already set at 82 in the summer and 52 in the winter. I thrive on Raman Noodles. I will have to chuckle because recently my retired father sent me to the store to get some new clothes because that has been off my budget for a while and I was beginning to look like a homeless person.
                                Thanks Dad.
                                Finally down to a manageable number!


                                • #17
                                  We work in the barn, my girls help. It is good for them. They see and contribute to the effort it takes to show. All the money goes to showing and they help decide which shows to go to. it is still a burden on the family, I have however watched it bond us together as a team, teach us so many wonderful and lasting family values that it is worth it for us.
                                  The frustration for is what someone else mentioned. We go to 6 to 8 local shows spred from December through November with a couple months off in the heat of July and August for rest of the girl who actually jumpes the fences. It is about one a month. We cant really compete with the people who are out there every weekend at the local association show. We have horse and rider combinations with over 200 points per division because they are out there every week. Poor horse. Even doing well and pinning consistatntly we are no match for the wealthy. Does that teach our kids that the work and effort willl be rewarded or that it is futile without money. ( on the side I do know wonderrful BO who give of their time and horses to those who are without resources, they do have a business to run though)
                                  Now what does GM think about this and its effect on the quality of riders at the top levels. If he would come up with something that would take the talented and driven and give them a chance THEN we would be able to command the top of the worlds rankings. It doesn't have anything to do with what we are teaching, it has to do with access. Great riders come from every economic background, the moneyed as well. But until we can give all access to achieve we will never have the pool of talent large enough to compete with the State run programs.
                                  AH.... state run programs... interesting.
                                  Would the Firestones, the Duponts, the Maddens get on board with this?
                                  Just my opinion.


                                  • #18
                                    Here in Texas the show season runs all year, tho not necessarily locally during the summer. And "local" here means a show within a 5-6 hour trailer ride. If your barn spends the summer at the more distant shows (Calif, Colo, VT, Biltmore) it can add in thousands more just in transportation.

                                    Between my jumper in training and my older jumper coming off layup I can honestly say that my two horses cost me in excess of $50,000 last year. And the older horse never made it to a show while the younger one probably did 8-10 A-AA shows.

                                    I've come to the conclusion that the higher level h/j world was not meant for the average middle to upper middle class family - talented horse, rider or both.


                                    • #19
                                      Had a long conversation with a friend of mine about this very topic not too long ago. Up here in Minnesota, it seems like trainers want to take you to shows farther and farther away to rack up the training, grooming and travel fees!

                                      Fewer and fewer local shows are being attended, for various reasons. We've also seen some of the properties that host local shows change hands and there are fears that those shows may go away too.

                                      I left the H/Js because it was harder and harder to save money - you couldn't take care of your own horse at a show, couldn't do your own grooming.


                                      • #20
                                        Ditto Ditto Ditto here in New Jersey!!! You can't imagine the costs - and I don't even horse show. Base board (no training or lessons, costs me $800.00 per month). I'm pretty self sufficient and a young professional so I teach some small lessons for the barn at which I keep my horse. When I was a junior (not too too long ago), board in this area was about $350.00 to $400.00 per month. IF anyone was paying $1000.00 per month, it was at a prime show stable. Now, lower level professionals charge that as a normal going rate. AND, my hubby and I are self employed, so our income, albeit very good, is never steady. It's a shame. It also seems like there aren't as many C and B rated shows in this area as when i was a kid. I got my Junior Hunter qualified for Zones (and enough points for Washington, although we didn't go) just by going to C and B rated shows. Now, you have to chase so hard and compete against fancier horses at those lesser rated shows that it makes it very difficult for middle or upper middle class to make it to those finals - and the equitation finals - well don't even get me started on that.