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Spinoff-Why is it so much more expensive to show here than in Europe

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  • Spinoff-Why is it so much more expensive to show here than in Europe

    This is a spinoff from the thread asking about buying horses in the US. It is mentioned in that thread a couple times about how much more cost effective to show in Europe than in the US. My friend from Germany and I we discussing this last week so it's been on my mind ever since. The numbers are WILDLY different and all the shows they go to in Germany are sanctioned.

    We are a breeding farm that spends a ton of time developing horses properly with correct basics and nice miles but we find, especially with the poor economy driving horse priced down, that it seems like the money spent on putting miles on green show horses is just money out that may have no hope of coming back. We do hit schooling shows to keep costs down but it's nice to have fancy youngsters be seen by bigger regional trainers like we can do when at the A shows. That is the target market for many of our homebreds so it's nice to bring them to the venues and people that we hope will eventually own them.

    So why is it that our shows are so much more costly...what are we doing wrong. And I'm not talking about hotels, travel, day fees, trainer costs...just the costs of the shows. Where is the huge difference in costs coming from?? Does anyone know?
    Andrea Clibborn-Anderson
    www.crestlinefarm.com
    Home of Pinto Dutch Warmblood Palladio

  • #2
    Because our shows, in general, are not sponsered. We run our shows typically on entry fees, so there fore the cost of showing is high since we are footing the bill.
    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
    Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
    "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
    I love my Dublin-ator

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    • #3
      I agree with the above and wanted to add that I believe that Europe still has a horsier culture. Something closer to what it would have been 50 years ago or so here. It seems to me that there are more not only more shows, but more people who keep their own horses, trailer themselves to shows, do their own work, etc. which cuts down on costs.

      So in my eyes, the culture difference has a lot to do with it.
      The stirrups aren't just "home," the damn things are in the storm cellar.
      -Snozberries

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Showjumper28 View Post
        Because our shows, in general, are not sponsered. We run our shows typically on entry fees, so there fore the cost of showing is high since we are footing the bill.
        Do you mean sponsored by a corporation? For example rather than the Atlanta Fall Classic we might have the GPA fall classic or the WEF remnamed the Antares winter Series? Have shows in Europe always been sponsored?

        Comment


        • #5
          Part of it is the same reason their breeding programs are successful.... government subsidies. Here USEF gets some funding from the U.S. Olympic committee, but none from the U.S. government.

          Another part is going to be the same answer you are going to get for why we buy over there.... location. If we could pack all of our shows into the area of Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois it would be pretty much the same as showing in western Europe.

          Add in the fact that equestrian events are much more popoular there, imagine gettting 50,000 people a day at your bigger shows here (only show like that in North America is SM, and they cannot sustain that over the entire show, nor do I think they bring in those numbers), and calculate $5 a pop for these attendees, well you can see the financial benefit to having a show, and how the cost to participate could be subsidized.

          I would also have to say that who even knows the BM's and AW's here? Only the people who are involved with horses. In Europe the top riders are like rock stars. That is in large part because the whole industry is an inportant part of their economy etc., and there is huge participation at a recoginized level.

          Here, those outside the industry do not even perceive it as an industry, even though it is a huge industry, 112.1 billion GDP, bigger than the motion picture industry, railroad transportation, furniture and fixtures manufacturing and tobacco product manufacturing.
          The perception here is that it is not a sport, but an activity for the rich.

          Comment


          • #6
            Because of the milage rule which the USEF has created, allowing for a monopoly - horse shows have locked in dates each year and there are not allowed to be other rated shows within the area. Shows know there are no other competition oportunities - if someone wants to qualify for the medal finals, etc then they *must* show there - or drive hours away to go somewhere else. It's snowballed worse and worse over the years into what it is today.

            I've lived, worked and shown in five different countries -- US, Belgium, France, Netherlands, and now Germany. I could go on and on about this stupid rule.

            This weekend for example I can choose from over 5 different shows which are all within 1hr drive from my stable, many only 15 minutes away. I choose based on footing and classes offered for my horses. All of these shows are overseen by the German Federation (FN).

            Originally posted by Hauwse View Post
            Here, those outside the industry do not even perceive it as an industry, even though it is a huge industry, 112.1 billion GDP, bigger than the motion picture industry, railroad transportation, furniture and fixtures manufacturing and tobacco product manufacturing.
            The perception here is that it is not a sport, but an activity for the rich.
            Interesting.
            www.show-jumper.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by gasrgoose View Post
              Do you mean sponsored by a corporation? For example rather than the Atlanta Fall Classic we might have the GPA fall classic or the WEF remnamed the Antares winter Series? Have shows in Europe always been sponsored?
              Think more like the Coca-Cola Fall Classic or the Pfizer Winter Series. Corporations marketing to the general public, not just to horse people.
              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

              Comment


              • #8
                I wonder how much different the charges for coaching, day care, braiding, etc...that we incur here in the U.S. at each show, are when compared to those fees charged in Europe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll report back on this thread. I leave tomorrow to go ride in England and Italy :-) My understanding is that the stable jockeys/grooms braid- so there aren't "Braiders" like there are here. But I'll look up show fees and training fees out of curiosity and report back.
                  Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
                  Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
                  Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Different System

                    Long story short is in Europe "horses" is a professional sport and in America it is an amateur sport.
                    When people say that showing horses in Europe is cheaper they have to understand what is different, and that they are not comparing apples to apples. All of these young horses getting "miles" in Europe are going to local 1 day shows either once or twice per week but it's not like going to HITS or Wellington. Instead, it's like going to your local down the road barn or field where they either have a grass ring or a small ring but normally with great ground - that's the difference. These small local shows - where classes are offered from 1.00m up to 1.35m - 1.40m even have entry costs of 10 Euros and prize money of 50 Euros to the winner. You ship in, jump 1 round after being in a tiny schooling area filled with 30+ horses, grab a beer, and go home. It's not like here where you have beautiful big uncrowded schooling areas, big arenas, and all that jazz. Instead the local kids who ride at this riding school are helping set jumps, serving food, helping park lorries, and running the show. it's very basic and back yard but with decent course designers, good footing, and shockingly organized operations despite the normal young free help.
                    The thing is horses learn even more in this situation because there is no time for babying. A young jumper is basically thrown off a cliff to see if it can fly and mostly they do. The 5 year olds jump 1.10 at the beginning of the year and 1.25+ by year end if they are any good. And you can do this because of so many options for training that is available locally, not to mention the quality of the horses being so high. It's just a different sport there. it's about producing horses and not about pleasing or even training the people riding the horses.
                    But as for why america can't do the same? Maybe they can. If people would start holding more practice type shows at their stables that would be a start. Sadly though that's unlikely as clients will not likely be willing to pay to go jump down the street at another stable, like they would to go pay at a big show so trainers have no incentive to go a cheaper way. And to attempt to compete with Europe and get a horse mileage as a young horse you have no chance. Just compare the cost of shoes - right there you know they have you...
                    Best of luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can't speak for mainland Europe but the system in Sweden is very much based on volonteer work.

                      Every rider has to be a member of a recogniced club in good standings (eg paying their dues) of the Swedish federation in order to be licenced to show.

                      Every club needs to host at least one or two horse shows every year to keep their good standings, it can be small C-rated day shows or could be A-rated or championships, you could do more or just the bare minimum.
                      The shows are mostly run by members of the club. Dads and brothers set jumps, mothers and grandmothers work the show office and food stand etc. This keeps the overhead down.
                      Also the shows are not run mainly to make money. Some money will be made and it usually goes towards renovating the warm room or new jumps etc that will benefit everybody, not one person. Riders from the hosting club will usually get free entry fees as pay for their families work! and some clubs make it mandatory for showing members to help out at shows (or send mom or dad in). Many clubs will pay for an interested member to get certified as course designer or judge and that member will usually set courses or judge for free.

                      Price money are generally much smaller but then again, so are the entry fees. Bigger classes will be sponsored but you could (at least 10 years ago) pay $40 to do a 1.50 (4'9-5'0) biggest class on most national shows. Win maybe $400 bucks which doesn't make anybody rich but you would also not loose a lot of money if you didn't win. Smaller jumper classes level 0-level 6 could be $20-25 to enter or sometimes even less with price money from $50-$100 maybe $200 at a big show with good sponsors.

                      4 and 5-year olds are not allowed to go against the clock and compete in a sect B (same course but clearround trip). 6-year olds have the choice to do Sect B or go with the big guys. Qualifyers for 4,5 and 6 year old championships run as a number of clean trips in Sect B. A Sect B will be run for all classes up to Level 6 and is usually cheaper to enter since there's no price money.

                      We also have a few big FEI shows each year that also takes a lot of help from volonteers. If you are jump crew you get prime seating, not ot mention setting courses with the best designers in the world!
                      Even parking or whatever for a few hours a day would get you free tickets so it's a pretty popular way for horse crazy people to get in.

                      There was a few attempts in NJ to start a league of unrated jumper shows with low entry fees and no price money but they fell through.

                      I suggest trying to get it running in your area. Contact a few barns in your area and suggest taking turns hosting open schooling shows for practice. It can be as real as you want it, loudspeakers, foodstand and even judging and ribbons or simply offering schooling trips, open ring 2,6 from 8-9am 2,9 from 9-10am etc.

                      It's a great way to get babys used to shipping and showing before spending a lot of money.
                      Timothy, stop lurking

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        #quick and careful
                        Good post.

                        Also even most "amateur" riders at home will have their own barn, a few stalls in the back and an outdoor. They own a two horse (sometimes old) that they pull behind their Volvo combi. They drive to a group lesson once a week during off season and practice at home. They do their own grooming and their own braiding (if they want to). Walk their own courses, keep track of their own schedules and curse themselves out if they oversleep and miss a class. If you're from Europe and ever wake up in the freezing living compartment of your truck because they are calling your name over the loudspeakers as the next one to enter the course you know what kinds of words I'm thinking about here! LOL!

                        There's no shipping fees, no trainer fees and no board to pay. Most people are on a budget and would never dream of dropping the kind of coin we do on a show!

                        Even for pros the cost is different, a lot depends on the cost of owning a barn. $400,000 can get you 20 stalls 100 acres and an indoor close to all the good shows. You give lessons for cash but your clients ship in. You pay your 2 grooms $500-$1000 (showgroom) a month and feed, hay shoeings etc is a lot cheaper too.

                        My pricing might be a little off since it's been 10 years but even full training board with a World Cup rider could be had for $1000/month back then.
                        The cost to be a pro is cheaper and a lot of pros have some kind of endorsement deal helping them out.

                        Although there's nothing like WEF (we do have the Sunshine tour though :-) most showgrounds have as q&c said good footing and are well run. No hunters though only jumpers and most shows are one ring only.

                        There's no differentiation between people. You show over height and that's it. Most shows will have 3 or 4 classes in a day. Maybe 0.90, 1.00, 1.00 and 1.10. Maybe 1.20, 1.30 and 1,40 and so on. Classes may have 20 entries they may have 80 or even 150 entries! Always posted order though since it's just the one ring going and everybody rund their own race there's never any conflicts.

                        There's plenty of smaller shows close by, C-rated with anything from 0.90 to 1.30 Sat and Sunday, no stabling. B rated for classes 1.20-1.45 will usually go Fri-Sunday stabling might be $50 and usually inclueds first bags of shavings) and same with A-rated 1.30-1.60.
                        You never stay longer at a show. There's a different show everyweekend and you go to a show that fits you as opposed to following your trainer around to week-2 week long shows that has every division.
                        If your trainer is there he might give you a pointer or two or he might just watch you go if he has the time. Most often you report back at your next lesson if you had an issue or if you want to tell him how well you did after his last piece of advice!
                        Timothy, stop lurking

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I often find that the check I write to my coach for services rendered at an A-AA show is larger than the one I write to the horse show itself for entries, stall and shavings. It is nice to have the help of a groom, braiding arranged for, horses fed and stall mucked but it is very expensive and that in and of itself limits the number of A-AA shows that I can do.

                          Many show barns do not give you the option of doing your own work. If I had that option I would be happy to do it and put the savings towards a couple more quality shows.

                          My cousin shows in England and she was shocked to hear about the charges we incur for services we receive when we show with a show barn.

                          I am sure that has alot to do with why it is a lot cheaper to get some quality miles on a youngster in Europe. That fact alone reduces the sum the owner/breeder is trying to re-coup as they market a young horse in Europe.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This thread is really interesting. I've shown in Canada, in Dubai, and now in Scotland. Canada was certainly the most expensive.

                            In the UK, shows pay out prize money relative to the number of people in the class (one place for every 5 entries) so a show with low entries pays out less in prize money. If a class is sponsored, the prize money always goes to 5th.

                            Show in the UK (4 hour drive from barn)

                            Petrol - £150
                            Entry fees for two horses (two classes a day for two days) - £145
                            First Aid fee - £4
                            Stabling for two horses for the weekend - £40-£70
                            Shavings and haylage - £45
                            Electrical hook-up for trailer - £30
                            Food - £60

                            TOTAL - £474-504 (~$900)

                            Show in Canada

                            Trailering - $500
                            Training - $150
                            Admin - $50
                            Entries - $240
                            Stabling - $300
                            Shavings - $30
                            Hotel - $150
                            Food - $150

                            TOTAL - $1570

                            Both are rated shows, but I always did my own care and braiding in Canada. I imagine this is about the lowest anyone could expect to pay for a two day rated show.

                            The end result is that I do more shows in the UK, although with friends helping me rather than a trainer!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What makes you believe it is actually cheaper in Europe???

                              I've not seen anything that does a price comparison.

                              Can you point me in that direction?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I can do my own price comparison when I look at the post just above yours. Right down to the trailer hook up- it looks cheaper to me.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Addison View Post
                                  I can do my own price comparison when I look at the post just above yours. Right down to the trailer hook up- it looks cheaper to me.
                                  I don't see how anyone would be content to rely on that:
                                  1. Aside from the fact that you can't make that assumption based on just one example
                                  2. That example is flawed
                                  3. No direct comparisons - like comparing apples with pears!
                                  4. No distances quoted
                                  5. no comparitor for vehicle
                                  6. Not even compared the same things! Hotel versus a trailer!!??
                                  7. Re the UK prices..... no sense of reality! e.g. food £60 at a show!?
                                    they must be eating caviarre and smoked salmon!! What is a first aid fee??
                                  8. Why is there a trainer in the Canadian comparison but not in the UK one???
                                  9. FACT: Petrol is cheaper in the USA.
                                  10. That comparison is actually Canada not the USA - but it's flawed and not evidence so it doesn't really matter that much!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by quick&careful View Post
                                    Long story short is in Europe "horses" is a professional sport and in America it is an amateur sport.
                                    When people say that showing horses in Europe is cheaper they have to understand what is different, and that they are not comparing apples to apples. All of these young horses getting "miles" in Europe are going to local 1 day shows either once or twice per week but it's not like going to HITS or Wellington. Instead, it's like going to your local down the road barn or field where they either have a grass ring or a small ring but normally with great ground - that's the difference. These small local shows - where classes are offered from 1.00m up to 1.35m - 1.40m even have entry costs of 10 Euros and prize money of 50 Euros to the winner. You ship in, jump 1 round after being in a tiny schooling area filled with 30+ horses, grab a beer, and go home. It's not like here where you have beautiful big uncrowded schooling areas, big arenas, and all that jazz. Instead the local kids who ride at this riding school are helping set jumps, serving food, helping park lorries, and running the show. it's very basic and back yard but with decent course designers, good footing, and shockingly organized operations despite the normal young free help.
                                    I have to disagree with your assessment. We DO indeed have "A" show equivalents -- it is NOT all down the road, local stuff with 30+ horses in the schooling ring. We have shows of the same caliber as Wellington etc : Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Villeneuve Loubet, just to name a few. Not to mention that we have some fabulous CSI shows (with divisions for both pro and ammie) that are hardly backyard venues!

                                    And prize money, even at the smaller shows, is way better than the 50 euros that you mentioned. On average, if an amateur wins a class, they take home maybe 100 - 250 euros. For pros, it is usually is more like ten times that. Can be more, can be less. But the only time you would get a 50 euro win would be for a dinky 1.0 class at a smaller show.

                                    I am not sure where you are getting your info from, but it is a bit misleading. I promise you, I do not spend my weekends in a dinky field in someone's backyard.

                                    I don't think that the difference is in the quality of shows, it is more in cultural differences of what Americans are willing to pay vs. Europeans. We do not have the same billing culture --- braiding, day care, coaching at the show, and all the little extras are not standard fare over here. I once explained the concept of a 'day fee' to a coach friend of mine, and he thought it was quite funny. On the amateur level, grooms are pretty rare. For pros, it's generally (but not always) seen only at the higher level, especially those that spend their time on the road doing int'l shows.

                                    Entry fees are also a fraction of what you pay in the USA. However, they are not 10 euros, as you started. More like 20 - 50 euros per class for national shows. More for CSI. Prize money is usually generated from sponsors. If none can be found, the show organizer puts up the prize money and hopes to get enough entries to cover the prize money + some profit.

                                    One thing where you are right is that most of the 'staff' at a show (outside of the officials) are volunteers : people from the barn that is organizing the show, for example, or even a class from an agricultural high school, etc. That can be found at both larger and smaller venues, and is a cultural thing.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I recall lots of volunteers, pony clubbers and ex-riders supporting the shows in England...plus sales going on, draft horses, pony classes and even driving at the bigger events. Lots of places to shop and food stalls too at even the half-decent-sized events. There was stuff to see and do for observers....plus good beer and wine tents.

                                      I was always amazed how nicely we were treated at the shows...great barn managers and show secretaries. Lots of crappy weather though.

                                      Costs are going up and when one really big show was cancelled last year due to flooding of the venue, the show kept the money from both the riders and the vendors...this had a bunch of play in Horse & Hound forums. So, it's not all sweetness & Light no matter where you go.
                                      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I can attest to the "culture" comment from an earlier poster. We Americans have become very spoiled to services and convenience and we're shackled to a certain level of "quality" due to our "sue happy" society. In my area, the farm shows aren't nearly as popular as they once were. Exhibitors require stabling (not an area to park the trailer to which the horse is tied), they require multiple rings, lunging areas, covered arenas, etc. All that costs money.

                                        When I first started in business, there was no "day care" fee. Students and parents pitched in and wrapped, set-up, mucked, etc. To be honest, it was a crappy system, because I worked my tail off and there were many students that didn't pull their weight. It was extremely unfair to me. When I started providing daycare (and charging for it), my clients gladly paid for the service, because it freed them up to attend to other matters. Parents and kids are busy these days. It's not as though they have the time to hang out at the barn and learn to do for themselves- they have tons of homework and projects (the likes of which we NEVER had), IEA shows (to build that all important college resume), SAT prep courses (ditto), etc, etc, etc.

                                        Until we Americans SLOW DOWN and get off the "Achievement Train", Horse Shows will continue to be big business. They're not for fun here, they're serious business. Which is silly really- I mean it's not as though a child's horse show career is going to change the course of history...... I make my living teaching riding and coaching at horseshows. I get it, but the parents kind of lose their minds. For the fun of it? Are you kidding?
                                        http://patchworkfarmga.com

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