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Cost of showing

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  • Cost of showing

    We are new to showing. My 16 yo daughter trains in hunter/jumper and is wanting to show this coming summer. She has done a few schooling shows at around $50-60 total cost per show. Her trainer has told us multiple times that our horse (5 yo TB grey gelding) has huge potential to be a $50k horse if taken to the right shows. (We have been told by many people that he is truly a very special horse. We only paid around $4k for him.) We are a middle class family and I have a feeling the types of shows she's taking about will be far above our comfort zone financially. We live in MN. Can anyone tell me what kind of cost I might be looking at? I know the trainer charges $100 in-state haul fee, $75/day trainer fee, and she mentioned having a more experienced rider ride him in the ring for the bigger shows...no idea what that costs. I believe she also mentioned a week- long out-of-state show. We do plan to sell him in 2 years when she leaves for college. Any detailed cost information would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    I may be old and jaded and less inclined to throw money around these days, but IMO, showing is something you should do only within your financial comfort zone, for fun, and in the case of a kid, for character training. Never as an investment. Horses are a horrible "investment". Do whatever showing is fun and you can afford. If he's good guy, he'll sell just fine. You'll get lots of posts about show costs, and I bet none will lead to the conclusion that you are likely to make a profit on a future sale.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

    Comment


    • #3
      IMHO... when it comes time to sell him, I would absolutely consider spending the ~$1k to send the horse to a larger rated show for a weekend with the trainer riding for exposure/sales trials/etc. I would not go spending large sums of money trying to make the horse worth more in hopes of selling it for more $$. Sometimes it works out, but often times it doesn't.

      Comment


      • #4
        A lot of the costs depend on how far you're traveling for shows, and what your barn's specific fees are going to be. And what you mean by "right shows." Is this a well-regarded but still local circuit? A few carefully selected good A shows? A big circuit like HITS? Cost will vary wildly depending on which of them it is.

        Only your trainer can tell you what your barn's fees are going to be for things like hauling, daycare, trainer fees, pro rides, what the braider your barn uses costs (and if you'll need mane & tail or just mane), etc. Those tend to be a lot of the incidental fees that add up.

        I'll be brave/foolish and toss out a few numbers based on my personal showing experiences in the last few months. I board at a barn that basically just has a trainer fee at shows, as I do my own hauling and (usually) own braiding. For the well-respected local series we sometimes do, a division and classic or medal cost around $85, plus trainer fees. Hauling in for one day to an A rated show and doing one C-division (3') was $220 plus trainer fees and braiding. Long weekend away show, with stabling but doing our own care, was around $800, plus trainer fees and braiding.

        Do not look at doing shows strictly as an investment in the horse, because you will never end up making the money out of the horse that you invested into it once you start totaling things up.
        A Year In the Saddle

        Comment


        • #5
          In my experience, my show bills have varied between $600 and $1200 in the office (including trainer split). It depends on how much the splits are, how many classes/how much the divisions are, nominations and trainer splits). On top of this you need to factor in hauling, personal transportation, lodging, food expenses and day fees.

          Always estimate on the high side just in case.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            All great & very helpful information. Thank you!!

            Comment


            • #7
              ToTheNines put it so perfectly. No matter what anyone says, do not spend money on shows as an "investment" unless that money is play money anyway. If your horse turns out nice and can sell for $30K, that will be a wonderful bonus for you, but the likelihood of that actually happen is small. I think the $50K number is unlikely unless your daughter happens to be a professional level rider and/or you plan to spend close to that amount on showing and training, and you also get very lucky and the horse does not experience any training or soundness issues. It's a big mistake to expect that you are "investing" in anything other than your daughter and her equestrian experience.

              As far as show costs for an A show, it's a far cry from the $60 per show you mention. It's thousand/s of dollars per week/weekend. Here are some example show fees:

              Trailering: $100 (that sounds low to me, but if that's what your trainer charges, great)
              Entry fees: $200-300
              Stall fee: $250
              USEF drug fee: $16
              "Global fee" (or some other fee the show charges) $50
              Nightwatch: $15
              Bags of shavings: $60ish
              Trainer fee: $75/day x 5 days = $375. Might be more if you have to pay trainer to school horse and show it in a division.
              Braiding: $75/day that the horse shows in divisions requiring braids, so maybe $225
              Splits for grooming stall and tack stall, let's say 10 horses going to show, 1 tack and one grooming, maybe a feed stall: $75/ per client.
              Daily fee, charged by trainer to pay for care and grooming at the show: ?? depends on trainer. (Remember, you are still paying board at home even while the horse is at the show.) This is separate from the trainer's training fees.
              Tips to grooms: ??
              Medications and supplements: Might be more than you think, some people spend a ton of $$ on various meds, pastes and supplements.
              Hotel and food for yourself and your daughter: ??
              Splits between clients to pay for trainer's hotel & food and possibly grooms' hotel and food: ??

              Some of these charges may vary significantly by trainer and location, but I would estimate that a full show week stabling with and training with a trainer and doing a couple of divisions could run about $2,000. I would try to get a breakdown of costs in advance from your trainer.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you for this ^^ Very helpfull!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Also factor in memberships for showing. You'll need USEF and USHJA memberships for your daughter and your horse. There may also be some state horse show association to join so she can do their medals or whatever, too. It's $80/yr for USEF now, and $85 USHJA. Horse recording is $300/lifetime or $95/annually with USEF, and a $75 USHJA fee.
                  A Year In the Saddle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is an old saw regarding the horse business, but file it away and reflect on it any time someone tries to “help” you make $$$$ with horses:

                    How do you make a small fortune in horses? Start with a large one.....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not to burst anyones bubble but TBs can be a hard sell, let alone at 50K. It probably is a fantastic horse but people are weird about them as they (god forbid!) might actual be a tad on the sensitive side.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm old and cynical. Your trainer stands to make a lot of money off you folks by taking your horse to "the right shows" for the next two years. It isn't just the transport and show fees, but also the extra lessons for your daughter and the training rides to "tune up" the horse.

                        And the chances that your horse's value will jump from $4K to $50K in 2 years are slim. Even if your horse does indeed have the potential, there are a LOT of things that can go wrong in those two years. The horse gets injured or turns out to not have the ability or the temperament for the big jumps or heavy showing schedule, or your daughter decides she hates the pressure of showing on the big circuit, or... And poof!, there goes all that money you have invested in hopes of making a big profit.

                        Your daughter should be riding horses for one reason - because it's fun. If she goes to shows, it should be because it's fun. And you should not feel pressured to spend more money than you are comfortable spending. And as noted by other posters, never invest more money in horses than you can afford to lose, because you're not likely to ever get much, if any, of it back.
                        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                        that's even remotely true."

                        Homer Simpson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hannahkate123 View Post
                          We are new to showing. My 16 yo daughter trains in hunter/jumper and is wanting to show this coming summer. She has done a few schooling shows at around $50-60 total cost per show. Her trainer has told us multiple times that our horse (5 yo TB grey gelding) has huge potential to be a $50k horse if taken to the right shows. (We have been told by many people that he is truly a very special horse. We only paid around $4k for him.) We are a middle class family and I have a feeling the types of shows she's taking about will be far above our comfort zone financially. We live in MN. Can anyone tell me what kind of cost I might be looking at? I know the trainer charges $100 in-state haul fee, $75/day trainer fee, and she mentioned having a more experienced rider ride him in the ring for the bigger shows...no idea what that costs. I believe she also mentioned a week- long out-of-state show. We do plan to sell him in 2 years when she leaves for college. Any detailed cost information would be greatly appreciated!
                          I think that's the wrong motivation for going to big shows.

                          If the trainer said "your daughter is an incredibly good rider and she stands a chance of winning particular regional championship next year" that might be a good reason to go all out. Even "if she wins this championship she can get an equestrian scholarship to college."

                          But what fun is it to pay through the nose for someone else to ride your horse?

                          I also agree that the jump from $4000 to $50,000 is unlikely. And if he really is that talented you can sell him to your trainer as a project for $15,000 in two years and both make a profit.

                          You might also decide to keep the horse, lease him out, daughter ride in the summer etc if you really fall in love.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I budget about $2k for my local rated shows. I show in the jumpers, so that means no braiding and 1-2 classes a day. Further shows are more like $3k. Some barns spend much more and do the whole VIP food thing, upgraded stabling, and more grooms, so getting a breakdown from your trainer is wise.

                            Also, as someone mentioned a show might imply more lessons, upgraded clothes, a nicer piece of tack here and there, different maintenance to keep the horse showing at a certain level, replacing the hind boot that disappeared at the show, etc. Those costs are hard to estimate and many are optional, but you may want some padding.

                            Like many others have said, you'll want to assume none of this will come back when you sell the horse. If some of it does, you'll be pleasantly surprised. And you'll probably need it with a kid starting college.
                            If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Agree with earlier posters. TB's are not the most favored breed in H/J land. They can be sensitive and many buyers won't consider them. Taking a 4K TB and making them up into a 50K mount is not impossible, but it is not very common either. In most cases it will require years of training and showing and in all probability an investment significantly greater than 50K.

                              You have a lot of good advice above. Ask your trainer for a rate sheet and ask exactly what you can expect to pay for XXX show. If possible, commit to one show at a time in the beginning until you become accustomed to the various expenses. You'll pay the show for the entries, etc., but the bigger bill is likely to come at the end of the month when the trainer charges you for her expenses.

                              Showing often isn't cheap. Wade in slowly. Ask questions. Pause and assess as needed.

                              And finally, have fun!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yes, I think it is also important to consider the other expenses associated with showing such as memberships, tack and clothes.

                                For example, a typical A level show outfit could be:
                                Boots: $700-1500
                                Breeches: $200
                                Jacket: $500
                                Shirt: $120
                                Helmet: $300-600.

                                Obviously many people use cheaper versions of some of those things, but many people also spend a lot more.

                                You don't say what financial resources you have (and there's no need for you to), but depending on what shows you go to, I think it's a good idea to have some awareness that you will be taking your daughter into an environment where people are sometimes spending hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars like money is water. It's important to have a good grip on how much you want to spend and to be able to be happy with that.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm not very horse show savvy but could you consider half leasing the horse to some one who could show it at higher rated shows so you could get the horse experience without having the cost of the more expensive shows? I know this may limit how much your daughter could ride and show the horse but it would also help you financially to do more shows.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Hannahkate123 View Post
                                    We are new to showing. My 16 yo daughter trains in hunter/jumper and is wanting to show this coming summer. She has done a few schooling shows at around $50-60 total cost per show. Her trainer has told us multiple times that our horse (5 yo TB grey gelding) has huge potential to be a $50k horse if taken to the right shows. (We have been told by many people that he is truly a very special horse. We only paid around $4k for him.) We are a middle class family and I have a feeling the types of shows she's taking about will be far above our comfort zone financially. We live in MN. Can anyone tell me what kind of cost I might be looking at? I know the trainer charges $100 in-state haul fee, $75/day trainer fee, and she mentioned having a more experienced rider ride him in the ring for the bigger shows...no idea what that costs. I believe she also mentioned a week- long out-of-state show. We do plan to sell him in 2 years when she leaves for college. Any detailed cost information would be greatly appreciated!
                                    May I be blunt? The way to make that horse worth 50k is to sink 50k into training and show expenses every year at the kind of week long nationally rated shows with higher quality, nationally rated competition . Horse will have to prove his worth at fence heights 3’+ And that’s going to cost you 1k a week, minimum with the memberships, entry/stall fees/schooling/drug/night watch etc, etc etc. You will need to show him outside of your home state to get to buyers, ship out Monday, return following Sun nite or Monday...at $75 a day fir the day care plus additional training, lessons and whatever that Pro rider charges ($50 a class is typical).

                                    End of the day...you have a TB and unless he’s a solid zone level point earner? Hard sell in a WB centered world (I have TBs so can say that...it’s reality). Even if he was a WB, you’ll put more in him over 2 years showing at the rateds then you will ever get out if him...and trainer will get 15% if the sake price.thars how it works.

                                    Perhaps this is a spectacular horse but you need to stop, think and ask trainer...

                                    WHAT IS THIS GOING TO COST ME???????? Get a rate sheet in writing listing ALL charges.

                                    Remember you are the trainers income, it’s a business. Never forget that. Maybe trainer is a wonderful person, you love them, DD loves them, they would never
                                    mislead you for their financial benefit...don’t believe that, it’s a conflict of interest on their part, even the ethical ones. Think about it....

                                    Has this trainer routinely made young horse’s up and sold them for 50k or more? Ask trainer what their sales average in similar horses has been????? Doesn’t have to be specific amount, ballpark is fine. But my BSometer always beeps at me when I read trainers push newer owners into spending 6 figures to sell a horse for a 5 figure tag figuring it will pay for college.

                                    And there is a risk it breaks and is unrideable for a period of time and never reaches its full potential in the 18-20 months remaining here before you would need to start marketing him in that price range.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Hold onto these words, use them often: "What will this cost me"?

                                      Please never agree to anything until this question has been answered in detail. It is always a very ugly scene when parents are presented with a bill they were not expecting. Those little things like: let me just hop on for a few minutes to get the kinks out. Would your daughter like to ride Dobbin in ________ class? We are hopping over to _______to school, would you like to join us? I thought we would clip, is it ok if I do your horse as well? Surprise costs just added 1K to your anticipated bill.

                                      Please do not be tempted by "your horse is a special guy, he has so much potential, I just know he could be an upper level competitor". I promise you that getting him to that level will cost you more than you will sell him for. If there is any money to be made, it will not be made by you. Should your horse prove to be that once in a lifetime guy, his talent will shine through.

                                      Please focus on your daughter's enjoyment. Keep your feet on the ground. There is very little/no financial opportunity for your family. You may however, threaten your families financial stability. Remember: What will this cost me?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Get a rate sheet from the trainer. Many reputable barns have them online.

                                        Always ask "what is the price". Your trainer may throw out lots of ideas, trust me- they are not going to be free.


                                        And read, re-read other posters who are saying "to get him to 50 K, you'll spend 50 K (or more)".
                                        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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