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Small shows & other equestrian events not getting much turnout?

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  • Small shows & other equestrian events not getting much turnout?

    Just something we were talking about over the weekend.

    The barn I'm at hosted their first benefit schooling show of the year a couple weeks ago. It was a total bust. I think they said they had all of four people show up. This is compared to having the show at a similar time last year at the same venue (the first time they'd ever hosted a show) and getting a respectable amount of riders.

    They went and competed at another local schooling show this past weekend. This is a show we've been going to for the past couple of years and last year, we had several classes that easily had 20 people in them. This year, they said there were possibly, tops, 40 people competing in the entire show.

    And then there was another event, not a horse show, but a big camping/cookout weekend put on by a local trail riding group here in MD. They have a campground located right off a state park and people come out and camp with their horses and go riding. This particular weekend is a big organized event they do every year. Usually it's HUGE and there's no room for any more people to camp by Friday night, Saturday morning at the latest. We chose to just come for the dinner on Saturday night (because the rest of the barn had been at that show all day and I was driving back from Georgia ) and yet, by the time we arrived we probably could have set up a campsite if we'd wanted for all eight of us AND our horses (mostly drafts). It just...wasn't that crowded.

    Has anyone else noticed this? Are shows you're going to this year smaller? Have you decided to cut back on what you spend on horsey events? Are you saving your money to go only to bigger shows instead of the schooling variety? (And, to help out my barn folks...) What would motivate you to go to a smaller show?
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

  • #2
    The same thing is going on in my area - east GA.


    • #3
      Times remain hard in the equine industry.

      VA Gaited Horse Jubilee at the VA Horse Center is cancelled.

      TN Equine Exposition at East TN Equine Expo Center appears to be a ghost show.

      Numbers appear to be down accross the board, everywhere.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        In GA, numbers are way down across all disciplines and levels of competition. Local small "A" had divisions with like 3-4 horses where 20 is more the norm; my breed's breed shows are lucky to get 2-3 horses a class (formerly 10-15 a class). My local H/J schooling show series is the only series I've been to this year that's kind of holding its own - numbers are down but not drastically down.

        I'm honestly feeling like for ONCE in my life I've got my timing right... I've got a baby greenie who doesn't need to be doing rateds at a time when financially I'd really rather not be doing rateds - so it's working fine for me to just do the locals this year. That was always my plan, even before the economy tanked. So no real change.

        The only change I may make next year is that I might take advantage of numbers being down at the rated shows and move in for the kill a little earlier in the season than I normally would. If I choose to do that, he'll effectively be DONE showing by May!
        "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


        • #5
          People are waiting until the last minute. Gas prices are up, but people are going to shows. I just entered two horse trials today.

          But lots of it has to do with marketing. How well was the show marketed via email, free ads, etc?
          Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


          • Original Poster


            I don't know how well they marketed because I wasn't involved in helping put it on this year (due to work).

            My point with bringing up the other events though was to suggest it wasn't just something affecting our barn...it appears to be happening in other places too.
            The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
            Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.


            • #7
              Also some horses are not letting horses leave the barn due to EHV. I know our barn is not letting any horse that leaves, return right now, even though we haven't had any EHV in El Paso.


              • #8
                Since EHV hasn't crossed the Mississippi yet, our vet is telling us not to be concerned out here in GA. I know the GA Paint Horse Club is not doing well at all and the schooling show numbers are way down.


                • #9
                  Our state breed association holds a non-rated open show every Mother's Day weekend annually. Our numbers were up! Stalls, number of horses, etc - all up from previous years. Last year was the worst. We offer nice prizes, but nothing fancy, and points in the local circuits and some breed clubs at this show. Most people get stalls, but some show off trailers.


                  • #10
                    So far, numbers are up from last year (hunter/jumper), but have not reached pre-recession levels. These are A-AA shows, though.

                    I think the smaller B and C shows are still struggling. Entries appear to be about the same as last year, with most classes have 5 or less entries.

                    Another thing I'm noticing...the bigger trainers' (well-established, successful) businesses appear to be on the upswing. Smaller trainers are still having a rough time maintaining or are losing customers. Don't know how to read that exactly - maybe people with money are starting to show again? People who are less flush with funds, that would typically ride with a lesser-known or small-time trainer, are getting out? Don't know....


                    • #11
                      The economy is responsible for this.

                      People are being more selective about where they go.

                      Some disciplines are worse than others, too. Our breed shows - Arabian - are way down in regular stuff and way up in dressage, sport horse, working hunter.


                      • #12
                        Charity Trail Ride

                        A big charity trail ride at the end of April had only about half the number of riders as in past years. In the past, they have had about 300. It cost $50 to ride & that went to the charity. This was their 20th year (& my first on the ride).
                        There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.



                        • #13
                          I get the impression the numbers are about the same as last year at the few schooling shows in GA I've attended so far this year. Not huge - but decent.
                          Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson


                          • #14
                            My best friend hosted a benefit show this past weekend for the local animal shelter. Had great turnout, better than last year's show. A few weeks earlier the same place had a schooling show; I think the turnout for that was smaller.

                            I guess it all depends on a lot of things.
                            <3 Vinnie <3
                            Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred


                            • #15
                              I do mostly local stuff in South Eastern PA. Number have been way down the last few years, imo. Especially the one series I attend a few shows at - it's one of those series that a lot of A barns bring their barns too for prep/schooling. Numbers are awful. I showed at Ludwigs Corner last year (non-rated but a pretty "big" show in the area, carinval type thing) - my divison had over 20 riders - and the jumper classes I saw go sported 20-30 per class.

                              So I think people are just being more choosey. Years past (when Mommy and Daddy gave me some show money) I would hit up a ton of different shows, try out different series. These past two years I focused on two, so I could work towards year end awards. That being said all the class prices and fees have gone way up (understandably).