Monday, June 18, 2018

Poor Woman Showing

Almost every post I've written in the last two months has been a show recap. I'm starting to fill out entries for the next block of shows coming up in July, and--as ever--along with that comes carefully looking at the budget to see how I need to space things out to work in the accompanying entry fees.

hopefully with less angry baby horse cantering this round

I named this blog Poor Woman Showing because it is me. I enjoy showing no matter the discipline. I need a goal to aim for, something to set out expectations towards each ride. While the lifestyle Hubby and I live now is vastly more secure and comfortable than where we were when I started blogging however many years ago, we still try to maintain as debt-free an existence as possible (I mean, let's be real. The house and car are going to get paid on for a good while longer.).

That means that I still sometimes feel like I'm living the poor life even if it's solidly in the Horse Poor category now instead of the How am I Paying the Electric this Month Poor. I don't get to charge it and think about it later; we don't have credit cards. Show season get planned out at the very beginning of the year. Gas costs are calculated. Memberships are rationed out and sent in one at a time when doable. The whole thing gets itemized, totaled, and put on my bulletin board to plan around the rest of the year.

I thought I'd share how I make my show season affordable while still hitting up as many opportunities as I can fit in. I'm sure these costs are going to seem unfathomably low to some of you, but remember--just because you have a larger budget than I do doesn't mean I think this is chump change. It takes a lot of planning to make every show season work, and there are a lot of things we give up to spend on the horse instead.

gotta budget in that satin

Memberships:

GMO: $40. I've never paid more for a PM in dressage because I've never had a horse that's made it worth it. I can get my scores towards my bronze with just my GMO membership, and that's all I've ever aimed for. Maybe if Opie continues his child genius ways I'll think about it in the future for Thoroughbred year end awards.

USEF: $80. Or maybe it was $85 this year?

USDF: $35. For Opie's registration. A one-time cost.

US Rider: $149. Optional of course, but I pay it every year for peace of mind.

Schooling Shows:

Entry fee: $10-$15 per test.
Secretary/Office Fee: $10-$15
Membership: $10. One of GMOs whose shows I go to charge an additional $10 per show if you're not one of their members.
Total: The schooling shows I've done so far this year have run me between $30-$50 depending on the discounts I get through my GMO or the extra I pay for another GMO.

Rated Shows:

Entry Fee: $40-$45 per test.
Drug Fee: $23
Secretary/Office Fee: $20-$30
Total: I pay $256 for a weekend of showing--same facility, but they split the two days into two separate shows so separate drug and secretary fees. The one day show I did last was $143.

The Other Stuff:

  • No PM means I have no aim for qualifying for Regionals, so I don't pay the extra $15 GAIG fee for Training 3.
  • I hate driving, so I only compete within a three-ish hour radius of my barn. This used to be extended when I lived in PA, but I'm so over it now. That means:
    • No overnight stays, so no hotel fee.
  • I work exclusively out of my trailer so:
    • No stabling.
    • No bedding costs, no stall cleaning deposit.
  • My truck gets good gas mileage for an old lady. I take care of her, she takes care of me. She does especially good on the highway, and I generally can do a round trip for around $60.
  • I bring my own food and drinks. I never buy show food and stick to whatever I packed in my cooler from home.
i also bring opie his own cookies from home and dole them out regularly.

What does your show budget look like? Do you plan for it at the beginning of the season, or are you able to take it as it comes? 

30 comments:

  1. Holy crap... my local GMO charges $40 PER TEST for a schooling show. It's almost as much as a rated show. I'm super jealous.

    None of the rated dressage shows around here let you haul in for the day and tie to your trailer. You MUST have a stall no matter what... which is an $80+ fee with shavings on top of that. It makes more sense to pay the $120 for the stall for the weekend and do an overnight, even if shavings are exorbitant and you can't bring any in.

    By the time I pay for two tests, stall, shavings, office fees, drug fees, blah blah blah, the absolute cheapest i can do is about $450 for the weekend, but that doesn't count the fee for my camper ($50/night) or my gas. I budget $1/mile for hauling, which mostly covers wear and tear on my truck as well as gas.

    Showing is pricey, yo.

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    1. Yikes! I don't think I've ever paid more than $20 per test at a schooling show anywhere! There's one show that requires stabling that I was going to do with Bobby last year before his leg exploded, and it was causing me much stress having to deal with all that extra.

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    2. I agree with the local GMO prices. We have to pay $25-30 per test here in Maine for little local schooling shows. Ah well. It just makes budgeting that much more......fun. :-/

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  2. My show budget is nuts, simply because we live in the middle of nowhere. Cheapest trailering to the closest show is $250 (the ferry costs are INSANE - that's splitting it 5 ways with my coaches big truck and trailer), and even a one day show would mean we need to stable the night before or after. Rest of my costs are very similar...I'm also a Horse Poor Woman Showing, even when I work some of the costs off by helping get the kids ready and mucking stalls the bill at the end of the month still hurts.

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    1. I can't imagine the logistics and costs it takes to show up by you. I'm sure that's a massive team effort to get everything done!

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  3. I take it as it comes, I definitely do not want to try to add it all up and see how much I spend in total!!

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    1. I'm way too much of a control freak to not micromanage every cent!

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  4. I love this breakdown -- I have a strictly cash rule with fun horse things, like shows, lessons, etc. just like you. Makes planning a bit more important, but living as debt-free as possible has been worth it to us!

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    1. Absolutely! No sweat off my back to take the time to plan things out, and in the long run it makes things so much more stress free.

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  5. This is a great breakdown, and it's very similar to what my showing budget looks like. Except for the whole gas thing; my truck gets terrible mileage and all shows seem to be 2 hours away lol

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    1. The closest dressage show to me is about an hour and a half it doesn't even take me a full tank of gas to do it round trip. Every year we talk about getting a newer truck and every year I just can't justify it when this one gives me so few issues with such good gas mileage!

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  6. That's so cheap! It's hard to find inexpensive schooling shows where I am (it's hard to find dressage schooling shows period!). I just checked costs for two local shows - 1 of which was cancelled - one was just under $70 and the other was $125 for two tests on the same day. Most facilities require that you have the provincial organization membership, which is $50 per year.
    I might try the green horse at an open show and do a couple of flat classes for some miles, which will still run me $40 for 2 classes.

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    1. Ouch! Those extra membership fees really add up quickly. My GMO also gives class discounts if you're a member with them which is super nice.

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  7. I try not to add it up in advance or I'd maybe make saner financial decisions. Better, but less fun.

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    1. Ha, way less fun blog fodder with sane financial decisions!

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  8. I’ve been lucky in past years to not have to be too too clever in my horse show budgeting, thanks in part to a very affordable housing situation. But I’m moving this year and it’s kinda a massive change in costs, which has a trickle down effect to literally everything else. So lately I’ve been trying to adopt some of these same measures of planning things out more carefully and calculating out some of the incidental costs like gas or snacks etc a little more precisely. Maybe I’ll do a post on my current costs too lol

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    1. Ooh yes, definitely do a cost post! I love seeing what people are paying for shows in other parts of pony land.

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  9. I generally plan 2-3 shows at the beginning of the year that are non-negotiable (if the horse is fit of course) and will pull out of savings for if necessary.... these are still just schooling shows though. I never go out to eat, haven't bought clothing for myself since before I bought the horse, etc. Lots of pinching pennies but I know someday showing will be more feasible as long as I stay as debt-free as possible!

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    1. Yep, we don't do anything fun that costs money pretty much ever. Which is fine because there are lots of free fun things to do!

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  10. I made the mistake of getting the PM with USDF this year - totally unnecessary - I don't like showing enough to qualify for anything. I'm lucky that the shows I go to are all within 1 hour from me, but besides that, my show plan sounds a lot like yours.
    I'm insane so I have a bank account purely for shows and lessons. It's basically like a savings account that I consistently add to - then when I need to pay for bulk lessons or shows it's nbd.

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    1. We try to put the bulk amount for shows into the savings acct at the beginning of the year so we're only drawing from that for shows. Some years that works better than others. ;)

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  11. Showing hunter/jumper has gotten so ridiculous with fees. Most shows around here, just for a small, local rated, one day even, you pay $100 before you even walk through the in gate. It's insane. I hadn't really tallied it all up, but I've bought like a million pairs of tall boots in the two and a half years since I stopped showing. And it all came from unused horse show funds and selling my old tack and riding clothes.
    I miss it though. I'm ready to stop buying boots and start paying show fees again! Hopefully next year.

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    1. I feel like there is nothing cheap about hunters. Like, you should be getting charged every time you say the word. :P

      And as much as I love every single one of your boot posts, I really hope next year they get replace by show posts!

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    2. Ha! Don't give them any ideas, that will be next!
      Thanks! I'm hoping so too!

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    3. Rejoin the dark side Stacie! It misses you! But ya... I honestly try NOT to think about my show fees, it's that awful. Obviously I show with a barn, so it would be cheaper to DIY it, but that's REALLY hard to do at a week long show. I would be buying so many tall boots if I wasn't showing HAHA!

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    4. I think it's a reasonable method of coping. I've started referring to them as my emotional support boots.

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  12. thanks for the post, it is so interesting to see costs all over the USA (and beyond). One thing I did buy last week was US Rider. I hemmed and hawed cause it is 150 bucks and that ws huge for me to pay out right before doing a Cross country drive. BUT i did. My reasoning was....if i need it great, if i dont so it will be worth the cost. Didn't need it YAY. I hope the show costs down here are cheaper than MD and PA but since GOD knows when I will show again it might not matter ;) HA HA HA

    I love that you take your food and drink. I have started doing that even on my cc jaunt I had a cooler full of drinks, protein shakes and snacks.

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  13. Well I think this is an unofficial blog hop now! Good idea for a post.
    Here's my version: https://autonomousdressage.blogspot.com/2018/06/my-typical-horse-show-budget.html
    (warning, way more $$$ here)

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  14. First of all- I absolutely LOVE when horse people are upfront about costs- especially bloggers! I think it is so important to help shed this weird veil of mystery that sometimes exists with horse showing. Like, why so secretive? Good for you. I really enjoyed reading this post and I applaud your planning and budgeting abilities!

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.