Monday 25 June 2018

My Typical Horse Show Budget

Unofficial blog hop started by Poor Woman Showing and continued by Hand Gallop.

Since I'm deep in deciding what shows to go to this summer and a lot of it is motivated by cost, I figured I would join in on this post idea. Spoiler alert: Mine is going to be the most expensive of these posts so far.


Alberta Equestrian Federation: $50 (required for even schooling shows)
Equestrian Canada Bronze Licence: $25 (required for bronze rated shows)
(if I wanted to go to Gold shows it would cost me $125 for my licence and $82 to record my horse)
Equestrian Canada Amateur Status: $15 (required to compete in AA division at bronze shows)
Chinook Country Alberta Dressage Association: $40 (not required but supports good organization, gets me discounts at shows and makes me eligible for a few awards)
Grand Total: $130

Schooling Show

Cheapest option
(A one day show 2 hours away that happens only 2x per year and has no stabling, very first one held last year)

Office fee: $0
Test fee: $25
Stabling: $0
Total show fees assuming 3 tests/day: $70 ($5 discount)
Hotel: $0
Gas: $150
Grand Total: $220
(there are some other shows with similar setup but if the one-way haul is 4 hours I can't swing it in one day)

Low Level Rated Show - AEF Wild Rose or EC Bronze

(I lumped together Wild Rose and Bronze shows here because the costs are very similar, some Bronze shows are actually cheaper than some Wild Rose shows depending on facility)

Most Typical Option
(2-day show 3+ hours away where both I and Kachina stay overnight)

Office fee: $20-50
Test fee: $35-45
Stabling: $60-130
Other fees: $13-50
Total show fees assuming 3 tests/day: $300-500
Hotel: $160-200 for cheap motel/hotel for 2 nights
Gas: $200+
Grand Total: $700-$900
(I try to shoot for ones closer to $700 if the dates work)

High Level Rated Show - EC Gold

(I haven't competed at a Gold show yet purely because of cost)

Office Fee: $53
Test Fee: $53
Stabling: $237
Other fees: $61
Total show fees assuming 3 tests/day: $665 (even if I did just 2 days of 3 day show)
Hotel: $160-200 for cheap hotel for 2 nights
Gas: $200+
Grand Total: $1065


As you can see, even though all amounts are Canadian $, showing here is not cheap. Gas costs are substantial so travelling further to get to a cheaper show doesn't give me any net benefit. You might think 3 tests a day is overkill, but it financially makes sense for me to try and get the most benefit (most test rides) out of a smaller number of shows (I used to do 4 tests/day). A big reason why I started my local dressage show was so that other people around here can do a more affordable show where they don't have to pay for gas and hotel (but unfortunately that doesn't help me). Three or four shows a year is the most that I can afford so I try to make the best of them.

Monday 18 June 2018

This Horse Guys

My first show of 2018 is in the books! We spent the weekend in Claresholm for the Chinook Country Bronze Summer Dressage Show. It was a busy couple days, showing at Training Level, debuting at First Level(!) and participating in a mini-clinic with the judge.

I was probably overly optimistic a month ago when I sent in entries; we'd done a lot of good training over the winter and I was excited to put it to the test, but this past month was not an ideal prep period for showing. I was so busy with show organizing/wedding/honeymoon/work that I really didn't get out to the barn enough and when I did I had to spend the time working with Kachina on some herdbound ground issues instead of actual dressage (related post in the works). 

Despite the lack of prep, rain, wind, and a sloppy warm-up, Kachina really stepped up and was a champ! I'll do a more detailed show recap later, but I wanted to take today to just really appreciate this wonderful mare of mine. This horse has such a good work ethic. She lets me know when she isn't sure about something, be it my aids or the ground, but she doesn't have any quit in her. If you show her the way, she'll do her best, every time. She showed me that multiple times this weekend.

I know Kachina can't read this post but I hope she knows how much I appreciate her by how many times I told her "good girl!" and by how many cookies I stuffed her face with this weekend =-). Thanks Kachina!

<3 <3 <3

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Why I Organize Shows

Final show organizing post for this year:

Despite the comedy of errors, the show I put on was actually a success in the end. It's a lot of work to put on but I find it really rewarding and I'm glad I did it.

Freshly groomed arena ready for action!

There was a range of kinds of riders this year. Some of the people who entered my show last year came back and many of them had much improved rides and scores this time around. It was great to see the growth from year to year especially as I am good friends with a few of them and know how hard they worked (one friend who recently moved 4 hours away even hauled all the way back to participate again!). We also had a few competitors that I've seen at other dressage shows who made our local show part of their summer competition plan and that was a nice way to feel like my show was legitimate and had what normal competitors looked for. However the group that I was most thrilled to see were the newbies. A couple hunter-jumper riders decided to try dressage and entered a few classes, and I also had a couple riders who were competing in their first horse show ever! It seriously gives me so many warm fuzzies to have people who have never ridden in a dressage show before talk about what a good experience it was and how it is making them look at the sport more.

The perfect warmup for a show like this:
not too busy, not too quiet, and right beside the ring

Another thing that was pretty cool was our spectators. As is the usual at dressage shows, the crowd watching was small and mostly included friends and family of the riders, but there were a few exceptions. In the morning just as we were getting started, an RCMP (police) truck pulled up near the show office and a uniformed officer got out. I was worried that there had been some complaint or concern about permits or something so I went up to talk to her. It turns out that the officer had been in the feed store earlier in the week when I had been buying prizes, she overheard me talking about the show to the cashier and decided to come check it out along her rounds. She ended up staying for quite a while and asked a lot of questions about the sport. Then, later in the day, I had two ladies come to me asking for a schedule of ride times. They were both from out of town, one from Calgary and one from Saskatchewan, but they each ride dressage a little, were in town for the weekend, heard about our show and decided to come check it out. Additionally, a full seven people who do some degree of teaching riding lessons in the area (in various disciplines) stopped by throughout the weekend, some had students competing and some didn't but I was told by a few of them that they would encourage more of their students to enter next year.

The fancy new announcer's booth/show office
Those windows gave me a great view of the action as I scored etc.

Leading up to the show I more than once thought I was insane for organizing a horse show two weeks before my wedding, that may still be true but I'm glad I didn't cancel. I am convinced that skipping a year of this new show would have put dressage in the area back a step, but instead by having it we moved the sport ahead another step.

Some of the prizes

Seeing riders have positive experiences and growing dressage in the area - this is why I organize horse shows for the sport I love so much. Onwards and upwards for next year!

Monday 11 June 2018

Married and such

I'm now a married woman. That feels weird to write, it sounds way more grown up or something than I actually am. Anyways, SO and I had a pretty kickass wedding on June 2nd, spent lots of time with family and friends from around the world and then jetted off to Maui, Hawaii for a short but sweet 4 day honeymoon. Today is back to work and the real world.

Entrance at reception

The wedding went better than we could have hoped. The dance floor was packed, the food devoured, the weather was perfect, and we were surrounded by smiles all day. I feel like all the time I spent planning the wedding was actually worth it, and it was a great opportunity to get all our friends and family together, but I'm also glad to have that role off my plate now so life can go back to normal. I don't feel like being married will really change anything day-to-day, SO and I have known each other for 11 years, dated for 6.5 and lived together for 5 so the wedding certificate just makes our relationship on paper match what it already has been in reality.

Packed dance floor (chicken dance perhaps?)

I feel like I will have so much free time now that my horse show and wedding are both done for the year! Naturally, I'm hoping to channel a lot of that time into riding (I was smart enough to marry a guy who has no issue with the horse habit ;-) ).

Beautiful and delicious cake (all succulents made from gum paste)
made by my super talented new brother-in-law!

Kachina hasn't been worked much in the last month due to my busyness but I've checked on her regularly and she seems happy and healthy. We are still in an adjustment period with the new barn (and some more recent changes to her living environment at the new barn), which makes the time off both good and bad.


I have some updates to post and then I really need to get back in the saddle because we have our first show of the year coming up this weekend!

P.S. I could find no practical way of including horses in the wedding, but I did wear my cowboy boots all day (best decision ever, they were so comfortable!)