Nicole from Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management (California) wrote on the topic most recently, and Amanda from The $900 Facebook Pony (Texas) gave her take last year. (Let me know if anyone else did something similar and I'll add their link.)
I'm chiming in too bc let's face it, we showed a lot this year and it adds up. But what I learned from other posts was that it doesn't add up in my area in NEARLY the same way it does else where. Maryland has the advantage of an extensive calendar of nearby events, recognized or not, as well as scads of top riders and coaches whose lessons are priced competitively.
Additionally, I didn't compete with a trainer (excepting our first event of the season, Jenny Camp) and I haul myself - frequently with another rider who splits fuel costs (and also brings food bc Brita seriously makes the most bangin' sandwiches ever. #justsayin).
So what did I pay for this show season?
Memberships: $40 (MCTA)
- This membership pays for itself entirely if you compete in both MCTA Starter Trials
Entry Fees: $785 (includes coaching when applicable)
Volunteer Credits: - $45
- $25 for jump judging at Shawan Downs
- $20 for jump judging at Olney's recognized event
Cross Country Schooling: $375
There are obviously other (extensive) costs associated with my horse hobby. The horse herself. Lessons (and I take a LOT of them...). My stock trailer, for which I still have a monthly payment ($118 if you're intensely curious). Fuel and maintenance for the truck. Equipment.
Etc etc etc, the list goes on and on and never ever ends ever. It's horses. My experience is that the associated costs will balloon to whatever size your budget accommodates. Better money managers can spend less. Individuals with greater resources can spend more.
These associated costs are therefore excluded from my show season cost analysis since they vary so extremely from one person to the next, and since most of it is part of my regular horse budget, not just the show budget.
Bottom Line: $1,155
At the end of the day, I spent $1,155 to compete in 8 shows and school cross country 5 times. That amounts to ~$90 per outing. (And if you're squeamish about my blase dismissal of the other considerations, you can add the value of your own associated costs here. Say, $25-$50 per outing - meaning an additional $325-$650 for the year).
This is by no means an insignificant sum, and I remain ever grateful that I have employment and access to a lease horse on terms that make this possible.
But I also believe that, at the end of the day, we're relatively economical and thrifty in spending those precious dollars (and in taking advantage of opportunities for discounts, like volunteering!). We get an awful lot of bang for our buck.
What about you? If you show, are your costs very different from this? Are there specific reasons why (like having goals or circumstances such that you only do recognized events)? Or would you show more often if it was more affordable?
Also, for those of you riding in different disciplines, it's always interesting to hear how they compare!