How is the Economy Affecting Your Showing and Clinic Attendance?

My budget has definitely tightened up!

I’m starting a young horse under saddle this year and will wait until next year anyway to travel and show or clinic.

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I’ve got a new one this year as well, an OTTB. I keep mine at home, so I do want to go places a bit so he doesn’t get too “comfortable” but I’ll visit friends’ farms, hack out, and do occasional lessons. I’m trying lessons with a new trainer that comes to a farm less than 4 miles away, so short haul. I may just forego any clinics this year unless I truly feel the new trainer isn’t a good match. I hope to go to a local show later this year, but it’s fine if not. I don’t know how much of my plan is based on just the economy, vs how I’d approach year one of relationship building anyway, but it all works out!

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The main thing for me is that I won’t haul out of town because of the price of gas.

I’m lucky that I have a few adjustments to my cash flow coming up that will offset some of the other rising costs. Knock wood lessons haven’t gotten more expensive (yet). However, a couple clinics have been canceled or rescheduled due to the price of flights, so I guess that’s indirectly reducing my ability to attend clinics.

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Only showing at places that are less than an hour haul from me - I guess it’s pretty easy to do that considering I live right next to Ocala. So far my board bill and training fees haven’t gone up. I expect they will. The 5 year old needs a new saddle - they’ve gotten expensive in the past 6 months. Ugh.

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I sold a horse earlier this year, largely because it was time for her to find a new home and the market seemed good. I’m really glad I did, because I could never have afforded to campaign both her (on the Arabian circuit) and my warmblood mare (at open shows) this year.

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A change in barns, requiring a further drive and higher board cost means that I’m not planning on showing much if at all this year. I’ll continue to trail ride etc.

I’m still tentatively hoping to bring the young one to an inspection later in the fall, but if gas prices continue to climb I can’t justify the 3 hour drive.

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I have been driving an hour weekly to get lessons but I’m exploring some possibilities closer to home (as in I can ride the horse there). If I’m not successful with the switch, then I’ve already discussed with my regular coach just bringing both horses once a month to save on diesel expenses.

As for shows I’ve decided to only show local. I was showing both local and 2 hours away; but it’s not worth the cost of fuel, at least for now.

For the first time since I was actively breeding horses I’ve opened a separate ‘horse’ account for the sole purpose of being able to budget the whole horse habit more efficiently. With hay jumping from $15/bale (last purchased a load in March) to $25/bale I’ve already begun picking up extra shifts at work just to keep the account funded and horses fed. I expect my farrier will be the next to increase prices (and I don’t blame him).

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I’m definitely reconsidering showing, because show costs have gone through the roof in my area.

For some reason, two of our three local venues have lost most of their show dates this year and they’ve all been given to the third venue, which has raised prices.

Example: a stall for the weekend at the third venue used to be $150 with first bedding and full service included (they mucked once a day, and if you left hay outside, they’d throw it in first thing in the morning).

That same stall is now $185 with NO bedding, NO mucking and NO feeding. Shavings are $15 per bag.

Day stalls used to be $30 - $40 with bedding. They’re now $60 with no bedding.

Class fees used to be $45 for national, $65 for FEI. They’re now all $65.

Scratches used to get refunds if it was before the closing date. They now don’t get office fees refunded ($50).

If I haul myself in for a single class and get a day stall with 2 bags of my own shavings, I’m looking at $250 before I pay my trainer’s coaching fee. I can drop that to $207 if I don’t get a day stall.

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Tons! I’ve audited one clinic and will likely do just two or three shows. Stopped taking weekly lessons when I lost my full-time job due to the pandemic too so that’s not coming back into my life any time soon. Gratefully, I found the Ride iQ app, which costs less per month than a half-hour private lesson in my area and I’ll be keeping that even if the economy and my finances improve. It’s been a life-saver and a game changer. And I get to ride with a bunch of different coaches through the app so I guess it’s also replacing all the clinic auditing I used to do.

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I’ve actually gone the opposite way. If this pandemic (plus all the shootings, war in Ukraine and all the other horrible things going on in the world) have taught me anything, it’s that life is too short. I’m showing double what I did last year primarily because my horse and I are at a peak, so I’m thinking I better go for it because we may not get another opportunity to reach some goals (eg, Kentucky). Horses go lame, jobs are lost, people get sick, trucks break down…
Luckily, I live within 2 hours of a ton of shows, so there are no overnights (other than Regionals). I haven’t noticed showing expenses going up (they’ve always been high -too high) but regular stuff has been increasing. I know I have the privilege to be able to cut back elsewhere (I have a good job; good health, a roof over my head, etc) whereas others can’t - I do not take that for granted.

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It’s put majority of my plans to a halt sadly.

I think this is a pretty good outlook. While I’m glad I sold a horse and don’t have the expense of keeping my forever horse going at the same time I keep my project horse going, I did Carpe Diem my way through 2015 when I lost my job. It was a planned Big Year for me and my horse, with my first time at 3rd Level and a chance to earn my Bronze Medal. I managed to do those things, qualify for Regionals, and just miss out on a ribbon there, which was an amazing thing that kept me going in a really bad year.

I’m lucky that I was able to pull back a little this year, keep my goals modest, and not feel like I’m missing anything by making smarter economic choices for myself. But my calculation might be different if I was in a different place with my horse.

And full disclosure…next year could be another Big Year and I’m trying to plan a month in Florida with my trainer to help jump start it.

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I’m in New Zealand so our horse owning and competition costs are considered quite cheap to many other countries. However, everything is relative. Our living costs are ridiculous.

Our diesel has gone through the roof. I paid $2.83/l yesterday. It used to be about $1.35/l for ages. I remember it being .35c/l.

Thankfully my horse is comfortable barefoot, and my saddle fitter is my mother - and I have a WOW, phew.

It is winter here so I’m hoping to invest in cameras for the arena so I can have online lessons more often than IRL lessons.

It is rumoured that our National Centre is about to raise their costs. I get that, however, I don’t feel we’re getting absolute value for money at present, so hope some improvements are made before then.

Thankfully I don’t have a hubby or kids to answer to as to what I spend my $$ on :wink:

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While the current state of the economy was no where in mind when I set out this year’s show strategy, it turns out to have kept costs down. Went to an open 2 show weekend to get qualified for Arabian Sport Horse Nationals because it was cheaper than going to 2 Arab shows over 2 weekends with my Arab barn. Decided to school May, June, July to prep for Arab and open shows in August and September. Haven’t been able to get back to a weekly lesson schedule yet because of life and the weather. So no great genius here but it has worked out in my favor.

Maybe gas prices will have calmed down a bit by August but I’m not holding my breath!

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