Is TPH blog true? Are show dates really sub-leased?

If this is true, what must change to remove this layer of costs absorbed by exhibitors?

Is it “simply” a reworking of the USEF calendar rules?

Is this just another example of how the USEF/USHJA are not (primarily and transparently) representing the interests of the exhibitors?


This has always been the case, it’s nothing new. Yes, the show manager who owns a date can sell/lease it to a different show manager to use-- either just for a single year or on an ongoing basis. I don’t think anyone’s ever tried to keep that a secret. You can see when you look up the show dates on the USEF website whose dates they are, and then if someone DIFFERENT is actually managing the show you know they were sold/leased.

I dunno that I can agree with the colorful “examples” or the actual dollar amounts suggested in that article. But yes, the mileage rule means that there are limits on how many shows on a given date in a geographic area and the dates are given to whoever is “sitting” on them, not whoever most deserves or wants them. I’m not sure how USEF could really figure out who most deserves/wants them. I am not sure I can agree that the sole metric should be how many competitors are lured in, though that’s one consideration. I don’t know how the USEF can possibly decide that some young upstart who hasn’t hosted a show yet has such grand innovative ideas that he is the most deserving. That might actually be true, I’m just not sure how USEF could know that. And at the point you have people APPLYING for show dates that is going to add on the cost/uncertainty to hosting shows. If a show manager doesn’t know from year to year whether he’s getting the dates, or doesn’t know enough in advance, that could discourage managers from holding shows and/or increase the costs of holding them due to having to plan last minute.

The mileage rule has its plusses and minuses. Horse shows are expensive. I am not sure there’s a direct causative relationship between the mileage rule as currently applied and the cost of horse shows. The article’s a hot take, I get that. There might be a problem here. I am not sure the problem is exactly as described or that it can be fixed as easily as suggested. I suspect “buying dates” is a drop in the bucket for MOST shows and that if you really wanted to dissect why horse show fees are so expensive there are other factors that go into the fees that are a lot larger and a lot more worthy of criticism than the fee for buying dates.


The show dates being owned/leased is nothing new. Been happening for decades. I don’t really think it’s the reason for higher show costs?

About 20 years ago, I noticed that the stall fees were almost double at a show facility for a USEF H/J show vs a USEF sanctioned Arabian show. These are the exact same stalls. At the exact same facility.

20 years ago. It cost at about 50% less to compete in a USEF Arabian show compared to a H/J show… at the same location, with multiple days, multiple arenas, multiple judges. Cost double to unload a H/J off the trailer with office fees… compared to Arabian.

Note: this does not reflect on the added cost for any big prize money classes. Not any cost of a horse, tack, attire, training, feed, farrier ect. Just the show entry costs.

** Learned this as we had a friend competing at the Arabian A show.



The thing that puzzles me, is: are horse shows so lucrative that a manager could afford to pay $350,000 to rent a date on top of all the other expenses and still make a profit? That would suggest that the regular manager is taking home a profit of over $350,000 per show. I think that is highly unlikely. If that were true the average manager would only run two or three shows a year :slight_smile: and spend the rest of the time being wealthy and relaxed.

If you get 300 horses at a venue and they each pay $1,000 in total show fees, that’s only $300,000 that has to cover facility costs, judging, ring crew, fees, etc.

I don’t know how the big semi permanent venues in Florida work. But the average show elsewhere likely is not such an excuse to print money.

This is what happens when you get an unemployed chemist with no training in economics or facts or inside knowledge trying to write like a business insider.


Honestly, those numbers seem completed pulled out of the air to me. Perhaps there are some HUGE shows where they’re that lurative but your average weekend B/C show-- no way anyone is paying anything like 6 figures for dates. I suspect most of the time managers buying dates are paying very little, more of a gratuity than anything else. If you asked me to make a WILD guess (and it would be a WILD guess) I would expect it to be more like $500-2000ish instead.

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A lot of my friends who manage shows and the few that own dates are so upset this is out. They are living a lavish life style by selling dates. Their secret is out! :wink: (sarcasm font).

I can’t tell who wrote that blog? I would love to know where the numbers came from. But hey- good attempt to rile the massess

  • Signed- by no means a USEF lover

Yes, horse show dates are sold and leased. Ali bought dates from Langer to run the November shows in Thermal (that were then essentially run by HITS, until they passed them on).

Yes, people run shows as loss leaders in order to keep others from competing with them: HITS Tucson was run at a loss for years to keep another manager from running shows in AZ that would compete with HITS Thermal.

Sometimes trading dates works for the benefit of exhibitors. We had shows in SoCal last year in part bc the show managers worked together to move shows from counties that weren’t allowing them to those that were.

Anyhow, I doubt this is affecting what exhibitors pay, at least not by much. Shows seem to cost about the same whether they are run by the original owners or not. There’s far more difference bw HJ shows and some other disciplines, and that has always been the case.

As has been noted before, TPH is something of a drama llama and doesn’t always get facts and figures right. They also need a better editor: it’s heyday, not hay day.

A person with a PhD who doesn’t use academic titles outside of academia and who doesn’t think the mileage rule is a good thing.


LOL. Maybe the author is one of those people currently circulating the Facebook meme that entirely relies on misspelling the word “heyday.”


As an NCHJA member, I know Tryon paid NCHJA mid-five figures several years in a row to be able to host an A show the same dates that NCHJA puts on their annual horse show.

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Well, to be fair, the monopoly over show dates “has not always been this way.” In fact, the system was granted as part of the USEF’s mileage rule, enacted in 1975 by the AHSA.

That said, readers of The Plaid Horse might be a bunch of whippersnappers who don’t know about any of that history.


In that case it was probably less about those particular dates and more a cost-benefit analysis around what it means to keep people at Tryon for their entire fall series

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I don’t know or care much about the mileage rule, but some of you have decided to be pretty nasty about TPH’s editor. She gives a lot of herself to this sport and its community.


I agree she’s garnering criticism but if she writes an article with no support that makes broad assertions she can fairly be criticized for the lack of support. Being a good person who does good things doesn’t render her article free from criticism.

And above I was a little colloquial when I said it’s “always” been this way. It’s been this way since the mileage rule came into play. That’s many decades ago so it’s been a while. But yes, prior to the mileage rule, no one could sit on dates so no one could realistically sell them. The point I was making is that this is nothing new, it’s been this way for DECADES so if horse show fees have escalated recently I suspect there’s a different cause because buying/selling dates predates a more recent escalation in fees.


I never gave TPH a single thought until the post last week about game theory and the USEF and now this one. She calls herself doctor since she has a PhD in Chemistry, and is set up to teach “university level” courses in equine business management. Then she proceeds to write about the economics of the horse show industry with no facts, no inside information or interviews (she’s an ammie rider) and a very shaky grasp of the theories she uses.

I get that she owns and runs an online horse magazine that some people read and like. But the magazine presents itself and its owner/editor as a piece of professional journalism. So it’s legitimate to question when it publishes things that are just factually and logically wrong.

People are posting here saying: I saw something on Plaid Horse (with the appearance of being legitimate information), is it true? And the answer two for two in two weeks is: nope.

When you publish a magazine, call yourself doctor, and offer courses in equine business management, the bar is higher than for some ammie on her own FB page.

On the first thread I also pointed out that you can have a PhD in one field and have no expertise in another, but bluff by calling yourself Doctor. I happen to know that my own PhD does not qualify me to write articles on Economics or Chemistry, especially if I can’t be bothered to go and actually interview people.

Plaid Horse is practicing shoddy journalism and yes, that reflects on the judgement and character of the owner/editor, even if she is a lovely person.


There is a higher standard if you’re presenting yourself as a journalist as opposed to some random person posting in a forum. This may be my academic snobbery raising its ugly head, but I do expect someone who was trained at what is arguably one of the top five graduate programs in chemistry in the US to be more accurate and precise and to do a better job of leveraging facts when presenting a point of view.

During the WEC/USEF battle, Piper had arranged for Mary Babick(USHJA president) to be on one of the podcasts. Mary backed out for some reason and during the subsequent wrangling apparently referred to Piper as “unprofessional,” presumably referring to her role as editor/journalist. Piper’s response on the podcast was that of course she wasn’t a professional because she was an amateur rider. Between that and some inaccuracies on a podcast in the same time frame, I’d had enough and have pretty much stopped listening to them. If there’s someone I really want to hear, I’ll listen, but that’s a podcast that I’ve always listened to at 1.5x speed. I end up reading the articles because they must have a pretty good metric and consequently end up in my Facebook feed with great regularity. She does bring up some valid points, but it would be better and people might take her more seriously if she did a better job of presenting her points.


Here’s another example of The Plaid Horse’s inaccurate journalism, in an article on horse welfare:

There is a statement in the article that the US will be banning trimming of horse whiskers effective July 2021. The ban in question is for FEI competitions only and thus applies to only a small percentage of the horses competing in the US, and an even smaller percentage of the horses in the US.


Ah. The plot thickens. People don’t want to be interviewed by her.

I did do journalism in my 20s. You have to be accurate to your facts and listen to the people you interview. Indeed, I probably could write a general interest article on chemistry or economics if I found the right people to interview and was accurate in recording what they said. But not off the top of my head.

It is possible that entrants in the field, growing up on celebrity blogs with Fox propaganda in the background, may believe that actually being accurate to your facts and professional to your interview subjects doesn’t matter. It’s also possible that if you have no training in journalism and are running a one person online project, the concept of fact checking never crosses your mind, and there is no mentor to oversee you. But these things still matter in journalism. Even Fox is selective about the points it lies about, and is careful to be accurate on 90 % of its basic facts.

Someone that did chemistry this way would end up blowing the lab sky high.

I never followed TPH because my early impression was that it was just paid product reviews of h/j breeches and matchy matchy sets. Is the turn to Big Analytical Topics new or did I just miss it earlier?


because this discipline , long ago, ceased being a sport and became big business


And another thing!

Part of holding a PhD, a research degree, is being respectful of expertise and knowledge. I don’t know anyone with a PhD that thinks they know everything about everything. And most of the time, the doctorated folks are careful to stay in their professional or scholarly lanes, precisely because their work (or at least the research part of it) is so specialized; they are well aware of all that they don’t know.

If you want to leave your field and start throwing your doctorate around, have at it. But it won’t be other PhDs who think your doctorate in Horsing qualifies you to do any Chemistry, or vice versa.

I wish people wouldn’t try to fool people who don’t realize just what a PhD in a given field qualifies you to do or to be authoritative about and what it does not.


One thing you should get from a PhD program that should translate to other fields is an understanding of how to gather, evaluate, and utilize information appropriately.

Whoever thinks we’re a tough crowd should wander over to the 70’s/80’s Facebook group and read some of those comments.