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Lake Placid

Anyone have any insight into entries this year, or the health of the show in general? From their social media posts, I’m deducing that entries are way down and they are concerned.

I am local, but don’t really have much knowledge of the management or inner workings. I showed there once in 2022, but my mare ended up being way too green and we scratched the second week. The show is notoriously unfriendly to green horses and ammies, at least in the jumpers. And is also not very welcoming to locals. Nevertheless, it kills me to have such a great show 20 mins up the road and never have a horse ready for it.

I have another horse that has been on the cusp of being ready and I made showing at LP my big 2024 goal. When they released the prize list, I was super disappointed to see that they had eliminated the .90-1m amateur jumpers; instead they made it 1-1.05m. Just enough to keep us from entering; the last thing I want to do is scare her.

Literally the day before entries closed they announced that they are adding a .85m junior/am division. Yippee! We are more than ready for that. I entered both weeks. They also added a pony hunter classic each week (they never had one before this?!) And now I’m seeing on social media that they are asking GP riders about moving the GP from the grass to one of the all-weather rings. I’m friendly with at least one GP rider who has opted out of LP the last two years and it seems others are following suit. Hmm.

I know the last few years LP has conflicted with junior hunter finals, so I’m assuming that has hurt entries a ton. And the bigger barns and riders just don’t seem to have it on their schedules anymore. I’m glad that show management is possibly seeing the light and adding a bigger range of classes, but is it too little too late? And is it just a last ditch effort to boost entries this year, and they’ll just go back to their usual ways next year?

I would hate for this show to go away. It is iconic and, other than Saratoga, really my only option to show rated. Anyone have any thoughts or insight?

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Seems like the show has been getting smaller and smaller over the past few years. Shame, because it’s gorgeous and I love going there. I have heard people say they prefer Manchester, because it’s easier to get to and the show goes on longer.

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It’s definitely been within the last 3-4 years. Which coincides with junior hunter finals being moved. And, yeah, VT starts the second week, so I can see people just going there instead. I hope they can find a way through this, but I am not optimistic. Management seems to be pretty out-of-touch in general (which is hilarious to say about a fancy-schmancy horse show).

Lake Placid has a new show manager this year, so hopefully things will improve going forward.

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Oh good! Maybe the expansion of classes is a sign of things to come.

Love Lake Placid, but it’s definitely a tough show to do if you have a really green horse or riders that want to stick to the lower levels. Saratoga and HITS both offer more classes under 1.0m, so I know of multiple barns that opt for one of those venues because they have riders and horses at a variety of levels.

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This seems to be the main issue. But only in the jumpers? They have all of the low level hunter divisions, including modified adults and children’s hunter ponies. They have NO training jumpers and even their low schooling jumper class is 1.07m - so if you or your horse are not jumping 3’6, getting in the ring early in the week for a schooling round isn’t even an option. It’s like they’re trying to be a Hampton Classic with their exclusivity, but they just don’t have the numbers to pull it off. They used to be able to rely on LP as a destination/vacation town, but it’s just such a pain in the butt to get to - and if trainers can’t bring their bread and butter clients and green horses to jump around the lower levels, well, it’s just not worth it.

The prize money is nothing to write home about either. Two $75k GPs and a couple of $30K classics? Virtually no prize money in the junior/amateur divisions. Stalls are $385/week in tents, while tent stalls at HITS are $300/week. No ship-ins allowed. It’s a small venue, but it’s not like there’s no room in the schedule - rings regularly wrap-up by 3:00 or so. It just seems like a losing formula all around.

I’m clearly just venting at this point, lol. I am happy that they have made a few changes to their schedule and added some friendlier classes. And I am beyond excited to be able to go this year - I don’t have to hire a farm sitter AND I can sleep in my own bed! I will continue to go when I can and just hope they realize they need to widen their tent if they want to survive.

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It’s also an expensive show to get to/be at. I was thinking about going this year and it would have ben 3500 for just the hotel since it’s in a resort area over a holiday weekend.

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That’s always a little bit of a trade-off based on location.

You can go to a horse show in some grungy town where there is nothing else to do, or you can go to a show in a resort area with activities for the whole family, not just the person who is planning to compete.

Lake Placid is a fun town, and it draws a big crowd for the holiday.

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Expensive, very long days (showing until 6pm? No thank), unpredictable weather, sub-par footing (particularly on the grass-- too much rain and it is muddy and super slick, but not enough and it’s like concrete)

And for us amateurs that have to work, the schedule is tough-- A/O hunters go Wednesday-Thursday.

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Wonderful town. Lots of fun stuff to do. LP isn’t a cookie-cutter horse show.
Yes it’s pricey. We rent a house nearby and take advantage of the hikes, boating and rivers.

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Seems like this is what carried the show for years.

But in recent years, this is more the general feeling about it. Although I haven’t seen rings go all that late; every time I’d try to go spectate in the afternoon, things were basically wrapped.

New management seems open to suggestions on schedule changes. They’ve already made some changes so the amateur jumpers go Fri-Sun, instead of Wed, Fri, Sat or Thurs, Sat, Sun like they have in prior years.

If I didn’t live right down the road, I’d fall into the second camp of “not worth the money.” As it is, it’s one of the cheaper shows for me to attend because I have zero hotel/travel/shipping costs.

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Of course- I am in a stage of the game where I personally value being somewhere my whole family enjoys and having non horsey things to do, but I think most people at the horse show aren’t willing to pay a premium for that and was just suggesting it as a reason why numbers may be down. Many of the smaller shows struggle with entries right now if they aren’t local to enough programs to bring entries to keep it going. The trainers who set the schedule aren’t going on vacation, so they prioritize venues with what appeals to them: footing, stabling, areas to exercise horses/lunge, accommodation for staff, etc. A lot of cute smaller shows ae struggling for entries in the same way. I think as rated horse shows grow increasingly detached from regular people, priorities about shows are changing from what appeals to regular people who happen to show horses want to what people who are spending 6 figures a year on a serious hobby want.

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For what it’s worth, we have found that Saratoga offers many of the same non-horsey things to do, in a cute town, with good options for accommodation, at a more reasonable price point.

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Saratoga is awesome. I consider it my home show, even though it’s 1.5 hours away. They also have a fantastic schooling series that’s invaluable for the green horses. And horses in general seem to really like the venue and settle in there well. I do worry about their numbers too. Most weeks, except for WCHR, are quite light.

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I love Lake Placid like no other, but it’s like the guy says at the end of “Dirty Dancing:” I feel like it’s ending. Trips to Europe, that’s what the kids want.”
Before FEI point-chasing became a thing every major East Coast barn would rendezvous there for some epic battles in the grass ring. Vintage, Hunterdon, Coker, Plain Bay, Fairfield, Norfield, Ri-Arm, Chado, Quiet Winter, JMS, Castle Hill, Heritage, Glenview, and that’s only half the list and not including Canadians. It was a joy to be rewarded at the top of the mountain by that big smile from Richard Feldman.
I will be very sad if the board members call it a day but without the space and budget to offer FEI classes, it is hard to see how they can justify going on. There are still some of the old guard supporting the show, including Hookers, but their numbers are dwindling. What a shame, there is no place more beautiful than the Adirondacks.

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Aw, man. Not the answer I wanted, but the info I was looking for. This feels 100% true based on my instincts and observations. I do hope the board takes a sincere crack at reinventing things, rather than throwing in the towel and ending it all. I know it will never be “like the old days,” but I do think there are some creative paths forward if they are open to them.

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Lake Placid was always one of my favorite shows as a junior.
As footing has evolved, grass has become a harder and harder sell.
When we have alternative surfaces that can stand up better to the weather, I am less eager to gamble on the grass being safe/rideable/etc.
As sad as it is to see so many of the great grass venues replaced by all-weather footing, I also understand why. I don’t want to get to the show and then scratch because the ring is dangerous.

This thread makes me very sad. I haven’t been to Lake Placid in more than a decade–which, I guess, makes me part of the problem. But I remember it incredibly fondly, and still consider it among my favorite horse shows in the country. It’s so sad to see so many of the great heritage shows suffering.

I should make a point of going back before it’s too late!

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I visited the LP horse show last year when my family was vacationing there at the same time. We are from Ontario, Canada which is only about 5 hours away. IMO, the show should do more to attract Canadians from Ontario. Of course, we have the exchange rate working against us, but it seems like a lot of barns are doing a fun week at a US show here and there. Usually they go to Kentucky, Traverse City or WEC Ohio. Maybe the show should market it as a fun vacation show for Canadians?

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