Showing?

How hard is it to get into showing to the point where you are earning/winning money?

Do you have to be really good? How long did it take you (if any of you ever have :wink: ) to really start winning stuff.

Probably a dumb question, but I know nothing about showing so was curious.

It is hard. I know no one who makes money from showing horses, except for trainers who are paid to show for others and gave all their expenses covered.

I have cutting horses, so you win checks. My earnings will never come close to my expenses. Training alone on a cutter is at least $800 per month, and that does not include entry fees- open or non pro is at least $200 per class. The average cost for a lesson on a cutter is $100, due to the cost of cattle.

Hauling fees will cost you at least $1.00 per mile, plus your share of tolls and other expenses. Heck, at one point we were showing monthly in NY state and could not get a hotel room for less than $250 per night! We would sleep as many as we could to a room and it was still ridiculously expensive!

These expenses do not include incidentals like vet work, supplements, tack, and all the other things that go with it. A GOOD cutting saddle will set you back $2000 used, more if new.

If you show at breed shows, you earn points, not money. The AQHA Incentive Fund pays back some, but the horse must be entered, as well as the dire and dam, and there is a fee. I have four AQHA horses at the moment and none of mine are Incentive Fund.

If it was easy more people would be doing it and equestrians wouldn’t be thought of as a rich persons hobby. Although a lot of us are not rich but merely sacrifice to do what we love.

Sure like Cutter99 said, you can win checks but its pretty hard to actually make money at showing. I rodeoed last year, won enough to cover most my expenses to go but definitely wouldn’t say I made money.

Maybe be a little more specific with what type/breed/discipline you want to show? I don’t know anyone who earns a profit by showing h/j or aqha/apha.

[QUOTE=PintoPonies;8228667]How hard is it to get into showing to the point where you are earning/winning money?

Do you have to be really good? How long did it take you (if any of you ever have :wink: ) to really start winning stuff.

Probably a dumb question, but I know nothing about showing so was curious.[/QUOTE]

Not a dumb question, but it is a BROAD question.

There are so many different things you can show in and so many different caliber of shows. I would say as a generality, NO ONE really makes money by showing.

You make money by buying/selling show prospects, offering training services, putting on clinics, etc. But you don’t make the money based on the showing alone. You use the showing to prove what your horse has accomplished, to increase their value for your business.

Using myself as an example, I entered in a large barrel race earlier this year with about 430 entries each day. We really did not have the best run the first day (with Red) but I was lucky enough to get 4th in the 4D and a check for $320. After my entry fees for 2 horses, gas to get there, and a hotel room, I maybe broke even.

Last week I went to a local jackpot where there was 63 entries. We took 3rd in the 1D and got $108. After my entry fees for 2 horses and the 20 min drive to get there, that just broke even.

Of course, there’s been many times I’ve gone home empty-handed. So I certainly don’t show for the money!!!

And those entry fees also don’t count how much money I spend at the farrier, vet, chiro, etc to keep my good horse running competitively. You spend a lot on maintainence for the horses too.

So it’s very difficult to make any money from showing alone. Usually people also have a supplement side business of training facility, etc.

Are you talking about winning enough money to cover your showing expenses and have enough left over to actually live on?

Or are you just talking about winning cash prizes?

[QUOTE=Rackonteur;8231754]Are you talking about winning enough money to cover your showing expenses and have enough left over to actually live on?

Or are you just talking about winning cash prizes?[/QUOTE]

Not to live on, just enough to cover expenses and maybe a little extra. As you can probably tell, I’ve never showed before, so just something I was wondering about.

We mostly just did the Western Pleasure showing as the kids were growing up. Maybe we were lucky but all the horses we bought turned into sought-after stock for others… we never had a problem selling any as the kids advanced, making money on each sell.

Often times we were turning down offers for the kid’s favorites. One mare we bought as a long yearling after she won several regional championships back east as four year had a parade of grandparents with open check books wanting her for their grand kids …we kept that one all of her life.

The first check I received for a top-ten finish at a national championship show, in a big division, was $24.50. It was enough for our gang to have breakfast at McDonald’s, which we did thanks to my horse.

There are some disciplines where the consistent top horses probably pay their show expenses, but very (very) few that would also pay their board, training, and vet costs on top of that.

Pursuing showing with the goal of paying for the shows with prize money is not a viable option unless lightning strikes. Very unlikely; there are a lot of positives to consider (fun, improvement, competitive advancement, travel, fun with barn buddies, etc.) showing but financial incentive is not a strong one.

[QUOTE=Miss Motivation;8233265]The first check I received for a top-ten finish at a national championship show, in a big division, was $24.50. It was enough for our gang to have breakfast at McDonald’s, which we did thanks to my horse.
.[/QUOTE]

The long term value is that you did place and the record is established, at least that was all we ever looked at as the actual showing costs were thousands of dollars… when ever we sold a horse as a show horse, the record was part of its value… where had it been shown, who were the judges, what was the class size all had an impact on the overall value of the horse…at least for us, the actual value to us was that we could turn a sizable profit on any of our stock at anytime if we had wanted. We kept two as I had promised to those two horses if you take care of the kids I will take care of you.

We also used our show horses as competitive trail and eventers which broaden their appeal to some, others were looking for a specific use such the family who bought younger daughter’s competitive trail pony …that was all that puppy could do, once we figured out that his right front leg was a quarter inch shorter than his left front we were able to then place a pad under the shoe and level him out so his saddle would stay in place

What discipline/events are you asking about because some don’t pay actual money, while others do. If you are looking at showing AQHA or some other breed show, most don’t pay any money, you only win awards like trophies, ribbons etc. Cutting, reining, barrel racing pay cash, sometimes big amounts but you have to get to the top to win; getting there and staying there probably costs more than what you will win. Would be interesting to see what say the top barrel racer wins for a year v/s what she spent for that year to win that money, not just entry fees, but travel costs including feed/food/lodging/stall fees etc. on the road, etc.

I’ve never met anyone that isn’t a professional, being paid to ride other peoples’ horses or a top rodeo competitor, that makes money showing. It’s extremely hard and takes a long time. You have to be prepared to work hard for many years and develop world class skill.