Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hope You Like to Write Checks


I recently interviewed a young woman for my paper who won the RMQHA Outreach Program belt buckle this year.

The Outreach Program is sponsored by AQHA and is a way to compete, earn points and qualify for prizes in shows outside the AQHA circuit.

Barrel racing , team penning , judged trail riding, jumping and open shows are eligible if they meet the criteria.

Local clubs who sponsor regular competitions are able to offer this as a way to be involved in AQHA even if you don't have the big bucks needed to show in the bigger circuits.

The young woman I interviewed was high-point in pleasure, trail, western riding and western equitation.

She won a cool belt buckle and a jacket.

I pointed out it was probably time for her to quit taking the ribbons from the folks at her local club and start competing with the big boys.

Yes, yes, I can turn from reporter to horse trainer in a flash.

She sheepishly admitted it was her second year to take the all around buckle.

I asked her if she had any friends left.

Anyway, the conversation we then had is one I'd like to share.

This young woman spends some serious $$ to keep her horse in training. Her trainer wants her to get off her butt and get to the AQHA shows too.

She's not worried about losing, she's worried about the money.

"I'll have day fees (daily money paid to your trainer while at a show), stall fees, hauling fees (trainer hauls for her) and motel bills," she told me, "and then there's the show itself, class fees, judges fees and office fees."

"Just to show at the stock show would cost me $2500."

My initial thought was, why would you jump from an outreach program and go all the way to the stock show?

I mean, you can get beat at a one day, single judge show every bit as easily as at the stock show.

Some shows cost a bunch, some not so much. But I always figured $200 for a day show and I only had to pay myself.

But if she's in a trainers barn then she needs to pay him. Day fees are how he eats. Hauling fees are how he fuels his truck. It's the nature of the beast.

My own experience is different because I never showed as an amateur. When I finally do I won't be hooked to a trainer. I am a master at keeping my expenses down.

I'm hoping to get some input from you guys who show as amateurs. How do you keep your costs down?

What are the best ways to economize?

You all hear about how cheap I am at shows in my stories. I had to show on a shoe-string and so did my clients. We were the Clampetts of the horse show set let me tell you.

I lived in my trailer for one thing. No, I don't have living quarters. I have a 3 horse, rust and chipped gray stock type goose-neck.

I had a bed in the goose-neck part and a step ladder to get there.

My husband installed a battery which ran our lights and fans at night.

Kidlette and I slept in there. I always parked close to the bathrooms.

We would clean out the trailer and set up our saddle racks. This became our tack room and place to hang out when it rained (we covered the slats with tarps). A good padlock on the trailer door kept our stuff safe.

I had a Coleman Grill to cook on and plenty of food and drink in our coolers.

If I had a group with me we would stay in the $20-$30 dollar a night motels. We would split the cost of two rooms and feel like we were stylin'.

We ate out of our coolers and off the dollar menus. At every place we showed at I would save up for one night out at a restaurant.

I also saved money to go play tourist. We went to reptile farms, petting zoos, local carnivals, swimming pools, that kind of thing.

We had a great time too.

So that's how I saved money. Any other ideas?

46 comments:

Shanster said...

That is just about exactly how I show... coolers o' food, gallons of water, gooseneck with a pad for sleeping, I pee in my trailer (it's not a stock so maybe more privacy?) and use wet wipes... which are also great for last minute tack cleaning and boot polishin'... it's never been an option to go any other way and I don't feel like I'm missing out. Recognized shows run about $200 per day of classes for me as well...

Wow. $2500 for one show. That is amazing!

Half Dozen Farm said...

Ditto here. A $30/night hotel was a luxury!

I remember the first time we slept in the back of my Suburban that I used to pull my little two-horse straight load trailer. I had removed the rear seat, which made a queen-size bed area in the back. I had packed a bunch of blankets. What I neglected to remember was that there was no padding underneath the carpeting and you could feel the metal ridges, like in a truck bed. I didn't pack enough blankets for both padding and cover. And the horse show was three hours north of home, which meant it was freaking COLD! We froze and were miserable all night (me and my daughter). At about 3:30 a.m. I started the rig and ran the heater for awhile - but I didn't want to use too much gas!

After that, I bought a queen-size air mattress that fit in the back perfectly, and good warm sleeping bags!

Ohhhhh, the good ol' days! LOL!

Half Dozen Farm said...

BTW...when I saw the title "Hope You Like to Write Checks", I thought it was a horse's name! LOL!

mugwump said...

Half Dozen Farms- What a great name! Dibs!

Heather said...

Yup, good ole trailer camping. If we are feeling extra rich, we will rent an electric site and have a heater or fan. Other cost savers are clipping, braiding and grooming your own horse.

mugwump said...

I thought of another one! Work for the trainer. Feed, do stalls, groom. The more you do the more he knocks off your charges.
I worked off a ride to the World Show and a rat terrier puppy that way.

Leah said...

My best tip I've stumbled upon (though not practical) - move to an area that regularly offers lots of shows within an hour or two drive. Trailering is cheaper and you can sleep in your own bed - so can your horse if you are lucky enough to control the hauling. If you're lucky you can save up for one or two fun "away" shows per season and still get lots of experience/points/ribbons (whatever you are after) in good competition.

nagonmom said...

Leah, that sure worked for my daughter and I when she used to show. We live 20 minutes from the Ky Horse Park! It used to be great to show, go home for a break, be home and sleep in your own bed, and have horses in their barn. I felt sorry for the kids hours from home. And their moms!

Albigears said...

I have a 2-horse straight load bumper pull. After getting to our first out-of-town show this fall I cleaned out the trailer, laid a horse blanket down with my air mattress and sleeping bag on top, and went to check on my horse. When I came back there was a barn kitty sitting on my bed.

Later that night I got ready for bed and laid down on a flat mattress. Upon investigation little kitty puncture holes were found. Luckily the truck I borrowed had a bench seat in it...

I've always done everything myself. Training, grooming, braiding, hauling, sleeping in the trailer or a tent. Discounted or borrowed show clothes. My horses are barefoot unless we're going someplace rocky.

I try to go places where we can get more bang for the buck, like the 3-Day event at Tulip Springs where the first day was a hunter/jumper clinic, the second day was a hunter/jumper schooling show, and the third day was a cross country jumping clinic.

LuvMyTBs said...

I have a 3 horse and at the most only take 2 of my own so I always take someone else to the shows to help w/the fuel costs.We split motel rooms if we have to stay overnight.

If my trainer is going with a bunch of horses I haul 2 for him. We also swap my excellent show prep and management skills for his time/fees with my one horse.He is very unorganized and has little patience with the people skills stuff and gladly hands that off to me.It saves me quite a bit of $$ at the big rated shows.

Mel said...

#1 way to save $$ at shows? Go look at the tack vendors WITHOUT your wallet. LOL. But seriously..

I don't pay for my trainer to go to shows with me. If hours of lessons and practices haven't helped, I'm not going to get a "voila" moment in the warmup ring....Have someone video tape your ride. I do and then at my lesson after the show, I ask my trainer to watch it. Hey - I'm paying for the lesson and if I would rather watch a video than ride, than I figure that's OK.

Have someone take pictures of you, instead of paying the profesional.

sleep in your trailer, eat mac and cheese and tuna (my FAVORITE camping meal).

Have a potluck with your group.

Bring your own shavings (although the one event I had to buy shavings at was VERY reasonable - cheaper than I could have bought at the local feed store.

cdncowgirl said...

If you don't mind here is a link to my post on how we camp for our Provincial Finals:
http://myhorsesmylife.blogspot.com/2009/09/cowgirl-camping.html

Also Steph has showing on a shoestring down to an artform. She hasn't updated lately but has tons of past posts. Her blog is:
http://inclined2ride.blogspot.com/

She has labels so I'd look up "cool money saving stuff" and "horse showing"

kel said...

My kids showed livestock for years and we had a pretty good system going. We traveled with another family and would pack into hotel rooms like sardines! Sometimes we would even get a suite and have 5-7 kids and 4 adults in the room. Yes - I have seen my friends husband in his tighty-whitey's and having 5-7 teenagers in a room can be a bit crazy! But those were some of the best times we ever had. We packed ice chests with water, cheap soda, beer/margarita's for the adults (remember all those teenagers!),sandwich fixings etc. There is no way you can afford to buy food at California Fairs or Cow Palace without breaking the bank. Local shows or club run shows we would try to support the group and at least eat a meal or two there.

I haven't started showing my horse yet. I plan to get out there in 2010. I have been working towards it for over a year now. So this topic really hits home for me. I have been thinking about it alot. I went to several horse shows as a spectator this past summer to get a feel for what the costs were going to be and it was a rude awakening! The facility that I board at has a reining series, 4 shows, reasonable entry fees, etc. That will be a for sure one for me. One of the shows I went to is a 3 day show and would be over $900 in enteries alone. I don't think I will be going there! I plan to ask my trainer up front for her fees. Hopefully I won't need her to go forever but at first I will need to have some support. I have a 4 horse gooseneck with a nice foam matress. I detest the idea of sleeping in my trailer. I detest the idea of not being near my horse or leaving him at a facility with out me staying on site. What is a girl to do? I keep telling my husband he needs to buy me a living quarters horse trailer. He isn't biting - at all. Just gives me that "are you stupid" look.

Alyson said...

We usually show with a group of other people from the barn. So, one person will handle a camping spot and we all cram into someone's motorhome, we all chip in for a tack stall where we keep all our stuff plus a dorm fridge that everyone donates snacks/drinks for, and we use our truck and the trainer's trailer to haul. Works well, everyone has a darn good time.
I also troll eBay and Tack Trader for clothes. You can find some really nice pieces for a lot cheaper than you'll find at the tack trailers at the show.

Anonymous said...

you mean people stay in hotels when they show? but...what about your horses? I would feel so weird leaving them somewhere that wasn't home. I always sleep in the trailer, or a tent next to it.

hwbowen said...

This one is easier said than done sometimes, but: pick a sport that's conducive to being done on a shoestring and a barn/trainer that understands that clients only have so much money to go around.

I event. Obviously you can spend as much money as you have available, if that's your thing...but at baseline, the sport is much friendlier to people doing the best they can with what they have than, for example, I ever found the show hunters to be.

And I ended up at a barn that's full of W-2 amateurs and college kids, with a business plan that doesn't rely on nickel-and-diming to keep the place's head above water. Barn owners/trainer aren't running a charity, but they're great about working with clients to keep things affordable.

There are always ways to shave costs down--I trailer- or tent-camp, eat peanut butter sandwiches, do my own braiding, etc., etc., etc.--and obviously, "Take up eventing," isn't helpful advice if you've got your heart set on doing the Big Eq. But I figure it's easier to keep the check-writing to a minimum if you're not fighting your sport and the people around you more than strictly necessary.

Jennifer said...

My list...
*Don't go to so darn many shows. Go to two or three big shot events, instead of four dozen little ones.

*Take a second part time job to feed the habit.

*Don't pay a trainer at the show - go on your own.

*Day trips. Get up super early, pack lots of hay, water bucket, cookies, and convince your pony he CAN work without overnight at the show barn.

*Don't buy the extra fancy show clothes - save the dough for class fees.

*Don't participate in every single event at every show. Pick & choose classes.

A huge pet peeve of mine - folks that show at rated events and get moderate results. Then, just for the "toys & ribbons", they show in local opens, and cream all us beginners. Thanks for mentioning it.

Lulu said...

Ditto!

I recently upgraded to a trailer with a small livng quarters, but until now I was sleeping in the "dressing room" of a small slant trailer. I had an air mattress, flashlights, and a battery operated fan.

I might have a nicer trailer now, but I still have to be thrifty.... I stick to shows that have all day fees, and join clubs that do yearend awards (the prizes can typically be chosen - and I always pick something I need).

I don't have all of the sparkly clothes that the other ammy's wear, instead I have a nice pressed pair of jeans, and a pressed shirt. Both of which I starch and iron at home...on my own.

My biggest money saver though is belonging to two different groups that show at a facility I live 6 miles from. They also have shows at a larger facility that is 50 miles from home....and those are the only two places I go. I won't haul for 6 or 7 hours to go to a show. I figure that the extra gas is impossible to justify when there will be another show close to home in a week or so.

Golden the Pony Girl said...

Car pool to save gas--- If you have a trailer offer your extra slot, if you don't have one offer to pay some gas. It may be cheaper than riding with your trainer if he/she is only hauling you. Pack a lunch and I hate to say it but for some shows go solo without a trainer. That one is real iffy to me, but I have done to save money

AareneX said...

hwbowen is right--choose a horse sport that is conducive to shoestringing.

Endurance riding is my pick: no "required tack" and nobody looks down upon a shoestring rig as long as your horse is sound and happy.

We used tents for years; now we have a little truck camper but the kids still bunk in the horse-section of my little two-horse slant trailer--we bed deeply with shavings and clean it out really well when we get to camp. The shavings make an excellent mattress under sleeping bags (uh, put a tarp as a floor or you will have shavings in your hair in the morning...)

mugwump said...

These are great...keep them coming. You realize you're helping me write my article don't you?

Michelle said...

Great post. I've always traveled on a budget too - sometimes the budget was stricter than others, but I always did what I had to do to get to the shows I wanted. Staying in the trailer happened more than a few times, as did being the only person in my barn to actually show up and feed/longe/clean stalls instead of paying the help. I'd also often help out the trainer at the show by prepping horses and braiding/banding to make a little extra.

Heather said...

This is on a larger scale, something the show management can do to help out the competitors. I shows arabs as a youth and it seemed like any show over 3 days long always had a progressive barn party on a friday or saturday night after the last class of that session. Each barn/group set up a table with snacks, food, drinks, or desserts. This way everyone pitches in just a few dollars and everyone gets to eat a huge variety of food. PLUS it is a blast to socialize and keeps kids entertained for hours!

lopinon4 said...

Honestly, unless you're needing to earn points for some reason or another, I stick to the breed-sponsored open shows and the 4H open shows, and stay local. I am helping my local horse economy and favorite groups, but not spending a lot. I am not afraid to pitch an ugly tent or sleep in my truck, and my horses have bed in the trailer overnight instead of being stalled. There are always ways to show and have fun without breaking the bank.

Calililly said...

We are lucky enough to have a huge showground where I board my horses. I have access to about 12 "b" shows a year and about the same number of "a" shows. Not to mention nearly at least one show a weekend soemwhere within an hour drive. (So-Cal Hunter/Jumper) No way I could afford to show if I had to pay hauling, stall fees, and feed/lodging for myself. I still make sure to buy my stuff used, do my own braiding and work off fees by doing the accounting for the barn. I also go to the $20/day fun shows for a tune up before the real shows start. Great experience and way to get the jitters out. (Don't forget to tell them you are just schooling and don't want to get judged so you don't rake in the ribbons if you are above that level)Prices are crazy here. $2,500 is cheap for an 'a' show. ^^

mugwump said...

Do you guys have to deal with haul-in fees?
I took some horses to a palomino/buckskin show, (low class fees, smaller classes, but still judged)thinking it would be an inexpensive way to show some youngsters and they charged $15 per horse per day of the show.Just to stand at the trailer. This has become standard practice.
The standard fee for living in your trailer, even if you don't plug in is $18 a night.
Of course it helps that my trailer is so ratty nobody believes I could possibly be living in there.

Shadow Rider said...

I was always showing on a shoe string, and of course I decided to show versatility, so I had to have 3 different sets of everything! Hunt, saddleseat, and western. My first saddleseat morning coat I made myself the night before the show by sewing a skirt set together. It worked, and everyone complimented me on my 'custom show coat!'Since then I have sewn a lot of my own show clothes and costumes.

I bought cheapo tack, and conditioned it to death. You can get cheap silver sets online for the western saddles. My western show clothes I lucked out at a horsey flea market and got a whole set. I bought everything used, and cheap.

I had a truck and trailer, but couldn't afford trainer, groom, hotel room and expensive dinners.
I did free clinics and learned myself. I rented an extra stall at the events and slept in there on a cot. Since stalls were $10-15 a night, that was pretty good. Plus I could lock my tack in there when I was gone. (hey, hang horse blankets over the fronts and sides, instant privacy!)

Coolers of food and drink, bring your own hay and shavings, etc. Every facility I showed at had showers, and what else do you need? My best memories of showing are of being there with other shoestring budget folks, sitting up talking half the night, riding our horses bareback in the dark, scraping together change to order pizza for the group. Good times.
I went to regionals, never had the money to go higher than that, but I had a blast, and got my points for versatility!

Winter Storm Ranch said...

I don't show at horse shows but I do show rabbits. Some of our greatest memories of the shows are in the old motor home and trailer. We haul our horse trailer with rabbits in. In the last few years of showing we have only slept in a motel one once and that was just last weekend. Our foundest memory was heading to a show when the old motor home broke down. We sat on the side of the road for hours, we had 4 adults 1 kid 1 dog and rabbits almost to celing in our 2 horse straight load bumber pool. We had stuff for a week. We crammed everythign from the motor home into the trailer on top of rabbits and in the tack room. Once towed to a small town the only way to get us to the town we needed was our rabbit friend and her 3 seater little truck pulling our trailer... Now picture this everything we own in the trailer and tack room plus 3 adults and the dog cramed into the tack room to..We all still laugh about it. We save so much money by camping and cooking right there and driving around.. We also went to a Clinton Anderson Tour and took my SUV and had so much just camping at the site and not stressing about anything.

Barbara

Lulu said...

I think the "jump out" fee in my area is $25.... So, if you don't stall your horse at the show, you have to pay the fee. Pretty stupid really.

slippin said...

I remember going to a 4 day cutting in Northern California. My mom and I let the trainer haul the horses since he was going with several other horses that he was going to show. Then we packed...and I mean PACKED my little Ford Ranger with Tents and ALL the camping equipment possible. We had a camp stove, cooler, full of food and drinks. Mom made lasanga and that kept us fed for a nite. The horses had stalls and we had our tents and sleeping bags. We all had fun too!
I have an off topic question...I know...AGAIN! My horse is going to be coming off stall rest for a stifle injury on Jan 2nd. I took him outside to let him eat grass and he tried to take off on me(After 7 weeks of stall rest I don't BLAME him at all!!)What does everyone think about aquatredding him or swimming him? I only want to do it for a few days, just to get the edge off of him so that I can WALK him quietly. Once we get on a roll he will be ok...but the initial starting out is going to be rough. Ace isn't going to help him AT ALL...he will almost need some Domorsodan! LOL Just courios what other people experience with this kind of injury and how to bring him back without him killing himself because he is so wound up!

stilllearning said...

slippin: hand grazing after all that stall time is the hardest! Both times I had to rehab one I rode at a walk in the quietest place and time of day that I could find. Yes, there were explosions of exuberance, but I had better control mounted.

Good luck.

Heila said...

Slippin, my friend's mare was on stall rest due to a bad eye infection as her eye had to be kept in deep shadow. Initially she was only allowed out as long as the eye was still in shadow. So we would walk her on the shadow side of the stables in the late afternoon, with two leadropes so that we could (try to) control her from both sides. This was... uhm... interesting. Good luck!

Justaplainsam said...

Well this will be my first year of showing on my own at AQHA shows. My horse will get trailered to the show by my barn owners who are bringing a trailer load from our barn. Then several of us who are 'outcasts' from a certin trainers farm are setting our selves up in one barn all together. We'll share tack stalls, and all of us show different events so we can all help each other.

Trainer fees can range from 30-50 CDN here per day so even doing it on our own that way will save us each $100-200 depending on the show. I did the camping thing last year but its worth it to me to get a better nights rest and spend that extra money and stay in a hotel with hot water and beds!

We all braid or band our own (except me because of my hands but I hold the horses while they are getting done and do a trade that way)which saves another 30.

We also pack coolers/fridges with food.

Truthfully the AQHA shows will be the only shows that I really have to pay for. My barn is holding two fun shows this summer, with major payback money, so with no trailering or stall fees I'll get to great shows that will hopefully pay for themselves.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Speaking of extra fees-last summer I started going to Association Rodeos and deliberately picked certain rodeos that were close to home and had lower entry fees. When I got to the first rodeo and went to pay my entry fee, there was a list of additional fees that had to be paid as well. All of those additional fees added up to another another $25-35. Geez!

SillyPony said...

I am one of only two paints in an AQHA barn so I cannot even be tempted to go to the expensive breed circuit shows everyone else goes to. I only go to the smaller one day open shows or there are two shows right in town so we can stay there a few nights but still sleep at home. One of the shows we go to is has PAC points (Paint Alternative Competition) but I wanted to see how our first year went before joining that program. Until we're swimming in blues (ha ha) we'll stay at these shows. I just do it for fun anyway. I do pay my trainer a day fee, hauling, banding, and clipping. Each show I did last summer cost about $150 with class fees, stalls and everything. I document ALL expenses. Yeah, I could band and clip myself and save the $30, but I know my trainer makes her bread off of the show, she's worth the money, and it's worth it to take those tasks off my to-do list, at least until my bands don't make JR look like a stegosaurus.

I purchased nearly all my show tack used - good brands used cost less and look better than new crap. I design and sew my western tops, but it isn't cost effective to make anything else. I clearance rack shop and Ebay can be your best friend if you know how to search and have patience to wait for a good deal.

mugwump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mugwump said...

slippin- I have never tried aqua tread, simply because I never had access to one, butI would jump on it if I could.
Swimming wears them out. I used to take mine just for fun, but it's great no strain exercise.
brown-eyed-it's those little dinking fees that really irritate me. I try to be realistic about costs, but the sneak fees, like haul-in charges, just get to me.

Silly Pony- I agree, if you ride with a trainer you need to pay them day fees. They gotta eat.

But what if you take lessons once a week and haul in your own horse? Do you need to pay a day fee then?

This is going to make a great article. I'll post it when it's done......

Justaplainsam said...

One trainer charges $10 extra a day if you are not a border.

I understand that trainers work harder at a show and therefor deserve extra, but some trainers include more than others. One trainer I know brings 20 horses to a show... at 40 a day thats $800 extra a day he makes... an with 20 horses how much time are you going to get? Not to mention the fact he's trying to show 4 of his own...

Also its the little fees at home if you are in a training barn that can really hurt. I know of a guy starting up that wants all of his clients to buy the same blankets so that they 'match' at shows. Hes a good friend but hes putting him self out of financial reach for many people around here.

mugwump said...

justaplainsam- I also think a rider needs to weigh the cost of the trainer with how much winning the non-pros in the barn do.
If I had been brought to the point of knowing I could point up or be in the money every time I walked in the ring, I'd be buying matching blankets.
If the matching blankets are an attempt to look like the guys who are actually winning, then I'm gonna be trainer shopping.
If the trainer is charging an extra ten a day because I'm a haul in then I'm going to come alone.
If I place you can bet he'll be taking the credit.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

There are very good comments from everybody. I don't show but I was considering it with my weanling Arabian filly. I really don't know that I can afford to 'fit in' with the show crowd although I may still try a local show or two.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

There are very good comments from everybody. I don't show but I was considering it with my weanling Arabian filly. I really don't know that I can afford to 'fit in' with the show crowd although I may still try a local show or two.

Bif said...

Slippin,

If you have access to swimming/aquatred (you must be a little south of me, it's COLD!), I agree that's the best low impact way, especially since it is arthritis related (right?)so bone, not soft tissue which would work hard in water. And even soft tissue isn't working under the same load as on solid ground.

Some horses are just hard to keep quiet on stall rest. My first guy was on stall rest with one hour handwalking a day for months; after 8 weeks, even with 2+ ccs of ace in him, you were still best off walking him in the indoor at night, with the lights off. ;~)

Funny story, when he was able to be walked longer and start trotting in hand, he tripped me (he winged a bit in front) and I fell, whence he promptly spun to face me and started backing... not fast, but inexorable backward for at least 40 feet through the gravel of the ring. If I'd let him go, though, I was sure he wouldn't stop running until at least a county line or two had passed;-)

slippin said...

Thanks Bif for the info! I got brave today and took him for a walk. It was such a beautiful day out, I couldn't stand him being locked up any longer. But I took him out to the small breaking pen and led him around out there. He was pretty good but I put a thin rope halter on him so that I can have something with a little more bite to it if he tries to get out of control. He snorted and blew, but walked where I wanted him to walk and then I let him stand in the middle for a few minutes. When we were standing there, he started pawing. I kind of let him play a little and the next thing I knew, he was down on the ground rolling! It was funny to watch him roll, but then I got nervous because alot of times when he rolls, he jumps up takes off...so when he got up, he shook his head and acted like he was going to run, but I gave him a quick jerk and he stopped and just snorted and blew. I am still going to take him swimming, but for now I am able to walk him, but its like walking on eggshells.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

When my daughter showed QH, we didn't get new clothes every year. She wore the same outfit at every show. (Different judges at each show, so they won't know the kids by the outfit). In the beginning of showing, we used to buy hand me down show clothes from the older kids. We did everything ourselves. Braid and band, groom, etc. We payed for a lesson at the show, the day before the show started if we got in early enough, then we were on our own at the show. If we were really close to qualifying, then we would pay for the trainer's help per class. I felt like we got individual attention that way. We always took our own food. Food is expensive at the shows! Everyone has had such good points that I can't think of anything different.

SOSHorses said...

That is how I do it too. I spring for one new show outfit a year, I keep the others and rotate them for all the shows. I sleep in the trailer which I am lucky to have living quarters and a Honda Generator (thanks to my wonderful DH) I do my own grooming, training, and riding. I can't afford a big time trainer.

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