finance friday · Uncategorized

Finance Friday: Horse Showing Costs


It’s that time again! Sorry for skipping July: not my best month. But for August I thought it would be interesting to look at some statistics from the blog hop that’s been going around about horse showing costs.

First, why do we try and calculate horse show costs?

That may seem obvious, but bear with me here. Part of the point of doing this blogging series is to shed sunlight on topics and ideas that we don’t usually talk about because a lot of people are squicked about money talk.

This blog hop involved two things: knowledge and then planning. It required bloggers to be aware of how much money they were spending on showing, and then to ideally take the next step of using that knowledge to plan ahead for a competition season. Putting those two pieces together is a crucial part of budgeting.

Let’s all be honest here: no one on the face of the earth has to horse show. You have to pay your board bills and vet bills. You have to buy some kind of specialized equipment and apparel for riding, however inexpensive or minimalist you might choose to go. Horse showing is one big elective category of finances.

That’s totally fine, by the way! For a lot of equestrians, horse showing is what drives their participation in the sport. For others, it’s a way to measure their own personal progress. For some, it’s just a fun thing to do every now and then. There is no wrong way to approach it, as long as you’re treating your horse and your fellow competitors with decency. There’s room for everyone from “blue ribbon or bust” to “hooray, I didn’t get dumped today!”

I would argue, however, that the fact that it’s elective makes it extra important to budget for. You need to make sure that you have enough additional money, beyond your required regular expenditures, to go and do this thing. It would be really crappy horsemanship if you didn’t plan for board and vet bills but spent a week showing at a big festival with hotel room and tack stall.

What was the method here?

I took all the information provided in the blog hop by all the blogs I found and created a Google form based on the questions. I then put in the answers from the individual blogs to the form to get some statistics back. There was one variable that I didn’t include – location. I think we could have a good argument about how relevant it is to the overall data, but for the purposes of this initial collection, it wasn’t information I had to hand or getting it would be creepy and weird. So I just didn’t.

As much as I could, I compared apples to apples: one show = one day of showing, no matter the discipline. I tried to do some math and break down the costs for people who submitted weekend or week-long shows to get a reasonable comparison.


disciplinemembership costschoolinig showrated show

A couple of obvious takeaways for me:

  • rated shows are obviously more expensive than schooling shows
  • schooling shows are totally across the board – my guess would be that’s because of the wide geographical range of the respondents

And one thing that actually surprised me: membership amounts! For most people, their annual membership dues were more than a single show.

What next?

First, shout out to all the blogs whose answers I used in this survey. Links go directly to where they reported the information I used, because reading through the why and the how is even more interesting than the numbers.

Poor Woman Showing (who originated the blog hop), Hand Gallop, Autonomous DressageDIY Horse OwnershipViva Carlos, A Enter Spooking, Contact

If you’d like to do this blog hop, please link to your post in the comments so everyone can read them!

If you’d like to fill out the survey, whether or not you do the blog hop as a longer exercise, please do so! I think it would be really interesting to continue to gather information.

You can enter your information into the Google form here.

Finally, any goals & challenges updates?

If you’ll remember, back when this Finance Friday series started, people had the option to set goals and name obstacles for themselves for the year. How are you doing on yours? Share your progress (or not) if you want in the comments. If you don’t want to share, then just take a moment to reflect on how you’re going.

My goal was to top off and keep topped off Tristan’s slush fund of $1,500. Well, I topped it back off this month, and then vet visits happened. I’m still waiting on the final bill to see how much it will set me back; I have some money coming in that I’ve earmarked for the bill, but if it ends up more than $500, I’ll be dipping back into this slush fund.

My obstacle was to stop counting things before they’d happened – both expenditures and income. I’m actually doing way better at this. One of the big things that helped me was to take an index card and to write down the date of expected additional income, how much it would be, and what I planned to do with it. Then I crossed off that line when it happened. I also finally took an iron fist to my business cash flow and have come out ahead on that as well.

How about you?

5 thoughts on “Finance Friday: Horse Showing Costs

  1. There are definitely a couple blogs missing from that data! But since it was an unofficial bloghop it’s hard for me to rattle my brain on which ones.

    My goals are doing pretty well. I am close to my retirement account goal and I have diversified my holdings, I plan on moving a sizable chunk from one financial vehicle which isn’t doing much for me into another which will hopefully make some more gains.


  2. I’m pretty on track with my equestrian financial goals at the moment, but I am about to blow it all out of the water. Although, technically I knew this was coming this year and anticipated spending a lot on moving, the actual numbers are hitting hard as they start adding up.


  3. I did a post about it a few years ago, but my costs have actually gone down a bit since then, since I usually camp and now haul myself, as well as barter trainer fees.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s