Friday, January 22, 2016

How much does a USDF rated show cost?

This year, I'm trying to be a responsible adult and pretend to budget for shows. Ok, just kidding, I don't really want to know how much money I spend on this sport, but I thought I'd do the math once just to point out to hubby that it's less expensive than driving halfway across the country for a jousting competition. Priorities.

I've signed up for a USDF rated show in March, with Taran. It's in Houston, about a 2.5 hour drive from me.

Per-day costs
  • Classes: $40/each, I show 2 per day (USDF allows up to 3). Add $10 for GAIC qualifier and $8 for SWDC qualifier, so add an extra $18 per day (highest test at each level is the qualifier, and I always sign up because I WILL go to the championships if I qualify, dammit). So total of $98 for two tests for one day.
  • Show office fee: $35/day (can be up to $50/day, depending on the show)
  • USDF drug fee: $16/day
  • Total for the weekend: $298, would be $36 less if I didn't do the qualifiers.
I do not pay any non-member fees, but those are $30/day for USEF and $25/day for USDF, for EACH rider/owner/trainer who is not a member. So while having those memberships isn't cheap, it's worth it because of the non-member fees.

Weekend costs
  • Stall fee: $120/weekend, plus $12/bag for shavings (I get 4 extras because Paddy likes a fluffy stall for his beauty rest, so another $48, and no you cannot bring your own)
  • RV hookups: $50/night (x2 nights). It's not as expensive as a hotel room, but it's also not cheap. However, I do love having the ability to get food and take a nap right at the show. 
  • Total for the weekend: $268, would be less if I didn't get extra shavings or have RV hookups.
Others
  • Hauling: I have my own rig but let's face it, owning a rig is not cheap. I calculate that it costs me a minimum $1.00 per loaded mile every time I haul with it. If you're thinking that's a lot, it costs about $75 to fill it (38 gallons of diesel, and diesel is a whopping $1.79 right now), $80 each for 2 oil changes per year, roughly $500 in trailer maintenance per year (bearings, lights, and new tires every 4 years or so), and I just paid $2000 in repairs on my truck. So $1.00/mile is pretty reasonable if you consider the real costs of owning a rig. The show is about 300 miles round trip. So that's $300 to haul. Obviously in-town shows are cheaper for hauling, but they're still a good 30 miles from home, so the cost isn't negligible. If you want to cheat on this cost and just figure out fuel costs, it's probably $75, since I can make it there and back on 1 tank. 
  • Food: We usually bring most of our own food, but go out on Saturday night for dinner. So including groceries and one dinner out, about $100 for the weekend for 2 people. It seems expensive but do you know how much brie cheese and cider I can put away in a weekend???
  • Total for the weekend: $400, would be MUCH less if I didn't do the $1/mile math or eat out. But I like food and I'm trying to be realistic about the costs of owning a rig.
Expenses you might have but I don't:
  • Training: I've only had my trainer at one show this year, and our schedules didn't really work out for her to help me warm up. So no training fees, although they'd be $75/day if I did.
  • Tack stalls: There are some shows where I would love to have one of these, but I'm cheap. They're about $110/weekend.
Bottom line:

USDF rated shows aren't cheap. Even if you JUST include classes and stall fees (like for an in-town show), it's $466 (tack on an extra $80 if you choose to do the 3 rides per day that USDF allows). Add in the RV hookups, hauling, and food, and you're up to... gulp...

$966

Dear hubby, I hope you're not reading this. :D

37 comments:

  1. Yeah those look about right. I'm skipping qualifiers this year and mostly showing in town, so it's mildly cheaper.

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    1. Yeah, skipping the quals saves a little, but the one time I did it last year I got 2 qualifying scores for THIS year. Never again.

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  2. I did the entry fee calculations for my summer. They didn't include gas or maintenance or hotel. Why would you point that out to me?! I didn't factor gas in because I try to make sure I come home on empty and fill up with my fuel perks ($0.50-$1.00 off). My truck has very minimal maintenance (except this year it's getting tires). I haven't picked hotels yet- I go for CHEAP haha. Ughhhhh!

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    1. My truck (a 2011) is SUPPOSED to have minimal maintenance since it's practically new but nooooo. Stupid diesel exhaust system.

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  3. Interesting! Thanks for sharing...this will be my first year showing since I was 17 (13 years ago) so it's a bit eye opening for me haha

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    1. Yeah I think I preferred ignorance.

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  4. Thanks for the post! I have only shown at schooling shows so far - thinking of attending a rated show this year now that we are showing first level - would like to try to start earning scores towards a USDF bronze. Our trailer does not have sleeping quarters, so have to thru in the cheap hotel.

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    1. We actually have a separate truck camper, but it's basically the same thing as a LQ trailer.

      Schooling shows for me are only $130, so much more doable.

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  5. Hmm, very interesting to see these costs compared to the eventing ones I've been reading!

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    1. They're surprisingly equivalent, if you consider the $1/mile to haul. A lot of folks don't do that, but if you're really trying to budget, it helps. That way you're less shocked when you have to pay $1200 for new E-rated tires for your truck.

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  6. That's pretty close to what I spend on a weekend local show for hunter/jumper. Rated is more expensive, but there's such a big range there it's hard to compare.

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    1. Interesting that despite significantly lower class fees it's about the same as H/J. Of course, you have training fees and that's a chunk right there.

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  7. Yeah this is why I'm in debt. I have my trainer haul so I have to do coaching. Its a catch 22. I don't know what I will be able to afford this year

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    1. It's not a cheap sport, that's for sure.

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  8. My husband keeps asking me how much it's going to cost to show and I'm like, I dunno. But now I know.
    I would still assume that jousting costs more, yes?

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    1. No, I'm pretty sure you never read this and still have no idea. :D

      Jousting often costs more, because we have to travel so far to do it. Hubby has a joust next weekend that's 9 hours away, but there's basically no entry fee. We did a joust last year that was a 22 hour drive, so $$$$ for gas, but hotel and stalls were covered for jousters. And then there was the time we went to Australia for a joust...

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  9. That's more than I would have thought. Thanks for posting it. A typical endurance weekend where I ride just one day and travel up to 6 hours runs about $500. I thought dressage would be cheaper. I guess not!

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    1. Travel is expensive. The individual class entry fees aren't bad but then they kill you with the office fee. Ouch!

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  10. oh wow! Jen, we need to talk about a guest blog on Dressage Hafl as I was thinking about comparisons of things like show costs since we've met! maybe that would be a great starting point? :)

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    1. I sent you a PM, but sure, I'd love to!

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  11. Please let my husband never see things like this. Denial/oblivion is a beautiful thing!

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    1. Yes, yes it is. We can pretend we never had this conversation. :)

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  12. I prefer to go the ostrich route and Bury my head in the sand when it comes to how much I spend on the horses. That's the kind of math I don't do, nope, no way no how. I think I'd cry if i totted up annual expenditure on ponehs. Even though I rarely take lessons, don't show, the girls are barefoot and *kock-on-wood* have been ealthy thus far so minor vet visits for shots, worm counts & random ouchies - long may that last is all I can say.

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    1. This is honestly the first time I've ever added it up. I think it will be the last time too. Better that way - ignorance is bliss after all!

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    2. That's my attitude in any case, what i don't know can't hurt me *head-in-sand*

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  13. Replies
    1. Haha, I assumed everyone already had those. I could certainly do a post on that if you want, but it's so variable.

      ... although, you make a good point, I'd forgotten that some people pay to have their horses braided. I'm cheap and DIY, even if it comes out looking like a 12 year old did it.

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  14. wowza..... good to know tho, since i'd like to hit up some local rated shows this year...

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    1. If it's a one day local show, it's definitely much less!

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  15. I think your math is conservative (as you note). When I used to do rated shows I almost always had my trainer there, plus shared a tack stall and stayed in a hotel -- we figured it was close to $1000 to travel to a rated show. I just can't afford that anymore and I'm not headed to the Championships. There was a time, though, when I loved those shows. Enjoy the madness!

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    1. If I were going with a barn, there would be a shared tack stall fee and trainer fees for sure. Hotels aren't cheap either, and of course then you end up eating crappy horse show food (which tends to make me sick - part of the reason I bring my own). So if I were with a barn it would probably be closer to $1250. So much money!!!

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  16. Your math does strike mas as on the conservative side. A trainer recently told me that multi-day shows, while more expensive overall, are more cost EFFICIENT. Which also makes sense.

    WHY DO WE SHOW AGAIN WTF?!

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    1. The multi day shows are definitely more cost efficient if you're traveling. Not sure about if it's local though - probably depends on the day fees and how much your local hauling fee is. No matter how you do it, it's pricey!

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  17. That's about what we pay here in CA, but your fuel costs are HALF of what mine are. Here in CA, our legislature mandates special blends for summer that make the costs skyrocket. I had to get gas (not diesel) out on the highway coming back from a lesson and it was more than a dollar more per gallon than in town. In town, I am paying around $2.50 per gallon while diesel is around $2.90 a gallon. We're still using the winter blend, but once spring rolls around, the stations will switch to the summer blend which means i'll be paying more.

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    1. Actually, I filled up the other day and it was $2.09 for diesel. Still, we are very lucky and have significantly cheaper gas here than in most other parts of the country.

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  18. I don't even want to read this. I refuse to read this.

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    1. DeNile - not just a river in Africa anymore! ;)

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