If you've ever been to a horse show, you know they are not cheap! Every little thing adds up from the shampoo you buy to get your horse squeaky clean to entry fees and the costs build up quickly. Be it showing at an open show or the world show, here are a few tips for how to prepare a budget for your next horse show(s):
1. Make a Plan
Horse shows put out show bills ahead of time, sometimes 6 months or more in advance, so use this to your benefit. Having the show bill can give you an estimated cost of the show if you take the right approach.
2. Map out your classes
At most shows you have to pay per class, so grab your trusty highlighter and mark all the classes you are thinking about entering. Don't be afraid to mark more than you may go to because it is better to have too much money, rather than too little. Example: Classes are $20 each and over a 3 day show I want to enter 10 classes = $200
3. Forgotten Fees
People often remember the entry money, but forget that if it is an overnight show that they will need a stall. Not only do stalls need to be requested ahead of time, they are also another expense. Make sure to budget for enough stalls for each horse being brought to the show as well as a tack stall. There are also often little costs and fees at a show (even if it is not overnight) Things such as a gate fee or office fee are easily forgotten costs to shows.
4. Miles to a Show
You can estimate the cost of gas to a show by knowing how many MPG your rig gets and then calculating it with the miles to the show (don't forget to do it there AND back) then simply multiply that by the average gas price to get your average cost of travel.
5. Keep Little Expenses in Mind
That coffee on the drive home or that breakfast from the food stand at the show may not seem like big things, but if you've only budgeted a specific amount, they can be. Have a $50 add on to any horse show budget for little things like snacks on the road or that much needed coffee to keep you awake.
6. Clean is a Must
From your boots to your horse you've got a lot of cleaning to do before a horse show. Make an estimated budget, particularly at the beginning of the season, to purchase new things like shampoo and conditioner, leather cleaner and polish, and even dry cleaning bills. Keeping you and your horse looking presentable comes with a price. Shop around to find the best and most reasonable dry cleaner and purchase things on sale when at all possible.
There are always more things to take into consideration when preparing and budgeting for the "money pit" (as my dad calls it) of horse shows, but these are just a few tips on how to plan for the basic costs of most shows.