I felt like I needed a follow up from yesterday's post because it's really a topic that needs multiple posts. Heck, maybe a series! In writing a blog I write my opinion, right? In 30+ years of riding and showing hunters and jumpers I definitely have opinions. I believe that foremost you need to do what works for you. I may not believe in showing my horses in half a dozen classes in one day but if that's what you feel you and your horse need and it works for you then do it. I'm simply sharing how I make showing work for my horses on my budget. I have found that the more show experience I can provide them, the more they (and me) can improve. Meaning attend more shows not ride in more classes. It's unfortunate that this sport is so expensive because when we can't go show regularly we end up feeling like "I may as well do all these classes while I'm here because I don't know when I can show next" or maybe it takes 3 classes to get your nerves to settle, etc. when all you really need is to just go show more often.
This is why non rated shows are great. They are less expensive and a great place to get mileage for the green horse or green rider. One of the reasons Poppy is as good as she is, is because I took her to non rated shows. My trainer only attends one local non rated circuit here and only if it doesn't conflict with the rated shows they do. So in between meeting up with them at the A shows I used to find any non rated show I could find within a 2 hour radius. I would bribe a friend to come set jumps, drive just for the day, tie Poppy to the trailer, show her in a couple classes, and drive home. I could do this for under $100.
This got her great mileage on a cheap budget where now she goes to rated show and feels like a pretty seasoned show horse. We are at the point where I essentially do a practice class the day before my Classic and that's it. But it took going to alot of shows to get there.
I will also do the same plan with Luxxx. He will need lots of mileage and what better way to get it than at the cheaper shows. For the one day show where I took the pinto mare I got a stall, shavings, and showed in 3 classes and the show bill was $132.
Yes, rated shows are more than non rated. We know this. But why? Is one better than the other? I will plan to do another post on the differences I have found between the two as far as the experience, what you get for your money, and some reasons why they cost more.
***edit: I just want to clarify that when I say show bill I mean the check I wrote to the show office. So the $132 for the local show excluded fuel for hauling & trainer fees. Same with those unrated shows I took Poppy too. Although I don't pay for hauling keep in mind I have a large diesel truck that is expensive and requires maintenance (oil changes are $80+ and don't get me started on tires) as well as a horse trailer that requires the same so is it really saving money not paying for hauling??