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BEARCAT

Why is Dressage so expensive?

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Being "new" to Dressage shows (but a lifelong student of dressage), I am having a hard time swallowing the price tag to go to a show...

Now, I am not trying to diss anybody, and I am not talking about big fancy recognized shows... but to show at small local SCHOOLING shows is $35 and up... for 1 class!

Now, coming from more of the H/J world, similar local schooling shows are $5 to $10 per class... that means that for the same amount, I can show in 4 to 10 classes...

Wheras if I decide to go to a Dressage show, my 40 bucks will allow me a 3 minute ride in front of the judge...

So why is that?

Set up is fairly easy, compared to putting up jumps...

Time for each individual in front of the judge is similar...

Is it tradition?

To keep the riff raff out? [Wink]

After a 1 or 2 hour drive, I'd like to be able to show in more than 1 class, but I really can't afford it! [Frown]

Thoughts, comments?

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I came from the QH circuit which was much cheaper too...I won't tell you what I just spent to enter two rated shows. It is insane; which is why I am limited to a few shows per year. I am not sure if there is a particular reason for why that is...I know USEF fees add on a lot.

I have done one rated show this season thus far and just entered another...and one schooling show. All three are at the same facility. For the schooling show the stall was $45, the rated show was 65, and the next one it is $95 and they are the same stalls!

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costs go up every year--it takes more money to pay for gas, plane tickets for judges, arena upkeep is becoming more expensive, all while the average Amercian horse owner's wages DON'T increase. Show fees usually reflect how much money is being put into awards/ribbons/judges fees/advertising, etc.

That said...that still sounds like quite a bit for a schooling show!! I've gone to schooling shows where the fee was $20 for the DAY, you could do any and all classes for a flat fee.

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It's interesting, no matter what discipline or breed or whatever you show, people complain about the costs to show and about how much better it is showing something else.

I read about this all over the web, on all chat boards, all disciplines, breed shows etc.

Yes, it does cost more to show today than it did 10 years ago.

Having managed shows I can tell you that you sweat it right up until the last sheckel has been counted, whether you break even or have to subsidize the show out of your own pocket.

Let's assume that there is a problem with the costs to the exhibitors...

So what is the solution?

Cheers! Chris

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Well, I was mostly puzzled by the high (relatively) cost...

For comparaison, I also do Competitive Trail Rides, where you get to camp fo 2 nights, ride in the competition for 2 days, usually pre ride on fridays. The infrastructure required is pretty huge, as there are usually 60 or so horses, a vet or 2, a horsemanship judge, loads of volunteers, permits with the BLM or USFS, etc, etc...

Yet, the rides are usually around $100, and that often includes all the (delicious) meals!

So my puzzlement comes from having to pay $40 for a 3 minute ride in a schooling show...

Yes, I understand there is the cost of gas, paying the judge, etc, but those costs are present in most other disciplines... so why is Dressage so much more expensive?

(Once again, I am not talking about recognized, or breed shows... just itty bitty schooling shows...)

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There is no doubt it's pricey!

I just entered a USDF/USEF recognized show, for July. Stabling for the weekend is costing me $105 (for one horse), plus 2 bales of shavings which is $16, 4 classes + 2 USDF Regional Championship Qualifying fees comes out to $200, and the secretarial, drug, camping and food costs...it's expensive!

I am doing 3 recognized shows this year, and won't do more than that. Since I do not own a truck or trailer, each show, round trip, tacks on an additional $75 for the hauling fee, and if I want my trainer to coach me before my rides, there's another expense.

I did a dressage schooling show recently, each test was $25 and a day stall (it was just a one day show) was $20. So I did two tests and got my horse a day stall - I only spent $70 which is CHEAP compared to the rec. shows I do.

The USEF is more expensive than USDF in some areas...if you want to get your horse lifetime registered with them, it's $200, whereas with the USDF it is only $85 (they upped their horse lifetime membership fees this year, it used to be $65). Of course you only need this if you are doing certain shows or have certain goals in mind.

I guess I cannot really answer the question you have, though I can definitely understand the expenses involved!

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i think dressage shows are cheaper then hunter shows where hunter shows you go in 2 or 3 divions at a dressage show you usally only do 2 or 3 classes an at the hunter shows my medal classes are between $20-50 while the dressage are only 18 or 20 where but it all depend what your doing an where your doing it

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Okay,

Let's do the math here.

Deliberately trying to be funny first (in case anyone thinks I am being otherwise!)

If you are completing your test in 3 minutes, then your tempo is wayyy too fast! [Wink]

drum roll anyone?

Seriously, let's do the math!

A dressage judge can only seriously score 55 tests in one day. In fact, there are some rules that limit the time and number of tests that a judge is able to adjudicate. I personally think this is a good thing.

I am not sure where you are going to schooling shows, but rated shows around here are $35 per class and Schooling shows are $20 - $25.

Let's use your $35 as an example, and a schooling show. $35 x 55 (assuming the show is chock full) = $1,925.00 in revenue. From that revenue we have to pay a Secretary (usually there is an office fee to cover that, they are subcontracted) a judge whom we have to pay travel fees, meals, local transportation and at least $250.00 for the day. These judges are usually losing out on lesson money, training fees etc. and usually have to pay barn help to take care of the horses they leave at home. Insurance. Ribbons or prizes, usually about $4 each ($220.00) and the facility which can be $2,000 per day or more on its own. Additionally we need to feed the volunteers, if we are so lucky as to have enough that we don't have to pay them as well!

It is darned expensive anymore, running a show. Schooling or rated. Any division. Any discipline. The exhibitor fees usually do not even come close to covering the raw costs and investments that the show organizers pay. If it wasn't for sponsors, class fees would be $100.00 each!

Cheers! Chris

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I guess I'm lucky. Since I joined the local dressage organization, tests at the schooling shows are $12 each. For nonmembers, the tests at the schooling shows are $20 each. I haven't checked the cost of the usef show in the area late in July yet, but I assume it will be comparable with the show I went to in Topeka a few years ago. I can only show recognized once in a great while, but that's ok. I need practice at the schooling show level for awhile yet...

Tracy

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They are expensive no matter how you look at it. While there aren't really any "breaks" you can cut some costs by taking extra bedding so you don't have to buy at the show--you never get enough and it is generally over priced at the shows. Split rooms at the hotel with friends if you can--people in our show group do that so it helps. If you need a tack stall, split that with friends as well. If your show offers a perfect packet or entry fee, make sure you send it in correctly for a refund.

Lots of the fees are administrative and go back to USEF, Drug and Medication etc. But, if you have ever had to call them and ask them a question, they are very helpful. It is really easy to complain about the fees and certainly, I would love it if they were cheaper, but it isn't easy to govern a sport.

The really nice shows give out super prizes--I was at a show a couple of weeks ago and WOW! Just for entering we got a nice gift bag. For winning, baseball cap, cooler type bag, and other nifty stuff. Super ribbons. They went all out. The competitor's party was incredible. Those are the best type of shows, so you do see a return, they treat the competitors really well. The worst is another show we go to each year and nothing. A cheap, dinky ribbon, hodgepodge of prizes, and no party--so sad. Both cost about the same to enter, so go figure.

[ 06-14-2007, 08:35 AM: Message edited by: PMJ ]

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That's a good question. Although, I don't believe that dressage is the most expensive equestrian sport. Consider eventing. Filling out a recognized event form is like giving someone a one way ticket to your bank account. Literally, there's your dressage fee, your stadium fee, your cross country fee, and all sorts of other misc. fees. Although showing recognized dressage is pricey, I'd say it's not as high as eventing.

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quote:

Originally posted by Uberdude:

Okay,

If you are completing your test in 3 minutes, then your tempo is wayyy too fast!
[Wink]

drum roll anyone?

Cheers! Chris

Actually, as I mentionned, I am a beginner, and the Ride Time for the Beginner Novice Test is "Approx. 3.15 mins" [Wink]

Anywho, thanks for the explanations... I was just trying to understand... [smiley Wavey]

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You mention hunter shows being much cheaper. The hunter judge is judging many more riders in flat classes at a time than it takes to do a dressage test. Hunter shows just run faster and more people show within the same time frame. So even though the prices are cheaper they are probably makinga about the same amount of money.

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quote:

Originally posted by BEARCAT:

quote:

Originally posted by Uberdude:

Okay,

If you are completing your test in 3 minutes, then your tempo is wayyy too fast!
[Wink]

drum roll anyone?

Cheers! Chris

Actually, as I mentionned, I am a beginner, and the Ride Time for the Beginner Novice Test is "Approx. 3.15 mins"
[Wink]

Anywho, thanks for the explanations... I was just trying to understand...
[smiley Wavey]
You got me! But I thought you were whining about Dressage shows being too expensive!! It turns out that it wasn't dressage shows at all....

[Yay]

All kidding aside, if you want better value for your $35 fee, then move up to a level with a 5 minute test! $7 a minute as opposed to nearly $12 a minute!

Cheers! Chris

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Part of your gripe seems to be about the amount of time you spend in the arena. If you want to spend more time in front of the judge, you need to look at the test you are riding. The United States Eventing Association Test is for Eventing and as such is mandated to ride in a short arena. Most of these tests were developed to help organizers run an events in a timely fashion--hence using a small arena, no first halt. Fun tests for sure, and similar in their directives but if your gripe is not enough time in front of the judge--try a training level test.

The USEF Dressage tests are different, as they are more often than not ridden in a large arena which is why most people did not understand why your test was taking such a short period of time.

Again, it is frustrating, but the other option is not to show at that particular facitily if you feel they are overpriced. Our schooling shows will charge 35.00 for a combined test fee which includes one USEA dressage test and a jumping round. Generally, straight dressage (USEF) tests run between 22-25 dollars each.

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Dressage shows are expensive. That's why when I want to put show miles on a horse I choose small "fun" shows or local "Horse Council" shows.

Our GMO has a volunteer "dollars" program where if you volunteer enough you can earn "dollars" to be used toward entries and such.

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All disciplines are expensive!

As for dressage schooling shows, I have never heard of a schooling show that charges more than $25 per class. I have shown dressage in 4 different states now, Prices per schooling show classes varied, but none were more than $25. Rated show classes ranged from $30 to $55 per class. Here, for a schooling show, if I do two tests on one horse it is $60 per show and $80 if I get a stall. I find that to be pretty reasonable!

[ 06-14-2007, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: Boocoo ]

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Actually, I do have to ask, since you are riding the Beginner Novice test and it is the price it is, are you only doing the dressage portion or are you doing a Combined Test and jumping as well? My experience is similar to Boocoo's as to pricing at schooling shows and Combined Tests generally run what you describe but include a jumping round.

[ 06-14-2007, 08:25 PM: Message edited by: PMJ ]

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shoot.... it is pricey. especially when you add in all the lessons, hauling, the stall, the equipment... i don't want to even think of how much money i spent this weekend at an event....

$160 for the show (not granted that is dressage test, XC, and stadium), $150 for the stall, i bought a breast plate for $150, bought cookies for $12, spent alteast $60 on food, $125 on pictures, slept in the trailer in 90 weather to save money...all the lessons beforehand... $30 for each dressage, $35 for the XC, ugh... not to mention the yearly fees for the groups...

but this place had immaculate footing, awesome stalls, fleck had a fan...

but yeah... i agree it is expensive. on the other hand, i'm doing two schooling shows down the street. no other fees but the classes, which are $20 a piece. so...maybe try schooling shows alot. saves you some money.

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quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

........ Consider eventing. Filling out a recognized event form is like giving someone a one way ticket to your bank account. Literally, there's your dressage fee, your stadium fee, your cross country fee, and all sorts of other misc. fees. ......

I'm not saying eventing is cheaper than dressage (it depends on how many classes you enter at a dressage show!) but I have to wonder just how many recognized events you've actually entered.

There is NO seperate fee for dressage, stadium and cross country. It is one lump fee. The extra misc. costs are the ones that go for grounds fees, USEA, etc. But you do NOT pay one fee for dressage, one fee for stadium and another fee for cross country.

At least not in Area II.

Uberdude is right. If you do the math, you'll discover that most organizers are doing their best to give you a "freebie" at the show. Most organizers are happy if they can break even ... because so often things like advertising are absorbed by their own pocket.

Bearcat is that $100 per day, or for the whole weekend? In either case, 60 X $100 is $6000, so the profit margin is a bit better than $35 X 55. ($1925) That's a difference of $4075.

Just keep doing the math.

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quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

........ Consider eventing. Filling out a recognized event form is like giving someone a one way ticket to your bank account. Literally, there's your dressage fee, your stadium fee, your cross country fee, and all sorts of other misc. fees. ......

I'm not saying eventing is cheaper than dressage (it depends on how many classes you enter at a dressage show!) but I have to wonder just how many recognized events you've actually entered.

There is NO seperate fee for dressage, stadium and cross country. It is one lump fee. The extra misc. costs are the ones that go for grounds fees, USEA, etc. But you do NOT pay one fee for dressage, one fee for stadium and another fee for cross country.

At least not in Area II.

Uberdude
is right. If you do the math, you'll discover that most organizers are doing their best to give you a "freebie" at the show. Most organizers are happy if they can break even ... because so often things like advertising are absorbed by their own pocket.

Bearcat
is that $100 per day, or for the whole weekend? In either case, 60 X $100 is $6000, so the profit margin is a bit better than $35 X 55. ($1925) That's a difference of $4075.

Just keep doing the math.

I'm looking at an entry form right now for a recognized event in our area, and here's all the separate fees that are on it:

1) USEA Drug/Meds Admn/Starter Fee (BN, N, T) $16

2) USEA Drug/Meds Admn/Starter Fee (P, I, A) $18

3) USEF Administration Fee $5

4) USEA Beginner Novice Non-Member Fee $25

5) USEF Non-Member Fee $20

6) USEF Discipline Fee $5

7) Grounds Fee

8) Camping Hookup Fee

9) Stabling Fee

10) Entry Fee

That seems quite a bit more than a dressage show, no?

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quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

I'm looking at an entry form right now for a recognized event in our area, and here's all the separate fees that are on it:

1) USEA Drug/Meds Admn/Starter Fee (BN, N, T) $16

2) USEA Drug/Meds Admn/Starter Fee (P, I, A) $18

3) USEF Administration Fee $5

4) USEA Beginner Novice Non-Member Fee $25

5) USEF Non-Member Fee $20

6) USEF Discipline Fee $5

7) Grounds Fee

8) Camping Hookup Fee

9) Stabling Fee

10) Entry Fee

That seems quite a bit more than a dressage show, no?

Nah, it is pretty much the same.

Eliminate your one event non-member fees, they only apply if you are showing sporadically and don't wish to cough up the annual membership fees

All dressage shows have USEF drug fees and USEF horse fees, sometimes an EMT fee, always a stabling or grounds fee for showing out of your trailer (somebody has to pay the HUGE cost of renting the facility and class fees alone won't cover that, unless you charge $100 a class...) Camper hook up fees (the facility charges per hook up to the show mgmt, they just pass that cost along) Office fee, (which pays the secretary and her staff)

These (and many others) are all fixed costs to put on a show. Somebody has to pay them or there is NO SHOW. Your actual class fees are CHEAP in comparison! [smile]

Cheers! Chris

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The Difference between Hunters and Dressage is that most Dressage Riders only ride 1-2 tests a day whereas Hunters ride anywhere from 1-12 Classes a day. I don't know how much they pay Hunter Judges, but it woud make sense that Hunter Judges get paid by the class, not by the jumper round, whereas Dressage Judges are paid by the Ride. (A few minutes per round vs. 7 minutes per round). It's also harder for a farm to make money off of a dressage show after having to pay the judges, and only being able to host a certin ammount of scheduled rides per day.

However on the somewhat plus side, it's about the same price for classes once you get to the recognized shows, whereas with a lot of diciplines, once you hit the open circuit your entry fees SKYROCKET. It's not that much of a plus if you're just doing the schooling shows, but it is once you get into the Open shows.

Good luck, hope you find your passion in Dressage!

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quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

........ Consider eventing. Filling out a recognized event form is like giving someone a one way ticket to your bank account. Literally, there's your dressage fee, your stadium fee, your cross country fee, and all sorts of other misc. fees. ......

Bearcat
is that $100 per day, or for the whole weekend? In either case, 60 X $100 is $6000, so the profit margin is a bit better than $35 X 55. ($1925) That's a difference of $4075.

Just keep doing the math.

Actually, I disagree. Say one dressage show has 4 arenas running, and each rider is riding 2-3 classes a day (about average for the shows around here), there may only be 55 riders at the show (Except usually there's more), but you get... oh... 30x40 per class (Training-2nd) 13x45 per class (Freestyles and 3rd-4th), and then 12x60 per class (FEI). Multiply all of those by 2, and you get a crapload of money. You have to factor in paying the judges and facility rental, but that's about it. I know for me I pay roughly between $175 and $375 per horse per show, depending on how many days said show is (Not counting Schooling shows).

And the Profit margin for a championship show must be HUGE! I know someone who took 2 horses to Regionals/NWDC Championships (Same weekend same facility) in 2005 and spent $1200 PER HORSE. [surrender] For some reason being a championship show allows the managers to jack up the prices? [Confused]

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quote:

Originally posted by SpotsAtX:

quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

........ ........ and all sorts of other misc. fees. ......

Bearcat
is that $100 per day, or for the whole weekend? In either case, 60 X $100 is $6000, so the profit margin is a bit better than $35 X 55. ($1925) That's a difference of $4075.

Just keep doing the math.

Actually, I disagree. Say one dressage show has 4 arenas running, and each rider is riding 2-3 classes a day (about average for the shows around here), there may only be 55 riders at the show (Except usually there's more), but you get... oh... 30x40 per class (Training-2nd) 13x45 per class (Freestyles and 3rd-4th), and then 12x60 per class (FEI). Multiply all of those by 2, and you get a crapload of money. You have to factor in paying the judges and facility rental, but that's about it. I know for me I pay roughly between $175 and $375 per horse per show, depending on how many days said show is (Not counting Schooling shows).

And the Profit margin for a championship show must be HUGE! I know someone who took 2 horses to Regionals/NWDC Championships (Same weekend same facility) in 2005 and spent $1200 PER HORSE.
[surrender]
For some reason being a championship show allows the managers to jack up the prices?
[Confused]
The more arenas you can run the higher your profit (probably,) since you're still just paying ONE fee for renting the grounds, etc (but if it will support 4 arenas the rent is probably higher.)

But don't forget, if you have 4 arenas, that's 4 judges, not just 1.

And your "55 riders X 2" is a miscalculation. Judges are alloted 55 rides per day .... not 55 RIDERS. And the FEI classes are small; (not to mention your "R" judges generally charge more than your "r" judges,) so not all that much help there. If we stick with the $35 per ride, (to make math easier than hypothesis on how many at each level,) then if the show is completely full (55 rides in each of 4 arenas,) then you pull in $7,700 .... but you do have to pay 4 judges now, not one.

It's still not a huge money maker.

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If it makes everyone feel better, I just shelled out $18 per hunter show class. I did two class, probably no more than 5 mins. each, so that was $36. Then add coaching by young,new trainer ($25) and I haven't found out my shipping costs yet. *shrugs*

Hesacatch is right. Showing is expensive. Heck, horses in general are expensive! But that gives us even more reason to make the most out of every single showing experience possible.

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quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

quote:

Originally posted by SpotsAtX:

quote:

Originally posted by RioTollerAgain:

quote:

Originally posted by hesacatch:

........ ........ and all sorts of other misc. fees. ......

Bearcat
is that $100 per day, or for the whole weekend? In either case, 60 X $100 is $6000, so the profit margin is a bit better than $35 X 55. ($1925) That's a difference of $4075.

Just keep doing the math.

Actually, I disagree. Say one dressage show has 4 arenas running, and each rider is riding 2-3 classes a day (about average for the shows around here), there may only be 55 riders at the show (Except usually there's more), but you get... oh... 30x40 per class (Training-2nd) 13x45 per class (Freestyles and 3rd-4th), and then 12x60 per class (FEI). Multiply all of those by 2, and you get a crapload of money. You have to factor in paying the judges and facility rental, but that's about it. I know for me I pay roughly between $175 and $375 per horse per show, depending on how many days said show is (Not counting Schooling shows).

And the Profit margin for a championship show must be HUGE! I know someone who took 2 horses to Regionals/NWDC Championships (Same weekend same facility) in 2005 and spent $1200 PER HORSE.
[surrender]
For some reason being a championship show allows the managers to jack up the prices?
[Confused]
The more arenas you can run the higher your profit (probably,) since you're still just paying ONE fee for renting the grounds, etc (but if it will support 4 arenas the rent is probably higher.)

But don't forget, if you have 4 arenas, that's 4 judges, not just 1.

And your "55 riders X 2" is a miscalculation. Judges are alloted 55
rides
per day .... not 55 RIDERS. And the FEI classes are small; (not to mention your "R" judges generally charge more than your "r" judges,) so not all that much help there. If we stick with the $35 per ride, (to make math easier than hypothesis on how many at each level,) then if the show is completely full (55 rides in each of 4 arenas,) then you pull in $7,700 .... but you do have to pay 4 judges now, not one.

It's still not a huge money maker.

[surrender] Emily's Math=Bad. [Razz]

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Back in the day when I was doing only AQHA, it wasn't unusual for me to spend $200 plus per day for classes, fees, etc. Split/combined classes (spread over 2 days with 2 judges but count as 1 day) aren't cheap, and add in all the stupid fees that CA makes them charge and there you go...bye bye $$.

Dressage, on the other hand, even with trailering, runs me $100-$160 per day. Counting fees. We don't go to many shows requiring stabling, so if that was added in, fine, but for now it's local 1-day'ers.

As for equipment, I had 2 full sets of english & western show & work tack for 2 horses, plus all the blankets and hoods and wraps and whatever else you had to take to all the shows. And, I had to have 2 wardrobes of show clothes, most of which had to be custom-made, and if you wore them for more than 2 seasons running you stood out like a sore thumb, so you had to replace the whole shebang, which wasn't cheap...the western show outfits included separate ones for pleasure, horsemanship, and showmanship, with hats, boots, gloves, and jewelry to go with. The english outfits I could stretch, but I went through shirts like crazy and was always replacing them.

Even though he & I aren't yet showing together, my and Jag's dressage wardrobe consists of one saddle, one show bridle with bling, a couple of saddle pads, a pair of breeches & boots, a shirt & stock tie, a jeweled pin, gloves, regulation whip, and helmet. Period. I can load & unload the trailer in ten minutes.

Nuff said.

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