In an effort to organize my thoughts, I am attempting to focus what is next for Rio and I. As most of us know, making plans that involve horses can be an exercise in futility, so these are more like hopeful day dreams then actual plans. Ok, Universe? I am flexible, so please don’t think this is a challenge!
The 2018 show season comprised of 5 shows (recaps below if you are new to the blog):
- Waco Christmas Show (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Ft. Worth Show (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Waco Summer Show (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Texas Rose Fall Fun (Part 1 & Part 2)
- GSEC Zone Finals (Part 1 & Part 2)
Other then taking a long break between the Waco Christmas show in December, and the Ft. Worth show in May, it was basically a full show season, our first one ever. Prior to this season Rio and & did one class at a local show (Eq U/S), and then a full 2’6 division at another local show. Both of these were spring of 2017 before he got the spider bite and splint surgery.
So, with one season on the A circuit under our belt, where do we go next?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I want to continue showing of course, but to what extent is unclear. I basically did as many shows this season as I could afford in an attempt to get Rio some actual show experience. I cannot even begin to reflect on how much money I spent showing this year. Sometimes I like to play the “Is it worth it?” game, where I try to decide if I’ve had multiple thousands of dollars of fun at these shows. This is not an exercise I recommend. I’ve decided that the horse show experience is priceless and I try not to think that way anymore. I’d be curious to hear how you cope with spending money hand over fist on what is essentially a hobby? Ever feel guilty?
What I really want is another solid show season for Rio and I. We are just now starting to hit our stride, and I feel a strong pull to not stop or let off the gas just yet. That probably means we won’t have the travel budget to go to Croatia next year like I had been hoping, but I think I’m ok with waiting on that trip in favor of more shows. We all know how unpredictable horses are, and there could easily come a time where I am forced to take time away from shows. As long as that doesn’t happen, I want to go keep going.
A few people have asked me if we will move up to the AO’s next year. For non-hunter riders, AO stand’s for amateur owners. You must own the horse to compete in this division- no leases or borrowed horses. It is also bigger, with most shows offering a 3’3 and 3’6 division. It is also a whole other level of competition.
Does Rio have the jump and the stride to do the 3’3? Absofuckinglutely. He is a giant after all, and makes 3′ look easy. But does that mean we SHOULD? I don’t think we are there yet. I want to be SUPER comfortable at 3′ first. Like, hitting every distance with solid rhythm and easy changes. We are soooo close, but not quite there yet. Maybe at some point next season we will be ready, but not yet. At this point, I plan to do another season in the AA’s. Rio is still 7 (until May), so we should have plenty of time to move him up in the future.
I don’ want to just show next year though- I’d also like to get out and do more stuff like XC schooling.
I think it is really important that Rio loves his job, and loves coming to work every day, and that the variety will help keep him fresh and interested. Andrea, Stephanie, & Grace- if you’re reading this don’t forget to invite me schooling once the nice spring weather comes!
I’ll be starting off the 2019 show season at full speed-I have another show in 3 weeks. Yes I am insane, and yes I’m very broke.
I try to think of shows as vacations (show-cations)…what I would spend traveling/sitting on a beach/sipping mojitos…I could take that money and do like two horse shows instead. 🤷🏼♀️
I have a TON of guilt and worry about spending so much money on a hobby. Especially since I lease a horse specifically to show and gain experience with, I feel sometimes like I am wasting my money if I can’t go to all the shows that I want to. Why bother to lease and maintain a schoolmaster if you can’t even use him? I also don’t think that I’m one of those people that would have horses and ride if I couldn’t compete – so I sometimes feel a bit “all or nothing” with showing.
I guess I’ve decided that as long as there are things that I am willing to give up in order to have the horses (less free time, less fancy car/house/clothes, fewer trips) then it’s worth it for me to make room for it in my budget. I try to be responsible with my money and my future, but you also only get one life and I don’t want to look back and regret missing opportunities.
I try not to think about the entire cost too much. I save up for shows, have a general budget for competitions over the summer, and spend that money. It’s a lot, but I’m lucky to be able to do it. Do I feel guilty sometimes? Yes. Yes I do. But I also work hard and have picked up freelance opportunities whenever they come my way, to supplement my income and offset costs somewhat.
I feel guilty about spending so much time and money on horses all the time, but luckily my husband is super on board and always tells me that as long as I’m having fun and enjoying it, that we should do it. So I do! I’m also really lucky in that my program is very DIY, so that helps keep costs WAY down in terms of lessons and (especially) shows.
Sounds like such a great plan!! If you feel like you are on a roll – you just got to go with it! 🙂
I don’t really feel guilty since I spend my own money showing (we aren’t married yet and we are not commingling finances) – but I budget, budget well, and stick to it. I also sold my last horse for an actual profit (no shit – an actual profit after board, showing, etc) so that helped ease most concerns over $$ spent showing. And also like you only live once and you can’t take the money with you when you die. So why not enjoy the moment.
True! Horse show money comes from my own account- aka my money that I make taking call and working over-time. And shows are how I like to spend it- versus new clothes/fancy restaurants etc.
lol i mean, realistically speaking, every aspect of horse ownership from a financial perspective is essentially insane. actually. insane. thousands of dollars of fun at a horse show? how about thousands of dollars of fun on splint surgery. or idk, a couple months of board lol. or the gas we spend just commuting back and forth the barn. or our custom fitted tack, or special wardrobe that doesn’t get used for anything else… it’s a slippery slippery slope, is what i’m saying 😉
basically, we all draw our own lines in the sand when it comes to the right financial balance while still achieving that deep sense of fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness that comes with horses. for me, that very much involves horse showing. i love showing! it’s a big part of why i ride! so ya know, we find ways to make it work haha. your plan for next year sounds great too, i definitely think Rio needs more xc schooling in his life!!
This is so true Emma. Board/farrier/vet is a mortgage payment every month. If I’m that far in, I might as well go all the way, Right?!? Lol! Showing is also a huge part of why I ride, so I guess I should stop looking at the show bills and just let it go.
Variety sounds like a great idea! I love to mix things up for my horses, too, to keep their minds as sound as their bodies.
And I hear you re: spending so much money on a hobby! It’s absurd. As much as I love competitions for the community and the fun of the challenge away from home, I question every year how many to try to put on my calendar. Life has a way of eliminating those dates for me most of the time. C’est la vie.
So glad I’m not the only one with slight guilt. You make good points though! YOLO after all!!
It’s probably different for me because I’m single, and what money I earn is mine alone. But while horses are technically a hobby, it’s my most favorite thing in the entire world. So as long as I can pay my other bills, and afford to feed myself and the four leggeds, (and contribute to the retirement fund) the rest of it meant to go to the horses. Right? Something like that at least! Lol.
You two really had a big year! And I think you’re plan is a solid one. Making sure you’re solid and comfortable where you’re at before moving up is how you set yourself up for success. No need to rush.
Looking forward to seeing Rio in the hunt field this season. 😉