My last blog post was a basic breakdown of the costs of showing in the western division. Which of course was just one example as depending on exactly what your set-ups are or the costs of your horses, tack and props it could be considerably different. However if you take care of your showing items they should last you for years and years (and then some more years).
Last April I was judging at Quabbin Valley Performance Open, held in Spencer MA. I judged the entire AR/CM performance division so could not show in it. I was however allowed to show in the OF division. I didn't want to overload myself because I was judging but I have been chasing a Superior Event Horse award with my side saddle Strapless, Lady Intrigue. She needs to retire so I am trying to get her that last therapeutic riding card that she needs. Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile will recognize all of these photos from the show report but the story here is a bit different.
Originally I was just going to bring Lady and show her in Other English to try for the Therapeutic riding card I needed for her card collection. Then I thought it would be fun to do the entire division with therapeutic riding set-ups (not that I can use the extra cards). It was a fun challenge. My second self challenge was to fit everything I needed to show (other than the horse) in a shoebox. Mission accomplished.
Here is the monetary breakdown for the first scene:
Side saddle Strapless- $70 for the set (I got it when it came out, before the prices went up)
Ultra suede footing- $5 a yard on sale (this is actually less than a yard and made several pieces of footing)
Jennifer Buxton English tack set-(trade!) $300ish value
halter/leadline/reins- homemade, $5 or less of materials
Leader doll- homemade, maybe $75 if I bought her
male sidewalker doll- (bendy guy) $150 if purchased
teenage doll in pink (semi-portrait of my daughter)- $150 if purchased
youth rider doll (semi-portrait of my son)- $150
ground poles- $1 or less
cones- came from the Breyer trail set, $30 set (?)
OK, so IF I had actually paid money for everything I put on the table this set-up would have been $936. But you have to consider that I was using top quality tack and 4 dolls. Since I made the dolls and traded for the tack my actual cost was about $196. I included the cost of materials to make the dolls I used and the dolls I traded to Jennifer. So I paid that money once and then...
I used most of the same items again. Same show even. Same dolls (mostly), tack, horse and some different props. The rider doll was one I made but it's not mine. I borrowed it from my friend Joan Fauteux who was also the show holder. There is no cost to borrow from your friends and that's awesome! The props changed a bit for the scene. I actually borrowed those as well. I used stitch counting rings (for knitting) squinkees and the balls they came in for toys. I borrowed the rings from my friend Melissa and the toys from her daughter. If I had bought my own (which I have) it would have been $3 for the rings (a BIG pack) and $2 each for a pack of 2. I bought 5 packs because they were on sale. So I have now added $13 to my investment. This was the "Other English" class that I needed the therapeutic card from.
For my next entry I again used the same horse, same tack, same dolls and I switched up the props again. The bridge is from the same Breyer trail set which we have already accounted for with the cones in the first scene and I don't need to add that again. The only other difference is the trail mat. Now that was fun to make. It's a bit messy at times but it was fun. I used a piece of ultra suede (also already accounted for) and some model train "grass" It was a few bits leftover from another project and would amount to $5 or less (probably way less as they were leftovers).
My next class at the show was the the trail class. I use documentation I made from photos of my son riding, a picture of the trail patterned used in the therapeutic trail class from one of the shows and all the same dolls, the same horse and so on that I already used previously in the show. I again used the cones from the first scene so this class was $0 more.
The last class was pleasure and while I thought about using the therapeutic riding team again I decided to just do run-of-the-mill pleasure class with a regular hunt seat rider. Same horse, same tack minus the halter and a different doll. Again, I made the doll but if she was purchased she would be $150.
At the end of the day Lady Intrigue came home with 4 NAN cards and OF English champion. The initial investment was significant (if I had paid with money for everything) but I can now use those dolls over and over again for a variety of things, the tack will last a long long time and the props have multiple uses as well. The fun thing about this particular show was the personal challenge of seeing if not only could I do an entire division with minimal props but could I do it mostly in therapeutic riding style. The judge loved it, I had a lot of fun and it was refreshing to do something so unusual.So at the end of the day it comes down to several things. You don't necessarily have to spend a ton of money to show well and have a good time. I happen to be in love with Jennifer Buxton's tack and that is what I choose to use. I could have (and I have) used an English tack set I made myself. The cost of that was probably about $35 including a pewter tree and cast bit. I don't love it as much as my Braymere tack but it works well. Most of the dolls (all of them really in a pinch) COULD have been out of the box dolls. I make dolls so enjoy making them. And I enjoy occasionally seeing just how many I can use in a scene. The props I used on this day were super cost effective. The horse happens to be an OF that is not bottom of the barrel pricing (but not that bad really). And again I will say, if you just want to try out performance showing, pick out a horse and see what you can borrow. After that if you discover you love it decide what you can invest in show show equipment. And get a bit at a a time.