Saturday, November 12, 2016

Learning Curves: Other Side of Shows

The past few years I have tried to tame my semi-feral self and to be more involved in various aspects of the equine community.

Through one friend, I have started assisting with a fairly large sized show.  It isn't HITS or Dressage at Devon, but for our area, it attracts around a hundred horses.  I also have been working with an Arabian club and their show events.

Here a few things that I learned while being on the other side of the show curtain, as in assisting the show instead of just exhibiting.

1.  People are generally good natured, but have some questions.  At all hours of the day.  All types of questions.  Be prepared to answer questions anywhere, even while in the bathroom.  :)

2. Show facilities charge fees for everything for the hosting show.  Vendors on the ground means a fee.  People showing from a trailer is another fee.  One facility even charged anytime people used the electrical outlets.  Unfortunately, some of these stupid fees have to be passed along to attendees.  It would be difficult for a show to absorb ten to fifteen dollars a time for each person showing from a trailer.

3. No matter how hard you try, people will not like your class schedule, the order, or the judge.  Sometimes all three.  They also want classes for small, spotted horses of a certain gender that haven't won.  OK, that's a bit tongue in cheek, but it does seem that way.  Don't take it personal.  It's the way it is.

Here's a suggestion for those that show and would like classes added.  Send an email or note and ask if you can sponsor a class.  People are much happier to add classes when they are sponsored.

4. People should put more thought down when putting down stall requests.  If your horse can't be near another living animal, please put that down.  If you have a very frisky young colt, put him down as a "stallion", not a "colt."  Trying to write stall assignments is some sort of mysterious art form that I don't truly understand as it combines horses and human politics and if we don't have all the information, it gets much trickier.

5.  Shows are obnoxiously expensive.  There are many that are ceasing to exist because they just can't get enough horses and clubs are continue to hemorrhage money trying to put on unsustainable events.

6.  If you like your show options, consider volunteering or sponsoring.  Both help creep closer to breaking even or showing a profit, which means more shows for next year.

Anything else that people "on the other side" would like to add? 


  1. I wish there were more shows available but the rising costs of everything makes it less likely all the time, le sigh.

  2. One of the most valuable experiences is working behind the scenes, IMHO. I worked for a very large international horse show for a few years and OMG it made me appreciate show secretaries SO MUCH MORE.


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