So, it's a gross, ugly, giant number that I know will get varied reactions from "you only live once!" to "that's disgusting, my family of 5 could live for 2 years on that much money." I assure you that choosing to spend this cash doesn't mean that The Boy and I have endless coffers or that it's a decision that was made lightly. Obviously we are ultimately ok spending it, and it won't put our rainy day(/emergency vet) fund in jeopardy, but still. Not an everyday expenditure.
Regardless, at my first few A shows, in spite of my best efforts to know what it was going to cost me, there always seemed to be some expense that snuck up on me.
Add that to the fact that people tend to politely avoid talking about costs and money in general and you get a big 'ol black hole that you just stumble through and figure out.
For those who have either never experienced these show costs, think they might want to experience it, or manage to look the other way while a spouse or fairy godmother cuts the check. Here are some cold. hard. numbers related to taking your horse to an A show.
I labeled this post "part one" because I hope I remember to do a follow-up post that includes our actual costs. Lord knows estimates are rarely accurate....
Prairie is scheduled to show at Thermal for weeks IV, V and VI (HITS uses roman numbers, and I think they are cooler than regular numbers). This requires shipping her (and equipment) 1,300 miles each way. While there, she will be competing in two divisions with a Pro riding and hopefully two (or three) divisions each weekend with me. She will have grooming, braiding and a double stall since she's huge and tent stalls are not.
In addition I am still trying to figure out how much of those three weeks I will be present. Regardless, there are plane ticket(s) and lodging for me, along with rental cars, food and the inevitable horse show shopping.
So, based on costs from last year, and my entry form this year, here's how I think that major costs will break down:
Equipment Transport (hay, trunk, tack, drapes, etc): $350
Horse Vanning: $1,500
Trainer Hotel/Travel Split: $1,400
Out of State Day Fee (x21): $1,365
Stabling (x2 for double stall x3 weeks): $1,200
Braiding (4 days/week x3 weeks): $1,020
Entries (4 divisions/week x3 weeks): $1.920
Lodging for Me (4 nights/week x3): $2,400
Rental Car: $400
That brings the Preliminary Total to $11,555. That is before shopping, office fees, tips, extra classes and feeding myself.... Which means I really should be mentally preparing to hemorrhage closer to $15,000 especially once Prair orders her matching barn clothes...
eleven thousand dollars.
That's a lot of money.
|Getting to the Back Gate aint cheap|
My initial response when we found out I was pregnant was to cancel Thermal, rein in all pony related costs and hunker down. But The Boy being The Boy, along with my proclivity for spending, means that in a weird way the pregnancy has us both saying "now or never." Heading out of state for a multiple week show sounds even more expensive and even more difficult once a kiddo is in tow, so now it is.
There are in fact lots of things the "Thermal Money" could go toward, but we have had several open, honest conversations about it - and concluded that enjoying our already expensive, show horse someplace where we can also enjoy the sun and some time together sounds like a lot of fun.
Additionally, our biggest household budgeting issue isn't the one-off costs (thankfully), but rather limiting regular monthly expenses. Hence, a half lease, finding Pia the perfect home and exploring a less expensive boarding option for Gus.
So, no - I don't feel guilty. I did for a bit when we were hemming and hawing over the pros and cons. But now that the decision is made, I am ok with it and just trying to make sure that we enjoying this whole experience as much as possible, since it may not be an annual event.