Catering to the Smaller Morgan Barns

this popped up in the Horse show scheduling thread:

“I also think if we want the breed to grow we need to make it friendly to the smaller barns.”

and i was going to comment on it, but i figured to just start another thread on the whole topic.

Doing my National entries a few weeks ago, i realized how much this show makes it hard for the average person.

I never realized how much it was to add a class down there, once you entries have been sent in! Why is this?  What if my horse is only entered in one class, but is having an awesome show, and I want to take her in the open class, or just another class?  Why do they make it so hard to add another class once you horse has already been entered?

I completely understand the hassle of complete post entries too, but come on? Extra money, then class fees, then more on top of that? Why is this so much?  I think if Nationals allowed post entries to happen, the show would grow, with more people entering and entering down there.  If you completely post enter, you know ahead of time you will not get the best stabling, so that is not really the issue…

20 Responses to Catering to the Smaller Morgan Barns

  1. RaeOfLight says:

    This sounds like something that may be more burdensome for the smaller barns, but hardly something that would be easier for the larger barns. I imagine this is a hassle for everybody. But the question remains, why do they make it (apparently, not speaking from experience here) so difficult?

  2. StacyGRS says:

    I could be wrong, but I think at least part of it is wanting the GN program to be acurate. So many people keep them all and refer back to them occasionally (myself included) and they want them to be at least mostly accurate. I would guess that without the extra fees alot of people would just enter 1 class and figure out the rest there. I do like that it is a fairly accurate program.

  3. Montehorse says:

    I am an AOTR, and thought about taking my horse to Nationals this year. It is a large gamble if you submit your entries early. If you submit them after the deadline, it’s an extra $150.+ per class fee. This seems ridiculous to me. What happens if your horse becomes ill or lame before Nationals? You end up losing hundreds of dollars. The average Joe, that wants to compete,doesn’t have that type of money to blow even though they qualified at the same level as everyone else. Aside from the long drive, and gamble, it’s a giant turn-off.

  4. colwilrin says:

    I think the prize list has a paragraph about withdrawing due to injury. I don’t have it handy, but I believe that a veterinary note will allow the show to refund your entries. As with most shows, you may not get back an office or stall fee.

  5. GraceMorgn says:

    This is long, sorry.

    I think the thing you have to remember is the sheer logistics of running a show for over 1,000 horses. The amount of paperwork alone is enormous. The people running the show need to have time to handle all of the stalls, entries, scheduling of rings, etc. This is the main reason entries need to be in so early and there is a fee to enter late, even for one additional class.

    Think about all that goes into entering one horse… The secretary needs to make sure the horse’s papers are correct and the horse, owner and trainer are allowed to show according to USEF and AMHA. S/he needs to make sure everyone has the correct memberships to show in the show and in certain classes ie AMHA, UPHA, USEF, etc. S/he needs to make sure that horse and/or rider is actually qualified to show in each of the classes they have entered. Each class has different qualifying requirements that have to be checked and verified with the qualifying show. S/he needs then needs to make sure that the entry hasn’t violated any of the shows rules ie cross entering and that there is payment.

    At this point, the horse is only entered, it still needs to find a place to call home for the week. The stabling manager needs to address the ENTIRE show grounds for stabling. At Nationals, it is not a first come, first served stabling. It is a HUGE puzzle that has many moving pieces based on donations to the show, years of service to AMHA and AMHI, past Nationals judging, the number of stalls needed per barn, past stabling locations. The list goes on and on. Just because a small barn requests 3 stalls at the show, does not mean that there are even 3 stalls together somewhere on the show grounds, not mention if multiple people had this same request.
    Multiply this by 1,000 and you have an idea of the logistical nightmare that putting on a show the size of Nationals can be. If even 25% of those horses did not enter until the week of the show, think about the amount of work that would take on the part of the show. Even entering a new class is a huge amounts of work. As a way to make those unattractive options, there is a fee for post entering horses or classes. You are still allowed to do it, you just have to pay more.

    For comparisons sake, I looked at the AQHA Youth Show. The show is pretty hard to qualify for and requires state or national sponsorship for each entry. There are absolutely NO post entries. Not a new horse, not because your horse died, not adding classes, nothing. There are NO refunds of any sort, even if your horse dies.

    I also looked at Arabian Nationals. There post entry fee per horse is $1000. A horse change fee is $50. There is a $50-$150 office fee PER CLASS! The minimum to show there with 1 horse in 1 class with a tack stall is $740. They also charge daily admission.

    In comparison, you can post enter horses and classes at Nationals. If your horse is sick or dies, you get everything but your stall and office fees back. For 1 horse in 1 class with a tack stall is $402.

    Just some things to think about.


  6. Vintage_Rider says:

    I always figured it was cheaper to enter and cancel than to post enter for nationals… MUCH!

    Good points from Stacy and Ashley as well.

  7. alpmorgans says:

    i understand how much work goes into grand nationals. and i dont think we can thank the show committee enough for all the work they do. And i understand how much work goes into post entries. But why is it so hard for me to add a class down there when i have already entered? or what if an equitation horse gets hurt, and a rider is offered another horse, but they cannot pay to change the horse. How fair is that? Just my opinion, but i think if the show wants to succeed, they should make adding classes easier.

    And no matter what they do, the program will not be right. Not too many people enter their world championship until AFTER their qualifing class. Not that i understand why you would pre-enter your horse in the WC, because it costs so much more money! but that is another story in itself. :)

  8. RaeOfLight says:

    “but i think if the show wants to succeed, they should make adding classes easier” First of all, from what I understand the show IS succeeding. Sure the economy is down and everyone is feeling the pinch. But by all accounts GN is still going strong.

    Another thought I just had, while I was a Jubilee a few of us were checking out some of the GN entries that had been posted. I don’t remember exactly which class it was, but one of the Jr Exhibitor Hunter Eq classes already has 40 entries. If they make post-entering easier and bump up entries too much there’s going to be a lot of last minute hassle if classes get so full they need to split them. It would become chaos and no one would be happy.

    Maybe a happy medium would be to have an “early entry discount” to encourage folks to submit their entries as early as possible. Then, make the actual deadline for entries after the last Regional (NY hasn’t even happened yet) just in case someone is waiting until the last minute to qualify. THEN impose the late entry penalties. ??? Just a thought.

  9. Vintage_Rider says:

    I also believe you can get your money back if you enter and do NOT qualify… just an FYI

  10. GraceMorgn says:

    “But why is it so hard for me to add a class down there when i have already entered? or what if an equitation horse gets hurt, and a rider is offered another horse, but they cannot pay to change the horse. How fair is that? Just my opinion, but i think if the show wants to succeed, they should make adding classes easier.”

    You are not simply adding a class. You are adding a class that has different requirements and qualifications than the one you are already in. The secretary still needs to make sure the horse and rider are qualified and eligible to show in THAT particular class. The work is the same for each class, it does not decrease if you are already entered in a different class. Class 1, 2, 3, etc all cause x amount of time and work. Instead of giving the secretary 2 months to do that work, you are now asking her to complete it on a short time frame and as a result, you have to pay more to do so. Consider it a rush fee, similar to overnight shipping.

    If an eq horse is hurt and another horse is used, provided the horse is not already entered at Nationals, the fee is $50 to enter that horse in the show. If the horse is already entered, there is no fee. There is no class fee. Equitation classes are entered by rider, not horse, so you are able to switch horses as long as you let the office know you are doing so and it is not in the middle of a prelim and final.


  11. StacyGRS says:

    Actually, I don’t think they do refund even with a vet cert.
    I think alot of these rules are there because they have been made necessary. I think many would enter with the thought of “why not…” without really being pretty sure they were going if there were no consequences. Or they wouldn’t enter at all and then do it there. This show has had years of limited stabling, many split classes, etc and the earlier they know these things, the better they can be prepared for us when we get there. I consider it a non-refundable deposit to hold my spot. Entries are due 6 weeks prior to the start of the show, approx. The odds are in your favor, I would think, that if your horse is healthy and sound and show ready on August 24th, he/she will be so in 6 weeks from then. If you are unlucky enough to have something happen, and it can, , then work has already been done to accommodate your horse (stabling figured out, stall(s) set aside, your entries have been entered and checked, you’ve received a confirmation, you’ve been printed in the program, etc) and none of these services are any less done when you opt to not go. With the numbers at this show, I just don’t think they can do 300 last minute entries. They can’t authenticate lots of vet certificates. For this one show a year, while I understand it isn’t perfect, I don’t think it’s too much to ask people to commit to going a month and a half out so that the show and the people in the office have a clue what to expect. Like I said, I know it is a commitment, but I think to go to the World Championship show and have it put on as well as our’s is, it’s one I’m willing to make that far out. Just my opinion.

  12. StacyGRS says:

    yes…if you enter and then don’t qualify (you have to have tried to qualify by showing), you get all but the office fee back.

  13. alpmorgans says:

    for an equitaiton rider, you have to pay to completely scratch the class, then pay the extra fee plus the class fee to ride a different horse. :)

  14. GraceMorgn says:

    Actually, you don’t pay anything. Because it is equitation, the rider just has to be entered to avoid post entry fees. The original horse would be scratched and the new horse would get a new number, but there would be no fees.

    I asked Peggy the Nationals secretary to make sure. You had me doubting for a minute! ;)

  15. eseybold21 says:

    just my two sense, I can see both sides for sure. and all I have to say is its not just Nationals. Showing horses has gotten to be a huge financial undertaking. I have several clients who don’t have the means of others and because of that, no matter the talent they may have, they will never be able to show. Its a very sad deal that some people have all the talent and drive, just not the funds and because of that can’t do it. I have had clients seel cars, remortgage their house, pull money out of retirement just to go show once maybe twice. Especially with the economy, people took a huge hit, you could tell with the numbers this year at shows. This, like it or not, is a rich persons sport. We don’t really win money (not including futurities) so you you gotta pay to play, with the satisfaction of a ribbon in return.
    On that note, why doesnt the morgan breed go commercial? Why can’t we get big name sponsers to hopefully lower our costs, and increase our payouts?

  16. leslie says:

    “On that note, why doesnt the morgan breed go commercial? Why can’t we get big name sponsers to hopefully lower our costs, and increase our payouts?”

    Probably because there aren’t enough eyes on our sport to make it worth anyone’s advertising dollar. I figure show jumping, eventing, and dressage can snag Land Rover and Rolex because these are huge, international sports with a large (and wealthy) following. The AQHA and western sports have a big and loyal enough following to get some sponsors, too, though mostly industry-specific (Wrangler, John Deere). Our breed is fairly small, and if we’re brutally honest, our show ring is not really spectator-friendly for people outside the horse world, so slapping your logo on our show ring is sort of like posting your billboard on a remote dirt road. I’m just not sure we can offer much of a return on investment for any kind of major sponsorship.

    The follow-up question is, of course, how do we get more participants and spectators to our breed so that we could then attract sponsors? But that’s sort of the eternal question for Morgandom.

    Do any other breed shows (besides AQHA) get major corporate sponsorships? I can’t think of ever hearing of any for Saddlebreds or even Arabians.

    It’s not entirely a bad thing, though. Imagine the day we have to refer to the Pepsi Grand National or the Dunkin Donuts New England Regional. :)

  17. alpmorgans says:

    i dont think there is anything we can do to really get more spectators at morgan shows. its something you have to be interested in to want to watch. thats not going to change. :(

  18. RaeOfLight says:

    Is there much local advertising that happens for shows? The answer to that may vary from show to show, and it may be something where there’s no cost-benefit ratio, particularly since we don’t charge admission. But that might be a way to bring people in.

    On another thread it was mentioned that the average drive for a trainer/exhibitor to/from a given horse show might be 5 hours. For smaller shows it may not be that long. Let’s say 3 hours. If the people who lived nearby spent half that much time just going around to local tack shops, feed and farm supply stores to post fliers, etc, I wonder if we’d see any response?

  19. Trisha says:

    My news station has an area on their website and newscast keeping people up to date on what’s going on in the area. That could be something for show committees to look into in the area where the show is. I’m not sure that it helped, but I have seen the Dayton horse show on my local news in that section.

  20. Chris Nerland says:

    I hope eseybold meant her clients had to “sell” their cars cuz it looked like they might be “steeling” cars! That would really be a dedicated horse exhibitor! :-)

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