The Cost of Showing

[photo credit: Natural Flash Photography]
[photo credit: Natural Flash Photography]

You’re at a horse show, writing the check to cover your expenses and fees. “Someone,” you think as you furiously scribble in the dollar amount, “is making a lot of money on me and my horse.”

Maybe not. Horse shows incur a lot of expenses, and in most cases, the managers are just passing the costs on to you.

Let’s break down some of the costs of putting on a horse show.

  • Facility rental. You like a nice facility, don’t you? One with big stalls, lots of warm-up arenas and plenty of parking? Maybe some showers and hookups and attractive grounds? The more amenities a facility has, the more expensive it will be, and some shows charge for additional stall cleaning, electricity or grounds fees. Some facilities and fairgrounds charge for the use of additional warmup arenas. Those fees differ in different parts of the globe.
  • Judges. There’s not a horse show without a judge, and shows pay judges an average of $500 a day plus overtime, in addition to paying for transportation and food. Paying for the judge is the most important expense a horse show has.
  • Advertising. If shows want to let folks know when and where to bring their horses, those shows need to advertise. And some exhibitors really like ribbons, which is a form of advertising and an expense the show will have to pay ahead of time.
  • Show approval fee. AQHA charges its shows an application fee for show approval ranging from $150 to $1,500, depending on how big the show was the previous year, plus an additional $4 per horse that actually enters. That money pays for processing – the amount it costs AQHA for its employees to enter the accomplishments of all the horses at the show into the Association’s database.
  • The help. The announcer, ring crew, ring stewards, show manager and office staff all need to be paid. Those people and the judges also need places to stay, and hotel prices can fluctuate.

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One thought on “The Cost of Showing

  • June 9, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I have a few questions that I have been wondering about for a long time. The facilities, why do they charge one price for some organizations and less for others. Say a QH show as to an Appaloosa show. Why does the show pay for judges and crews food, hotel etc. If expenses are too high, there will be no exhibitors. Exhibitors do their part, or they don’t show. Why not judges, facilities, crew and exhibitors all work together to keep these shows affordable.


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