Hosting a Budget Horse Show

Tips and hints to help build an accurate budget for any horse show or competition.

First, make a tentative budget to determine reasonable costs for the event. This will help when you choose your facility, judges, cattle supplier and other expenses. The budget will also help you establish the participant fee.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

    • Start building your budget by listing expenses. Fill in tentative numbers. Add your expenses categories and come up with the total anticipated expense for your event.
    • Next, you will need to determine how many participants you will need to break even and yet keep the registration cost reasonable. Average actual costs range from approximately $100 to $125 per day – without any cushion for unexpected expenses or profit.
    • Generally stalls, wood shavings, stall stripping, lodging and social events are not “hard” expenses. These expenses are optional to your contestants.

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    • Choose a break-even participant number that you think you can realistically draw to your event. Should more participants register over that break-even number, your profit will increase.
    • Having a mark-up percentage built into your minimum number of participants allows for unexpected expenses without creating loss for your event. It is also helpful in assuring a profit for your association or club. Depending upon your participant fee, this mark-up might be between 5 percent to10 percent.
    • Decide in advance what your association or club will do if the minimum contestant number is not reached within a week or two of the competition date. Cancel? That might appear to be the easiest answer, but what about the expenses you have already paid, such as facility, awards and deposits?

Here are some other budget hints:

    • Each time you revise the budget, change the date at the top of the budget form (“Revision Date: ______”). This detail will ensure that your management is working off the same information.
    • You will usually receive your agreements back in a timelier manner if you enclose two copies of the agreement (one for the supplier and one for your records) and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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It is usually beneficial to make a checklist of everything that is needed for the show or competition. Here is a sample checklist:

    • AQHA approval
    • Budget
    • Organization
    • Date
    • Facility
    • Judges
    • Cattl
    • Announcer
    • Volunteers
    • Class patterns
    • Scoring and score sheets
    • Participant packets, including schedule/agenda
    • Insurance and release of liability forms
    • On-site concessions
    • Lodging
    • Social event, if applicable
    • Advertising/publicity
    • Photography
    • Awards
    • Emergency medical services
    • On-site veterinarian
    • On-site farrier
    • Clean-up
    • Participant evaluation form
    • Post-event evaluation