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Walking to the ring at Far and Away

You Can’t Please Everyone, But…

I have the most first world of first world problems right now… and I simply can’t get it off my mind. I try really hard not to rant or be pessimistic on this blog (or in my life in general) but I’m hoping that maybe saying this out loud will take the weight off my mind. We recently got news that the awesome local show series at the amazing, brand new facility has been sold for the 2017 season. It has a new name, new prices and a new schedule. And I’m not happy about it.

Miles at a horse show
Random, old show photos to break up text ftw

Okay, so this is less about the new name (which I don’t like, just for the record), only a little bit about new prices (because no one wants to pay MORE money), and mostly about the schedule. Before I continue though, I have a caveat. I know being a show manager is a thankless task — you simply can’t make everyone happy — and putting together a schedule is tough. So instead of bugging show management about it, I’m bitching to the great, wide internet.

Walking to the ring at Far and Away

I show in 2’6″ hunters and equitation classes. That’s my current skill-level and I’m looking forward to another year at this level to work on fine-tuning the details and continuing to build confidence. Last year, I was able to show in a Low Thoroughbred Hunter division, which was awesome. We typically hauled to the horse show Friday afternoon, schooled and then I showed on Saturday and Sunday. This year, the new show management team has expanded the show and changed the schedule a lot. Shows will now run Thursday through Sunday, with schooling on Wednesday. Low Thoroughbred Hunters show Thursday and Friday. Intermediate (2’6″) Adult Equitation runs on Friday.  😥  I’m a working adult amateur in a small training program. I work full-time to support my horse habit and I only get so many days of vacation; and it’s not enough to take three days off per horse show.  I’m in a small program and I take care my horse myself — I don’t have any grooms — so I’m the one feeding, mucking, lunging and bathing my horse. So… I’m annoyed. There are classes I could show in on just Saturday and Sunday, but they would be much larger and more competitive… plus they’re literally the last classes of the day. Ugh.

So now that I’ve got my rant out of the way, what would you do? 


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

25 thoughts on “You Can’t Please Everyone, But…

  1. Yeah, that’s super frustrating. I wonder..(and keep in mind I know nada about h/j land) could they change up the schedule throuhout the year? Move classes around? If not, are there any other classes you could take that fall on the weekend? I totally feel your pain- I work during the week too. I would say, go to as many as you can? Not really a great answer…

    1. They certainly may change the schedule throughout the year (so… that’s sort of what I’m hoping for? haha). And there are classes I could show in that fall on the weekend, they will just be larger and more difficult annnnd I’m a little bit of a satin whore (I know, I’m so ashamed!)

  2. Might be worth an email to show management…you aren’t the only one impacted I’m sure. If there are enough squeaky wheels, things may change.

      1. This absolutely. I’ve barely even stepped into the Adult Ammy world, but it only makes sense that classes reserved for Adult Ammies be on the weekends. I think the classes might have accidentally been put on a weekday without someone remembering the limitations of the competitors that the division is reserved for. Definitely shoot them an email.

    1. I agree, that’s a great idea. The service needs to be provided to the customer that’s the most accommodating to the customer, not the other way around.

  3. That seems like a poor management choice overall to move divisions that are going to be filled with amateurs and teens to weekdays! I’m sure they had their reasons for the change, but that just doesn’t make sense to me. I think a polite email to management wouldn’t be out of place.

  4. Sounds like they’re running it like an A show via schedule. Around here, all the Thoroughbred divisions go during the week because they’re small (don’t get prime time spots) and also open to pros, which means they go on pro days. Our pre-adult/pre-childrens often run on Friday/Saturday instead of Saturday/Sunday because they lose spots to the larger USEF amateur divisions. It sucks, but just how it is at most places that I know of in the rated hunter/jumper world.

    1. This is very true — management is trying to make it a larger, higher quality show. Which I get… it just makes me a little sad because I feel like I’m getting kind of priced-out. And I love showing there!! Just means I need to make choices, and I’m gonna cry about it LOL

  5. Sorry to hear that.

    As a new show organizer myself (though not anywhere close to this level), I have discovered that number of entries is the number one thing that impacts a show’s bottom line. It’s true that it’s impossible to please everyone, but a polite email to say “Just fyi, if you changed this class to this day you would get x more entries” I think would be useful feedback for them. If you speak for other people at your barn etc. that would make more of a difference. Be honest though, if you’re still going to compete in the shows as the schedule stands, say that. Just my 2 cents.

  6. It seems odd that a local show series would change to such a … rated type show schedule. Most people who go to local shows are locals for whom horses are a hobby. At least, that is what I’d assume. That is a bummer. 🙁 Hopefully some silver lining appears to make it better.

  7. I hear ya sister. I work weekends, so every horse show I go to I have to take at least 3 days of vacation. I have to pick and choose, that is for sure. And I certainly don’t show as much as others. But, you make it work. Stupid adulting.

  8. aw man, i’d be totally bummed too. that’s super frustrating. i definitely second the idea of reaching out to management to discuss with them. it’s possible they have very specific reasons (like Lauren said, the classes are open to pros so they go on pro days, or there just isn’t enough interest to put those classes in a prime time position?). but it’s also maybe possible that they’ve reshuffled things for lesser reasons and would maybe be open to reconsidering.

    bc yea… putting the adult amateur friendly classes during the workweek sounds really counter intuitive imo. good luck 🙁

  9. I think you should contact them. They may not realize just how bad this schedule is and might change as the season goes by. But aside from that, I’d recommend entering the Sat/Sun classes. Or get a job with unlimited vacation. I can personally vouch for how awesome that is.

  10. If you love the venue and 100% want to attend their shows, I would send them a polite email asking them to consider shifting the schedule a bit to accommodate working amateurs more. Even if they want to use the new schedule this year, at least they have the feedback and might consider it should things change in the future.
    As part 2 of my reply, I just wanted to say I also work full time and cannot justify taking 2 days off for a show repeatedly through a season, either. I end up giving my money to the venues that schedule weekend classes, as do all my barn mates and the sometimes hundreds of other people attending the same shows….and money does talk, right? If the venue you like doesn’t change, perhaps another venue will step in and add a similar series based more toward the working amateur…so part 2 of my plan might involve contacting a venue with an existing schedule that works and asking them whether they’d consider adding the classes/series you’re interested in 🙂

  11. 🙁 that stinks

    As a small time pro I have a similar problem. I can’t fund the rock and roll lifestyle without the daily grind bread and butter. It just makes me feel more and more pushed out of the sport I love.

    But yes! Make your concerns known. Sometimes management in unaware or doesn’t realize the size of the impacts. Good luck!!

  12. Message them! And if lots of people message them there is a good chance they will change something. If they don’t, go to as many as you can but then focus on another venue and go there instead, which sucks if this place was great to begin with 🙁

  13. I would echo the ‘message them’ advice. I understand that they are trying to make it financially viable but I wonder if there’s a better way to do it. I think that they will find the AA entries much less during the weekday.

  14. Ugh.
    Do you work remotely still? Do you have flexibility with your job to take thurs/fri off and work Sat/Sun instead?

  15. I don’t blame you for being irritated. It really doesn’t make much sense to have the 2’6″ amateur classes during the week. MOST amateurs work weekdays. Maybe you could send a very nice email to management asking if they might fit those classes in on another day?

  16. I think you should not only write a letter and clearly articulate your reasons, but get a petition going. Are there other riders like you who share the same sentiment? Maybe they’ll shoot themselves in the foot and people won’t show up. I think it is sounding like an A show as Lauren says. It annoys me too because it’s like THEY (whoever they is or are) seem out of touch with the real world. Must be nice to be able to go show regardless of days of the week. As a teacher, I also don’t like the thought of kids taking off school for horse shows–not sure if that will be the case. (I understand if it’s a special show like a finals or something). Sorry. I’m ticked off just hearing about this. I can’t help but feel like that’s a class-ist move on their part. 🙁

  17. As someone who’s involved in show management (albeit in the dressage world), I’d also recommend a polite letter or email to the show secretary or manager. Talk to your horse-showing friends at your barn and reach out to other barns in the area. The arguments that are most compelling for me are those that affect the show’s bottom line- if you can tell me that X number of riders won’t be coming to the show because I’ve scheduled their favorite classes on Y day, I’m more likely to consider changing the schedule because I’m going to lose money. (I frequently field emails for dressage shows that say something to the extent of “I don’t like getting up early, so please don’t schedule me before 10 AM, THANKS!”, which I ignore.)

    FWIW, the local H/J shows here that I attend with work are the same way- they begin with schooling on Wednesday. I don’t know if this is a trend within the greater H/J world or a coincidence; I’m not involved enough to say either way!

    Good luck!

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