Cost of Showing APHA

I could do a post about the dressage show costs from the other day, but it’s remarkably similar to everyone else’s post regarding dressage show costs. We totally show off the trailer (Paige is a trailer tying saint, I know you’re surprised…) and we basically just paid for the tests and fuel. APHA shows are…more interesting…


And I thought dressage tests were hard to memorize…

Memberships and Fees

Showing at regional APHA shows is more pricey. Let’s start with memberships, then head to classes.

  • APHA Membership: $45
  • APHA Amateur/Novice Amateur/Amateur Walk Trot card (you have to have this to show in any Amateur class, otherwise you’re only eligible to compete against everyone, trainers and all in Open): $15

Class fees vary, with Open/Amateur/Novice Amateur/Amateur Walk Trot costing $40, SPB (Solid Paint Bred=APHA registered paints who are solid colored) get a break on entry fees and pay $32. Youth classes (18 and under) also get a huge price break and only pay $36 for all their classes for the weekend, but I think that’s because this regional club has sponsors who pay towards the youths bill, which is pretty awesome.

In addition to class entry fees, you also have to pay the following:

  • Office fee: $20
  • APHA fee ($5 per judge, this is a 4 judge show): $20

BUT, your saving graceย  is that they offer “flat rate weekends” that include those fees, unlimited classes and 1 stall. If you’re only entering a couple of classes, like me last year with weanling Joey, the flat rate is typically more expensive than just paying the fees and my one class and stall. The flat rate fee for this show is $360 for regular registry horses and $325 for K and her SPB gelding.

So for Joey’s classes this fall, I think we’ll be doing the flat rate, but we’ll only be saving $20. So $360 for classes/fees and $60 for our yearly memberships for a total of $420.

But wait! Futurities! Joey will be entered in futurity classes as well as his regular classes, most of which will run concurrently, so the same trail pattern will determine how he does in his APHA class and his futurity class(es). Futurity classes cost $75 each, but you have the opportunity to win that money (plus more!) back in each class and those are the classes that award the fancy neck ribbons and other swag. I would just do the futurities, but alas, there’s a rule that you also have to enter the respective APHA class that is associated with that futurity, so if you want to enter the Color Classic Yearling In Hand Trail class, you also have to enter Open Yearling In Hand Trail.


Neck ribbons are motivational.

For this show Joey is eligible for the following futurities (at $75 each…):

  • Color Classic Yearling In Hand Trail
  • Color Classic Amateur In Hand Trail
  • Color Classic Yearling Geldings
  • Color Classic Yearling Longe Line
  • Color Classic Amateur Yearling Longe Line
  • Virginia Bred Yearling In Hand Trail
  • Virginia Bred Amateur Yearling In Hand Trail
  • Virginia Bred Yearling Geldings
  • Virginia Bred Yearling Longe Line
  • Virginia Bred Amateur Yearling Longe Line

So, I’m obviously not entering him in every one of these because holy smokes. Since Joey’s sire’s donated breeding sold, his owner will have a free entry she may give me this year, though I’m trying to convince her to haul a Joey half sibling and use it herself. She, very generously, gave me her free entry last year, so I didn’t have to pay for Joey’s one futurity. In order to pay the $75, I have to enter by August 24th, otherwise it jumps to $100 per futurity.

As of right now, I’m leaning towards entering in both of the Amateur In Hand Trail futurities, because I think he’ll be stronger in trail than in longe line or (lol) against actual halter babies in yearling geldings. Though, in doing the research for this blog post, I think the Color Classic Futurities will pay out more per class (total funds to be paid out at the show by Color Classic at 20k plus money from entires vs. VA Bred at 6k) than the Virginia Bred, so maybe I should just enter those?! Do you guys see my struggle here? Ugh. Let’s just say I’ll probably do 3 futurities of some sort at $225.

So, a new total for classes and fees is $645 (dear God, I hope my husband doesn’t find this post…lol)

The Rest

Now that I’ve given the VPHA all of my money, who else am I tossing money at?

The closest venue to us that we show APHA at is 2.5 hours away when hauling, which really isn’t bad considering we live in the middle of nowhere. Fuel is a cost for sure…though I’m not exactly sure how much it’ll cost in October with fluctuating fuel costs, so we’ll just say between $150 and $200. K and I split this cost though.

For lodging we’ve previously just camped and paid the cheap, dry camping price of $25 for the weekend. So that means, no electricity or water, but we have access to the showers and can sleep in a tent or trailer, which is fine, but with this show in LATE October, we’re kind of low key cussing the show organizers because not only did they put us in cold temps for camping, they planned it for the same weekend as the local military school’s parent weekend, so all the hotels are either booked solid or expensive. So I found us an Airbnb, which is all well and good, but now I see we have classes on Friday and I should’ve also booked us Thursday night. Now that I’ve bought a trailer with electric in it, I’m tempted to finish insulating and just pay the $40 nightly hook up fee and use an electric space heater/blanket to tough it out. Of course, this only works if Kayla and I try to show without any extra hands since the max occupancy of my trailer is 2 people. Luckily the Airbnb is cheap, so we’ll go with that price for now, $147. Much higher than last year, but considering all the local hotels are $139 a night at the lowest during the show, I’ll be happy with my Airbnb score. K and I will also split this cost.


This was cheaper for sure.

As far as food goes, I don’t really budget food for horse shows, because we either grab fast food or bring groceries along and cook by the trailer on a camp stove. This saved us a ton of money last year, so I don’t really budget for food since I’d be eating whether I’m at the show or at home, often less at a show because we might miss a meal during classes…and make up for it by adding a milkshake at the next meal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We bring shavings with us from home, so bagged shavings at TSC run around $5 a bag, and I generally toss three bags in Joey’s stall and pick it often throughout the weekend, but I rarely add more than three. $15

So, without adding in food, the show will cost me around $835 depending on number of classes/futurities. K will get off cheaper where she’s not entering futurities and gets the SPB discounts.

Where we save…

Tack stall- so far we haven’t purchased one because a) we sleep in/by the trailer and can easily toss what we need in the vehicle and unload it at the barn and b) with just one riding horse right now, it seems silly to get a tack stall for one saddle and a bale of hay. Joey requires more grooming products than tack, so I have a special “show box” that contains all of those things and we just cart it back and forth overnight. I naively leave it in the aisle while we show. My thought process there is that a) most of these people have MUCH nicer things than I do, why would they steal mine, and b) if someone needs a can of gloss spray THAT BAD and they can’t run next store to Dover, oh well. I might should get a lock or something for the box and/or bike chain it to the stall front just to slow thieves down? Savings of $100 or $50 if K and I split it.

Banding- we band our own horses. Despite always having a more skilled friend do it in the past, I’m not too bad at it! This year I likely need to practice because Joey has a TON more hair, which will make thing more difficult. Savings of $30


Unfortunately this year with the show being in October, I’m going to need to blanket my horse before and during the show to keep his hair coat “show ready.” I’m also not thrilled about the prospect of bathing my very white creature in October, but I guess we’ll have to. If we do trail, halter (I really want to do tobiano since we got DQ’d last year whether we do his age division or not), and longe line, we’ll be showing ALL THREE DAYS. So in addition to the actual show expenses, I’m going to need to budget for some blankets for Joey, which means I should go measure him and start stalking the FB for sale pages now…ugh.

Thanks to Carly for the depressing blog hop… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Goodbye moneyyyy.

9 thoughts on “Cost of Showing APHA

  1. This was really interesting! And also made my mind melt a little bit trying to figure out how the hell you get all those different entries straight.

  2. Great post! I chuckled a little bit at how the entries work, and if it makes you feel any better lots of people botch the classes (especially when they’re run concurrently like that). I used to work in the show office for Quarter Horse Congress and you have no idea how many times we had to mark people’s entries as being incorrect for that…

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