Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2016 Planning

Since riding has died down a bit with Daylight Savings Time ending, it has me thinking about next year.

Screenshot from the video of the last show.
The goal next year is to come out at T-3 and 1-1 at some schooling shows, and be working 1-2 and 1-3 by the time I go to recognized shows. I refuse to pay several hundred dollars to go to a recognized show to ride training level. I don't have the budget for it.

Penn is fancier than Mikey was, end of story. I never tried to qualify Mikey for Championships because in reality I didn't want to spend the money to place last. I was also more keen to get my Bronze which meant not lingering at 1st/2nd level and perfecting them. I decided since I have to revisit all the bronze levels with Penn, I want to try to go to Regional Championships with him because I think we'd have a good shot at being "middle of the pack" there. That means I have to be working 1-3 (the qualifying test) and working it well (62%+). Two qualifying scores from two different shows/judges and I can go. Not so hard... right?

Also... I feel completely wrong to admit it because it's too much to try for, but I want to go to Finals. Who wouldn't? In order to go, you either have to be 1st or 2nd at Championships, or get 68%+ in your Championship test for a Wildcard invitation. Now that's an eek, considering I've never gotten above a 64.2% at recognized competition and I highly doubt I'd be in the top 2. Still, non-achievable goal = set. It's something we can work for year after year anyway!

So the end goal means I have to qualify. And qualifying starts at the regular, USDF/USEF sanctioned shows.

Which also means I need to pick a region to compete in because you can't compete at two Championships and you have to earn qualifying scores in that region. I live in Region 1 near the border between Region 1 and 2, and up to this point, I've competed exclusively in Region 2. I had plans this year to compete in Region 1, which as we know, didn't happen. Since I live on the edge of regions, finding "close by" shows means "finding shows that don't take 10 years to drive to." I need to pick a region, and then I won't go to any of the other region's shows because well, recognized showing costs money and they're not going to get me anything extra.

I used my Excel skills to pull the cities of all the 2015 shows in Region 1 and 2, and then did quick mapping to figure out how far away places are.

Region 1 locations.
The first 2 Region 1 locations are cheap, small, single day shows that I can either stay with family or stay for cheap in a hotel. The 3rd generally holds one two day show and is near several of the wonderful bloggers I've gotten to know :-) The 4th hosts 4 single day shows over two weekends that are not too expensive and I can find somewhere cheap to stay.

Can we talk about how Region 1 Championships are a minimum of an 8 hour 7 min drive from me? And how I would have to fill up the truck twice on the way down, just to make it there? It looks like Region 1 alternates holding Championships with the Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, VA (which is 3 hours closer to me and very close to where I picked Penn up).

The first 4 locations in the Region 1 list are perfectly acceptable driving distances. Between the first 4 locations, there are 7 qualifying classes (two day shows only hold 1 qualifying class at each level). However, I know the show at the Loch Moy tends to hold it's show after entries for Championships are due, and the rest hold their shows between the end of May and beginning of August. I don't think we'd be ready for the end of May (#2 on the list), and beginning of June doesn't seem much better (#4 x2), so that's 4 qualifying classes that are out. Well hell. I mean, I'll probably give them a go anyway, but still, that's pressure I didn't want.

Region 2 locations.
I haven't dug as deep into Region 2. I've only been to two locations, both are perfectly acceptable, however only one group makes use of the first two locations for it's single weekend show. The only perk to Region 2 (besides going to two show grounds I like) is that Championships will be between 5.5 and 6.5 hours away (I haven't found the listing yet for next year's Championships and I believe they alternate between those two locations). The 3rd location on the list is totally not happening for me, even if I would be willing to put up with a cruddy indoor. Their shows are in March. We're not going to be ready for that.

All shows locations within 5 hours of the barn.
Now we have all the shows within 5 hours of the barn listed above. That's a lot of Region 1 yellow.

The list of possibly acceptable drives.
It's looking like it's Region 1 for me. I would have pushed for Region 2 if one of the local GMO groups moved their 4 single days shows from Quentin Riding Club (Region 1) back to Grand Haven Stables (Region 2), because then there would have been 6 single day shows (over 3 acceptable weekends) within 3 hours of my barn, which would be plenty. Then I'd go to closer Championships too.

Then I found this tidbit when doing some googling:
USDF will presume qualified horse/rider combinations will compete in the region in which the rider resides as determined by the address associated with the rider’s membership information on file as of July 1. Riders are NOT required to be a resident of the region to compete in that region’s championship. Riders, who wish to compete at Regional Championships in a region other than their region of residence, must submit a Change of Region Form, at no cost if done prior to July 1. Change of Region Forms may be accepted from July 2 up to August 1, with a late fee of $100; from August 2, up to the closing date of the championship region the rider is declaring for, with a late fee of $300. No changes to region may be made after the closing date of the region in which a rider wishes to enter, for any reason. In addition, all persons living outside of the United States must declare a region by the deadline of July 1 of the current competition year.
Yupp, I have to apply to qualify in Region 2. Looks like it's Region 1. Part of the problem with Region 1 is finding places to stay overnight that won't break the bank once you get into VA and MD. I don't know how I'll do the 8+ hour drive to Championships in NC by myself, that almost takes the fun out of it. Husband can't come with me to that, so Mom will come instead, but she can't (won't) drive the trailer. Maybe I'd be better off taking the slightly longer drives across OH for Region 2 shows for a better drive to Championships?

Either way, next year's horse shows will be picked by shopping from a list of locations in what will most likely be Region 1.


  1. i love your goals - now is definitely the time to be thinking big and feeling ambitious! and in that same vein, i honestly don't think the difference between 5-6hrs drive and 8hrs drive will be all that huge since, ya know, CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! it's that whole 'where there's a will' thing :D

    1. The 8 hours probably won't be all that bad- except husband and I want to got to Hilton Head next year, and we typically do that using labor day to save time off of work... so I'd be driving to SC, then turning around a week later and driving almost there again. I don't think I'm allowed to turn our vacation into a showcation! I think the drive will be better because I'm unfamiliar with the roads, and there's nothing worse than driving long distances over roads you know well! A plus is that every time I go to Ohio to show I use both the PA and OH turnpikes- many of these Region 1 shows use the PA turnpike for a short time or not at all, so I can save money there... then dump it all out in the gas to go to Championships!

  2. Well, if Fiction and I ever get anywhere close to where you and Penn are/want to compete in similar shows, I do have a gooseneck with a space to sleep + I make a great traveling companion! This next year will likely be just schooling shows for me though, but one day!

    1. That sounds great! I'd love to have a travel buddy! And I'll still be doing HOC's schooling shows as long as they don't conflict with the recognized ones, and I'm thinking about day trips Chagrin (March/April) and Grand Haven in the summer if need be for tune ups. While Penn is very good in public, he still has baby gawking moments that I can work him through, but we'll do better if he doesn't have them in the first place.

  3. It must be sad for you to pick from so many shows.

    1. Ha. I know you work on a different scale. Over here though, driving 6 hours to a show is unacceptable. A lot of the issue goes with locations holding shows at a time in the summer that's appropriate for me to go. Some of the places closer to me only hold one show, and sometimes it's too early or late in the season for me to take full advantage of.