There's a discussion currently going on via Facebook around horse shows, and there are two issues: lack of horse shows and footing. The contention being that footing will drive attendance at a given show. We all have different opinions about what constitutes good footing. The place that the two big shows in the province are held has footing great for jumping, but, in MY opinion, it is too sticky for dressage, and can be really tough on a young horse. It's also quite expensive to get the facility.
Years ago I remember being on the board, not, I can say, willingly, and trying like hell to get ANYONE to agree to perhaps LOOKING at a different venue, and, I swear to god, was told that the other facilities weren't 'pretty'. Reeeeaaaallllyyyy... Okay, let's leave that little big of DQ'dom behind.
Footing can be a very personal thing. It was mentioned that the footing at Spruce Meadows, which is, after all, the #1 show jumping facility in the world, is not universally adored. I'm fairly sure that the footing at the Olympics isn't either. To some degree, if you are going to show, you are going to run into footing that you aren't thrilled with. Whether you are un-thrilled enough to scratch or never go again, that's an individual thing.
But, I'm here to say, that not every facility WANTS to hold a goddamned dressage show. Flexible and easy going doesn't generally describe the people involved in the sport. And I can tell you, there can be some bitching (and I'm not excluding myself here). A lack of volunteers (willing to put up with the bitching), is a problem too. One show has decided to charge $40 if you don't do a shift over the show. Fair enough. I usually just pay the fee.
It's interesting, there are TONS of jumping shows. I've never volunteered a second in my life for one (I rode jumpers for 20 years), and they make MONEY. How do we get the same for dressage shows? And, they don't cost a zillion dollars. The difference seems to be that these shows are not held at rented facilities. You can make money if it's your facility. But, most dressage facilities are just not set up to manage a show that requires multiple rings and warm up rings, lots of stabling, room for trailers.
I know one facility that was built for that reason. They had some footing issues at the first show, and they just can't seem to get people past that, despite the fact that the footing has been changed. Of course they were flooded out last year and lord only knows if they will return.
Any ideas? At this point, my young horse has two options for shows this year, that's fine, he's quite young. The older one might hit one or two more, if she can get her head around it. One of them is out of province, it's small, but adorable.