Well if the first two posts of this series didn't kill ya, this one may be the one to do us all in. If not, well that which doesn't kill us... and all that good stuff. At least if you are starting out, or maybe WHEN you are starting out- the total cost of acquiring everything can be a killer, just like if you were getting into dressage, jumping, eventing, barrel racing or any other equine sport. If you are going out to compete, entry deadlines and shipping dates can be nerve racking. Can I afford this before then? What do I need for this event? Once you have acquired everything needed or required, you can relax and enjoy the ride for a while.
Sticker Shock, Part 1
Sticker Shock, Part 2
Ok so now we have our cart, horse, harness, whip, apron, hat and gloves, so what else is there? Well if you are going the route of CDE's or ADT's, there is still. more. to. buy.
Helmets- Maybe I should have included this one from the beginning? Anyways, our local carriage driving club requires anyone riding on a cart or carriage, at any time, at any of their events, MUST be wearing a helmet. The only exception is the driving show and the pleasure classes. I think the ruling is the same for the ADS at their sanctioned events as well. I might be wrong, but I doubt it. I have also made it a habit to put the helmet on when I drive, even if I am staying home to work Kat. As we all know, the best helmet is one that fits and is comfortable to wear. Any time you take a spill and the helmet whacks something like the ground (or a pole)- it should be replaced. The price of a helmet is far less than a hospital bill, air medic flight and everything else associated with head trauma.
Protective vests- When we were watching the video "The Road to Gladstone" at the driving clinic in November, comments were made about how None of the drivers were wearing protective vests on the marathon course. That was then... Now they are a requirement. If anyone has worn one and suffered an accident where the vest protected them- they will probably swear by them. They are a reasonable consideration when you think about it. Just like helmets- the cost of the vest compared to the cost of medical care...
Yet the funny thing is, I have not seen any vests on any of the driving websites. I think that is kind of strange, but whatever? Dover, Stateline Tack, Jeffers Equine Supply and several others have them, but none of the driving supply websites. Maybe I missed them somewhere, but I have been looking. They range in price from $95 for ladies sizes, $104 for mens or unisex sizes at Jeffers to a few hundred dollars, depending on the brand you choose and where you buy it from.
I forgot to add this on the last post, but a number holder for the cart is a good thing to have also. They average around $10 for the style to attach to the back of the seat or the axle of the cart made of vinyl with nylon webbing straps. If you want leather, they can run in the ballpark of around $45. These can be used for everything from pleasure classes to the competitive driving events.
For the marathon course of a CDE, it is rcommended you wear an armband with your medical information on it. Shit happens and even though you may feel like you are wrapped head to toe in bubble wrap, who knows what might render you unconcious on the course. The information is there for the medics who need it. These are available through Dover for $10 and many of the carriage supply websites as well.
Then there is a spares kit. While this is not a requirement, it is recommended. It consists of a small pouch filled with everything you should never hope to need, but might. Rein splices, trace splices, a knife, a leather punch, some leather string, a couple of wrenches, a small hammer, a hoof pick and I am pretty sure I have forgotten something... Prices may vary again, according to how big, how much and what kind of pouch you want it all in. I have seen them from $75 (CDE below) up to a few hundred in a nice leather case with enough in it for a 4 up hitch. DEI has several to choose from, CDE has the cheapest so far and NFCS has a spares kit, but also offers the tools separately if you wish to put your own together.
The big one in all of this is entry fees. For the ADT's it isn't bad. Besides the annual club membership fee (ADCS is $25) and the gas/fuel to get there, entries are $40 per event. I don't know what other clubs charge, but any comments on that are welcome. Our club holds 6 ADT's per year, the first one in January, the upcoming one in February, one the end of March and on from there. This year there is one in May in Prescott and one in June in Prescott, then the last one in Paulden has a date still to be determined.
CDE's are a whole different story. I have seen entry fees from $125-$200. This is for the three days of events, dressage, the marathon and cones, so roughly $40-65 per event. Stalls are anywhere from another $60-$125 depending on the event and the stall. There is also the ADS/USEF membership per year (single $75) or a non-member fee ($30) per event. There is usually an exhibitors party or dinner and tickets are between $25-$35 per person depending on the event. Some events offer golf carts for around $300 for the length of the event.
Some venues also include a shopping area where you can find clothes with the event logo, mugs, hats, of course carts, harness, whips, buckets, wraps and all sorts of things you may need or run short on at the event... You guys are on your own with this part.
I won't include food, fuel or lodging since we all pay these if we are traveling to compete, no matter what the sport or discipline, but it adds up and costs roughly the same no matter where you live or which events you are planning on entering. If you are traveling out of state, of course you need a health cert within 30 days and Coggins test within one year of the event, 6 months in some areas. Cost for these also varies by state and sometimes by vet. It's just the cost of traveling with horses...
So there you have it. The wrap up of driving and the costs involved. If I think of or find anything else, I will add it as part 4. Let's hope we don't have to go there. I don't think the bank account can take much more of this...