Look at this rare photo of a cutting horse in its natural habitat
Have you ever had a bad dream where a bad man in a ski mask sneaks up behind you, puts a gun to your head and screams, "GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY." That's literally how I feel every time I pay one of my entry fees. Except, the secretary of our association is like super nice and definitely doesn't wear a ski mask. I mean even though we're in the frozen arctic of Canada that would be super weird of her. BUT STILL, you get my point, cutting is super expensive and it's the least fun part about the whole damn sha-bang. No unicorns and glitter today people, (... okay, a little bit of that) let's get down to the brass tax of it all - The Dreaded Entry Fee.
Entry Fees, for many of us, the words themselves cause us to break into hives. Really scratchy ones, the ones you get and strangers stare at you because your diseased hives. As a beginner, you don't truly understand what you're getting in too when you go to pay your first set of entry fees at your first show. For example, at the upcoming first NCHA show of the Alberta season, my entry fees are $268 a class. That's $536 for both shows. Just to really let that sink in, that's $214.40 A MINUTE in the show pen. Plus, the 2,000 Limit Rider class is a jackpot class, meaning there is no added money in the pot. So, depending on the number of people entered if it's a small show, you may realistically do decent both days, and not even come close to clearing your entry fees. But, let's be real, we are still too busy scrubbing glitter off our unicorns to win just yet, we need to learn how to lose first.
Now, everyone tells the beginner/novice competitors that they need to do it. To get better you HAVE TO show, they say... as you're quietly calculating whether or not you can sell a kidney on the black market to afford to "get better." You know what hurts even more than selling your kidney (okay, i've never sold a kidney, but a girl just might one day), the fact that, when you're starting out cheques are going to be few and far between. Because, you're learning, because, you need to show to get better, because cutting is addictive and you get excited and you screw your run up, and then you blame everything and everyone around you when realistically it was 100% all you. It's cool, we've all been there, just try not to vocalize it too much, keep it inside, keep your shitty/mad self at bay. I know the potted plant in the corner was giving you a funny look before you entered the show pen, but that didn't cause your sixty. What caused your sixty was the fact you had two hands on the reins when you walked to the herd, and then hot quit your first cow because it was going a little fast and freaked you out. It's okay, no judgement here yo, beginner life is real out there in the show pen.
Then, there's those cheques that bait you in even more, maybe you hit a hot streak, you win a show for the first time, you pick up some consistent cheques in the row and you are starting to feel like the number one baller shot caller OUT THERE. I hate to tell you this, but do you know how many times I've heard this line, "... but last year we were unstoppable, this year what's happened?!" It's gross. It's true life: cutting edition.
So, for the sake of journalism and professional whining, I tried to figure out what else in this world costs $214.40 a minute. I googled things like "expensive stuff", "things to waste money on" and "indulgent spa treatments", (professionalism. journalism.) but couldn't find a lot of actual prices, so I'll equate it to some things I know.
For $214.40 a minute I could...
- Buy two pairs of nice jeans, and then immediately set them on fire because some people just like to watch the world burn.
- Call 3-4 veterinarians to come out to your barn just to say hi, and pay the call fee.
- Go to a fancy restaurant, order two of the most expensive main courses, plus a bottle of wine, throw down your credit card to pay for it and walk out all within sixty seconds.
- Go on a late night shopping binge, buy an overpriced blender, have them send it to a random person in Europe.
Or you could...
- walk to the herd, slice through those cows like butter, cut the brown headlight your help is putting you on perfectly, throw your hand down and let your unicorn toss some glitter around.
It's up to you, but either way, with weekend show season now in full swing, to my beginner's covered in entry fee hives, you just gotta keep at it out there, don't get discouraged if you don't pick up a cheque. IT WILL COME. But, I need you to remember one thing that will truly put the financial stress of showing in perspective for you... atleast you haven't started showing aged events yet. ;)