This week as I spend the winter doldrums deliriously over-planning my show schedule for 2018, I am struck by the sheer magnitude of the financial commitment I am making to the new year. All this and I still have no canter.

I have now fallen into the “alphabet soup” of memberships and registrations and my head is spinning.

This will be my first year competing at training level at USDF recognized shows (if I can somehow magically install a canter) and in order to do so, I need to have the following (I think):

1) Local GMO membership – $53.00. Ok, not required but if I have a USDF participating membership, but the group has some good perks and a really nice awards program.

2) USDF Participating Membership – $90. This is not 100% required unless you want to compete at regionals and want to have access to some of the year end awards, etc. In order to apply to regionals, I need two really great scores in Training 3. I want to go to regionals, but my horse has no canter. Insert cognitive dissonance. But on the off chance that we develop a dazzling canter at some point … we could go.

I might also qualify for Rider performance awards which they offer at Training level. Basically this means that I would have to get four scores at training level at 60% or higher from four different judges at at least two different shows from four different rides. Your get a certificate and a patch. This is going to be my actual real goal for 2018. That, and I want to get that really cute FITS ruffled show shirt on sale. Just keepin’ it rea!

3) US Equestrian Competing membership plus liability insurance $115. Required, in case we actually get the amazing scores (eternal optimist).

4) The Canadian Sport Horse Association participates in the All-Breed awards program with the USDF.
Well, now I have to join and register Cinder for sure. I procrastinated last year and did not register her. Once I get this done, I have to declare her as a Canadian Sport Horse for USDF all-breeds inclusion.

5) USDF lifetime registration – $115. We will do this once her CSHA registration comes in. This makes her eligible for horse performance certificate. This is completely doable if we nail about five of the items on our training to-do list!

6) USEF Horse Registration – $95 annually.
This is required to be eligible for championships and some awards.

Ugh. There goes that extra credit card payment I was going to make this month. Now I just need to go light 7,000 candles and pray that she does not become lame and require an entire season off. I mean, she is a horse, they do this as soon as you make a serious plan for them. Now all I need to do is prepare a spreadsheet with all the shows I would like to attend and cross reference that with how many scores I need to achieve what milestone. After that I will just do a quick drive-by bank heist to fund this plan and we’ll be good to go. I can see the headlines now: “Local Equestrian Arrested for Attempting to Rob Local Bank,” police tracked her down by following the trail of horse manure and shavings as she fled the scene.

Cinder’s plans for next year are: jumps some sticks, eat hay and con her mom into buying her copious amounts of green apple Mentos. I am kind of worried that maybe our goals don’t align very well. Thoughts?