Show Planning – Input Requested

How do you plan shows? For me finding shows is always problematic. Because I can’t show rated with Nilla, I can’t just go to USEA’s website and note down all the shows in my region. I scour lots of facebook pages, local equestrian calendars, follow barns that might have shows, and sometimes I just steal shows I see on local blogger’s lists.

Once I find shows, organizing them is the next step. I usually make a google spreadsheet and put in all the possibilities and then pick and choose. Sometimes I’m not even that organized. Last year I just kept an email draft with a list of shows. And then I’d be like, I wonder if I can go to this show, oh, I can’t because registration closed a week ago.

Finding shows is its own special nightmare and I’m not out to solve that. But I am out to find a better way to organize my shows than a spreadsheet or an email. Since I’m looking to change careers into Software Engineering, I’m going to make an app. Now, I know what I’d want in a show planning app, but I’m just one person (who doesn’t show rated at that) so I am seeking input before I get started.

I’d want to track show names, show dates, registration dates, locations, distance, fees/costs, specific classes at the show, stabling requirements, vaccine/medical requirements, registrations/affiliations required for the basics. Additionally, It’d be cool to attach the dressage tests I need to memorize. I’d also like to build a progress tracker so I can keep track of my placings and scores post-show and maybe run some stats on them at the end of the year.

What am I missing? I know there are probably 20 million other things to track and I’m not sure what I’d prioritize, but I’d like some reader input. What features would you want to see in a show organizing app? And by app I mean website not iphone/android, although I’ll probably learn that next, but don’t worry about what would be inconvenient about an app, just think about what features you’d want to have if you were planning your shows. Or tell me how you organize your shows?

Also, I’m not doing this to make money or anything like that. I just want to do the project in order to practice/learn skills and eventually get a real job.

34 thoughts on “Show Planning – Input Requested

  1. Teresa

    What a great idea. Right now I just put them in my iPhone calendar but there’s not that many here. I love the idea of being able to put in stats. I think I would want to see:
    – a feature to sort them by month
    -memberships that I need to compete
    – maybe a ‘comments’ spot to add notes to (e.g., trailer parking is miles from stalls’)

  2. Hillary

    I think the app sounds intriguing. My spread sheet includes the distance in miles/hours/ round trip gas cost. As well as open and close dates. I also have a spot to indicate if the event allows camping and dogs. After I make my spread sheet I put open/close/ actual show dates in my calendar (moleskin). When trying to see what i can do monthly I printed big monthly sheets so I can scrap them if I don’t like how things fit. It’s not an art but it works okay for me.

    Interested to see what you come up with!

    1. Olivia Post author

      Thanks for contributing. You definitely have a good system going. I was tracking distance for time, but tracking for gas cost is also a great idea. Camping options will be added.

  3. Emma

    Oooh what a cool project! My own tracking sounds pretty damn primitive comparatively – I just list venues, dates, and show type on my blog events page. It works well bc my friends use the page too… But it ain’t fancy lol!

    I’d consider having a way to note status (as in “entry complete / incomplete / sent in / confirmed” or “times posted). Mine are also segmented by discipline (dressage / h/j / horse trials / spectator events / and other stuff like hunter paces). My local organization does year end awards so I always need to go back and review my placings for the season to calculate points, including a multiplier for the organizations own shows. Some way of being able to create custom tables for that would be nice.

    Also I assume you’re already exploring opportunities to integrate your app with a calendar function so that the events can be seen from that view – this is esp helpful for those months with five weekends, or if we’re trying to optimize our outings without over-doing it.

    If I think of anything else I’ll let you know. Sounds awesome tho!!

    1. Olivia Post author

      I will definitely add track (like entered, incomplete). I totally forgot about the times. I will definitely add that. I was thinking of tracking series, but hadn’t thought of points for series/year-end awards, so I’ll add that too. Thanks so much.
      Calendar integration is actually super easy once you have all the other details set up so that’s not something I’m worried about yet, but it’ll definitely be a feature.

      1. emma

        another thing i thought about is the ability to share and/or edit among groups of friends, since a lot of my riding buddies and i try to coordinate our plans.

  4. martidoll123

    i like the idea of comment section. i would love to be able to see if the place is worth going or not!! And my way is kind of like Emma (just a list) and then i do usually miss the cutoff time for registering. LOL (I think i do it on purpose sometimes). Or i mess myself some other way! For example I have Springfest coming up on April 30 and realized that I had signed up for a 5k that morning. I can’t ride and run 3 miles (old person here)! BUT then i realized one of my friends might ride him so i asked her and she said yes. So i will go run the 5k and then go to the show to watch someone else ride Remus! (AKA she is braver than me). But an app that tracked sign in dates, cut off dates and even links to courses etc would be great along with the comments. Fun! I cant wait to see how it goes!!

    1. Olivia Post author

      I think I could add links to previous courses, but courses often change so it wouldn’t be up-to-date more of a “this is what it was like in the past.”

  5. Elizabeth

    That is a great idea and I don’t think I have much to add for input. I usually just make a Google Doc with the shows, dates, and opening dates for entries. I tend to put down everything I can possibly do and then just subtract/add as I go along. Last year I started color coding the font of the types of shows (event, dressage only, clinic…). I keep all my show paperwork and necessary forms in a super high tech (haha) 3-ring binder. But I would definitely check out the app if you created it!

  6. Tracy - Fly On Over

    Sheesh, I’m so spoiled with shows. I have tons of options and it’s more of ‘which ones do I feel like going to’ than anything else. I’m no help here, but the app sounds really cool!!

  7. Appydoesdressage

    My spreadsheet has the type of show, date, entry deadline, the show website, phone nbr and distance to drive. This sounds like a great idea, looking forward to what you create!

    1. Olivia Post author

      This is actually a really valuable comment because I honestly didn’t think about phone # because I hate calling people, but I would want to have that information.

  8. Kara Thomson

    Great idea! I’m still in the Stone age and use a paper calendar, don’t have any other ideas.

  9. SarahO

    Great idea! I think you nailed down most of the items. I currently use a separate calendar through my work outlook, and then a folder on my computer for entry forms etc., but it’s a pain to access from home so being able to have everything together where I can access it anywhere would be awesome. Let me know when its done, I will totally use it!

  10. Heather

    Oh man, this sounds amazing! I just pencil in all the maybes in a paper calendar and note whether they’re schooling or rated and that’s about it, and then I forget them. So definitely including cutoff dates would be helpful, but if there was a way to turn on email notifications or something for upcoming due dates would be really helpful.

    Not that it would help me, but maybe linking up to My Course Walk could be helpful for HT venues?

    Big factors when I’m deciding is the cost of classes and stabling, how many days the show is, the rating, the special classes offered (Do they have an adult medal I can do, what classics do they offer, etc.) and the venue itself, and whether it’s one I like. For one day shows, I also like to be able to note whether stabling and schooling the night before is available.

    I would definitely love if there was a later iteration that could somehow scan the interwebs to find more local shows that aren’t rated since those are definitely harder to track down.

    1. Olivia Post author

      Email notifications are a great idea.
      Sadly, the horse showing world is so poorly represented online that even a sophisticated developer wouldn’t be able to find shows. What this could do though is make shows others have added available to everyone. So if someone adds a small schooling show to their own calendar, the app could then show it (anonymously) to other users as an option.

  11. Stacie Seidman

    You’re so much more techy than I! It’s a lot easier for me since I don’t have a mule, I can just go on USEF or my local association calendar and see what’s happening on a given weekend. Since my horse is old, it’s hard to predict ahead of time what he’ll be able to do. Sometimes his creekiness thwarts our plans. Hunter jumper shows are pretty lax with registration times. The bigger A shows might sell out, but the local one days almost never do. You have to pay a post entry fee, but usually you can enter when you get there.
    As for the app, this is a great idea! I think you’ve hit most of the important details. I really love the idea of keeping track of your placings. If you’re trying to get qualified for something you HAVE to do this. So to have an app for it, would be awesome.
    Sorry that wasn’t super helpful. But I think you have a great idea!

  12. Micaylah

    I totally feel the struggle. This year I run our local dressage and eventing website but only shows that pay to be on our calendar are there. Its frustrating when we know other shows are out there but they don’t want to pay (its cheap, we make money as an org to give back with free clinics ect).

  13. L. Williams

    Being a H/J in california is easy we have Pacific Coast Horse Show Association and it list all rated shows by month. It’s great. Otherwise I dunno what i would do. Rancho Cerro and Peppertree in Livermore are teaming up to do a jumping series so that might be something to look into.

    1. Olivia Post author

      I have looked at Peppertree a few times before. I need to add them to my own tracking for future show possibilities.

  14. Liz

    I will totally use whatever you come up with. I need a system. Will you make the inputs compatible with logging endurance rides, too?

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