Where’d My Money Go? A totally depressing new series

“Where’d my money go?” It’s a common question amongst horse owners. We’ll kick this series off with a look at one of the most unsuspecting money pits: association fees.

If you compete in recognized competition, you already know that it’s never as easy as showing up and paying the entry. Before you even get to the horse show, you’ve gotta pay the man for the privilege of competing in the first place. This time of the year, especially, it seems like every time I open my mailbox some equestrian organization is informing me that my 2013 membership fees are due.

Thanks for the reminder. Check’s in the mail, NOT!

Total number of dollars I have to my name

Anyway, all this got me to thinking: How much money do I shell out to these guys every year, anyway?

Let’s have a look at membership and registration fees for the three Olympic disciplines: dressage, eventing, and show jumping.


  • USDF 1-Year Participating Membership (required for participation in USDF-recognized shows): $75
  • USDF Horse Identification Number (minimum registration requirement for horses competing at USEF-licensed/USDF-recognized competitions): $25
  • USDF Lifetime Horse Registration (required for horses competing in championships qualifying or championship classes): $95

USDF Fine Print — Lease Recording Fee: $25, Transfer of Ownership or Name Change on Lifetime Registration: $25, Transfer of Ownership or Name Change on Horse ID Number: $10, Non-Member Fee: $25, Member Affidavit: $5

But wait, there’s more!

  • You and your horse’s owner (if not you) must be a Competing Member of the USEF to compete in qualifying/championship classes ($55) or pay the USEF a $30 non-member fee to compete in non-qualifying classes ($30).

The Bottom Line: At minimum, you’re looking at $130 to compete in non-qualifying classes or $225 to compete in qualifying/championship classes.



  • 1-Year Full Membership (required for all riders competing at the Novice level or above): $85
  • Horse Registration: $40 (Novice and Training level), $150 USEA registration plus (Prelim and above)

USEA Fine Print — Additional fees apply for Adult Rider program ($25) and Young Rider program ($50 per level Training level and below, $75 Prelim level and above), Non-member Fee (available only for BN): $25, Future Event Horse registration: $25, Classification of Imported Horse: $25, Change in Owner/Rider/Horse’s Name: $25

But wait, there’s more!

  • To compete in horse trials at Prelim-Advanced, you and your horse’s owner (if not you) need to be a Competing Member of the USEF ($55).

The Bottom Line: To compete in a USEA-sanctioned, USEF-endorsed horse trials, you’re looking at a minimum of $125 for Novice thru Training level or $290 for Prelim thru Advanced.


  • 1-Year USHJA Active Membership: $70
  • USHJA Horse Registration: $30

USHJA Fine Print: Non-member Fee: $40, Transfer of Ownership: $20, Separate Fees for Collegiate Membership: $15 for riders and $35 for coaches, Farm Registration: $100, Duplicate Membership Card: $15

But wait, there’s more!

  • These fees are in addition to USEF membership requirements: a Competing Membership for owner/rider/trainer ($55) and, if you want the points you earn to count, an Annual Horse Recording ($75).

The Bottom Line: At minimum to enter a USHJA-sanctioned/USEF-endorsed horse show you’re looking at $155, or $230 if you care about points.

Wow, right? I know. And that’s BEFORE you even pay your entry fee, stabling fee… and even MORE fees to the organizations you’ve already paid fees to.

That’s without nickel-and-diming, too. Check out the USEF’s Fine Print:

Transfer of Ownership: $60, Change of Nationality: $30, Lease Registration Fee: $60, Name Change Fee: $60, Rush Fee: $30, Owner Non-Member Fee: $30, Farm Registration Fee: $200, Non-member Fee: $30 per competition, National Passport: $50

And it only gets more painful the higher up the levels you go.

FEI/William Tzeng

  • FEI Rider Registration (renewable annually): $25
  • FEI Horse Registration (renewable annually): $25
  • FEI Passport: $300

The Fine Print — Passport Revalidation Fee (required every 4 years): $175, Fee for duplicate FEI Passport: $100, Fee for duplicate FEI Passport if the original is lost or damaged: $300, Fee for changing a horse’s name on an FEI Passport: $800.

That last one’s my favorite. (“You wanna change your horse’s name on its passport? Mwahahaha…”)

So let’s just say… you’ve qualified for a three-star event. Good job! Here’s the bad news: On top of the $290 you already paid the USEA/USEF, you now owe the USEF an additional High Performance Fee per event ($35) and a Horse Lifetime Recording ($200) and the FEI $350 for registration and a passport. So now you’re $875 in the hole and you haven’t even paid your entry fee yet!

Yep. Totally depressing.

Go riding!


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