This weekend I sat down with my credit card, my checkbook, and a budget. I felt comfortable spending around $200. It helps that I know what I've spent the last several years on memberships, but like every other year, I was thinking about joining a few new groups.
I started with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) - that one is a no brainer. You get your Adult Amateur status with USEF, so I pay the $55 annual membership. I don't care about any national awards from USEF so I don't pay the Horse Recording fees. Both of my horses have a Horse ID number which means they aren't eligible for any year end awards from USEF, but they can show. I am okay with that.
In the past, USEF has offered a pretty cool insurance plan that was free with membership. I was disappointed to see that this year the policy now costs $25. I hemmed and hawed for a while, unsure whether it was worth it. In the end, I figured that if I never use it, $25 is a small amount. If I do need it however, $25 would prove to be a pretty smart investment. I paid it.
The USEF membership begins December 1st and ends November 30th of the following year.
Membership in CDS is $70 annually and includes a Group Membership to the USDF; there are no fees for registering your horse. I get a lot back for my membership fee, so I don't mind paying for this association at all.
The CDS membership expires each year on December 31st.
So far, that hasn't been much of an issue for me. We get good, middle of the road scores, but they aren't really high enough to be competitive at the USDF Regional show. Here in California, the Region 7 show is HUGE and VERY competitive. The show is held in conjunction with the CDS Championship Show, so I did get to participate in the show in 2014. Being there and showing in the CDS Horse of the Year classes was enough for me.
And, if I were going to do all that, I might as well get my AHA Dressage Rider Awards too. After paying the membership fee and competition card fee, AHA charges a $45 fee per level. So if I wanted to join AHA in order to participate in the USDF All Breeds Awards program and earn an AHA Dressage Rider Award, I would have to shell out $155 each year to AHA.
The USDF memberships are effective from December 1st through November 30th of the following year. Membership in AHA runs from January 1st through December 31st.
The only benefit that I see right now to joining DASC is that I could qualify for the championship show with a chance at placing somewhat well. It's a very small GMO so awards are a bit easier to get. After joining USEF and CDS, I still had $50 left of my initial $200 membership budget, so I went ahead and joined DASC. Membership is $60 annually with a $10 annual horse registration.
DASC memberships run from December 1st through November 30th of the following year.
In the end, I spent $220 on memberships for the 2016 competition year with the likelihood of spending another $70 to upgrade Speedy's horse ID to a Lifetime Horse Registration number; he deserves it. That all comes out to just under $300, and that's before we've even done our first show of the season.
Ho! Ho! Ho! - not showing is pretty darned expensive!