Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stabling vs. Shipping In

If a show is a relatively short drive away, you will often have the option of either shipping in every day or renting a stall. Even for a single-day show, day stalls or overnight stalls are sometimes available. There is no clear-cut answer as to what the best option will be for you; each option has its upsides and its downsides, and you will need to determine which are most important to you.

To help with that decision, here is a list of pros and cons related to each option:

Stabling (overnight)


  • Horse settles in on the first day, stays quieter throughout the show
  • The cost of the stall could work out to less than the cost of gas for shipping back and forth over multiple days
  • Horses can be safely left alone in their stalls
  • Stalls are often located near the show rings, closer than the ship-in parking
  • Horses drink and eat more readily, and are comfortable urinating
  • Easy location if using a professional braider
  • No ship-in fee


  • The cost of the stall
  • The cost of bedding down the stall (at an average of $6 to $8 per bag if buying from the show)
  • Having to stick around or come back for night check if not staying nearby
  • The time and manpower to load/unload all of the equipment and hay/grain/shavings being brought
  • No turnout unless the show has paddocks for rent

Shipping in


  • Costs the least for a single-day show, and could cost less for a multi-day show, depending on distance
  • Horse gets to sleep at home in a comfortable environment and maybe get some turnout if the show days are short
  • Less to pack and unpack
  • No need to go to the show on days when you aren't showing
  • No extra barn chores besides those already being done at home


  • Some shows charge a ship-in fee that could offset any savings on the stall once the cost of gas is added in
  • Difficult to handle multiple horses, especially with certain trailer configurations in which the horses can't be accessed individually
  • The horses arrive excited each day, which could make a hot horse more difficult to handle 
  • Earlier mornings in order to load up and arrive in time for the first class
  • Ship-in parking can be far from the show rings
  • Space can be limited around the trailer if the parking area is small
  • Difficult to leave one horse alone if another needs to be at the show ring
  • Some horses won't drink or urinate on the trailer
  • The horses might need to be held outside of the trailer if the day is warm
  • Extra time at the end of the day to drive home and settle the horses back in
  • Difficult loaders might not want to get on and off the trailer repeatedly and therefore need to be held between classes

Day stall


  • Easier handling of horses than on the trailer (ability to access them individually)
  • Other horses nearby to keep a single horse company
  • Horses are more likely to drink and urinate in a stall
  • Stalls are often located near the show rings, closer than the ship-in parking
  • Easy location if using a professional braider (but must arrange to be done in the morning, not the night)
  • No ship-in fee
  • Horses can be left alone in any weather
  • Protection from the elements if it rains


  • Still need at least one bag of shavings per stall on top of the stall fee
  • Need to unpack some equipment and reload at the end of the day
  • Longer day than with shipping in because of the time to settle the horses and repack
  • Higher cost per day than multi-day stabling
  • Limited availability
  • More expensive than just shipping in and working off the trailer

1 comment:

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