Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How to be Thrifty: Equestrian Style

To cut to the chase, horses ain’t cheap, but there are ways to make it more affordable, so here are my tips. Feel free to add more ideas in the comments. I hope to have this post be a good reference point for equestrians looking for assistance.

Affordable Riding
Working off lessons: Depending on how often you ride, the cost of lessons can add up very quickly. Ask your trainer about working off some of your lessons. Stall cleaning and pasture cleaning are especially time consuming, and allowing students to take lessons in exchange for work can be cheaper than hiring a barn hand.

Working for free rides: This is the same as working for lessons, except you can simply come out and ride whenever you like, or under the circumstances that your trainer/barn owner sets.

Affordable Showing
Limit your classes: Yeah, it’s pretty simple. Pick out divisions and classes that challenge you and will help you progress. It’s a matter of prioritizing.

Do it yourself: On my show bills, I get charged for braiding, horse prep, hauling, my trainer’s day fee, and the use of the horse. In my case, I can save money by braiding for myself or sharing my horse with someone else (can’t save money on horse prep due to the fact that I work). Look at your own show bills, and figure out the things that you can do for yourself to save a couple of bucks.

Do it for others: Some people are willing to pay for someone to take care of their horse. Braiding can be an easy way to pocket some money. Keep stalls clean, hold and tack up horses, cool horses out.

"The Tailored Sportsman look without the Tailored Sportsman price": Shires Oakland Side Zip Breeches, Ovation Ladies EuroWeave Side Zip Breeches, Ariat Ladies Pro Circuit Low Rise Breeches

Affordable Owning
Again, do it yourself: Talk to your barn owner about DIY boarding. There are various ways to do it, but, essentially, you pick up part of your horse’s daily chores. Unfortunately, if your time is limited, this isn’t the best option.

Working board: If you board at a lesson barn, you can offer to let your horse be used in lessons. Your eye might twitch at the thought, but, like lessons, months of board add up quickly.

Leasing: This is a great option especially if you don’t get to go out and ride often or if you’re not able to ride for long periods of time. You also get to help another rider further their career. Go you.

Get educated: Learn proper horse care. Be mindful of unhealthy habits, changes in your horse’s behavior, nicks & cuts, ill fitting tack, poor farrier/vet/chiro care, etc. Keeping your horse’s health optimal can help you to avoid expensive treatments. Plus, you own the thing. Take care of it.

Affordable Equipment/Apparel (longest list because it’s the one I have the most experience with and my mother taught me right)
Buy used: No, seriously, do not be afraid to buy used items. Many different kind of tack and equipment (especially saddles) are a lot cheaper when you get them second hand. Show coats and tall boots are also popular items to buy used. Also, if you have any excess items lying around, sell them. People like a good deal.

Do not over pay: Do not let anyone take your $50 + shipping for a single polo shirt unless it’s a technical shirt. If you find an item you want, Google it. You can find most of the places where it’s being sold and potentially get it for a much lower price. You can also buy similar items (which I find usually on Polyvore and Pinterest) that are less expensive but still good quality.

Don’t be afraid of “cheap” brands: Yeah, I’m talking about TuffRider. I have a show shirt and a pair of breeches, and both get the job done well. Ovation helmets are also a great option, and I’ve also heard good things about their boots. Multiple people have suggested Dublin boots to me, the Noble Outfitters Perfect Fit Gloves are inexpensive and amazing, and I’m not sure how RJ Classics hasn’t gone out of business considering their show coat prices. Low prices don’t mean low quality, but also do your research and pay attention to reviews.

Join mailing lists: You get coupons, sale notifications, and various offers (including surveys that you can get paid for). I’m gonna go ahead and give a shout out to Equestrian Collections because they send me a ton of coupons, even one for my birthday.

Consider small businesses: Ogilvy is often imitated and duplicated fairly well at half the price, so if you need that kind of pad to fill in space under your saddle, Sweet Alyssa on Etsy and Bits N Pieces Horseware are two brands that make similar pads. Many people, especially on Instagram, make inexpensive, decent quality saddle pads, polos, and fly bonnets, and they come in fun prints!

Sponsorships & Partnerships: If you wanna help out a brand while getting free stuff, go for it. Pay attention to when companies are searching. Be mindful that sponsorships can affect your junior/amateur status.

Get free shipping: SmartPak and Horze both offer free shipping on orders over $75. If you are buying something that is $75.01+, check those sites. To throw some shade, Dover doesn’t offer free shipping.

Um, so, yeah, that’s all I’ve got. There are multiple ways to make money, in general, without getting a job, like online surveys, babysitting, yardwork, selling organs, yard sales, and selling photography if that’s your thing. It’s all a matter of figuring out what works for you, your horse, and your goals. Best of luck!

DISCLAIMER: Please don’t just go out and sell your organs. That was a joke.

1 comment:

  1. great list!! there really are so many opportunities to get more bang for your buck (of the dollar variety, not the naughty equine kind haha).

    true - most of these involve doing more work ourselves, but isn't that part of the joy of spending time with horses?? :)


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