Being 19 years old and owning a horse is sometimes a stressful and undoubtedly a very expensive sport. Recently I’ve decided to switch disciplines from the Hunter/Jumper world and am making my way into the Dressage arena. While very exciting, this kind of transition can and will strain your finances. However, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks that make transitioning from one discipline to the other (or just riding in general) much more cost effective.
- Always take inventory before making a purchase- The first thing I noticed was that I had a lot more equipment than I thought. If you have owned or currently own a horse, then you more than likely have that box in the garage full of miscellaneous horse supplies. I found a bit, mountains of blankets, saddle pads, stirrup leathers, and fly masks.
- Sell what you won’t be using- The only reason I will be able to purchase a new dressage saddle is by selling my current jumping saddle. Sometimes we have to temporarily downsize in order to make room for new things! Also, while digging around in my garage, I found an old saddle that my younger cousin will be purchasing. So whether it be by consignment or under the table, it helps to have a little extra cash for equipment and other items you may need.
- Make a trade- I recently made a trade with a dressage trainer by working/grooming for her in exchange for tack. I knew her personally which made this trade easy and enjoyable, and we both benefitted. I worked about seven hours and in the end, she gave me a beautiful dressage bridle with reins and two brow bands. So, be sure to make good connections and friendships at your barn. We all love to help others out (but especially when you’re kind and friendly)! I was so happy to check a bridle off my list, and I am going to use that bit I found earlier to really put the bridle together.
- Always check the sale/clearance section! Whether it be at your local tack store or online, I always go straight to the items that are on sale. I can’t be the only one who, whenever I need something horse related, scrambles to find all my Dover gift cards. Obviously, look out for poor quality equipment, as spending money on cheap items can be less cost effective than investing in high quality tack, brushes, etc. However, sometimes there are some really good quality items on clearance that tack stores just need to move. I found an awesome girth on sale on Dover. I am always a little more apprehensive when it comes to buying clearance tack, I think we all worry, “Okay, whats wrong with it?” But it turned out to be a beautiful girth and it still looks almost new! Just make sure to do your research on brands and look at what previous buyers say about the quality and durability.
I hope these little tips can help you as much as they’ve helped me! Happy hunting 🙂
-Emily and My Light