Eight ways to cut costs at horse shows in 2017
Eventing, like all pursuits involving the fickle, fragile four-leggeds we all love, isn’t cheap. Here are some ways to make competing in this sport easier on your cheque book:
1) Plan your schedule and enter early.
Almost all recognized events charge a late fee if you enter after the closing date. You can avoid paying this $50 (sometimes more) if you plan your calendar carefully. Make sure to write down not only the dates of the shows, but their respective opening and closing dates. (Some shows even have “early bird discounts” that are $50 less than the regular entry fee—keep an eye out for these).
2) Split rides to the venue when possible.
If you have a barn friend competing at the show, you can cut gas costs (and be greener) by hauling together. It can be fun to walk courses together and cheer each other on.
3) Buy ice on the way.
If you compete above Training level, you probably ice your horse’s legs after cross country. Buying ice at the venue is often more expensive than buying it at a petrol station on the way.
4) Bring your own bedding and hay.
If you’re stabling at the venue, it’s much more cost-effective to bring bedding and hay than to buy it there. Just put it in the back of your truck or trailer, underneath a tarp in case of rain.
5) Explore off-site stabling options.
I have housed my horse for the weekend at farms nearby. This can be a great option, especially if your horse would prefer to be in a field than a stall. Given that you might be facing $15 a night rather than $100, it might be worth hauling a few minutes to the show in the morning.
6) Learn to braid!
Paying someone to braid your horse every time you show can add up.
7) Bring your own food.
I always brought a pack lunch to school instead of buying it as a kid, and I guess I’ve kept doing that at horse shows! Pack some bagels, apples, and chocolate (to celebrate if you win or comfort you if you fall off). I guarantee you the horse show food will be much more expensive than what you buy at the supermarket.
8) Don’t skimp on what really matters.
Yes, do try to cut costs on showing this year. But make sure your priority is still your safety and your horse’s safety and soundness. If you need to poultice him and you forgot to bring poultice, buy it at the on-site tack shop. Also, if you’ve saved money through these tips, think about putting funds towards buying an air vest, and, of course, toward more lessons as we all strive to become better riders and horse people.
As you can see, most of these money-saving ideas require some extra planning. In the end, though, they could save you hundreds of dollars this year.
Have other ideas on how to cut costs at shows this year? Share them!