I think I mentioned that, during my first ride on May at the new barn, NT asked me what the plan was with May this year. My original response was that I needed lessons, which is 100% true, and I have been able to take both a Dressage and a Jumping lesson within the first couple weeks since moving in. As a result, I find myself looking at the calendar and seriously considering what it is I want to do.

There are a ton of options, including just jumper shows every Wednesday night during July and August, schooling horse trials at least once a month, and maybe even some opportunities to do something fun with the local hunt club, like a hunter pace or open cubbing. The dream schedule?

  • Register as a member of the local mini-trail series and seriously campaign in the rest of them at BN.
  • See if the local fox hunt is something I want to actively get involved in.
  • Put May in full training with NT for the week I am gone for a week in July.
  • Do the 1 recognized event that is near us in September.
  • Participate in the winter Snowbird Dressage series (that starts in November). I am not a DQ, but I could totally play one on TV.

However, the truth of the matter is that, while May and I may be ready and able to do ALL the things, each of these things costs money. (off topic – got the cambox working for my Dressage lesson. Quality is better on my computer than it showed up on instagram, and I need to work on some of it, but it is still SO COOL)

Some unexpected life expenses means that pretty much everything outside of lessons is on hold for the near future. In the meantime, I am working on a cost analysis for each event and looking at my stack of horse goods to evaluate if there is anything worth selling. (honestly, I really don’t think there is, as I am pretty frugal about only investing in pieces that I will use and keep for a long time.) I am even debating doing lessons every other week and putting aside the extra cash for an event or two in the fall; however, this might just put us farther behind than we already are.

I just keep reminding myself that May is 12 (or 9 or 15… somewhere in there) and in good health. There is no real reason why she couldn’t keep doing BN for the next several years with proper maintenance, so I am hoarding my pennies, thinking up ideas for a side hustle, and debating just selling a kidney. This will be our second year mostly sitting it out, so it’s tough to be patient. What about you? How do you juggle the various horse-related expenses with real life expenses?

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  1. nadsnovik

    I feel your pain. I’m in a bit of a different situation with having a young horse and not actively competing, but I still look at events and outings and think “should I enter? Can I afford to enter?”
    I try to tell myself, “there’s always next year!” But summer showing season is so short, it’s hard to be patient. I do think nothing can beat the feeling of being prepared for shows, and that comes from lessons, at least for me.

    1. Emily

      Yeah. Exactly. Like I KNOW I am better off having lessons and getting better, but it’s hard to watch everyone out having fun hahaha. FOMO is real yo!

  2. Amanda C

    I have so many side hustles it’s a little ridiculous. The blog usually makes enough money to pay for most of my horse shows, and I bring in some extra cash working a few days here and there at the tack shop. My most lucrative gig is barnsitting, though. This year it will cover all of Presto’s board costs and then some.

    Can I just say how jealous I am that you have such a thing as jumper shows every Wednesday?!?!? I NEED THAT.

    Also I am not patient at all, and I kind of always live with the niggling concern in the back of my mind that something could happen to the horse(s) any day and that would be the end of things, so I always try to seize whatever opportunities I have when they present themselves. Sometimes you never get another chance. I won’t go into debt over it (I don’t even have a credit card) but if I can make it work somehow, I will.

    1. Emily

      I am so not patient hahaha, especially after more than a year of avoiding all horse show related costs. Maybe the blog needs to start earning its oats! πŸ˜‰

  3. the_everything_pony

    Yeah I’m like reeling because surgery, then I forgot about a short vacay and hotel was EXPENSIVE but hopefully I have a roommate who can split the cost, and then I found basically the perfect saddle for Amber for a killer deal and just bought that and I’m like “BITCH YOU HAVE NO MONEY STAHP.” And then I still want easy boots for Amber. I mean really lolol Except for easy boots, I am forbidding myself from buying anything else lol. We’ll see how that plays out……lol So basically, I am NOT balancing my horse and real life expenses haha. I actually have kept thinking of how you and May took 2 years before being able to do another HT, so it’s been nice to see that others have had to wait a long time too and I’m not the only one that feels down about needing to be patient πŸ™‚

    1. Emily

      Definitely not the only one! I am on a spending hiatus for May… but the farrier recommended she be put on a hoof supplement and her old beat up fly mask needs to be replaced with one with ears (bloody ears on a palomino is not attractive and can’t be fun for her)… I have a degree in Finance, and it is still a work in progress. πŸ™‚

  4. hellomylivia

    My name is Olivia and I make extremely poor financial decisions because of horse shows. I shakily justify it by saying, “I’m young with very few commitments, now is the time to go after it hard!” but this is entirely unsustainable hahaha. But obviously idiocy loves company, so I’m always going to say that you should do All The Things πŸ˜‰

    1. Emily

      hahahaha I wish. As supportive as the husband is, I think that might just do him in. Remember how we wanted to save up to repaint the house? Well, I spent all the money on horse shows πŸ˜‰

  5. roamingridersite

    I feel you on the expense thing. I find shoes addictive too. Like, I can easily ignore that they exists as long as I don’t go to one. When I do then I start thinking “wow that was fun and there is another next month that I really do need to go to to keep getting the experience”. I love lessons more though and always budget for those first.

    1. Emily

      Yeah. I definitely got bit HARD by the horse show bug after going in May, but for now, lessons will take priority!

  6. I’m in the same spot with horse finances this year. So I’m trying to focus on some extra dressage lessons so I’m nice and comfy with that and what we’re working on, then a combined h/j and dressage schooling show in July. Then something rated/recognized if I can save enough. In the meantime I’ve been going on lots of trail rides, off property when I can swing a ride! It’s definitely making riding more fun and barely costs anything other than gas $ I give friends that take us.

    1. Emily

      That’s a great idea! Trail rides off property would be a ton of fun and great for May’s conditioning. Now to find a friend with a trailer. πŸ™‚

  7. I totally feel you! I’m kind of in the mode of “what next” BUT it translates to “what can I afford next”…

    It’s rough, but it sounds like you could track down some little schooling shows, or maybe something new? We have tons of obstacle/desensitizing clinics in my area, and I always want to try those!

    1. Emily

      Unfortunately, without my own trailer, I am pretty limited in what I can do off property. Hoping to make some horsey friends that are doing some interesting (and inexpensive) things!

  8. mel

    Thought I’d de-lurk to say how much I’ve been enjoying reading your blog. πŸ™‚

    I can absolutely relate to the desires vs. budget conundrum….especially being a *cough* person of slightly-more-advanced-years coming back to riding after a long absence. Those niggling life-details (ie.family, children..you know, little stuff like that) and expenses really do interfere with our aspirations, don’t they? πŸ˜‰

    I tell myself that I’m investing in lessons/training right now, even though I get impatient to be getting on with things. I’ve convinced myself that doing that means we’ll be in a far better position when the planets align accordingly and we can move on to competing. Hells, I don’t even know if I’ll still enjoy competing — I may have lost the will to compete in my old age. πŸ™‚ So..in the meantime, I’m getting good at being minimalist and knowing that neither myself,nor Buzz, *need* all of the things, all the while saving pennies and feeling ever so smug in how much we’ve improved together since we met.

    1. Emily

      Thanks for reading and joining in on the conversation! I am not sure I really love competing. There I said it. I LOVE XC, and I really do enjoy Dressage. I HATE SJ, and I don’t really like competitions.

      Maybe I would be better off putting my pennies toward fox hunting and Dressage and let go of eventing. I like competing against myself and testing our progress in Dressage, but the rest of it would be more enjoyable for me if it was “unjudged.” Food for thought for sure!

  9. KC Scott

    My next show isn’t until August, and even though that’s a little sad and I was looking for things to fill in the gap, my wallet is screaming, “NO, STOP!”

    Jumper shows are usually pretty cheap, so I like to do those (b/c we suck at SJ anyway). I soooo wish we had them every Wednesday night! Jealous. Trail rides are usually just the cost of fuel and are great ways to get off the property without spending money.

    The last couple of years I added up my horse expenses for the year, and I really shouldn’t do that- it’s insane. I mean, I don’t even know where the money COMES from. But I’ve been wearing the same work clothes for multiple years now, order groceries online (that has helped a ton), bring my lunch from home every day, and we don’t really do a lot of activities (outside of horses) that cost money.

    Next year my youngest son will be out of daycare and in school, which will free up $820/month- I’m SO EXCITED. I was thinking about forging a birth certificate to get him started this year but figured that was pushing it a bit.

    1. Emily

      I don’t dare add up the cost of everything… I have an idea of how much I spend each month, and I don’t spend money I don’t have. However, I don’t really WANT to know how much goes towards this crazy sport.

      I need to be better about bringing my lunch to work, but I literally cannot remember the last time I bought new work clothes or shoes… It’s probably a problem, but it’s one I am going to ignore for now.

      I do wish I had my own trailer, that would free up a lot of options, but adding a trailer to the cost of things right now would just be counterproductive.

      OMG though, that extra $820/month would be incredible hahahaha. You could practically get a second horse….

  10. eventerinprogress

    I definitely feel you on this.

    I’m supposed to be saving for a trip to Rome (academic conference) which means money for lessons and comps is just not available to me right now.

    In turn it has left me feeling SUPER unmotivated with my riding as I am incredibly goal motivated, so if you figure it out, let me know!

    1. Emily

      Yes! I definitely think the need for motivation is part of why I want to put SOMETHING on the calendar haha

  11. Jannae Cox

    It’s so hard to just sit out of all of the shows over the summer! I’ve somehow managed to not end up doing a single show yet this year and realize it might just not be our year. Even when logic tells you “there’s always next year”, it still isn’t very fun right now. Why must everything be so expensive???

    1. Emily

      Like I know my horse doesn’t really care if she ever goes to another competition, as long as she gets her grain and hay everyday lol, but it’s tough to watch everyone else out there doing things! The great thing about riding is that you don’t “age out” of it!

  12. emma

    ugh i feel ya on the unexpected life expenses thing…. this summer i’m budgeting my horsey extra curriculars in a way i’ve never had to previously, and it’s really tough! but…. ya know… horses are still pretty cool, and there are still so many less expensive ways to enjoy them! your plan sounds good and hopefully it works out even better than you might expect πŸ˜‰

    1. Emily

      By “even better than I might expect,” you mean I win the lottery and can buy multiple ponies and custom saddles… right? πŸ˜›

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