There are so many secrets and tricks to saving money in the horse world. But here’s the problem: I don’t save money in the horse world. There, I said it. I splurge on a lot of equine-related products and services that are not strictly necessary to my horse’s well-being.
My horse boards at a full-service show barn, I get grooming services when we attend shows, Frankie goes into training with a professional when I’m out of town, I take private lessons every week, and I have an all-consuming obsession with Tailored Sportsman breeches.
None of that comes cheap. Nor should it- my horse is getting tons of careful attention, and he is kept competition-ready by a whole team of people helping out this ammy horse mom.
So why do I spend the dough? Because I love training and competing in the jumper ring more than just about any other activity in the world. It is fulfilling, energizing, therapeutic, soothing, and exciting in a way nothing else is. It may not be what other people would choose, but I will (and currently am) pouring my paychecks into this sport just for another fix, another clear round.
But pouring my paychecks into my horse means that there’s not a ton left over for me. Contrary to how it may sound, I am not rolling in the dough (not even close). Despite a decent job, the cost of living in my area is on par with Manhattan. No joke. It really is that bad.
So my unwillingness to save money in the horse world means I have to figure out ways to save money in other ways.
-It means eating Ramen for lunch instead of going out for pizza with coworkers.
-It means eating a lot of generic brand mac ‘n cheese or scrambled eggs for dinner.
-It means ordering tap water at happy hour.
-It means scheduling all my errands in one giant run to conserve gas.
-It means having friends over for game night instead of meeting up at a bar.
-It means strategically scheduling shows a year in advance in order to save up for them.
-It means taking the winter off from showing altogether, so we can hit the summer circuit harder.
-It means prioritizing what I want so badly- competing in the jumper ring and all the preparation that goes into that- over what I can live without- gourmet food and a busy social life.
It would be easy to think of this as sacrificing all these things I’m giving up, but I don’t think of it that way. It’s prioritizing. And I think that’s what it comes down to when trying to save money in the horse world (and in the regular world too). Prioritizing. Every time I spend a dollar, I consider whether it wouldn’t be better spent somewhere else- do I really want Chipotle, or can this go into my show fund? Do I really want this new cute top, or do I want a new show shirt? It’s keeping the long goal in mind every time I pull out my wallet.
I’m not making sacrifices- I’m prioritizing my life to enable my pursuit of the A-circuit lifestyle on a local circuit budget.