Horse showing on a budget: Part 2

As horse show season approaches here are some tips to ease the pain on the pocketbook (part 2).

Let’s face it; times are tough and budgets everywhere arehands squeezing money shrinking. Horse showing certainly isn’t immune to the budget crunch, so if you are looking for ways to save money in this expensive sport, read on for some useful advice from Michigan State University Extension.

Work together

Besides having more fun, sharing the horse show experience with friends can help you cut down your costs. First, think about hauling together. You can certainly save money on fuel by driving fewer vehicles. Also, plan ahead when reserving stalls. Stalling together in groups can make free time more enjoyable and splitting tack stalls with friends can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a show season. Another way to work together is through planning group lessons. Work with your friends or fellow 4-H club members to have instructors work with a group, which is often less expensive than an individual lesson.

Dress to impress

Consignment shops and tack swaps are a great place to shop for show clothing. You can often find gently used, still in-style show clothes for dramatic discounts. Additionally, keep these venues in mind when you want to sell your used show apparel. Use those earnings to build up your own show fund.

Lastly, make friends with your local dry cleaner. Although at-home ironing may do the trick, a professional press and starch job can be just the finishing touch on those button-up shirts, show pants, breeches, etc.

Plan ahead

Buy in bulk things like Show Sheen, fly spray, etc. Buying in bulk can really help you stay within the confines of a strict budget. Stock up only on those things that you know you’ll use often.

Bring your own bedding. Buying bedding at your local feed store or grain elevator is often much cheaper than purchasing it at the show. Additionally, you can be more comfortable with using consistent bedding at each location.

Think about going on an “all cash diet;” select your classes ahead of time and only bring enough cash for those (plus other planned fees/expenses). This can prevent you from making those expensive impulse decisions to go in just “one more class.”

Pot luck time

Who doesn’t love a good pot luck? Although it may be tempting, it makes good financial sense to stay away from those pricey concession stands. So talk to your friends and divvy up the meal responsibilities. Have someone bring lunch on Saturday and you can bring dinner on Saturday. Since the horse show schedules can be so unpredictable, break out the crock-pot and have something simmering away throughout the day. Slow cookers work great for having food ready when you have the time, perfect for the horse show!

Get involved

Another great idea that a friend shared with me was to become more involved! By becoming a member of the show or breed association you can often take advantage of discounts on show fees. Also, ask the show manager if they’d offer discounts for volunteering at the show (especially if you aren’t showing that day and have some free time!). They often need the help and you need the discounts, win-win!

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