If you have shown horses now or have in the past, then you know what a money pit this can be. Owning a horse is expensive. Showing a horse is even more expensive. But there are a few ways to save money in certain areas. There are also certain areas where you should not try to cut corners, like a good vaccination and worming schedule. Where you can save as few bucks, is in the clothing and tack area, and still look fabulous.
First, lets cover where not to take shortcuts. You probably already know you have to feed your horse good quality hay and grain to keep the horse looking and feeling their best. Body condition and health are the first obvious things you see in a show horse.
Secondly, having a good farrier and keeping your horse on a regular schedule of five to eight weeks is a must. You know the old saying no hoof, no horse. Just these few basics listed right here are expensive. We won't even get into the expense of your truck and trailer.
But here are a few areas where you can save money when you need too. I would bet you know someone who lives near you that wants to take their horse to the same shows you already attend. If you have an extra stall in your horse trailer that you normally store hay in, why not invite that person to haul with you and split the expense of the fuel and hotel? Right there, you have cut you big fuel cost in half. If your trailer has living quarters, they could stay with you or pitch a tent. Most horse shows or fairgrounds have shower houses. So being crowded in the bathroom shouldn't be a problem.
Another big money saver, is to take your own food in a cooler. Eating out at fast food places or on the show grounds is expensive and generally unhealthy.
Show clothes are expensive, right? How about buying used clothing? You can go on eBay right now and find all kinds of used horse show outfits that still look fabulous. Or, for very little money I bet you could fix or update that shirt with lace, new buttons, conchos, fringe, or whatever strikes your fancy.
Used show tack is also plentiful. A good saddle will last more than 20 years. So needless to say there is a lot of used show tack. People get out of the business of showing horses all the time. Kids go off to college and leave behind all kinds of things that parents want to sell.
If you are not a fan of online shopping, you can call your local 4-H club and they will tell you when and where their used tack sale will be. We all have such sales going on right in our own area. These little clubs are not very well advertized, unless you belong to them. Facebook is another excellent communication tool. Just the other day, I saw that someone had sent out a message that they were looking for a youth saddle. Someone else, had one they were no longer using and didn't even think about selling it until that moment. With just a little social networking you can save big bucks on quality used show clothes and tack.