Any horse lover knows that horseback riding is expensive. Ultimately it’s all worth it, right? Your horse deserves the best that money can buy.
But we have to be realistic here. As I write this, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. So many people have experienced loss of income. That can be so stressful, and my heart goes out to anyone in this position.
Right now looking after your horse should be something that reduces your stress, not increases it.
As you may know from some of my previous posts, I’ve been studying on and off for the past few years. This meant that while my income hasn’t been directly affected by the pandemic, for a few years I’ve been trying to keep my budget under control. And along the way, I’ve learned some really important lessons on how to save money as a rider.
So here are five of my favourite tips for reducing your riding costs.
#1: Buy secondhand riding gear
This is a piece of advice I use all the time, whether times are tough or not: buy secondhand riding gear.
One of the key reasons horseback riding is expensive is because it has traditionally been pitched at the luxury market. This means that tack and equipment are often really expensive bought new.
But the advantage of this luxury style is that things are usually really well made.
This means that they are durable and last a long time, which in turn means there’s a thriving secondhand market for riding gear. Tack shops will often sell secondhand gear, or you can buy online.
If you need any help buying secondhand for the first time, I have a great guide you can read here!
#2: Sell any of your unused gear
In a similar vein to tip #1, you can also recoup some of your costs for that expensive horse tack by selling anything you don’t need.
The process is pretty much the same, but in reverse.
I have three stages I go through with everything I sell:
- Approach any of my horse-y friends and see if they’re interested. Sometimes I’ll give them a discount, since we’re pals. I find it saves me the effort of listing it to sell, which is worth it!
- List the item online, usually on Ebay or Kijiji (in Canada).
- Go to my local tack store to see if they’ll sell it on my behalf, or if they want to buy it from me outright. They take the biggest cut from my possible sale price, so this is why this one’s my last resort. However, if you have a good relationship with your local store or don’t like selling online, this is still a great way to sell things!
#3: Lease your trailer or go in with a friend
So I’ve said trailer above, but you could definitely use this tip for any expensive piece of horse equipment that you use infrequently. Maybe grooming supplies and things like that?
Basically if you can split the costs of a large purchase with someone else this will reduce your financial burdens significantly. You could even go in with multiple other people.
There are of course some disadvantages – like not having full access all the time, and having to make decisions with other riders. You can troubleshoot these by going in with people you like and trust, and making sure you’re clear on when you’ll need things. If you’ll need them frequently, maybe this isn’t a good item to split on.
Alternatively, if you already own a big ticket item like a trailer, you could make some cash leasing it out.
#4: Buy in bulk and in advance
I think this is a good piece of advice for you as well as your horse!
Horses are big eaters, which is part of why horseback riding is expensive.
If you can buy something like their food in bulk, simple economics says that the price of each unit will be cheaper.
But do be careful here. Make sure it’s something you will need a lot of, and that you can store effectively. If you buy a whole lot of hay and it spoils it’ll cost you more, not less!
Buying in advance will also help you. Hay prices fluctuate throughout the year, and get higher closer to winter. If you can buy in advance when the price is low, that’s a win for you!
#5: Take good care of what you have
Again, this is a cost-saving tip that goes so far beyond riding. Horseback riding definitely is expensive, but other things in your life could be too!
We’ve already talked about the fact that most horseback riding gear is luxury grade – so it’s well made, and generally pretty durable.
However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take care of it!
This is particularly true for your leather riding tack. Your saddle, boots and other pieces of tack need regular cleaning in order to stay moist and healthy. If you don’t clean them regularly, they can crack and break down. And buying new boots or a saddle is definitely not an expense you need.
My biggest recommendation is to get yourself some saddle soap. I love Fiebing’s for hard soap, and Farnam for liquid soap. These are really inexpensive, but will add years to the lifespan of your leather goods.
I hope you’ve found these five tips useful.
I think no matter what, horseback riding is going to be expensive. But there are things you can do to cut those expenses down, and make sure you’re spending the money where it matters, and most benefits your horse’s wellbeing.
Have you got any of your own tips for saving money horseback riding? Let us know in the comments!
Happy riding 🙂
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