Horseback Riding on a Budget – Ride For Less

The stereotype surrounding equestrians revolves around having a lot of money. Though horses are expensive, there are plenty of options that can help reduce the cost of owning a horse. Whether it is board or breeches you are worried about, there is a way to manage all of your equestrian related expenses! Here are some ways to keep horseback riding on a budget!

Equestrian Expenses

The most important thing to understand when riding is that purchasing a horse is the least expensive thing you will purchase as an equestrian. After purchasing a horse, you have to worry about recurring necessities for your horse such as board payment, feed, supplements, hay, farrier, vet bills, teeth floating, and much more.

There are also many expenses that are not as recurring such as tack, riding apparel, brushes, and more. This can seem intimidating, as these expenses can add up quickly. Though horseback riding may seem only for the wealthy, there are plenty of ways to ride on a budget.

Horseback Riding On A Budget Breakdown

The Horse

Since horseback riding is an expensive sport, you will need some money in order to begin. Luckily, you do not need to purchase a horse in order to begin riding. There are options such as taking lessons, leasing and purchasing. Just taking lessons is the cheapest option, as you will just need to purchase some apparel in order to ride.

Though taking lessons is the cheapest option, you will usually only have access to this horse during your lessons. If you were to choose an option such as leasing, you would have access to this horse a few times a week. Leasing a horse requires a monthly payment to the owner of the horse in order to use this horse for recreational riding. Depending on the lease contract, you may have the opportunity to use this horse for showing and off-property riding. Some lease contracts do not require the purchase of tack and responsibility of vet bills.

Purchasing a horse is the most expensive of these options, however it will give you the most opportunity with your horse. You have full control over your riding experience when you choose to purchase a horse. Though you have full control, you also have full responsibility over all the expenses that come with your horse.

Horses can range from free to thousands of dollars. Make sure you purchase a horse in your price range and that you will be able to use it for your discipline. Carefully evaluate your income and commitment to riding before making the decision to lease or purchase a horse.

Board Payment

If you were to choose to purchase a horse, you will have to deal with the monthly board payment. Each barn has a different set price to board your horse there. These prices can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand.

Horseback Riding On A Budget

It may seem like the best option to choose the cheapest barn in your area, however you may end up regretting that decision. Before choosing a barn, see if they provide feed, hay, shavings, and other benefits within the board payment.

Sometimes paying more for the board will end up paying other expenses you would otherwise have to worry about. Evaluate what you want within a barn. Some good questions to consider before making your decision:

  • Does this barn follow my discipline?
  • Does this barn provide feed/hay?
  • Will I have to clean my own stall and feed my own horses each day?
  • How far will I have to travel to this barn?
  • Do I enjoy the atmosphere in this barn?
  • Does this barn have an indoor, trails, etc?
  • Do I get along with others at this barn?

Apparel and Tack

Whether you choose to take lessons, lease, or purchase your own horse, you will need to purchase riding apparel and occasionally your own tack. This can be the least or most expensive purchase point for equestrians. You will need to decide if you are willing to spend more on tack and apparel or if you want to save in that department. Some tips to save on tack and apparel:

  • Look for sales on different equestrian sites
  • Look for used bridles, saddles, breeches, and other tack or apparel
  • Look at reviews on cheap tack to ensure they work properly
  • Maintain your tack and apparel so you will not have to replace it early
  • Look at thrift stores for riding apparel. Some places do not understand how expensive some items are and you can get a great deal!
  • Compare prices on different sites and items

Unexpected Expenses

As a college student, I have had a difficult time-saving money. It took me a while to establish savings in order for me to have the extra money in case of an unexpected vet bill. However, there are ways to save and keep money compiled for unexpected expenses.

Since you will never know how much an unexpected vet bill will be, it is always best to overcompensate. Whether it is a vet bill, tack breaking, behind on board payments, or another large financial commitment, there is a way to come up with the cash! A few tips that helped me, a horse obsessed college kid:

  • Save small, it grows faster than you think!
  • Prioritize necessities! Do not spend that money on a matchy set if you know you will need teeth floating done next week.
  • Save money in an account you do not access unless necessary
  • If possible, get ahead on payments
  • Keep loose change! It adds up quickly!
  • Take a percentage of your paycheck and keep it in a savings

Tips and Tricks

Whether you have the nicest tack and the most expensive horse in the barn or if you are working hard to afford what you can, all equestrians have one thing in common: we love our horses and would do anything for them.

Horse Apples

Saving money is important no matter what kind of equestrian you are. As a college student, I found many tips and tricks to save money horseback riding. Here is what I have learned:

  • Ask if you can reduce board payments by feeding or cleaning stalls
  • See if your horse is eligible for a lesson horse, this can reduce board payments
  • Save for the unexpected
  • Evaluate what you can afford! Lessons, leasing, or purchasing
  • Find someone to lease your horse if necessary. This can help with finances and board payment
  • Know what is necessary tack and apparel and what is not
  • Understand you do not need the most expensive things

be a frugal Rider

You do not have to have millions in order to ride horses. Horseback riding on a budget means you just have to be smart with money! The stereotype behind equestrians being rich is just quite the contrary. The only requirements are commitment and a passion for horses. If you possess those qualities, being an equestrian should be no issues for you!

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