With the good weather almost here, many horse owners who like to compete start counting the days to their first show. Getting a horse fit is an important part of the build-up to any equestrian competition, but counting how much it is all going to cost can be a little frightening even if the thrill of being at a show is outstanding!
With this said, there are certain things you can do to save yourself a bit of money which all goes to cutting down the cost of showing and competing with your horse this season whether you're into eventing, dressage, show jumping or all three!
If you know you are going to be away for a few days and therefore have to stable your horse at the show ground or in a livery yard, take your own shavings with you because you'll find that buying them there will cost a lot more because the organisers tend to add on their percentage on to the price which makes it a whole lot more expensive than taking your own with you.
Note: You have to make sure you can take your own bedding before you leave because some places do not allow this and insist you purchase the bedding from them!
To save on fuel, make sure you plan your travel times when you know there will be less traffic on the road. Not only will this save on diesel, but it makes travelling your horse that much smoother for them too because it reduces all that stopping and starting that goes hand-in-hand with lots of traffic!
You can save a ton of money by making sure you take loads of snacks and drinks with you rather than buy them at the show ground where most things are generally a lot more expensive!
You should always take enough hay with you when you go to a show because not only does this work out to be a lot cheaper, but you know that the quality is what your horse is used to. It's best to over calculate how much you'll need just to be sure you don't run out when you are there.
It's always a good idea to take extra everything when you travel away to a show. This includes feed and water buckets, head collars, lead ropes, haynets, water containers and anything else you typically need to take with you to shows. The reason being that things often get broken or even lost and if you have to replace them by buying something new at the show ground, the chances are you are going to have to pay way over the odds for them.
Included in this list of “extras” should be clothing like riding jackets, joddies, white shirts, cravats, tie pins, riding hat, boots, socks. Then of course, there's the tack to think about which means taking along extra stirrups, leathers, girths, catch guards and anything else that might decide to break when you are away showing or competing with your horse.
It's far cheaper to camp out next to your horse box if it doesn't have a “living” in it than it is to organise a bed and breakfast or some other sort of accommodation for the duration of the show. The bonus being that you are close to your horse which means you can keep a close eye on things.
Camping can be fun as long as the show ground has facilities where you can take a shower and have a wash in relative comfort! It also means you get to take a camping stove with you so that you get to prepare your own food which will save you from having to buy any while you are there which also saves you a heap of money.
The one thing you have to do is make sure all your belongings are well marked with you name on them so there's never any confusion as to what belongs to you and what does not. This is ultra important because it can get a bit hectic when you are showing or competing.
Things often get picked up by mistake which includes riding hats, saddle clothes, lead ropes and headcollars to name but a few things that often get left around when people are rushing about so it's good to know you can identify your belongings because they have your name on them.
Competing and showing is great fun with many horse owners looking forward to the start of the season. However, it can make a bit of a whole in your bank balance so knowing how to save a few pennies goes a long way in making things more affordable and the less it costs the more shows you can go to!