From Endurance to Dressage
This month has been so busy (school starting back up, making a major life change, two shows), that until I actually created August's financial report, I had no idea what my monthly spending looked like. As it turns out, between showing at least a small amount of restraint and my husband's generosity, my bills were fairly manageable for August.
For around $1,200, I was able to take a lesson from Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables, and take Izzy to two shows. Three out of town trips created a bit of a fuel bill, but with the current price of gas, even my gas guzzler couldn't get that bill too high.
My board bill is now a little higher, and since I moved in a week early, I did have to pay for an extra week. It was worth it though as Izzy really needed the bigger space. And now that both boys are on Platinum Performance, I am not spending nearly so much on supplemental feed. Of course, beginning in September I'll be paying $113 a month for that.
I was saved a lot of money this month by my super generous husband. First, he paid for my trailer's running board to be repaired. While not a huge expense, it was more than the entries to both shows.
He also paid to have my truck's air conditioner recharged. For years it has slowly been on the decline, but I just thought its poor performance was due to age. I could kick myself for waiting this long to get it checked out. The last straw was when Best Friend and I were coming home from a show that was almost three hours from home while it was ... wait for it ... 108 ℉. It was an insane drive. Again, that bill was less than $300, but it's more than half my board bill.
September's bill will probably run a bit higher again as I am planning on Taking Izzy to a clinic and that Platinum needs to be paid for. All in all, 2016 is looking like it might actually be cheaper than 2014, when I first started tracking my expenses. I am just as busy, but the economy seems kinder, at least for this dressage rider.
How about you? Do things seem financially easier in 2016, or is it always a struggle?
I knew that last month's bargain basement price of horse ownership was a rare occurrence. I was back to my normal spending this month. And then, because normal is not really my thing, I had to increase my "average costs" by spending an additional $400. Go me?
It wasn't that any one category was particularly high. The problem was that I spent a fair amount in every category. Board was where it normally is, but then I took multiple lessons out of town and went to two schooling shows out of town. "Out of town" means more gas for my truck.
The chiropractor visit lead to hock injections so my vet bill was also relatively high. Before I knew all of that was coming, I had started ordering summer riding shirts like I was naked. And since I was already getting one thing, I had to add more to the cart. Count how many pairs of socks and bottles of fly spray I ordered. Ridiculous. And gloves ... sheesh - a little self-control would have been nice.
I built up a pretty hefty bill for the month of July. Two thousand bucks and change buys a lot of something else, anything else. Heck, that's a mortgage payment. I would like to say that I am going to show some restraint for the month of August, but I can't. I already had my truck's AC recharged, my trailer repaired, and sent in two schooling show entries.
Goodbye money, hello fun?! It's all in a day's work.
Want to know how to save at least $1,000 bucks? GO TO ITALY!*
*this advice is free (you get what you pay for and all that), so Bakersfield Dressage is not responsible for the state of your finances upon your return.
Seriously. I just ran my monthly budget report and had to double check my settings. The window that popped open was so small, and the line item entries were so few that I was certain a bunch of categories must have been de-selected. Nope. The report is correct. I just wasn't in the USA long enough to spend any money on my horses last month.
On average, I spend $1750 a month to keep and show two horses. Some months, my bills are higher (around $2,200), and in other months, they are slightly lower. Since I started keeping track, the least I have ever spent was around $1,200 - until now.
In June, I paid my board bill, bought beet pulp and rice bran, bought Izzy's supplemental hay, and paid my farrier. I didn't even buy fly spray. I made up for it in July though; I've already bought two bottles!
So. If your equine budget feels like it's getting out of hand, my suggestion is that you spend a few weeks traveling to somewhere on your bucket list. I guarantee that your equine expenses will be much smaller. I can't say that your wallet will be any fuller though. I know mine's not!
Happy 4th of July!
So far for 2016, I've spent $7892 on my horses. While I love organizing and logging data, I hate seeing the results of this particular project. Tracking my spending doesn't make me feel good; it makes me feel excessive, over-indulged, and spoiled. I'll continue the series through the end of the year, but like the last time I did this, it's going to take a lot of effort. Seeing those soon-to-be tens of thousands add up makes me feel a bit ill.
The month of May felt expensive, but after studying my budget report, it looks to be the cheapest month of the year to date. I should point out that once again my husband chipped in though.
My husband is a bit of a gambler. He likes to bet on Thoroughbred racing, and he enjoys buying scratch off lottery tickets. Surprisingly, he wins more than he loses on the ponies, and now and again, those scratchers give him a reason to come back. In April, he won $500 on a scratch off lottery ticket and handed me $200 of it to pay for Speedy's May ultrasound.
I tried really hard to keep my expenses down for May. I did ride two days at the Christian Schacht clinic, but since I didn't have a farrier bill in May (the horses were done at the very end of April and are due the first week in June), that money went toward the clinic. I did spend a bit on "stuff," but I didn't go overboard.
This is the second year that I've kept such detailed records of my hobby's "costs." This is the cheapest month I've ever had, and I am wondering why. I keep going back through my records making sure that I haven't left anything out. Had I not done the clinic, my costs would have been well below $1,000. That almost feels like having horses for FREE!
We're going to be gone for 16 days in June which means no showing. I am squeezing in a lesson right before we leave, but my June expenses should be pretty low as well. Low bills are a good thing right now as all of my extra money is going back into the bank to help my savings account recover from our upcoming trip.
I am quite sure I'll be back to full spending by July!
The end of April was a bit crazy. I had a nasty flu and then spent the better part of a week catching up on everything. With this and that, I completely forgot to post my expenses for the month of April.
Each month, I think to myself, this month is going to be cheaper. But alas, that hasn't been the case. I've had extra bill after extra bill. With Speedy recovering from tendonitis, and Izzy not being ready for rated shows, my show budget has simply been applied to my vet budget. So that's good, right?!
Owning a horse is cheap. Doing stuff with your horse is not. Doing stuff TO your horse is definitely not cheap. My board and feed bill are the cheapest part of this whole operation.
My vet bills have been pretty high for the first quarter of 2016 and so have my truck and trailer costs. Between my vet bills, truck, and trailer, I've spent more than $3,000 in the first four months of the year, and my husband gave me $600 for tires for my truck, and then he paid another $200 for Speedy's most recent ultrasound. I didn't count those things in my costs.
I jokingly told my husband that I could save a lot of money if I got rid of my truck and trailer. Think about it: no new tires, gas, batteries, or roof vents. Think how much I'd also save by not going to lessons or shows. I could whittle my expenses down to almost nothing. My husband's response was that I could save even more money if I also got rid of Speedy and Izzy. He said I'd have so much extra money that I could retire. He was teasing of course, but the reality is that owning and showing two horses costs a small fortune.
Here's to a calmer and cheaper second financial quarter.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: