From Endurance to Dressage
I Need a Money Tree
But then, who doesn't? Get ready for a litany of First World Problems ...
My husband and I aren't wealthy, at least not by my standards anyway, but we do make a good living. That doesn't mean I get everything I want however, and recently, I've had to really suck it up and be a financially responsible adult.
When we bought this house this past fall, I knew my showing budget was going to take a hit. That was super easy to swallow while I was furnishing and decorating the house. Six months later, the novelty is starting to wear then, and Reality is settling its fat butt on my couch.
The mortgage at our last house was half of what this one is. But since this house is nearly three times as large, the rest of the bills went up, too. I don't know how common it is in the rest of the country, but here, we pay an HOA (new bill), a cleaning lady (doubled), the pool guy (new bill), the gardener (same price!), and so on. It goes without saying that our electric/gas bill has also gone up along with the cost of filling up my car (we live much farther out now).
I am learning to say no. When the Pier 1 promo hits my inbox, I delete without looking. I do the same for Joss & Main and SmartPak. I've even hit delete before checking out the newest sales at the Riding Warehouse.
I'm also saying "no" to USDF shows this year, and boy, has that been a bitter pill to swallow.
I can't just not show though; that's not an acceptable option, and no house is worth giving up what I enjoy most. So I've had to make some compromises. After doing a lot of planning and budgeting, I've come up with an acceptable solution to being (temporarily) poor.
My local chapter of the California Dressage Society puts on four shows each summer. Since they are only CDS-rated, they're really cheap with no stabling or over-night costs. While only CDS-rated, the scores from those shows go toward a number of CDS programs. I can earn Rosettes for my plaque, qualify for the Regional Adult Amateur Competition (I only need one more score), and qualify for the CDS Championship Show (which I wouldn't go to anyway as it's too far away).
RAAC is a USDF show. I should qualify with no trouble, and if so, I'll definitely go. And in fact, the RAAC is my main focus for showing this year. I've won my classes twice out of the four times I've competed there. I don't expect to win this year, but my goal is to show up and do well.
While it will cost a ridiculously high $700, I've worked it out so that I can participate in this year's CDS Adult Amateur Clinic. I also competed at the one and only local show we have which helped me earn two of the three qualifying scores I need for RAAC.
Lessons are going to be a little tricky since Chemaine's schedule probably won't allow her to come back to Bakersfield until the fall, but I think my budget will allow a monthly trip to her. Gas for the 5-hour round trip costs more than the lesson though.
This sounds so self-indulgent, doesn't it? Like I said, First World Problems. I am not used to tightening my belt, and I sort of resent it. I've also let my myself feel discouraged about a seeming lack of progress with Speedy; we're still at First Level?
With this "economy plan" in place, I have some direction and goals to work toward. Until I find that money tree, the tightened (C4) belt will have to do.
4/13/2017 08:15:48 am
I think all middle class equestrians are living some version of this reality. Nicer house (or neighborhood, or car)equals less shows, or rated shows, or clinics, or a less fancy horse. In my case thousands of dollars a year on hockey and ballet equals not much showing for me at all but I am able to have a small farm and keep my horses at home. My kids will eventually grow up(both in high school next year!) and then my activities budget will be more geared towards horse stuff for me and travel for me and the husband. It's all in your priorities at the moment. You will eventually get used to having higher house expenses and cut some other things that aren't as important to fund the things you want like horse shows. Beautiful house by the way!
4/13/2017 09:45:51 am
For so many years, we lived in a very modest home that was EASILY affordable. We were able to do a lot of international travel, and I could show or clinic without needing to make too much of a budget. You're right, it is all about our priorities. I was happy in our old house, but my husband REALLY wanted a nicer, more private neighborhood. He "lets" me do pretty much what I what, so it was his turn. :0)
4/13/2017 10:13:39 am
Ugh, I feel you on this. Our local series is upping prices and making me question my choice to show there... and show at ALL THE SHOWS like I had planned. I guess time will tell how things play out...
4/14/2017 06:02:23 am
I wish we had a local anything. One of my bigger expenses is GAS. I have a lesson today, and I'll spend more in gas than the price of the lesson. But yeah, even without gas, doing more than a show a month really takes a bite out of your finances - especially if they jack the prices up.
Comments are closed.
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%: