From Endurance to Dressage
The simple answer is that if you don't show very much and you switch to trims instead of shoes and then throw on a bit of a vet bill, your total will be $16,266.92. That's what I spent in 2016. Here's the breakdown.
Board and Feed
For the past 5 or 6 years, I've kept my horses at a private residence. Even though we moved barns over the summer, I am now at a small ranch that is still someone's home. My board is lower than some boarding facilities would charge, but there are still cheaper options in town. Board in LA, San Francisco, or San Diego would be MUCH higher, but there are plenty of places in California that are cheap.
My board covers hay twice a day, stall/paddock cleaning, truck/trailer parking, and use of the ranch's facilities (tack room, arena, round pen, and a few minutes' worth of trails). The horses are fed alfalfa and grass hay, but the amount is customized for each horse. If they need more, they get it. Speedy lives in a generously-sized paddock with turn out at night while Izzy lives in a dirt pasture which means he's turned out all of the time.
I started my horses on Platinum Performance over the summer. The company was so confident that I would like their product that they gave me the first bucket for free. I am on an auto-shop plan, which saves in shipping costs, but with only one-quarter of the year represented, this expense is much lower than it will be next year.
Speedy has been barefoot for a year or two, and Izzy had been wearing shoes only in the front. By late summer, I grew tired of calling my farrier back out to replace pulled shoes. Izzy just couldn't keep the front shoes on. I tried bell boots - which he ate off within a few days, but nothing worked.
Eventually, I paid my farrier to come out and pull the one shoe that was on. From that point on, Izzy has gone barefoot, and he's doing great. Now, I don't deal with lost shoes, and as an added bonus, my farrier bill is one of my cheapest expenses.
It seems as though the bandaging gods love me. In 2015, I bought oodles of bandages for Izzy. In 2016, the bandages were for Speedy. Both boys helped me rack up a fairly hefty vet bill. Speedy suffered a small injury that the vet called tendonitis while Izzy needed his hocks injected. Throw in a chiropractor visit, and suddenly, I had spent over two grand.
Blue Truck was paid off long, long ago, and at nearly 17 years old, it's still chugging along nicely. This year, I had to buy new tires, and then the AC needed to be recharged, but my husband paid for that. At 10 miles per gallon though, my gas bill adds up. I spent nearly $1,000 on gas this year.
My trailer cost me more than I expected this year. I had to replace the living quarter's batteries of which there are two. All of the roof vents were also cracked and broken so my husband and I tackled that DIY project ourselves, saving several hundred dollars. In the spring, I had my first ever dent which required the services of a welder. Again, my husband chipped in and covered that for me. Repairs are just part of trailer ownership, but I am going to try not to hit anything else!
As I look back over my lesson budget, I am surprised to see that I took on average, a lesson a month. It sure seems as though I needed more! That's one budget item I don't mind seeing so high. I hope I am able to get at least as many lessons in for 2017.
While it felt as though my showing adventures were non-existent in 2016, I was shocked to see that Izzy and I actually made it to five shows last year. Four were schooling shows, but the last one of the year was actually CDS-rated. We didn't do well at any of them of course, but we did go. I sure hope we make it to some rated shows this year.
Tack and Gear
Can anyone say "Retail Therapy" because I am pretty sure that's what happened in 2016. Holy smokes ... how many pads and bell boots does a girl need? I really have no explanation for why I needed to spend so much on ... so much.
In 2012, the first year I kept track of my spending, I spent $21,101. Keeping such a detailed account of my spending really helped me see what was important. I learned to curb my spending a bit that year and developed some patience. I learned that want and need are not the same thing at all, and that sometimes, it was spiritually and emotionally healthier to not indulge myself.
Four years later, I definitely still respect the difference between want and need even though I do indulge myself now and again (but always within my budget). I spent $4,845 less in 2016 than I did in 2012. I would never have predicted that; inflation alone should have driven my costs upward.
As I looked for a lesson learned this year, I realized that it's about perceived value. Do I feel as though I got my money's worth in 2016? Absolutely. To me, lessons (and showing) bring me great happiness. Even paying my vet brings me satisfaction. Living within one's means is definitely a priority, but how you do that should give you a feeling of gratification. If not, you're probably doing it wrong.
Here's hoping your vet bills stay low, your truck keeps running, and your show entries garner blues!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read