Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

Hello Weekend

 Has the recession got you and your horses down in the mouth?thumbnailCABG9P81

This week Larissa and I have found ourselves brainstorming to find ways to keep our horses , show, buy equipment and supplies,while saving money, all in ways that won’t compromise our training or our horse’s well being.No doubt everyone is feeling the pinch and horses are an expensive endeavour at the best of times.

   We’ve come up with a few ideas we have each found helpful and hope you will as well. Feel free to comment with your own economizing thoughts since we would benefit from them as well.

   At Larissa’s barn several boarders went in together to purchase a Pessoa lunging system since they all wanted to use it but f

ound the cost a bit much individually. Larissa suggests layering blankets ie: covering a light blanket with a rain sheet and thereby avoiding buying different blankets for every season. She also found a recent ad for Wintec saddles calling them “the smart choice for these hard times. ” I can vouch for that and in addition would suggest looking for one and other tack items on ebay. I very recently bought a school saddle, a Wintec Dressage Sport in truly mint conditon off ebay for $129.00! Needlless to say , I’m thrilled.

    Of course shopping on ebay has it’s risks, do your homework , research the reviews on the seller , use Paypal, take precautions with chequing acct# and credit cards  but by and large ebay has a good reputation for credibility and security. they also have vast amounts of horse related items at ridiculously low prices. Good news to all!

   Some other ideas we at Sunhall are using to combat this recession may sound a bit odd but give them a try and see if they work for you.This year we felt the need to add to our arena footing. It needed more bounce and life. Most products I looked into were great but simply beyond my budget range. I happened to be visiting Rideauwood Farm  near Ottawa where two time Canadian team dressage rider Suzanne Dutt Roth is based. Her footing was amazing! On closer examination I saw it was filled with corks ( real NOT synthetic) cut in half and added by the thousands to the arena base.

     I contacted several local pubs who are now saving corks for me free of charge and have begun to notice a real difference in the life of our base. ( Alternatively you could drink a great deal of wine :)) but practicality would suggest the former method.

     We use one product where in the past we had many different ones ie: we use Murphy’s Oil soap to clean woodwork ,tack, boots and in small amounts and a bucket of warm water …even bath horses.

    The boarders get together on bulk purchases of various items an example being wormer paste and usually can get a deal when buying by the case. We all spend a few days this time of year and have hay days getting in several thousand bales and saving a great deal picking it up from the field. We finish the day off with a cookout and even get a few more corks for the arena from wine around a campfire.

  We all go together on vet and farrier calls , unless emergency and save quite a bit on the stable call fees this way.

   A lot of children ride here and many outgrow breeches and boots before wearing them out. There is an exchange box in the tack room where outgrown items can be traded for ones that fit at no charge. My students go to thrift shops and buy boys suit jackets for about $5.00  which are great for growing kids, perfectly fine for first and schooling shows. They wear rubber boots or paddock boots until feet stop growing saving hundreds on leather boots that won’t fit them for long.

   Dealing with farmers ,feed dealers, vets and even tack shops these days, I find you can get a substantial discount by paying in cash.If several people you ride with are ordering items from the same tack shop the shipping fee is very negotiable and sometimes waived altogether.

   In the last few  years with the help of parents and riders we have built two 20×60 dressage rings for shows with scrap wood and paint , gotten free, from our local recycling centre.

   The city of Windsor held a charity beach volleyball tournament and had beautiful beach sand brought in for it. After the competition they wanted it removed . We were able to get all that beautiful sand for the outdoor rings absolutely free and paid only the trucking costs.

    This past year we have been sharing several top clinicians with various local barns , thereby really cutting down the cost per session and allowing more riders to participate. One barn will billet the clinician overnight, another feed them lunch , another drive them from barn to barn etc.saving trailering costs and avoiding shipping in nasty winter conditions.

    It takes riding companions you can trust, a spirit of cooperation in your local horse community , some creative thinking and an open mind to the “no idea too small”way of approaching things but truly there are a great many ways to cut the costs of riding , showing and keeping your horse in the manner they are accustomed to.

   We’ll get though this recession and improve our business , communication and thinking abilities in the process. Hopefully the entire horse world will become more practical , less wasteful and united by these hard times. remember, “together we can afford to ride” 🙂 Cheers. Happy Saving. Libby Keenan

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