How I Measure My Life in Horse Costs

"That cute pair of jeans costs 20 bales of hay? Forget it."


Horse Expenses
No morning lattes. No new clothes until 2018. That car will have to keep running for at least five more years. But it’s all worth it to spend a weekend at the horse show!


It’s no secret that our horsey habit is an expensive one. As equestrians, we have no qualms with this fact –it is what it is. That being said, it does mean we have to prioritize when it comes to spending.

Let me explain.

Riding Lessons

A lesson at my fabulous barn is $50. Therefore, every purchase in my life is debated in $50 increments. Do I really want that fancy jacket from Banana Republic? It’s super cute. It has a sale price sticker, but even on sale, it costs two riding lessons. As I weigh my options, I firmly place the jacket back on the rack. It’s not worth two riding lessons.

Riding Apparel vs. Real-World Apparel

I find a new pair of dress shoes at the mall. They’re sharp. They’re fashionable. They’re the perfect color. They’re also $125, and a little voice in the back of my mind is reminding me that I’m due for a new riding helmet. I’ve had mine for several years and recently took a fall. I’m so grateful it protected my head, and I know I should continue to protect my head by buying a new helmet. The new Charles Owen is appealing. Final decision? Wait on the shoes. Proceed to the nearest tack shop to try on helmets.

Horse Shows

In my experience, the non-horsey person has absolutely no clue how much a horse show costs. It is just assumed that horse shows are expensive activities, and that tends to be true. Depending on the type of show, duration and factors such as who trailers your horse, they can range from $200 to $800. Some are less; some are more, but either way, they cost enough that one needs to plan for the expense. So, while it is intriguing to potentially trade in my 10-year-old car for a new one, the idea of monthly payments bites into my horse show budget. My decision? My car runs, so it stays. Horse show – here I come!

Who Gets Breakfast?

A stop at Starbucks is relatively inexpensive. My latte usually costs about $3. Multiply that by three visits a week for a month, and suddenly my casual Starbucks habit is now totaling over $30 a month. Perhaps I should trade my espresso for an extra hour of sleep each night and put the savings toward my next hay delivery. Decision made.

Horse Care

I know that it’s been seven months since I’ve had a hair cut, and I know my hairdresser told me I should visit her every three to four months. I also know that it’s time for the farrier to visit the barn, and I want to get my horse her new shoes before the upcoming clinic. My hair goes under my helmet half of the time, so new shoes for my horse trump a haircut. I’ll spend the entire time I’m in the stylist’s chair wishing I could be at the barn anyway.

I have to believe I’m not the only horse person who weighs normal expenditures against horsey expenditures. Do you do anything similar?


  1. Bingo. $75 shoes = riding lesson and a half, errrrrr no thanks. I even get so meta as to weigh $200 breeches against 4 lessons — but this calculation is waaaaay tougher!


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