affording to compete/train - what sacrifices do you make?

throwawayaccount

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as title really, i'm now in the position to start training more and have the opportunity to compete (albeit local shows) and i'm so excited / grateful i'm able to do so.

i don't have my own transport so hiring may end up costly to say the least and be limiting- not many shows i can hack to, and our yard doesn't run shows anymore (but we do have clinics which will help).

i work hard and have 3 incomes, (the other 2 are small but any pennies help). anyone else in the same boat? :)
 

milliepops

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yep. i am continuing to train but have cut back to fortnightly lessons now horse and I are on the same page, broadly. But struggling atm to imagine where funds would come from when he is ready to start getting out and about.
for years i had no transport and so i am quite happy training on at home but I did enjoy a few really busy years doing all kinds of shows and clinics and would love to get back to that.

I make sacrifices basically everywhere else, the working horses are on inexpensive livery, the ones at home cost very little. I don't buy clothes or *stuff*. i am super cheap when it comes to groceries etc. If i don't HAVE to spend money on something, i don't. I'm on a decent wage but after rent and bills etc there's not a lot left even so :/ I do go through periods of thinking "what's the point", the yard i am on rubs it in a bit as there are often people staying for training in megabucks trucks with megabucks horses and it feels like swimming against the tide, but... i do it for me and my love of the horse, so try to hang onto that.
 

LEC

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I am very privileged so I manage off a mediocre wage. I live in a teeny house with my OH and have no mortgage, no kids, so all my money can go on horses, minimal holidays, not interested in clothes etc, antisocial so don’t go out much, run a lot of training clinics so gets my training for free and I get free livery. So, don’t pay for livery or haylage as I work for it instead by riding owners horse and looking after her.
 
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Orangehorse

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Have money boxes and put some cash in them every week. This is how my sister paid for worming, she just put cash into a money box every week, and then when it was time to buy them, there was the cash. Could do the same for lessons, entry fees.

The box hire is more tricky. Obviously a trailer is much cheaper to buy and keep, but you then need the vehicle to tow with. Try finding a local box hire place and have 2-3 trips and see how much it works out as, then that will give you a clearer idea.
 

dorsetladette

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Is there anyone at your yard that goes to the comps you plan to go to? The offer of some fuel money for a lift will probably go down well at the moment. Take minimal stuff so you aren't loading their vehicle to much and you might be onto a winner. You could also offer to do a few chores round the yard as well for them - like bringing in if time is tight for the owner (read 'now best friend as they have a trailer')

I have a few little savings accounts which I put a bit in each month for extras. Hay acc, Vet acc, showing/training acc. Any extra bits get put into these accounts for when it might be needed. It gets moved from one to the other as and when I need to. Like currently I have a vet bill to pay, but have plenty of hay so a bit gets moved across and then I will focus on putting the hay money back before autumn. Obviously the competing acc is least important and usually has the least in it, but if I'm aiming for something important (to me) I'll cut out luxuries to put funds in there. Or sell a few rugs/numnahs/stuff I don't need to add to it.
 

Alibear

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It's been the driving force behind my career progression; I'm on another push now. It means my working days are tough, and I'll be working till I drop; I'm not sure I'll ever pay off the mortgage either. This year I'm also having to cut back on the amount I do, so more at home lessons instead of travelling out and about. It seems that many are in the same boat, and I'm watching shows and clinics being cancelled across the board. I have noticed that the ones planned for public holidays are getting good numbers which I thought was interesting. They help me out as well as I don't have to take time off work for them, or perhaps just the 1 day for travel. I have my own car and trailer, which makes things easier. As a teenager, I had a banger of a tow car, and I hired a trailer. Then I moved on to a better tow car and, finally, my own trailer. My first trailer lasted 18 years, so it was a good investment.
 

humblepie

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When I was younger probably pretty much everything. I didn’t have lessons and just competed. Was lucky had a couple of good horses and we managed. Did once get a training bursary from local council. Now I can within reason afford to do both and where I want but on the flip side I don’t spend much on clothes socialising etc and never have done so it’s not a sacrifice it’s just my way of life.
 

millitiger

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I have a really good job.
I keep pets at home (with its own expenses including a massive mortgage!)
I buy 99% of things for me and the horses 2nd hand.
I haven't been on holiday abroad for about 7 years.
I have multiple bank accounts and spreadsheets to keep track of everything.

I still like to go out for dinner with my friends and OH and try to enjoy life outside horses but I always have one eye on the budget!
 

Patterdale

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Wherever I lay my hat.
I don’t feed anything, just grass, haylage and lick buckets.
Nothing comes in so no bedding costs.
Only 2 are shod.
One lesson a month.
I worm once a year in spring.
I don’t buy fancy tack etc.
And I buy and sell youngsters to help fund the riding horses.

It’s a struggle though and I have too many so I’m planning on moving 4 on this year. Will be much easier then I’m hoping.
 

kathantoinette

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I’m very careful with my money.
Horses are at home, make our own haylage, buy shavings very cheap from one of the companies I work for.
I have just the amount of ‘stuff’ I need; one set of boots, a couple of saddle pads and only one bridle (one horse in work). I own only 2 pairs of everyday breeches.
I meticulously plan my training around my competitions.
And I don’t have any children.
 

Red-1

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Currently living a second childhood!
Mr Red was retired.

Mr Red went back to work when mum was ill and we thought we would have to finance some of the care.

Mr Red then kept his job when mum died but the cost of living spiralled, as he is amazing and wants me to have fun.

I have another 2 years and then he is retiring again, and this time for good.

I can cover my own house and horse expenses, but these days that wouldn't extend to training and diesel, plus 2 horses. I am so grateful that Mr Red is so amazing.
 

billylula

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I have a small pension which I've withdrawn to pay for daughter's horses competing for the next few years. It is a tiny pension so wouldn't have done much good later in life. My daughter has had quite a serious illness and missed a year of everything so decided to make sure she can do as much as she wants for the next couple of years. Now just got to hope horses stay sound!

We keep horses at home in fields rented very cheaply from a farmer. Don't go on holiday. Buy everything at Lidl. My car is very old and battered. I refuse to have grey hair though so the hairdresser is my line in the sand 😂
 

JustMe22

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I work a full time job plus freelance every night and over weekends to double my income (most months, but not all!). When I'm at the yard, I often ride someone else's horse to make some extra cash seeing as I'm there anyway and to get more saddle time.

Luckily I'm not a massively social person, so I don't have huge expenses like drinking or eating out and prefer to have a glass of wine at home or go and visit a friend. I'm also a pretty good cook so I plan most meals and order online to make sure I have everything I need to cook at home most nights.

I'm also fully remote so not much in the way of commuting or travelling costs, except to the yard and back!

But it's still tight, and so as a result, I'm pretty much always working.
 

palo1

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I am not currently really able to afford to train or compete as all of my animals decided that 2021 was the year to have serious veterinary interventions!! That has used up any spare funds and a chunk of my savings :(

Ideally I would like to train and compete in BD as well as have a hooley round a few hunter trials/WH type comps. I have one horse that is up for that and another that isn't so he doesn't have to be 'trained' as such lol!!

I have found additional work to 'create' a tiny training/competing budget. This work 'fitted' around horses and my main job which is pretty poorly paid but lovely, interesting and convenient - and contributes to my OH and I's joint financial committments (house, mortgage, consumables). It has become evident, however, that to help keep the whole family (there are 4 of us) in one piece I need to factor in more funds again. I have found a 3rd job (jobs 2 & 3 are just about 1 hour per day but every bit helps! Job no 1 is 25 hours per week) but am struggling to fit that in with training or competing. I don't have an arena so have to travel to use one which is currently eating up disturbing amounts of diesel money... I sacrifice holidays, smart clothes, going out, TV subscription type costs etc to help fund both life keeping horses at home - which is in itself amazing; and any extra activities with the horses.

I don't bother with fun rides or even with nice RC group-type activities as I can only justify money spent on arena hire, 1-1 or simple shared lessons with 1 friend and decent clinics. I only buy really decent tack and numnahs, look after all my old stuff really well, don't feed hard food, try not to shoe for at least 6 months of the year, buy second-hand everything where possible, mend my own rugs, take boots and shoes to the cobbler rather than buying new, don't drink alcohol and am generally scrooge-like though I do obviously use funds to help my 2 teenage children have nice clothes, go out etc. For me it is really hard to balance family needs with horsey stuff as there always seems to be something needed that my training budget has to then support. At the moment that is basic travelling to work which feels totally like a Catch 22 situation!!

I think as we move to a bigger property I may have to accept that any kind of competitive aspiration has to go. They were quite limited tbh and now possibly compromised by other things anyway but I am still working away at Job no 3 to try to maintain something of a separate budget for horse training stuff. I think that might be the best way to do it; to totally ring fence some money each month...Once you have given up a social life, new clothes, any other 'indulgences' lol there isn't really much else you can do. I am remaining hopeful that by having 'separate' bits of work I can, on paper at least, 'afford' to train and compete. For most people I think it is quite tough though and eventing is probably well out reach of the vast majority of horse owners. Other particular discipline training costs, expectations and competing vary in the expense so they may be more realistic.
 

Ambers Echo

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I book into lots of things and generally get mysef in debt. That gives me the impetus to work my socks off getting back in credit again. Then I heave a sigh of relief, take a few days off, resolve to live within my means on nornal working hours.... and then start spending again! Not the most skilful cycle but tbh it works for me. And I do a lot of decent training that way. Luckily I am self employed and I turn away a lot of work as I just have too much on most of the time and so if I need extra I can increase my hours and earn more.
 

milliepops

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I would love to increase my hours but my day job would fill any available hours that i allowed it to and there's no overtime pay, you are expected to just do the hours it takes. the only way i could take on a second job would be to pay someone to do my horses before or after work... hmmm....
 

milliepops

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has anyone else noticed the cost of lorries seems to have gone up too?

wonder if people are achieving those prices. I think we have bought pretty well, as bought nice container on very old knackered truck and have fairly cheaply transferred onto a much nicer truck than i ever thought i would own. If people are getting the prices they are asking then i wonder if it's worth selling and doing that again, other than vet visits it's not like i'm going anywhere in it anyway o_O
 

dorsetladette

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Currently I don't have anything to compete or train seriously. 1 old boy (who's quite happy with fortnightly vet/physio visits currently) and 2 youngsters. So apart from the odd low level inhand shows we don't have a lot to do currently. Which is sad as OH has just finished the horsebox. Guess it will get use taking the babies out on adventures for now, but I'm excited for stay away shows as the living is mint! (OH is very handy) Like you @milliepops we bought cheaply and the OH sorted the interior. We took a punt on it as it had no MOT/plating but we couldn't of afforded anything near as nice if we hadn't. Luckily it paid off.
 

j1ffy

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has anyone else noticed the cost of lorries seems to have gone up too?

wonder if people are achieving those prices. I think we have bought pretty well, as bought nice container on very old knackered truck and have fairly cheaply transferred onto a much nicer truck than i ever thought i would own. If people are getting the prices they are asking then i wonder if it's worth selling and doing that again, other than vet visits it's not like i'm going anywhere in it anyway o_O
A friend of mine (a horse box mechanic) does just that - he probably buys and sells a handful of trucks each year and makes a decent profit on them. He'll also renovate the living (new lining, curtains, that sort of thing) and horse area if needed, adjust tack lockers, re-spray etc. It meant I got my 7.5T at a decent prices thanks to 'mate's rates' ;)
 

RachelFerd

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I have a very lax attitude to credit cards 🤣

This.

Some of the big entry costs will get piled onto credit cards throughout the event season and then cleared in the off season. With occasional clever use of a balance transfer deal...

My logic being that it is worth every penny to enjoy the good horse now while we are both fit and well and enjoying ourselves.
 

palo1

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I am envious of those with a relaxed attitude to credit cards lol!! I just can't imagine ever being able to pay for my true aspirations hahaha!! I have thought long and hard too about running two vehicles which I do currently; a 'normal' car for work etc and a trailer and 4x4 for horse stuff. I can't conscience using a diesel 4x4 daily and the cost of diesel currently might not make using that vehicle as my sole vehicle any better but I also hate having to keep 2 vehicles on the road. And always, inevitably they both go wrong at the same time... IF I could wfh I could cut out one vehicle and a whole heap of expense but I haven't found a role that is home based that would work for me finanically or in terms of hours and interest.
 

Michen

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I am envious of those with a relaxed attitude to credit cards lol!! I just can't imagine ever being able to pay for my true aspirations hahaha!! I have thought long and hard too about running two vehicles which I do currently; a 'normal' car for work etc and a trailer and 4x4 for horse stuff. I can't conscience using a diesel 4x4 daily and the cost of diesel currently might not make using that vehicle as my sole vehicle any better but I also hate having to keep 2 vehicles on the road. And always, inevitably they both go wrong at the same time... IF I could wfh I could cut out one vehicle and a whole heap of expense but I haven't found a role that is home based that would work for me finanically or in terms of hours and interest.
Every now and again I get a little pang of panic over them and then I just look at Boggle's beautiful head over the stable door and it goes away :D

Tbh, I wouldn't usually be in so much CC debt, but my salary reduced by 35% ish this year after my commission went through the floor but I failed to change my expenditure to match it so have continued on. That said, I do have a way of clearing it if I need to by releasing some company shares.

I know it's not sensible but life is short and when you have a sound pony I think you have to enjoy the good times whilst you can.

Irresponsible to the max! Have you done the sums on a economical car plus horsebox instead btw? I am leaning towards that...
 

dorsetladette

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Irresponsible to the max! Have you done the sums on a economical car plus horsebox instead btw? I am leaning towards that...
This is how we have got round it. I drive a mini cooper and am at the age where my insurance is minimal. The insurance on the lorry is only £173 a year and tax more or less the same as a car. We put £30 of diesel in it every month weather is goes anywhere or not so is usually at least 3/4 full. OH has a works van which we use to get feed etc so I really don't need a big car. I honestly don't think I could afford to run a big gas guzzler these days.
 

milliepops

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I am envious of those with a relaxed attitude to credit cards lol!! I just can't imagine ever being able to pay for my true aspirations hahaha!! I have thought long and hard too about running two vehicles which I do currently; a 'normal' car for work etc and a trailer and 4x4 for horse stuff. I can't conscience using a diesel 4x4 daily and the cost of diesel currently might not make using that vehicle as my sole vehicle any better but I also hate having to keep 2 vehicles on the road. And always, inevitably they both go wrong at the same time... IF I could wfh I could cut out one vehicle and a whole heap of expense but I haven't found a role that is home based that would work for me finanically or in terms of hours and interest.
i racked up my debt when i was (a) a student and (b) then on minimum wage for years, living on my own and trying to keep a horse on the road. i was an idiot. i still am an idiot. i should have them all pts and be a grown up. but i seem to keep on being an idiot instead. :rolleyes: there is no hope.
 

humblepie

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On the training front, as above I didn't used to have lessons when I was show jumping and some how managed to jump an ex racehorse at Foxhunter level. Now that I just go round in circles on the flat I seem to have a lot more lessons but realistically if I remembered and did what I am taught, I ought to be able to compete my horse at the level we are both established at without regular lessons. The eyes on the ground check though is important (although I didn't have them when jumping either) - was lucky just had a really good horse.
 
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