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Showing your Horse on a Shoestring

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Author: Ron Petracek

Convinced show season is going to break the bank? It doesn't have to! Try the below budget busters and get through the season with wallet intact.

* Become a working student. Most barns with lesson and training programs also offer working student programs. These programs vary to some extent, but in a nutshell the student trades work such as mucking stalls, grooming horses, etc. for lessons, training, and, depending upon the agreement, often show entry fees and transportation.

* Choose a trainer who trains you to train your horse. If you are an active participant in your horse's training you are less likely to have to call upon your trainer to "refix" your horse. Be present at all of your horse's training sessions, ask your trainer to teach you to teach your horse, and you'll be amazed at how much money . . . not to mention time and frustration . . . you'll save.

* Swap clothing and tack. Show clothing and tack can really add up, especially when you are talking about a growing child. Parents—form a network of friends that you can trade clothing with as your children outgrow them. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy them new if they are just going to be worn once or twice and then outgrown. Both children and adults can also check out the consignment area at tack shops and e-commerce sites on the web for equipment.

* Find a trailering buddy. No need to buy a trailer if you can find someone to tag along with. Set your rides up for the season well in advance, and try bartering your rides for chores or other services.

•ª Learn to groom your own horse. The hours spent grooming and braiding before a show can really add up . . . and so can the money these services cost. But does it really make a lot of sense to pay your trainer or his or her grooms to do these things when you can easily learn to do them yourself? A great resource is a book called Grooming to Win: How to Groom, Trim, Braid, and prepare Your Horse for Show by Susan E. Harris. Bonus: if you get really good at these things you can easily make a few bucks doing it for others!

* Develop a skill. Become an expert at something—braiding, grooming, exercising, etc.—and bring your show on the road. Offering to do these things for other people at shows for money will help you offset your showing fees. Just make sure that you budget your time correctly so that you too have plenty of time to get ready and concentrate on your own performance.

* Enlist the help of a friend. Checking in, getting your number, readying both you and your horse, and attending to all the nitty-gritty details you won't be able to focus on. Cajole a parent, friend, or someone who loves you to do this for free.

* Bring the news home. If you are a good writer or photographer there are plenty of local and national newspapers and magazines who need good horse show reporters. You are at the show anyway, why not get paid to watch it? Newspaper and magazines are willing to pay stringers for everything from organizing results to writing about classes to photographing winners.

With a little planning you can enjoy your horse show season without cleaning out your savings account and taking out a second mortgage on your home. Good luck, and happy showing!

About the author: Ron Petracek is the founder of Equine Internets vast 15 site classified and social network. You can view its amazing size here Http:// or to further your equine habit please visit our forum by clicking here and start posting Need to sell a horse or tack? place a free ad here and always the barn door in left open on purpose.

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