I’m a cheapskate. I admit it. But it is because I have learned to afford the things I want, I have to economize — maybe put off buying new dresses and jeans in order to afford an entry. And lots of my riding friends, especially my local peeps, are about the same — we’re all sort of middle income, fit the horse stuff in the budget, do the best we can, and basically economize.
I also have some friends that are so damn cheap, they squeak, and it’s so annoying. You include them in the invitations, and it’s always “too much money”. Over the years, I have some people I know who have NEVER taken the trip, or sent in the entry, or decided to go — because they just “can’t afford it.” Meanwhile they have all the same expenses and do the same things I do — horse trailer, truck, insurance, feed, farrier, etc.
I think back on all the things I would have missed in my life had I said, “well, it’s just too much.” Rolex (that’s a big one. And there are loads of cheap ways to get to Rolex.) Most of my memorable events like Plantation, Flora Lea, Surefire, and the AECs. (Still paying off that credit card.) The seminars and clinics. The foxhunting — much of that is local and the membership to the club is still one of the best bargains I get all year for the horse’s training and fitness. Hey, cheapo friend, you’re missing out.
We have all overspent on horses. But life experiences? They are worth every penny. And the cool thing about eventing and the horse world is you never know when you will get a great life experience from traveling or competing. It’s the journey, they say. But you have to dig down into your wallet to get on that journey some times.
It’s sometimes more than you should spend. Sometimes it isn’t the fun, or the great time you thought you would have — and it feels like you wasted money. It’s inevitable you’re going to have a couple wrong turns, and while regrettable, it’s not entirely without a silver lining. At least you know what not to do next time.
Knowing how to spend your hard-earned dollars on horse stuff you want – that’s the hard part. For me, it’s all about comparison shopping and I also use the advice of friends. Many times, people who are just like me have done the same thing — wanted to go to an event or participate in a clinic, and found a way. We’re a lot alike. So I use my friends for help when I need to find the cheapest way to go. But I go.
Have you ever said, “Wow, we had a great time — I learned a lot!” and launched into a story about an experience? Sure. Have you ever said, “Wow, I didn’t go to Rolex, and I saved so much money”? Uh huh. Yeah. So moral of story: Stop being so cheap. Spend a little. Make a lot of life experience and gain knowledge. Or not.