Spend it on him

Spend it on him

I love buying my horse stuff.  He has a collection of bonnets and a respectable stack of saddle pads.  It’s not just Simon either, like many of us equestrians I just love buying things for “my baby.”  I don’t anticipate that ever changing.

However, I don’t necessarily have the budget for unlimited shopping sprees and the latest and greatest of everything.  In fact if I were to be honest, big purchases are either put on my credit card if they’re absolutely necessary or stretched out and budgeted if they’re wants or something I can put off a bit.


With that in mind, I’ve been doing a lot less spending on “wants” this year.  A lot of this restraint and budgeting is due to some great advice my friend gave me about Simon.

Spend your money on him.  Not on things for him, but for him.

It’s really, really good advice and some that I think we could all appreciate.  I have absolutely no problem with people buying fun wants for their horse.  If Sally has the funds to get fancy custom things and expensive items… good for Sally!  You can’t spend time being jealous of those who can afford things you can’t in the horse world.  At the end of the day, someone is always going to have more than you.


I’d love to have bling for my bling, an army of bridles and boots and custom all the things.  The reality is there’s not room for both right now.  I will always choose a good facility, good training, and proper vet care/maintenance for my horse over these items that are in my opinion, just a luxury.

For me right now, it’s hock injections over an Ogilvy.  Training rides over new breeches.  And I feel really good about the choices I’ve made with how I spend my money (we shall forget that I still spend way too much on my damn horse… whoops).  I mean about a year ago jumping 2′ was a big deal, and we just did a hunter derby with some high options!


This is not to pick on anyone who has recently bought an Ogilvy or new breeches by the way 😉  I just think that sometimes the items marketing thinks we need to have just aren’t needs at all.  This is just to share the mantra I’ve been telling myself lately when it comes to horse budgeting.  My money is better spent on Simon than things for Simon, and I think our quest to do right by our horses includes how we choose to spend our money.  Things do not make you a better rider or a better horse person.  Things are fun to have, but should be like the icing on a cake made of hard work, proper care and a good partnership.

How do you prioritize financial expenses with your horse?

36 thoughts on “Spend it on him

  1. I’ve had to cut down on spending myself, when Red got on the supplements for his joints. When it’s either his health, or his appearance…his health comes first. 🙂 I’ve had to cut down on almost all horsey spending other than a little spree for my birthday because of the new property so he could be home. In reality, he doesn’t need the new fancy headstall I’ve been wanting, he needs his sweet itch medicine. I don’t need that new saddle pad that would look fantastic on him, I need him HOME so I can see him every day, haha!

    1. I would definitely spend a lot less if having my horse in my back yard was an option! Good for you for putting his health first. It’s hard to figure that out at your age sometimes 🙂

  2. I bought fly spray the other day and was excited lol. Not nearly as fun as the Mattes pad I really really want, but definitely more necessary;)

  3. I think you are totally right in spending on him. Goodness knows I’m cheap (so why did I choose a sport where you can justify 3 of everything? duh), but the money you invest in the horse will come back to you two-fold. When your training rides and lessons turn into great jumping rounds and happy hunter derbies, its priceless! 🙂

    With that said, I just bought myself a pair of grey breeches that I have been coveting for a couple years. And I’m excited about it! 😀 No shame on this one!

    1. Hey britt – what brand were the breeches? I absolutely love grey breeches but I have trouble finding ones that I like!

      1. They were Grand Prix Lexington Breeches on Tack of the Day! I actually just got notified that the over sold their inventory, so sadly I won’t be getting them anymore.. I’m bummed! They were a great deal!

        Otherwise, I haven’t seen them in person, but I’m a Kerrits fan and may be looking at getting one of their full seat breeches in grey!

  4. At the end of the day it is all just stuff and we can live without stuff. But it can be hard to figure out the difference between a need and a want with all the marketing these days. This reminds me of the quote that goes something like “Most people want/spend $10,000 on a horse and a $1,000 on lessons when what they really need is a $1,000 horse and $10,000 in lessons.”

  5. What a good mantra to have! While I’ll admit that I’ve spent a lot on my horse this year already (whole new set of tack including new saddle!) I am really having to look at what are actual “needs” and what are just “things”. I really want a new saddle pad and a pair of breeches, but Lady needs her feet done and I truthfully need to purchase a new helmet, so that will come first.
    Great point about the training rides too! I can’t really afford lessons yet, but I have found someone who can teach me about the basics of jumping and a friend of mine used to train dressage so she is helping me out a little bit. Keeping the priorities straight! 😀

  6. Could not agree with this post more! I will happily shell out $85 for a weekly lesson with a Very Good dressage instructor and her Magic Trainer Dust that makes us awesome, but hemmed and hawed over buying a new bridle for MONTHS. My saddle pads are all like 10 years old, I haven’t bought new breeches in forever, but I could care less because Paddy and I are making progress by leaps and bounds because I’m spending my money on him. And progress makes me way happier than things!
    Having said that, it’s important to have things that make you and your horse comfortable and safe – a properly fitted saddle, bridle, and bit, a good helmet and footwear for you, etc. So spend money on things like that that really count, make progress with your pony doing what you want, and the rest is all a bonus. 🙂

  7. I am so glad you wrote this- I think I needed a reminder!

    Since I stopped working full-time, we’ve had to budget carefully for most horse purchases. A bottle of fly spray here or a bag of treats there is fine, but those $80 jumping boots and $60 set of black rubber reins just has to wait for a couple of months. About once every three or four months, I email Johnny a list of stuff the horses need in order of most to least important. He works some spreadsheet magic and tells me what I can buy. Do I miss having my own regular income so I can buy whatever I want? Of course. But I’m much happier having the time and flexibility to spend time with the horses. (And of course, who doesn’t love being the designated unemployed errand runner?)

  8. Completely agree 🙂 I finally have all of the items I “need” and don’t really “need” to purchase anything else (of course there’s things I want, ha). But I’m spending my limited budget on training rides, shows and clinics. He doesn’t really care whether his bridle is 50$ or 500$ as long as it fits…

  9. Great mantra, and one I live by as well. Money is hard to come by here, and I find myself selling a lot of my things later if they don’t work out anyway.

    If only my trainer was closer, I would love to splurge for more lessons.

  10. Thanks for reminding me of whats really important — it’s easy to get caught up in the material aspect of horse ownership… something I’ve been a bit guilty of this year!

  11. I definitely have been feeling this a lot this year. With shows, clinic, and stuff going on this summer, I had to make a choice where I wanted to spend my money. I’d rather lesson more, ride more, show more, than buy my fancy new bridle I want right this second. It feels good to be responsible and know that I put the cost for ‘growing together’ before looking pretty.

    Does not mean I do not oogle all the pretty tack everywhere. 🙂

  12. I definitely agree to an extent – most of my expenses this past year were on joint injections/supplements/vet visits etc. That being said, a lot of my large purchases (saddles, corrective pads, boots, etc) I also consider for him. Boots protect his legs that tend to balloon up with the smallest cuts. Fiction also has an insanely sensitive back, so pads like the Oglivy really help reduce back soreness so he can continue to be in full-time work. Same with correctly fitting saddles with technology geared towards full movement. The more comfortable and safely padded my horse is, the longer he will last and further he will advance. Now fancy bridles/breeches/show clothes etc are definitely not spending ‘on’ him, but I can definitely see saddles/corrective pads/boots etc as proper spending.

    1. I pick on Ogilvy as an example just because they are SO TRENDY right now and everyone is all MUST HAVE. I understand that a therapeutic pad is beneficial to many horses, I have one myself, but there are also many other therapeutic pads on the market that are cheaper/less trendy. Like I said, luxury purchases are great to have and we all love them – just not at the expense of your horse. You have done lots to make Fiction feel better, and I don’t think you put tack and apparel before your horse’s well being.

  13. I currently have a herd of 3 (increased by two horses over the last year!). I sort of abstractly understood that having 3 horses instead of one would be more expensive. But holy crap, I feel like I’m bleeding money!

    This year I have purchased almost everything used. And I have sold a lot of items that were collecting dust to fund other purchases or pay for massages for Apollo etc or to help with additional vet bills.

    Great post! 🙂

  14. I’m a total penny picher. I go with good quality stuff and try to pick items that are more timeless than ultra fashionable. Saddle pads are almost always black or white, tack is dark brown, etc. I admit to a little bit of envy though when I go to the barn and see people and their horses all kitted out and looking amazing with the newest gear, but with my income I am better spending my spare money on more lessons and saving for that future farm 🙂

  15. This is a rub when you get a new horse in a discipline that you don’t have a lot of tack in. I have tried to walk the line of good half pad, cheaper a/p pads. Going to shell out for saddle, because that is good for the horse and rider, and saves money in shims, chiropractors, etc. And as all my breeches wear out, I have come to realize that with more riding either comes more cheap breeches or a few more good pairs.

  16. *sigh* Just as I was starting to justify a few wants, namely a new shaped show pad. Not that I’d put “stuff” before Armani…I was thinking more like “in addition to” things like massages. We train once a week with my coach, always (unless it’s reeeeeaallly cold).

  17. I’ve actually been thinking about this topic a lot lately with the onslaught of bloggers buying lots of trendy things. Not that there is a single thing wrong with that, if you can afford it have at it!! I’d probably buy all kinds of things if I had the funds, but what I do have I always spend on our riding education. I would so much rather sink money into clinics and lessons than material possessions that I don’t truly need. When I do buy something “big ticket” it’s usually because I feel like it would not only benefit us, we need it at that point in our riding.

  18. I absolutely love all the toys and trappings for horses, tack and pads and boots and shiny things and all that good stuff, but this year has been really, really tight. I can cut all my “fun” spending and instead just do the necessities. At the end of the day, I’d rather have a few lessons than a new pad, usually. 😉

  19. Great post! It’s always fun with a new horse to shop, shop, shop- but I honestly didn’t have that much to buy for Ellie and I’m at the point where I don’t even have much of a wishlist anymore- with the exception of some type of poop remover for gray horses :).

    My own shopping habits have changed a ton since I’ve owned horses- it’s not often that I go out and do any clothing or shoe shopping for myself. I can’t remember the last time I went without a purpose to the mall or shopped online without actually needing something.
    Let alone a pair of $500 shoes 😉

  20. I like you have to save for things. I haven’t yet had something that I needed now – well except a vet bill- but those go on my cc and I pay them off, eventually lol!

  21. So…. as a self professed “splurger” I still totally relate to this.. I think years of bootstrapping it in my backyard has given me a good “defense” to needing to follow trends, but that’s not to say I don’t bleed $$$ when I find a totally cute (and not necessary) pad, or whatever- because I definitely do.

    What I find hardest to resist is “Trainer Suggested” items. When my trainer says “go get a new _____” I feel TOTALLY COMPELLED to go get it – even if I feel my current model of ____ is adequate. The new bridle is in that category. She didn’t love the look of my old cavesson, ergo – new bridle. Necessary? no, but I felt way more compelled to follow instructions than if I had just decided that CWD bridles were super cool and omg-i-want-one-now.

    Just my personal weak spot… 🙂

  22. Ahhh if only we could have all the gear, as well as all the lessons and all of the facilities that we desire hmm.

    I just stopped myself from purchasing a gorgeous sheepskin numnah for show hunter to get my OTTB’s teeth done. Worth it, but I’m still coveting the numnah!

  23. I always spend on lessons before shows – clinics too. Vet/hay/grain before anything else, and I usually use money from the horse shows we host for the shopping items.

  24. THANK YOU! This is the x1000 best post I’ve read in a while and you have called an important issue to attention while framing it perfectly!!

    I watched a rider at a recent event who had the MOST expensive everything. Custom-coloured titanium stirrups, French saddle, tailored coat, $$$$$$ boots, matchy girth and bridle, leg boots for horse that cost more than my saddle — and bless his heart, he could not ride worth a lick. He was showing at Novice, for heaven’s sake, and spent all the money…to crash jumps like matchsticks and generally scare the carp out of everyone watching as his saint of a horse tried to save him. 🙁

  25. Well, you can never have too many saddles . . . but mostly I spend my horse money on feeding the best quality hay and feed, using the best farrier I can find, and keeping my saddles adjusted properly for the backs. Mostly my horses love living outside and sleeping in the sun. They don’t care too much about the bling. Maybe Zelda does. She did love her pink bell boots!

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