Growing up, my parents could only spend a certain amount of money on my horseback riding. They paid for my weekly lesson and that was it. Anything more than one lesson a week, I had to pay for myself. Obviously, we all crave more time in the saddle than once a week! So I had to come up with some other ways to pay for riding time.
Being a working student at my barn was the easiest and best way to earn credits for lessons or towards a lease. Now, you have to be willing to work hard. I’m talking stall mucking, water trough scrubbing, feeding, and cleaning of all kinds. I’m not going to lie, you put in a lot of hard work to earn small increments of credits. However, you get so much more than that. You learn new things about horses and taking care of a farm. You gain so much experience dealing with all sorts of equine situations. You also get to further build your relationship with your trainer and other barn mates. Pick a few days a week you can dedicate to working, not riding. Then take advantage of any school breaks or vacation time from your jobs to rack up on work days. Talk to your trainer about a working student program. I’m sure there is something they can work out with you!
Another thing you can do is to save up your outside money. Save your birthday money, Christmas money, babysitting money, whatever to put together towards a lesson or part of your lease. I always used my birthday money for more time in the saddle. Get a part-time job to earn some money! Whether it’s babysitting, working at a restaurant, or at the movie theater, if you can put in some hours each week, you’ll be earning some extra cash quick. As adults, you can still get some extra money on the side from doing small jobs like dog walking and pet care or from selling items on social media. If people are going out of town, see if you can take care of their pets! I just made $60 from taking care of some friends horses over the weekend.
So let’s talk more about leasing. That can get expensive. You have the option of a full lease or a half lease. Usually, with full leases, you are assuming all expenses of the horse without actually having to purchase a horse. If you’re on a budget, I would definitely recommend starting with a half lease. It turns into only half of the horse’s expenses and depending on who your leasee is, they may cover things like vet and farrier on their own. The half lease is a lot more manageable money wise and is a really good place to start if you think you would like to full lease or own a horse in the future.
This is a horse I leased for a little over a year before I bought Z. It taught me so much about horse ownership and I’m so thankful for the time I spent with the little red pony.
-Hannah + Z