Rider Spotlight: Ally, Mikayla, and Ella

Check out these three talented ladies that won my latest giveaway!


Aly has owned her unicorn of a quarter horse named Moe for just over a year. He has helped her regain so much confidence from when things didn’t work out with her first horse, which left her feeling very timid and anxious about riding. Ally has been riding Hunter/Jumpers and Equitation for over 16 years, dabbling in local and circuit shows. She hopes over the course of the next few years to venture into the CT and eventing world, which has been a dream of hers for a long time. This year Ally’s riding goals are to get comfortable cantering over fences again, do a few low level schooling shows, and go trail riding with Moe this summer. Ally is so happy to have a horse that she can enjoy and expand her skills with.

Follow Ally and Moe’s journey on Instagram at @purplepianist92!


Mikayla Alexis is a 17 year old 4-H rider. She rides her 4-H project horse, Jewel, who is a 17 year old mare leased by her trainer. Jewel is a true mare, but Mikayla Ioves her! She is a well-trained horse in Western Pleasure and she’s an amazing Hunter/Jumper, but Mikayla only rides her for English Pleasure and shows her in Showmanship classes. Since this 4-H year is almost done, Mikayla sadly won’t be riding and working with her for much longer and she will miss Jewel a ton!

Follow Mikayla on Instagram to keep up with her equestrian journey! @mikayla.equine


Ella Thompson is fourteen years old and has been riding for about seven years. She started to help train horses when she bought her first pony, Cody, at age eleven. At the beginning of last summer Ella sold Cody, and moved on to her current horse, Feef. Feef is a seven year old Hanoverian. They have been competing at hunter/jumper shows throughout Washington and Oregon this past year. Feef is super sweet, and although she is not as experienced as some others, she is very willing and always tries her best.

Keep up with Ella and Feef on Instagram at @ellajo.equestrian!

My Experience with the Dover Tent Sale

Like everyone else, I was thrilled to get my flyer in the mail announcing the spring tent sale at Dover. This is a time to score great deals at up to 70% off with potential of additional discounts. Last year, I got so many useful items at the sale. This year was a bit of a different story.

I only ended up buying three items from the sale. All the other things that I needed, I had to buy full price in-store. I was in desperate need of some new breeches, a new flysheet, riding socks and fly spray to stock up on.  None of the breeches in my price range fit me. I tried on probably 5 or 6 different pairs in several sizes before I gave up. There was one fly sheet that was pony sized. The only fly masks at the sale did not have ear coverage. No socks! They had a lack of care products as well. I remember last year I got fly spray, leather oil, and hoof hardener all on sale. So disappointing! Well without further ado, I will share with you what I did buy from the sale and the items that I picked out in-store.

Tent Sale

I got Z some new sports boots for $40 that were originally $100. My old ones were starting to rub and irritate a spot on the outside of his cannon bone. Then my favorite purchase was two summer riding tanks. These are by Noble Outfitters and made in soft dry-fit material. They came in a variety of patterns and colors. I chose a purple and a blue/green design. Each of the tanks went for $20.

…that’s it.


A fly sheet was a must and I could not leave without one. I went and looked at several options and guess what brand I decided on? Weatherbeeta! This brand is truly amazing. I’ve had great success with my medium weight blanket and turnout sheet by them. They offer high quality prices for an affordable price. The specific sheet that I got was the ComFiTex Essential Mesh II. It is light weight, yet durable.  The fly spray I ended up getting was the UltraShield Ex that comes in a black bottle. They redesigned the bottle to be able to spray in all directions, including upside down!

I got two pairs of socks. One with flamingos and one with SLOTHS! I saw those and had to have them. The brands were Ovation and Noble Outfitters, both about $10 each.

I purchased two pairs of breeches. One pair was a super score as they were originally $135, but were on a Mother’s Day deal for $41! They were the Noble Outfitters Signature Side-Zip Breeches. These are still on sale online and in-store! The other pair I got were the ribbed full-seat breeches by Tuff Rider. I’ve had great experience with these breeches in the past, so I knew it would be a good purchase. I got them in a fun, rusty blue color for about $50.

The last item I purchased was a beautiful light blue sunshirt by Ariat. In the summer, I try to ride when the sun is not at its fiercest, but sometimes I do need to ride in the afternoon when the sun is brutal. UV protection is so important and I love that this shirt protects me from the sun’s harmful rays, while keeping me cool with mesh materials. I already had this shirt in navy, so I knew I would love another one. They had one more that was in a peachy color with a horse print on it. I wanted it so bad, but I told myself I only needed to buy one, so I went with the blue since it would go with more.

In conclusion, I think we all have a love-hate relationship with Dover. They are my go to for items needed quickly and they have a great variety of products and options. They really let me down this year with the tent sale though! Maybe next time, Dover!

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z


My Top 10 Picks from Smartpak’s Spring Catalog

1. Piper Tights


I love riding tights rather than breeches on hot summer days, but what really caught my eye with these was the thigh pocket. It is perfect to put your phone in while riding! I ride by myself a lot, so I always like to have my phone on my body incase of an emergency. Stuffing it into the pockets of my breeches is not comfortable and I worry about it falling out! I have seen some other tights with pockets like these, but they were well over $100. Smartpak’s Piper Tights retail for $49.95.

2.  Piper Breeches


I have not personally tried these, but I have heard wonderful things about them and will be ordering some soon! They seem to be the perfect middle ground between cheaper breeches and the ones that will break your bank. They come in so many different fun colors. It is hard to choose just one! They are available in original or midrise, and knee patch or fullseat. Piper Breeches retail for $79.95-$89.95.

3. Horseware Competition Jacket

Ok I am obsessed with this one. Not only is it a steal to get a quality show coat for $109.95, but it comes in gorgeous colors- including one I have never seen before! It comes in a khaki with a blush pink collar and I am dying to have it. Unfortunately, if I walked in the hunter ring with that on, the judge would take one look at me and move me to the bottom of the list haha. If you do jumpers, you should definitely check out this gorgeous coat! It also comes in traditional navy and black, as well as hunter green and maroon. I am set on getting a green or maroon coat this summer!

4. Piper Long Sleeve Show Shirt

I adore the cute print options that are available on the collar and cuffs with this shirt. There are flowers, donuts, polkadots, or little foxes to choose from. On the traditional white show shirt, you can rock this in the hunter and eq rings, without showing it off to the judge! This shirt goes for $34.95, which is way cheaper than what I have been paying for show shirts in the past. I’ve got to try this one!

5. Piper Short Sleeve Polo

Who doesn’t need more summer appropriate shirts for schooling? At only $ 29.95, this polo is perfect to keep you looking sharp during your lessons or hacks!

6. Piper Long Sleeve Sun Shirt


I’ll admit I am not religious with putting on sunscreen, even though I know it is so important! Every summer I get burnt shoulders and arms from riding in the sun, and you can’t forget the awful farmer’s tan! This sun shirt is powered by Coolcore fabric, which is known for its moisture wicking and cooling abilities. It provides SPF 50 to protect you from harmful UV rays. At $39.95, this is a must for the summer season.

7. Smartpak SmartMesh Fly Sheet

My horse is extremely bothered by flies. Even just a couple can make him moody. Last year, I had a really hard time with his fly sheet making him too hot. I didn’t know what to do because the sheet definitely repelled better than the spray, but he was getting covered in sweat! Well I realized I didn’t have a lightweight, breathable fly sheet like the SmartMesh Sheet. This sheet is made out of an entirely different material than my previous one. The mesh allows air to flow freely in and out to help keep him cool! It comes with the neck guard attachment for just $99.95. Another good alternative flysheet that is almost the exact same thing, is the Weatherbeeta ComFiTec Ripshield, also coming with the detachable neck guard for $129.95.

8. UGARD Supplement

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Guys, this stuff is life changing. 2 months ago, I started Z on this supplement, in addition to the Ulcerguard paste for treatment of ulcers. I have finished with the paste treatment and I have continued to keep him on the supplement weeks after. He is so much more of a happier horse! He was suffering from the bad ulcers and that made him extremely irritable in cross-ties and nippy throughout the whole tacking process. I can absolutely tell he is no longer in pain. If you would like more info on treating ulcers with UGARD and Ulcergard paste, I would be happy to share with you how I did it without going broke!

9. Roma ProTek Wither Relief Pad

I have used and loved Roma pads of different types for years. This one is a great addition to the barn by offering protection under your saddle. It is available in either front or back lift to fit the needs of your saddle and horse. It is black in color and made of foam material that doesn’t absorb moisture, making it easy to keep clean! This pad retails for $29.95.

10. Smartpak Small Circles AP Saddle Pad

This one reminds me very much of my circle pad from Roma. I have found the circle pattern provides much more cushion, in my opinion. Coming in a variety of fun colors, at only $19.95, this is one you don’t want to miss out on!


Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Photo credits to SmartPak and Pixabay


Tips from Western Rider Danielle

Danielle is an equestrian in grad school with three horses. She trains in natural horsemanship and competes with her horses in trail/obstacle classes and western dressage. She too knows the struggles of affording the equestrian lifestyle and has some tips to offer for our western riders out there. We can all learn something new from someone who rides in a different discipline than ourselves. I’d love to see more equestrians banding together to support each other across all of the different sports we do with our horses. Despite our differences, we can all be brought together by our love of the horse.

“I want people to know they can still look good at shows and not have to buy exclusively from big brands like Dover and Smartpak. Support local businesses like consignment stores! ”

Danielle got her helmet and rag from Amazon. She advises to shop Amazon for sales and discounts, instead of going to your big name retailer. She paid $20 less than retail price for her helmet on Amazon. For rags, Danielle says to search “silk scarves”. Hers was $9 compared to Wild Rag’s price of $40.

Her boots are both scores from thrift stores, with the riding boots costing $11 and the paddock/muck boots for $10.  Her western shirt? – Boyfriend’s closet.

Some other tips she has include putting baby oil in manes and tails before brushing as a cheaper alternative to detangler. She also says climbing rope is the strongest rope around and is great to use for reins and lead ropes.

Thanks for all the great tips Danielle!

You can follow her on Instagram @artofrescuecounseling

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Top Ten Fashion Picks from Dover’s Spring Catalog

I love spring time! That means out with the dark and rusty and in with the colorful and vibrant! Here are the top ten affordable clothing items that stood out to me in Dover’s new spring catalog.

1. Ariat Sunstopper 1/4 Zip Print Shirt

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Sun shirts are life in the spring and summer! They keep you cool, while protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. I have this same shirt in a solid navy and wear it all the time. I love the pop of the light blue color and the cute print on this new version! Coming in at $54.95, Ariat always fairly prices their sun shirts compared to competitor brands.

2. CoolBlast Sleeveless Shirt by Dover

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Sometimes you just have to go sleeveless in the intense heat of the south. I love how this tank still keeps you looking professional, but provides fresh air and ventilation with CoolBlast technology. Priced at $49.00

3. Riding Sport Essential Polo Shirt by Dover

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You can’t beat this price of $29.00 for a comfy and classic polo! Perfect for lessons or a casual hack. It comes in some gorgeous colors too including- Aster Purple, Chambray, Light Grey, and Navy.


4. Tredstep Symphony Paris Show Shirt

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This show shirt is made of breathable material to keep you cool on those long hot show days. The mesh on the underside of the arms provides extra air flow. I love the little (hidden) pop of color you get on the inside of the collar and cuffs. In the hunter world, it’s nice to be able to express your style in a discreet way! This shirt comes in the blush color pictured above and also a sky blue. Priced at $59.95.


5. RJ Classics Devon Show Coat

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This is my show coat! I love it because it is a quality brand, looks professional, and is completely affordable. I have it in the navy, but it is also available in black. Priced at $139.00, this is a deal you won’t regret! If anyone has any specific questions about this coat, I’d be happy to answer them. I have worn it at summer and winter shows.

6. Horseware Competition Coat

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I don’t know about you guys, but I have been digging the show coat colors popping up that slightly veer away from the traditional navy and black. I’ve seen light grey, lighter blues, burgundy, and hunter green more recently at shows then ever before. I have been craving a burgundy or hunter green coat, and when I saw this one came in it, I was so excited! This coat goes for only $109.95 and is an extremely affordable option.

7. New Riding Sport By Dover Essential Breech

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I have always worn the Riding Sport breeches, as I have found they are an affordable quality breech that will stand up to heavy use. They are comfortable and stretchy. Dover has redesigned them and I am loving the new logo! There is a cute little horse head on the top right hip. They have integrated EquiTru Rise technology that helps the breeches better form and stay formed to your body. They are offered in a variety of colors, including this bright strawberry that I may just have to try! $49.00

8. New Riding Sport by Dover Essential Full Seat

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The same features as the Essential Breech, but with a full silicone seat. The full seat has even been redone in a bit by bit pattern. So unique! $59.00

9. Ariat Sunstopper Show Shirt


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Another sun shirt by Ariat that I proudly own! This shirt comes only in the classic white and is perfect for hunters. I can honestly say it has helped to keep me cool under my show coat in hot weather. You can not go wrong with any of Ariat’s sun shirts! $49.95 is a steal for a quality sleeved show shirt.


10. Ovation Zocks

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These boot socks are adorable! I love how they come in so many different creative patterns. They just released a few new patterns as well including flamingos and foxes! These remind me a lot of the Dreamers & Schemers socks, but for about half the price! $9.95 vs $17.99.

(All photo credits to Dover Saddlery)
Happy Budgeting!
-Hannah + Z


Tack Trunk Tour

Here’s a list of the products in my trunk that I shared in my tour video… Be sure to check it out on IGTV and leave me a comment!

Husky Trunk

File Crate

SHE products

Cowboy Magic Show Shine

Cowboy Magic Yellow Out

Mane and Tail

Endure Fly Spray

Leather New

Boot Bag

Helmet Bag

Manna Pro Treats

Bob’s Sweet Stripes

Corona Ointment

Vetrolin Bath Shampoo

Vetrolin Liniment 

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z

Riding in College

I know many of today’s equestrians are in high school. If you are, chances are you’ve thought “What am I going to do about riding in college??” There are many different paths you can take, so first decide what you want to do, what your funds look like, and how much time you think you have. Better yet, how well do you manage your time?


Many colleges have IHSA equestrian teams. I personally did not ride on my college’s team due to the time commitment. If you think you will have the time or think you can balance riding with school and work, then IHSA is a great way to continue riding throughout college without all the responsibilities that come with owning or leasing your own horse. You will get the opportunity to ride a wide range of different horses and hone in on your equitation skills! I’m not sure about all colleges, but at mine the riders were only required to pay for their own show clothing… everything else was covered!

Half Lease

Committing to team practices, workouts, traveling, shows, and meetings may sound like too much for you to keep up with at college. A half lease is a great option if you are still wanting to ride a few times a week. Look around for local barns near your campus and see if you can find a horse available for a half lease. This option is more time manageable. However, keep in mind that half leases typically run around the price for half of board.

Weekly Lessons

Another thing you can do at a local barn is take weekly lessons. This only requires one day of the week of your time, but your riding skills will stay up to par! Plus you’ll be getting that horsey time we all crave. Sticking to weekly lessons is also much more affordable than a half lease.

Your own thing on your own time

Now for the option that I chose… a modge-podge of things on my own time. I rode at my home barn whenever I came home from college. Whether it was for the weekend or on a break, you could always catch me back at my old barn. I had many riding opportunities here such as helping hack greenies and earning lessons/rides for helping around the farm. Sometimes I went for long periods of time without returning home so I had to find some way to ride in between. I did a couple things to get in some riding, while at college. I found a local barn and took lessons when I could afford it and had the time. I also put out an ad on Facebook detailing my experience and asking if anyone was looking for an exercise rider for their horse(s). I stated I would exercise their horses for free, just in the exchange of getting the riding time! I got SO many responses from individual owners and ended up riding a lady’s OTTB gelding a couple times a week for her one year.

Let me know if you have specific questions about how I managed time and money for riding or how I got different opportunities set up. I’d be happy to help out!

Happy Budgeting!

-Hannah + Z