Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional trainer. Anything I say is based off of my own personal opinion and experience. You should contact a professional for help with your horse’s training program. This is something… More
We are about two months into half leasing Z out now. Things are settling in and smoothing out. Last weekend, we did our first show together, sharing Z. It was a little hectic at times, but it was a great experience for Z and very helpful on the wallet!
Sharing the Show Fees
We all know that with shows come show fees. Seemingly small here and there, add them all up and you have got quite a hefty price tag. Sharing Z at the show helped reduce many of these costs in half. Hauling, stall, tack stall, night watch, office, medic, and preschooling fees were able to be split, saving us quite a great deal of money.
Here is a first-hand look at how this cut down on the bill for me.
Hauling- $65 > $32.50
Stall (Thurs-Sun) – $85 > $42.50
Tack Stall – $15 > $7.50
Night Watch- $10 > $5
Office/Medic- $60 > $30
Preschooling- $20 > 10
Saving $127.50 in total!
Of course, we still have to pay our own coaching and division fees, but it was so nice being able to cut out a portion of the expenses!
Sharing the Horse
Sharing Z at the show had pros and cons, but in my opinion, the cons were manageable. At this show series, horses are allowed in no more than 7 over fences classes per day, including warmups. So, we had to pick out our classes carefully so that we each got to compete a fair amount without putting Z over his limit. Schooling and show times could get a little hectic since we were in different rings. Our show is really good about handling trainer conflicts though. At times, I felt like Z was being pushed a bit too hard having to carry two riders each day, but I know his work is very light with our half leaser. They only flatted and trotted cross-rails.
We were able to tackle daily care tasks like cleaning his stall and bathing faster and more efficiently together! This saved us both some much needed time and energy. Z is still a green baby, so the more experience in the show ring, the better. It was great for him to get to perform in more than 1 show ring with different populations of horses. He is still getting used to show life in general, so I’m glad I have the opportunity to expose him to it more.
As you can see, sharing a horse at a show has great benefits for both the owner and the half leaser! You both get to cut out some of the expenses and responsibilities, making for a smooth show weekend. Let me know if you have any questions about half leasing a horse, as either the owner or the half leaser!
Here are some pics from the weekend. 🙂
Hannah + Z
All photo credits to Paula Sebusch Photography 2019.
Fly season is here and it is in full force. They are everywhere! The nasty little things drive me crazy. They have been nipping Z to the point of bleeding on his legs. They interrupt our hacks and lessons by being a constant distraction to both Z and myself. I have tried so many different products to battle the flies, and they usually fail miserably. This summer, I feel like I finally have found the best routine to alleviate the flies, as much as I possibly can, and I didn’t do it by purchasing a $300 fly sheet! I’ll share with you what products I am using this summer and also direct you to similar products around the same price range. Many places are having sales and deals on fly gear right now as well!
I fell in love with the Weatherbeeta brand over the winter when I purchased Z’s blanket and turnout sheet from them. They have held up so well and didn’t cost a fortune! I decided to go with Weatherbeeta again when it was time for a new flysheet. When picking a fly sheet, you need to go with the ones with the lightest material, such as mesh. Last year, I had a thicker one that made Z way too hot! Weatherbeeta has a few different options, but I have the ComFiTec Essential Mesh II. It has held up well with Z’s romping in the pasture and has yet to make him overheat. It’s on sale at Dover for $64.95 right now (originally just $70)! Stateline Tack has the first edition of the sheet for just $51.96.
A good fly mask WITH EARS is a must! If you follow along my Instagram, you read about the horrors we went through when Z got ticks in his ears. I do not wish that upon anyone. The tall grass and wooded areas in turnouts are prime places for invasive bugs. The mask I use and have used in the past is the Cashel Crusader. Its runs for $26.99. Make sure to get the one WITH EARS! Cashel also makes a mask that is just for riding. A friend of mine has it, and I want to look into getting one soon! There are so many quality fly masks out there. It seems every brand makes their own, so you have many options. The important things are that the material feels strong, the velcro straps are quality, and it has good ear coverage.
Fly Spray & SWAT
Oh fly sprays. There are a million different kinds and they all claim the same results. I feel like I have tried every spray out there. I wanted to go with the all natural ones to avoid the harsh chemicals, but honestly they didn’t work at all for us. I tried the Ultra Shield Green and the Espree Aloe Herbal sprays. Neither held off flies for more than a couple minutes. The one fly spray that I have found to be consistent yearly is the Ultra Shield Ex that comes in the black bottle. That stuff is strong. They redid the bottle this year to offer horizontal, vertical, and upside down sprays. It retails for around $20-23 depending on where you buy it from. Another option is to buy fly spray in bulk. Almost all fly sprays come in gallon sizes. It seems like a big purchase upfront, but you get more for your money in the long run. The only other fly spray that I have had success with is the Farnam Endure Sweat/Water Resistant. It also contains coat conditioner and sunscreen. It retails for $25-$30.
If you’ve never used SWAT, then you are missing out! This stuff comes in a small container and is like super concentrated fly spray in ointment form. SWAT is perfect for covering wounds and specific areas to keep flies OUT. When Z was having tick issues, I was putting SWAT all in his ears. He also gets bitten really bad on his pasterns, so I usually slather some on there too. Look out because the original SWAT comes in a neon pink color! This is nice because you can see exactly where it is applied and if it has stayed. However if you don’t want pink splotches all over your horse, they do make a clear version. 🙂
This is one of the biggest factors in controlling the fly population around your horse. The dirtier things are, the more flies you can expect. Z’s stall gets cleaned for me at our farm, but if I am out and notice he has dirtied it up a bit in between cleanings, I immediately scoop it out and cover with the fresh shavings. I like to keep his food and water buckets wiped clean. They tend to get icky build up around the edges after a while from food falling out of his mouth. Lastly, keeping Z clean plays a huge part in this. I already notice a difference in the amount of flies on him since we got him clipped. He is sweating less. After rides, I always make sure he is completely hosed down and washed with soap in the dirtiest areas. He has a horrible habit of letting his poop run down his back legs, so I put forth a huge effort to keep that cleaned up. I typically wash all of his legs with soap after I ride. Flies are attracted to poop, food scraps, stink, and sweat. Minimize these and you will minimize the flies.
Sales and Deals
- 30% off Deluxe Smartpak fly gear
- Buy 3 quarts of Ultra Shield Ex, get 1 free
- Free fly boots with purchase of Amigo fly sheet Promo Code: HWFlyBoot
- Buy a Rescue Disposable Fly trap or stick, get 1 free Promo Code: BOGOTrap
- Buy a TuffRider fly sheet, get a fly mask free Promo Code: FreeTuffEM
- Up to 56% off fly sheets
- Markdowns on select Farnam fly sprays
- Markdowns on fly sheets, including Weatherbeeta and Horseware
- Markdowns on fly masks, including Rambo, Cashel, and Shires
- Amigo fly masks for under $20
- Markdowns on Amigo and Shires fly boots
Hannah + Z
Photo Credits to Dover Saddlery and Mikail McVerry @mcverry
Half leasing is a great opportunity for both owners and potential leasers. There are many benefits for both parties. I have previously been a leaser in the past, and this is my first time being on the other side of the deal. Half leasing out Z has opened up many doors for us that were not previously available. However, with any situation like this, there are going to be challenges. Over the next six months, I plan on writing about my half leasing journey to give you insight on if it is the right situation for you, either as an owner or a potential leaser.
Half leasing out Z has lifted a huge burden from us financially. Z’s expenses are now split between myself and the leaser, including but not limited to board, vet, and farrier. Previously, I was not able to afford to put Z in full service board. Since the half lease started, he has been in the best care at our new barn with his own stall! That doesn’t sound like much, but since I’ve had him, he has always been on pasture board. It has been wonderful to not have to worry about his daily care and knowing he is in the best hands. In the past, showing was only an option a few times a year due to how expensive it is. Now that we can split show fees and I’m saving money in general, I’m looking forward to more frequent show opportunities this season. Z is a younger horse, still in training, that needs to be working 5-6 days a week. Usually with my schedule, I have only been able to ride 3-4 days a week. It is so nice to not feel guilty about not making it to the barn enough. No matter what is going on with me, I know Z will get 3 days a week of work with our half leaser. Lastly, I am not committed to this situation long term, which is a feeling of relief. We have signed a six month lease, and if at the end of the term I do not want/need to lease out Z anymore, then I am not obligated to.
If horse ownership is something of interest to you, but you are not ready to make the time or financial commitment, half leasing can show you what owning is like, without jumping the gun. Typically half leasers have three days of access to the horse per week. They can be used as lessons or hacks. Working with the same horse, you will have consistency in your rides and (in my opinion) begin to see improvements quickly. You get a good view of the expenses to expect when owning a horse, and how often they come up. That can really help you determine if ownership is right for you in the future. If you want, you can step up your amount of showing without breaking the bank. Splitting shows with the owner will result in half of the travel/care expenses you would expect in a show weekend. Finally, like the owner, you are also not committed to this situation long term. Unlike purchasing a horse, you are able to walk away from the lease when the term has ended. If you want to look at other options, you are certainly able to.
I’ll admit that it has been a huge adjustment for me to begin this new schedule and learning to share Z. Z is the first horse I’ve owned and he is VERY special to me. He is my baby and I am super protective of him. Giving him up for another rider to have complete control three days a week was hard for me. As the owner, you have to learn to back off and let the leaser enjoy their time with the horse. That time can be riding, grooming, bathing, or just loving on Z. I am still struggling some, but I know that our leaser is under the instruction of our trainer and is being guided through out this process by her. I completely trust my trainer’s judgement and I’m accepting that it is ok for the leaser to not do everything the exact same way as I do with Z. Having a set schedule of days has been very different for me. I was so used to just going to the barn whenever I wanted. Now, I have to work around the three days that he is with the leaser. Having him used for special events without me, such as clinics and shows will effect my days with Z as well…. something else I’m learning to be flexible with.
Personally, as a leaser in the past, I know how easy it is to get attached to the horse. You spend so much time with them and form a special bond. However, if you are going to half lease, you have to be able to accept the fact that it is not your horse. Some things are going to be out of your control and you will not get to have a say in them. You have to keep in mind that at the end of the term, you may or may not be with this horse anymore. Like the owner, you will have to learn to work on a schedule. You will have designated days with the horse and they will not alternate. Sometimes days can be switched with the owner on certain weeks, but for the majority your scheduled days will stay the same. You may or may not have other limitations on what you can do with the horse on hacks and what shows/events you can take it to.
I am only one month into this journey, but so far I am content with how things are going. With shows approaching, I will definitely write about the experiences of showing in a half lease. If you have any questions about half leasing (as an owner or a leaser), please reach out to me!
-Hannah + Z
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!
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.
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.
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!
-Hannah + Z
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
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!
-Hannah + Z
Photo credits to SmartPak and Pixabay
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
-Hannah + Z