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If you are looking to grow in your riding, getting out in the show ring is a great experience and will open up a lot of doors, but at what cost? The bills can add up super fast not only at the show, but getting ready and having all of the gear as well. In today's post, I'll be going over some helpful tips on how to optimize your budget in the show world! All of these tips came from riders just like you on an Instagram poll!


Getting Ready to Show

Tip #1: Get discounted show clothes

To do this, you can find places to buy clothes on consignment (second hand)

Top equestrian consignment websites:

Other places you can find discounted gear:



Tip #2: Apply for a grant or scholarship

This one varies from region to region, but if your local area has a grant of a scholarship that will help cover some fees, apply! In my area, there is a company that chooses an applicant to sponsor and they cover some show fees and all the fees at AECs if the rider qualifies! Be sure to look into your Area/ Zone/ Region and find out if there is anything for young riders or juniors!

Picking A Show

Tip #1: Start at schooling shows

Although rated shows can be a lot of fun to compete at, the class fees are usually much more than what a schooling show charges. If you are on a budget and just looking to get some experience in the show ring, pick a good schooling show to go to! The only drawback to schooling shows is you cannot earn points qualify for any national or zone finals.

Tip #2: Volunteer!

Shows are always looking for volunteers to help things run smoothly. If you cannot show, but want to get involved, this is the way to go! By volunteering, you will be able to expand your network as well as get seriously involved at the show.

Tip #3: Connect with your local IEA team

IEA is a great way to get experience in the show ring and improve your riding. One of the benefits of IEA is that you don't need your own horse to show! By joining a team, you will split the cost hotels and be able to carpool. Riding a variety of horses will not only be fun, but you will improve tremendously as a rider!

At The Show

Tip #1: Don't stay in a hotel

There are plenty of options that are cheaper and more fun than a hotel! You could choose a cheaper hotel for your trip, but those can be not ideal at times. Here are some other options than downgrading your hotel choice!

Stay in an Airbnb

You can rent a house and split the cost with your barn friends and it can be a super fun experience!

Camp nearby

This can turn into a little mini-vacation in itself! You will save a lot on lodging and explore the local area. This is great if you're going to a show in a more rural area.

Stay in your trailer

Of course, if it's freezing outside or super hot, this is not ideal, but if weather and space permit it's perfect! You can be close to your horses and you won't have to wake up as early because you'll already be at the show!

Tip #2: Do things yourself!

The fees for all of the little services can add up super quick, so by just eliminating a few of the services and doing them yourself, you can save a lot in the long run! Here are some examples:


Braiding fees for hunter classes can be through the roof sometimes, so bring the price down a bit, I recommend either braiding yourself or signing up for classes where braiding is optional or not required. Braiding is a super valuable skill, and if you master it, you can charge people to braid their horses for them!


By doing all of your grooming/bathing you will not only have some extra time alone with your horse, but you will also save a few extra dollars!

Cleaning your stall

By doing the little services yourself, you will be able to save a lot in the long run!

Bonus Tip: Look into working student positions

This can be a great way to get experience with a top trainer without having to pay the full price. Working students are often required to work all day for just a few hours in the saddle, but this can be an excellent way to get experience!

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