Horse & Rider

Local Competitor or Youth Rider


You’re committed to your horse life. You compete at local or regional shows but likely have a job, family, other hobbies, and other responsibi­lities that you must balance with your horse habit. You may be an emerging youth rider, making your way through the ranks as you aim toward regional or national competitio­n (at which point you’d become ‘The Serious Competitor’). At this level, you may also be a serious recreation­al rider who takes your horse on rigorous long, multi-day trail rides or other backcountr­y adventures so have to worry about transporta­tion but not trainers and entry fees.


Make the most of your dollar.

At all levels of horsemansh­ip, all

‘The Hobbyist’ money moves such as basic insurance plans and horse-care budgeting still apply. However, at this level, because you’re taking your horse to events where they’ll be around more than just you and your friends or family, you will want a more robust insurance plan. Adding liability insurance

Even recreation­al riders should consider insuring their horses to protect them. A quick search on your smartphone will provide a list of agencies that offer equine mortality insurance to protect you against losses caused by accident, illness, or theft. to the mix will cover your horse and the people around them if an accident happens. You’ll be protected if, for example, your horse kicks someone and they decide to sue you. The best way to handle this is to get an extra umbrella policy on top of your other insurance plans (e.g., homeowners, auto, etc.) as it protects you if you are the target for any personal liability.

Transporta­tion is also a factor at this level, as you’ll need to transport your horse to and from events, the trail, lessons, or other activities. While tempting, it’s not necessary to have a flashy setup with all the bells and whistles if it doesn’t fit your budget. A basic, safe truck and trailer are typically adequate for most people’s needs. Trailers qualify for slightly different purchase methods than regular vehicles, so talk to your banker about options if you have to get a loan. You can get a 20- to 30-year note on a horse trailer, allowing you to extend the length of your payment period. Be mindful that insurers will consider a trailer with living quarters to be a

You have made the commitment of both time and money and want to have something to show for it.


Invest in learning.

As before, all the money moves in the previous categories apply to the serious competitor, with an additional focus on understand­ing and managing training, coaching, and other expenses.

The single best step you can take at this level is to make the most out of your horse’s training and your lessons. Take seriously the recommenda­tions that your coach or trainer provides, reminding yourself when you’re frustrated that they do this for a living and likely have tested advice. Find a trainer whose style you like as you’ll be more likely to follow their advice. If you aren’t willing to be open-minded, the money and time are wasted.

With that, if you’re serious about competing, you likely have a horse in training or are regularly working with a trainer. If you have a horse in training, you want to understand how much you should expect to pay and what’s included in the bill. The training fee will vary from trainer to trainer based on experience, accomplish­ments, geographic location, and age of the horse. Generally, you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $3,000 per month, which often includes lessons, board, and feed. Ask questions to ensure that you know what you’re getting for the price. And, if you’re shopping around, it’s best to call to get an estimate rather than trust what’s on a trainer’s website as it may be outdated. If you expect the trainer to attend events, to coach you, or if they will be hauling your horse to shows, they may bill you for the hotel, food, transporta­tion, and other expenses. If the trainer has other clients at the event, you may be able to share costs. Be sure to have a training agreement that outlines these expenses in writing, and any add-on arrangemen­ts, such as an agreement to pay for fuel, should

A budget-friendly option for do-ityourself­ers is finding a trainer who will allow you to trailer your horse in for lessons.

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