[Teach Me Tuesday] Keeping The Cost Of Being A Dressage Competitor Affordable

For us dressage horse owners, competing in prestigious dressage events is one of our biggest dreams. Being able to enter competition after competition and get yours’ and your horse’s name out there is a big deal. It takes a lot of practice to get yourself and your horse ready to enter at A. It’s not something that just about anyone can do. Like with all equestrian disciplines, a lot of time, money and effort goes into preparing a horse for dressage.

The goal of dressage is to develop your horse’s flexibility, responsiveness, and balance. It is these things that make your horse a nicer animal to ride, as they become smoother to ride and more attentive to the aids. Unlike in some other equestrian disciplines, the aim of dressage competitions is to improve your own score. Yes, you want to beat other competitors, but you also want to beat yourself.

There are many benefits of competing in dressage events, including that your horse will become more obedient. The benefits aside, the downside to dressage is the cost. Preparing for these events and competing in them can be rather pricey (you know what I am talking about). However, there are ways you can keep the cost down; it is just a case of working out what these are.

Buy your equipment second-hand

To compete in dressage competitions, you need a range of equipment. Again, one can never have enough tack! A saddle, a snaffle, a double bridle and your clothing are just the beginning. For dressage, your outfit should consist of a shirt, jacket, breeches, boots, gloves, and a helmet - everything matchy matchy of course. Each competition differs in terms of what is acceptable. So make sure to check the rules when it comes to equipment before you pay to enter. In the Netherlands, you can enter with pink tall boots without anybody raising an eyebrow - would not even be considered around here I guess. There is no pink boots to start with!

Of course, the cost of all this is not cheap. Most items can be reused again and again, but some shows like championships cry for a new saddle pad, a new browband - you name it! This means you may have to go out and buy new items for different shows. Instead of buying your equipment new, you can save yourself money by buying second hand. Websites like eBay are great for this, as are local Facebook selling sites - I am about to sell half of my basement right now, anyone?

Find a sponsor

To cover the cost of preparing for and entering dressage events, you could consider finding a sponsor. If you are able to find a company to sponsor you and your horse, this will make competing a lot more affordable. To be able to get sponsorship, you will need to be good at what you do. However, that’s about all that is needed.

You see, companies who offer sponsorship just want to get their brand name out there and get as much exposure as possible. They can offer everything from clothing for competitions to help with training, veterinary care, and even food costs. In return for this, you will need to mention your sponsor in interviews, on your website, and in any other media exposure you get. To find out more about sponsorship, check out the Get Sponsored Fast website and have a browse.

Look for events that are cheaper to enter

Another way to cut the cost of competing in dressage events is to look for ones that are affordable to enter. The entry fee for each event differs, which means that some are a lot more expensive than others. Take the time to research events that have a lower entry fee and you can make entering more affordable. Maybe you can find some shows that are close enough to travel back and forth instead of having to pay for stabling at the show venue. I love the shows that are close to my parents' as it tremendously cuts down on my overnight expenses (Hi Mum and Dad, I love you!)

Yes, dressage can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Take the tips above on board and you can make entering competitions much more affordable.

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