Horse Shows and TrainingTo wrap up this chapter on horse showing for less (the near impossible), I want to think about more things exhibitors can do themselves, rather than paying for a professional’s services. There are the obvious: braiding, grooming, mucking stalls, body clipping … but there are also the more creative and often overlooked cost-saving tricks such as making your own grooming products or using dollar store items you wouldn’t normally consider. In asking competitors some of their secret alternatives to expensive equine products, I came up with this list of do-it-yourself tips before walking into the show ring:

-  Baby wipes from the local dollar store are a quick and easy touch-up tool for horse and rider.
-  A safe hand cleaner or sanitizing wipe such as Gojo will remove manure stains.
-  If you don’t have easy access to clippers, a disposable razor will touch up a hairy muzzle.
-  Use dryer sheets to wipe dust from a horse’s coat before entering the show ring.
-  A light touch of baby oil on the muzzle will leave it shiny and soothed.
-  Talcum powder and water will prevent dust and dirt from dirtying white markings. Merely brush off before going into the ring.
-  Are you creative enough to make some of your own clothes and accessories? A dressage dickie, for example, can be made with about $2 of white cotton fabric and a little handiwork.
-  An affordable coat sheen recipe requires just ¼ cup baby oil, 2 cups water, 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and maybe a dash of hair conditioner.

I’m sure in the long run these adjustments aren’t going to save you more than a few bucks here and there, but every dollar counts, right? What are some of your grooming and horse show prep tips and recipes?

Beginning next week and running through the month of July we’re going to segway from horse shows into general equestrian tack, supplies, and equipment advice. Read the complete Horse Shows and Training chapter here and check back next week for smart shopping tips and resources.