Spend All The $$$

There is a fun schooling show in May that I would love to attend. They have an amoeba level class that is intro dressage followed by 18″ stadium course. I really, really, really want to go. Trainer is an enabler and told me to sign up with Gem (I think the hubby sorta hates her πŸ™‚  It is also super close so I could go the day of and return that same evening = less money and more family time.

The problem?

Spending the last four years fine tuning my endurance gear leaves me with absolutely nothing horse show appropriate. At all. Even my riding attire is all sorts of wrong.

I sat down to figure out what all I would need before being able to even attend a local schooling show. Turns out the list is pretty long and even buying most things used is still outside my current budget.

Gem needs:

  1. Jump girth. This needs bought ASAP anyway so I can actually use the saddle outside the barn where I can borrow one from Trainer
  2. Leathers for jump saddle. I borrowed my black ones off the dressage saddle for the lesson but that won’t work at a show. Something about needing to match and all.
  3. Stirrup irons for jump saddle. Showing stirrupless is not an option. Or at least not one I would be stupid enough to try. I know myself and I know I will be too nervous and type A about timing to want to deal with taking irons off the dressage leathers and putting them on the jump saddle.
  4. Leather bridles x 2.  The whole matching thing again. With a black dressage saddle and a brown jump one I need a bridle in each color. I used to have a lovely brown one that fit Gem well, but I can’t find it. I’m pretty sure I know where it was hidden when we moved, but that still leaves me needing a black one.
  5. Appropriate saddle pads. My red square pad is fine for lessons, but is not appropriate for either phase. It has big pockets for use on trail. Can you stop and eat a sandwich mid course if you get hungry? Something tells me no.

Nothing about this is legal.
I need:

  1. Tall boots vs paddock boots with half chaps. Apparently tennis shoes and fleece leather covers or mesh chaps aren’t allowed. In lessons I use ancient Ariat tennis shoe type riding shoes that are brown and my black mesh endurance half chaps. Trainer’s eyes bleed a little when she sees me. I’m leaning towards tall boots since I’d have to buy both paddock boots and chaps and the cost for boots (non custom) wouldn’t be a whole lot more.
  2. A shirt with a collar. Comfortable cotton endurance ride t-shirts are prohibited. I don’t think I’ve worn a collared shirt in like 20 years. I don’t even own one. Or maybe I’d need an actual show shirt? I don’t know.
  3. Real breeches.  You know the type with belt loops and not made of stretchy lycra? Yeah those type. I don’t have a single pair. All tights all the way. And my tights are black, so I can’t even hope to use them and not be noticed.
  4. A…gasp…belt. Um…I think its been even longer since I’ve worn a belt. With anything.
  5. Hair net.  I think I’d need this. I’ve got long hair now. Maybe easier to chop it off, but its been such a patient process to grow it out. Seems a bit hasty for a single show.
  6. Jacket?? I’m pretty sure I can avoid buying one of these for schooling in the SC heat. I think all local schooling shows would prefer if you have one, but will waive it in the heat anyway. I think. I need to do a little more research on this one because jackets are pricey. Even used ones.

All sorts of show ring wrong
All said and done, that is a lot to purchase with only a few weeks to do it, so its looking about 99% reality that I’ll miss this one. Perhaps I can get the stuff together in enough time to make a late summer or early fall schooling show. At least my helmet is appropriate and since I have no intentions of taking Gem in open fields to fall jump over solid obstacles, I won’t be needing a vest any time soon.

I supported my endurance collection by selling off a bunch of stuff I had that didn’t work well for Gem, like a Wintec AP that fit us both horribly, bits she hated and the like. I have absolutely nothing to sell at the moment and $60 in my horse PayPal account. My endurance gear will have to be ripped from my cold, lifeless hands before I part with any of it.

Part of the problem is that I don’t even know what I want or would like. I don’t have a good tack store near me to go try on a bunch of stuff and I can’t really afford to waste money on shipping. I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Ugh.

What I really need is someone who is familiar with all this stuff to pity me and become my personal shopper. I’m scanning online used tack sites and facebook pages and plan to read as many tack review posts as I can on the blogs I follow, but I could really use a real live person helping me shop. Any takers??

21 thoughts on “Spend All The $$$”

  1. Where do you live? (you can email me at talexanderarab(at)gmail.com) because I may have some stuff to send to you. Also, do you have any second hand clothing stores in your area? You can often find a man/boy’s jacket that will work. Same with the collared shirt. Riding warehouse is easy to deal with and has great prices.

    Hair nets are good if you hair is short- otherwise a braid will work. but those are inexpensive at the drug store. You don’t really need a belt.
    I might be tempted to go with the black stirrup leathers and irons and just swap them out for this show. I bet no one notices.


    1. That’s very nice of you. I will shoot you an email. There are a ton of consignment clothes stores. Didn’t even think of looking there. Thank you for the tip!

      I may end up doing that. The saddle is super dark brown so it may not be too noticeable and would save me having to buy a second set right now.


  2. my two cents? enter the show, “appropriate gear” be damned πŸ˜‰

    lol seriously tho – talk to the trainer about how giant that list is and see what she can loan you. maybe girth, saddle pad and leathers? also check out if there are any consignment shops around you, as you might be surprised what you find in the leather goods department. actually, i may even be able to help you out in the bridle / girth department depending on size (email me at fraidycat.eventing at gmail).

    also. seriously don’t let black leathers on a brown saddle be the thing that keeps you from having fun! nobody will even notice and you won’t remember that detail over the fun of the show anyway! just swap the stirrups from saddle to saddle, i promise you wouldn’t be the only one to ever do that!

    for rider attire, will they not allow polos? stores like target or marshalls or whatever will have nice technical material polos for very reasonable prices. and TONS of riders wear half chaps at schooling shows. bc tall boots are expensive and some ppl would rather spend that $$ on the actual riding part.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They won’t kick me out? Somehow I was under the impression that if I don’t have the right gear they won’t let me show.

      Trainer would let me borrow some stuff I’m sure as long as it isn’t already being used by one of her pony club kids. She is super generous. I just don’t want to take advantage of it or make it seem like I am if that makes sense?

      I need to see about the polo shirts. The two schooling series around specifically say on the website that jackets are preferred. I think most of the time the jackets get waved in the summer heat but then I think you need a show shirt. I need to check. I feel a little lost at sea with all this. Endurance was easy to get started in: anything and everything goes. Then I just made changes as things came up that were not working. I feel like to show I need to go in pretty ready with everything.

      Maybe I’m making it a bigger deal than it is? I just don’t want a judge to kick me out because something isn’t right in my set up.

      I’ve found some really great deals on tall boots (not custom) that are basically new and the person didn’t fit or some such thing. Cheaper than paddock boots and chaps. I just have no clue what size or height etc I am so I need to figure that out.


      1. I totally get the feeling of being at sea. I’ll happily go thru options with you if you have ideas or are trying to figure out what needs to be prioritized. Shoot me an email!


    2. What she said! Schooling shows are to be fun and to school. Great suggestion to see if you trainer can loan you anything and absolutely just switch leathers from saddle to saddle if you don’t want to break the bank all in one time. It will give you more time to shop around for good prices and get exactly what you want.


      1. I do not think you will. At least you shouldn’t. It is a schooling show. The point is to get you and your horse out there and have fun.


  3. I second the polo shirt. If it’s a small local schooling show in the heat that’s what I would wear. I literally did a small local schooling show this past weekend(on a stallion I may possibly be campaigning for a client) and I wore a black polo shirt, breeches, tall boots, and a belt. I’m in FL so it’s hotter than 40 hells and they don’t require jackets at small shows for the most part. Tall boots aren’t a must either. When I judge smaller shows all I really look for is neat and workman like. I don’t pick apart the rider’s clothes and tack because at that level I assume most are young, trying out the sport, just getting started or starting a new horse anyhow. I say go for it and don’t break the bank. If you like it, start slowly collecting your gear. πŸ™‚


  4. At the lower levels/unrecognized you will not be penalized for not matching tack or using brown tack or using your jump saddle for dressage etc etc. Just try to make sure everything fits as best as possible, everything is clean and that your equipment is safe!


  5. Hi! I don’t have a blog, but I enjoy lurking so I can get my pony fix in every day.
    I also live in SC, and have some size 7 Ariat tall boots as well as size 28 beige breeches if you’re interested! My email is lahayes at clemson dot edu. πŸ™‚


  6. Is it the FRC show? If so don’t worry!!! I never wear a jacket to those hahahaha!!! As long as you and your horse are clean and neatly attired I promise you’ll be fine!

    As others have suggested just swap leathers from your saddle- you’ll have plenty of time after your dressage test to do this!

    Go check out The Farm House- they really have an awesome sale room that you can find lots of great deals on jackets, shirts, riding pants, etc- no joke if you are going to do the English thing you will find some amazing deals in the sale room!!!! Or just general items too- omg the sale room is insane at times!!!!

    As far as my favorite cheap show breeches I’m in favor of Tuff Riders. You can easily get away with their schooling breeches that are $30ish- just get the tan ones πŸ™‚ plus this solves your belt delima, no belt loops no belt! And Tuff riders have cheap white pads too… $17ish I think? They don’t hold up forever but they do hold up decently especially if you save them for shows

    Be careful if you shop at ReRide… sometimes their used stuff is just as expensive as new items. But at times you can find great deals!

    Boots! Saxons are cheap and don’t last long- if you’re going for a budget you can get these and just keep them for schooling shows. I do like the Saxon halfchaps that are smooth- they kinda look like tall boots when paired with paddock boots. But the farm house also has a few tall boots on consignment- might get lucky and find your size!!!

    And polo shirts are fine πŸ™‚ just go with a more conservative color!

    Hope this helps!!!!!


    1. I went to the Farm House today. Their clothes are gorgeous but I don’t think anything in there was in my price range. The sale room though. Wow!!! They had a gorgeous show jacket marked down to $20!!! Brand new. Not my size though 😦

      I will be stalking them in the future.

      Any chance you’ll be at shows this year and we can meet up?


  7. I am in the same boat right now! I am starting to jump my Morgan and want to enter a CT next month. Fortunately I have appropriate saddle/bridle. Not so appropriate beast collar thingy. Collared shirt, yes (just a polo shirt I picked up at Walmart), and I have tall boots but they are rubber. No belt. I do have breeches buuuut (dun, dun, dun) I don’t know where they are!! Lol good luck! I really hope you can make it work for you!!


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