I am looking to start saving for a dressage saddle, as I don't have one but have got to the point where it is getting almost impossible to flat and dressage in my monoflap xc saddle (yes, with a very forward flap), especially seeing as I need to sit trot. I'm a young rider and need some extra ways to make money purely to put aside for my dressage saddle.
I would absolutely love to ride some horses for people for a small cost, but most of the offers of horses I have had (and people I have found) are too far away for me to make any income off it once gas has been paid for, etc and I just don't have the time to travel (and then ride the horse) with work, school and between riding and competing my own horse. Obviously it would be amazing if I found someone willing to pay me to ride/train/compete their own horse whom they were happy to keep with me, but I know that is unlikely.
So I was wondering, does anyone have any suggestions on ways to raise money that won't end up costing me more money to actually do? Where can I advertise my services? I don't have the time to take up another job completely so would prefer to do little things here and there! I would really like to try and raise about $2k by the end of the year if possible.
How are your braiding skills? Grooming skills? Even when I was no longer a WS, trainers I'd worked for would call me if they needed an extra set of hands for a weekend and I got paid well, and could usually make a bit extra by braiding for some of their students as well. Might be worth inquiring with your trainer about.
First look for used saddles - I've bought 2 new saddles in my riding career, and about 15 used ones. Better value and you don't have to break them in. And you can usually sell them for what you paid for them.
Do you compete yourself? Offer to strip stalls at the end of the event - that is one of my least favorite tasks and whenever the pony club has a fundraiser I can't get my $20 to them fast enough.
How well do you braid - many people don't like to, can't, would rather pay someone else to do it.
Can you barn sit/pet sit (or yeah, babysit.... the human types need watching too) for people nearby?
There is also waitressing. Cocktail waitresses make good tips - not sure how old you are but in some states you can be a cocktail waitress when you are 18 - no actual drinking 'til you're 21 but you can serve others when you are 18.
Here is a list of things I did as a junior to earn my “horse” money:
Babysat at the barn… Mothers LOVED that they could bring their kid to the barn with them, and have some one watch the kid the whole time they tacked rode etc. Save them time and money having to get a babysitter at home, I earned extra money while I was already at the barn.
Tack Cleaning – As a Pony Clubber I learned to enjoy giving tack a thorough cleaning and conditioning. I cleaned tack for others before shows, cleaned tack for different back yard type riders that had trail gear etc that needed a good cleaning (some of this stuff hadn’t been cleaned / oiled for years!). For the tack cleaning I posted flyers at various barns, and our local post office.
Horse Clipping – Come fall this is how I really racked in the $$$, $125 a horse, get a couple booked in a day and I was set. I did have to invest in clippers… and practiced on my own and friends horses until I could do an awesome, fast and clean clip.
Horse / farm / house sitting – I would do farm and pet sitting
I would try to look for the jobs that no one else wants to do. Really, not many people are going to pay you to ride their horse, that is the fun part!!! Think about what tasks and odd jobs people need done, but never have the time for.
One of the cleverest things I saw was a flyer by two college students who said they would do anything legal for money -- yard work, move items, run errands, whatever. I took them up on it when I needed someone to pick-up IF Jr. from summer school and take him to this Tae Kwon Do camp. I couldn't be there every day at 12:30 to do it because of my job. It worked great.
I'd also suggest looking at stuff you might have that would be worth selling on eBay. One person's junk is another's treasure.
Another second for babysitting. I paid for lots of horse stuff that way.
Ask for cash for any birthdays and holidays......you should be able to get a perfectly decent used saddle by your target date.
A young girl just bought a saddle from me with money she earned working a stand at the local farmer's market.
My daughter and friends have earned money bathing horses, cleaning tack, and now they are old and experienced enough to braid and clip. My son made good money cleaning stalls - endless early mornings and weekends, but it kept him in horses!
The babysitting at the barn is a great idea...I'd most certainly pay for that if only there were an enterprising teen willing to do it at our barn, it would make getting to the barn so much easier if I didn't have to always negotiate with my husband or drag an unwilling child with me and have him sit there with a book or game. I'd also pay for young dog sitting at the barn...our young dog can't be left home alone because she eats the house, she also can't be loose at the barn (like my old dog can) because she is a horse chaser. I put her in my car while I'm riding when the weather is cool, but when it's hot, I have to tie her out and then she whines and irritates the BO. A kid could even earn double dollars, by taking my big puppy around on a leash and hooking her up nearby them while they did chores...that's what I do for everything but the riding part. If someone with more time on their hands than I have was willing to work with her on the horse chasing, I'd REALLY pay for that service!
Barn sitting. I pay my barn-sitter in tack and equipment all the time! She works for me so many days, she gets the used saddle that I've been thinking about selling anyway. Or I just pay her regular currency. I pay well because I want to have someone I trust (who doesn't, I guess!) and because it is time consuming to drive out to my place twice a day. But I sure wish I could have had a job(s) like this when I was a broke student, even just to have the chance to be around horses, much less buying tack! Count your blessings.
You don't mention your age, but as I got older I found I could make more $/hr outside of the horse business. I was a server at a fine dining restaurant and bartended somewhere else, and made probably 4x/hr what I did doing barn work.
I think you can probably also get a nice used dressage saddle for less than 2K.
I'll second the tack cleaning. I like cleaning tack, but I know many others who either hate it or just don't have time in their busy lives to do it. That would be a great service to offer, and you could do it while watching TV–or educational riding videos–too.
I bet you could make quite a bit if you went to a local pleasure show ring type show (overnight kind) on the move-in day and offered tack cleaning services so that people's tack would shine in the show ring the next day.
It's not the kind of thing you probably want to put on a resume, but a lot of people will happily pay someone else to do sheath cleaning. It doesn't bother me to do it; one day I made a hundred bucks in 2 hours ($25 per horse) just at our barn. Someone I knew online actually made flyers and got quite a bit of business.
Forgot to add, I also sew for fun, so for years I raised funds for our XC course by making microwavable bit warmers and tote bags. This year I've been sewing fancy stock ties to pad my show budget. So if you have another non-horsey talent, don't be afraid to work it!
baby sitting at the barn is genius! I will try that myself!
For money my big things are clipping and braiding. I get 100 bucks for a clip, 20 bucks for a dressage/jumper mane, and 20 bucks for a hunter tail. (I dont do hunter braids right now, while im good enough, they frustrate the heck out of me and 40 bucks just isnt worth the pain :P)
also, at shows, you can advertise early morning feedings so people can sleep in. All you have to do is get there when you normally would (assuming you arrive pretty early) and just toss some hay into peoples stalls. People like to do that because then they can sleep in. like wise, you can charge for night checks as well. If you make them cheap enough, it will be worth peoples time to know they can sleep in a bit in the mornings and go out to dinner with friends and know their horses are fed and happy.
If youre old enough, ranch and pet sitting is great not only for the money, but its good on a resume too. I dont advertise, just spread by word of mouth, and it actually brings in quite a bit.
aaaand, Craigslist. people will seriously buy anything online. Last summer I went into our garage/abyss and just picked up random stuff, checked to make sure it wasnt important, and posted it online. when i say people will buy anything, I mean anything, like an old plate. you can put that sucker on craigslist and someone will meet you in the starbucks parking lot to buy it.
All you have to do is get there when you normally would (assuming you arrive pretty early) and just toss some hay into peoples stalls
If I'm going to pay someone to do a morning feeding, I'd expect more than just to have hay chucked into my horse's stall. I want the horse looked over, blankets straightened, water buckets filled (dumped if necessary), grain fed, and if I use a hay net to have that hung (I fill it the night before).
Also consider getting a less trendy saddle and spending less. I have 3 dressage saddles: A Stubben Romanus that cost $300, a Stubben Tristan that cost $500, and a County that cost me $800. All gently used, in excellent condition, lovely good quality, well balanced saddles. I have 3 and spent less than your projected budget of $2k!
And yes, I do compete in my less-fancy-than-a-devoucoux dressage saddles - you don't need to spend big $$$ to get a decent saddle.
Learn hunter braids. Practice practice practice. Take pictures of your work. Make a flyer. Post at local barns and show grounds. If you're good and dependable and you have a decent hunter population in your area, you'll get more work than you can handle.
I sold my Breyer collection (about 150 models) on EBay for about $650 then turned around and bought a used dressage saddle on EBay. It was kind of fun to sell the little girl play horses in exchange for something to play with on the real horses. I sold the saddle a few years later for the same amount.
I also agree with putting stuff on Craigslist. I sold some pretty random things on there for decent money. I listed a pair of heavy iron benches that came with our house and I got $250 for them! I would have had to pay someone to haul them to the dump and the buyer just loved them. Go figure. I liked the cash better.
When I was 15, I got a job as a stable hand (weekends and after school). It was cleaning stalls, feeding, scrubbing water tanks, etc. I did that from 15-18 years old.
I also had my trainer ask her connection if they had odd jobs. Many wanted their fences painted (which sucked because I always got stung). I house sat for horse people (they will pay out the nose for a dependable house sitter with horse experience). I also was traded things for exercising horses, but back then gas was cheap and I drove 45 mins to ride 2-3 horses.
I also braided, clipped, cleaned tack, did basic vet care (cold hose legs, wrap, apply ointment, etc). No job was too small, too dirty, or too hard!
I think the important thing is to get the word out. Tell everyone you know that you're willing to work. Then do the best job you can. Be dependable, and communicate with people if you see a problem start to come up. The more proactive you are about things the better. And before you know it, you'll be so swamped with work that you can start to be a bit choosey with the ones you'll take.