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Poor Economy - Is Value For Your Money/Goal More Important Now?

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  • Poor Economy - Is Value For Your Money/Goal More Important Now?

    Just curious if others out there find themselves asking if they are really at the right barn/with the right trainer considering their goals and how precious money & time can be for some of us.

    I really think that I'm at the wrong place and with the wrong instructor & trainer, yet I have cold feet when wanting to make a leap to another barn.

    This may seem silly, but I tend to get really attached to the other students as "comrads" and of course all the animals that live on the farm - but I'm not learning anything. I get angry when I think about it.

    One other thing my mare is 20 years old and I feel a little foolish bringing her somewhere new... Your thoughts?

  • #2
    I do dressage and eventing and I am in the same situation. I board 30 minutes from my house in IL and while I have gotten great jump training, i havent been able to get the dressage training I want because I would have to board 45-50 minutes away. We spend $750/a month to not get all of the training I would like but it is closer to me.My parents are willing to help me pay to be at this barn but I just don't feel like I can get everything there. So I am going to look at some eventing/dressage barns over x-mas break. I am going to try and move somewhere farther away where I can get all of the training I can in the $600 range. Its a very expensive sport and I have decided I need to use money more wisely. Do a indoor schooling dressage show this winter vs. a rated one. I will also not move up a level in eventing at a rated show. I will go to a schooling show first to make sure my horse is ready for it instead of risking the money.


    • #3
      I am getting a great value for my money. I pay a lot more then I thought I would ever do..... but I get high quality service, good arena, safe care, and personal attention. my trainer also works for my situation. I also save a lot on gas being closer, not to mention time! It would be a lot different for me if my horse wasn't in a dressage program, such as a trail horse or older retired horse. My horse who had more issues-- well would never put him in this situation as I would not be riding as much.


      • #4
        Originally posted by SendenHorse View Post
        I am getting a great value for my money. I pay a lot more then I thought I would ever do..... but I get high quality service, good arena, safe care, and personal attention. my trainer also works for my situation. I also save a lot on gas being closer, not to mention time! It would be a lot different for me if my horse wasn't in a dressage program, such as a trail horse or older retired horse. My horse who had more issues-- well would never put him in this situation as I would not be riding as much.
        I'm in a similar situation. I'm paying way more than I ever would have thought but the barn is absolutely gorgeous and in three years I can't some up with a single complaint in regards to care. In addition we have a great group of women who ride, hang out, and show together with next to no drama. My trainer is amazing, I most definitely would not be where I'm at right now with any other trainer in the area. She is the reason I get to don a shad for the first time next season and I love her for it So the price is a bit steep but what I get for the money is out of this world. Worth every penny.


        • #5
          I have always been too poor to get what I wanted from horsing and therefore a creative cheapskate. Your question isn't something new in my life.

          Yes, I care about bang for my buck. I don't stint on boarding and care. To me, that's a non-negotiable cost that I signed up for in owning a horse. IME, too, you end up screwing yourself and your horse when you choose a boarding situation that takes it out of the BO's hide. It's untenable.

          Otherwise, I do enjoy the social aspect of the barns I choose. But I also realize that that's a good that I have to pay for. I like being around other people who like to take good care of their horses and who like to get somewhere in their riding. I'll be fine at a barn that serves the backyard types and matches my slim wallet. But I'll have a better time at a place where people are training with a goal in mind. If that comes from showing, I'll "take what I like and leave the rest."
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            I don't board but I do haul out to take lessons. I had decided over a year ago that my riding had actually taken several steps back and I needed a change. I had an idea of what I needed and asked around and did my research. Decided to go with what made the most sense on paper. It was no surprise that the price tag went up; but, unfortunately while I did get benefit from the lessons they were so few and far between (not just due to my schedule) that it didn't matter how great they were, I still felt like I was getting no where. So, I had to re-assess my priority list and start thinking out-of-the box. I ended up going to someone who has a very good eye and is also quite good with young horses (so she understood better what I deal with on a day to day basis). She admitted that she could help me with the basics and up through third/fourth level (which covers 3 of my horses) but she didn't feel like she could do more than that when it came to my upper level horse. Not to be at a total loss, we worked out an arrangement such that I am able to ride with the two she goes to - a S dressage judge who has always been my greatest critic and a German trainer she helps bring to the States 2-3 times a year, basically on a monthly basis and supplement with her weekly lessons. We both are getting something out of it because she is getting assistance from her trainers on how to coach and help train the upper level movements. Overall I am spending more money but the frequency and focus I get in the combination of lessons and clinics has been monumental for my riding. I will never be one to make it on the map since I choose to ride a "different" breed but have been so pleased with getting what has been right for me and better in line with my priorities that there is far less sting to writing each check.
            Ranch of Last Resort


            • #7
              I'm where I'm happy, I think, but it took more than three years to get there. Three years ago the biggest frustration was finding the instructor that I felt worth both of my money and time - and when I finally found her, I stick with her, rain or shine, ever since. I hate the feeling of wasting my time, regardless how cheap the lessons were. I don't board my horse and I don't have a trainer. What I do is clinic every month when she is within four hours radius. That works well for me.


              • #8
                I spent years at a nice facility, settling for a mediocre trainer/instructor because the facility was nice. The BO/trainer had some money and capitalized on appearances and niceties, but it was all for show. It was a tough decision, but I decided one day I wanted to work with someone who knew their stuff, not someone who knew how to look like they knew their stuff. I found a fantastic trainer with a proven FEI record and experience at everything from breeding to training. rofl, there's not even really a barn. But the change was so worth it. I don't save much in terms of money, but whereas before most of the money was justified by the facility, now it's justified by the quality of training. (The care at both places is the same, it's just lacking the pretty packaging now.) I'm still spending 4 figures a month but I'm getting more for my money now and couldn't be happier.


                • #9
                  Ive actually lessoned far more this last few years than usual. I think I took a step back in the facility to do that and am happy with the results. My horses live out and never look show ready, but I dont have the same circular training issues Ive had before and feel like Ive learned a tremendous amount.

                  I think working closely with someone good outweighs working occasionally with someone great.
                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


                  • #10
                    Last month I finally admitted to myself my previous situation wasn't working. First I had the horse boarded at the trainers facility, and I thought that was the problem. So I decided to board somewhere else and just have her come and give me the lessons. But then the care was bellow par (horse kept loosing weight despite all the questioning, nagging and vet calling from my part) and I was still not meeting eye to eye with the trainer. I have been finding excuses for both my trainer and BO for about 6 months, and my horse was nowhere happy, so neither was I.

                    I took the leap, and guess what, I'm loving my new barn and trainer! It's a bit more expensive (but not so much as to brake my family budget) but I'm getting every cent out of my dollar.

                    Its a smaller facility but with great footing and HUGE stalls, individual attention to each horse, and (my biggest fear) the trainer is actually better then my previous one! I can talk to him, we can discuss different approaches (instead of just "do this because I'm the pro and I'm telling you to") and most of all, I've never seen my mare do her work so well!

                    For the first time in YEARS I can just relax, back off and let everyone do their job, because I know things are just the way I would do them myself!

                    Can you tell I'm happy with the change?

                    I just wish I had the guts to do it sooner.

                    P.S.: When anyone buys a horse, they know how expensive it is. And by my experience, every time you try to save some money it backfires and you end up having to spend double. So ESPECIALLY in this economy, I make sure my horse has everything she needs to do her job happily and easily. And thats the best way to save some money!


                    • #11
                      I have the right trainer and both barns I can choose from are decent. I feel very lucky to have found my current trainer.

                      It's the right horse I'm missing right now. And I am extremely aware of the fact that I can get a deal now as compared to 5 years ago. But there's nothing decent on the market. I'm really hoping a ton of new prospects will come up after New Years.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you to everyone who has posted. SCMSL - you are exactly on target - I could not have said it better.


                        • #13
                          I tend to think throwing money willy-nilly is a waste regardless of the economy. It comes in many forms - from trying one "magic cure" after another in feeds, to jumping around trainer to trainer.

                          I try to follow the advice which I have seen many times here and not sign up for a clinic without enough knowledge of the clinician to know if it will be helpful for me. As my horse and I have been getting back to work after my back injury I discovered all the work we did on getting him to stop sucking back and holding tension and always think forward seems to have gone away. Unfortunately I discovered that with a major bucking incident, but at least the mud I landed in was soft. To me sending him to a trainer who can ride him through that while I continue recovering is saving me money if anything, versus the possible injuries I could have! Thankfully I live on horse property and can still ride daily, have gym access, etc. But sometimes the value is actually in spending dollars like exvet mentioned - but I've always had an issue with wasting dollars, and may be more aware of not wanting money to be wasted now than ever.
                          If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                          • #14

                            I have learned the meaning of that word this year. Miss mare is at a very nice HJ barn 2 miles from me gets exceptional care and feed. I am the ONLY dressage person there I am lucky as trainer supports me( long term friend) and allows my dressage trainer out to teach. However the trainer does not believe on much turnout about only an hour a day but she is healty and sound. Sadly DH is underemployeed compared to 2 years ago when we moved her to this place. I have been struggling with what to do with Miss Mare. Sell or back down to a back yard barn? Decision is to go to back yard place. I had previous horse there for 6-8 months a few years back, I know the care quality as I still farm sit for the barn. Only 5 horses all retired is the drawback along with no indoor. So no lessons this winter and trail riding in the metropark for us. Looking at the positives right now at least I'm not selling her