The Frugal Horseman

Follow this advice for a budget-friendly horse showing experience.

Tom McBeath, an AQHA Professional Horseman from Union, Mississippi, says that people showing on a shoestring - if they have talent and lots of dedication - can be just as successful as those for whom money is no object.

Exhibitors who keep their horses at home and haul to a trainer for occasional lessons often benefit from their hard work. "Their legs'll be stronger, and they'll have a better bond with that horse," Tom says. Plus, because they spend more time in the saddle, they'll be better able to recognize their horse's quirks or problem areas.

He emphasizes, though, that it's important to put a great deal of thought into each day's ride time, since that's what differentiates training from just riding around.

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He encourages his youths and amateurs to keep a diary of their rides. He tells them to write down the amount of time spent riding - not the time spent talking to barn buddies - and what happened, what worked and what didn't. To complete the entry, they are to jot down goals for the following day.

"It makes them think through it, and it makes them put more effort into it," he says.

Whether exhibitors are training their own horse or just scrimping so they can afford a full-time trainer, the extra effort doesn't go unnoticed or unrewarded.

"They know the worth of it," says AQHA Professional Horsewoman Nancy Cahill, who is based in Madisonville, Texas. "The ones who are doing it the hard way have to like it, or they'd go play soccer."

Tom agrees. "The ones who are consistently successful put a lot of themselves into the program. They're rewarded when the horse does well."

The budgeting, working overtime and sacrificing all other hobbies is a small price to pay for the satisfaction and pride those riders take in their accomplishments.

FREE HELP! Download AQHA's Report, "Accounting for the Arena," to get a hand on your personal show budget. This valuable resource can help you and your horse show friends stay in the black this show season.

The take home message; It’s all about budgeting and prioritizing.

Watch 2008 AQHA World Championship Show Action

Friday, January 30th
3 p.m. Eastern / 12 p.m. Pacific
presented by Bank of America, featured on the Universal Sports Network

Watch exciting cow horse action! Highlights from the reining and cutting events will also be shown along with an update about the World Equestrian Games featuring reining, which will be in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2010.