California Riding Magazine • December, 2009

Horsey Humor:
How to Save Money on
Riding Gear: Two Views

by Bob Goddard

My horse-loving daughter Jamie and I both want to save money. However, we do not agree on how to accomplish this. Jamie believes if she spends $1200 on a trail saddle that retails for $1500, she saves $300. The method I have in mind would save $1200.

The problem with Jamie’s way is that we have to spend a lot to save a lot. There are times when her thrifty ways would save us more than we actually earn. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? I think my daughter will be in Congress some day.

When Jamie recently approached me about buying a new trail riding gear package, I tried to keep in mind my way of saving money. Shell out $250 is what she had in mind: “It’s a great deal, Dad. The package includes leather gloves, a pommel slicker, moisture resistant saddle bags and water proof gaiters. And they throw in a set of Bachelor Buttons for free!”

I immediately launched an investigation which morphed into a lecture which became a decision – all in one paragraph. Didn’t she already have enough riding things? Did she think we could buy new stuff all the time? The answer was no. Nein. Nyet. Forgettaboudit.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Unable to enter the bank through the main entrance, Jamie tried the side door. All she really needed was the gaiters. But she figured if we spent $100 on gaiters we might as well spend $250 on the package deal and thus save $100 because buying the items individually would cost over $350. I outflanked her by going on-line and finding a great deal on gaiters for 80 bucks. That saved us $20. Actually, I saved us $170 if you consider the entire package went for $250.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Jamie said the gaiters were ugly and they didn’t match her coat. She refused to wear them. I thought gaiters went with everything, but I realized that as long as they sat in the box, we were wasting $80 - not saving $170. This would not do.

I could have said “to heck with you daughter Jamie,” and returned the gaiters. But I saw this as a good opportunity to teach her a lesson in money management. So, to protect my $80 investment, I let her pick out a slicker that she thought matched the gaiters. I didn’t feel good about the $70 I spent, but it was still better than dishing out the entire $250 for the package. Sometimes you have to do this sort of thing so the kids can learn.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Once she had the gaiters and the slicker, she wanted new saddle bags to go with them. Now she had gone too far. Yes, her bags were well-worn but we had already reached our spending limit. Unfortunately, the entire female contingent of our household agreed with Jamie. They snickered and pointed fingers at my lack of fashion sense. Second hand saddle bags do not go well with a new slicker.

I saw what was going on here. I was being manipulated out of my socks. But I had an investment to protect and a lesson to teach. I found a nice set of new bags on sale for $130 - regularly $150. AND, for another $20, they threw in a pair of leather gloves - a $30 value! Now that was too good of a deal to turn down.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. All Jamie needed now for the complete package was just one little accessory: those Bachelor Buttons.

Surely it didn’t make sense to come all this way and not to spend $3.95 to complete the package. Why, that would be a waste of $80 and $70 and $130 and $20!

I bought the damn buttons.

Jamie was impressed. By her reckoning, I saved $46.05 by spending a total of $303.95 on the $250 package. But as much as she appreciated my efforts, she had changed her mind and was now considering a return to the dressage circuit. Get a job, I told her.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it.