We’re pleased to be bringing you the first entries of our International Equestrian Blogging Contest. Remember, you can still enter as long as all three of your blogs are submitted by September 30. You can find full rules here.

Confessions of an Equestrian Shopaholic, by Hollyn Mangione

Apparently, I might have a shopping problem. (Gasp! Who knew?) I recently hosted a tack sale at my farm. Someone asked me “are you getting out of horses?” Uhm…. no, this is just extra stuff that I need to get rid of.

But I am not just some random shopper, I have RULES that govern my spending.

Shopping Rules:

Rule #1: If it is for my horse… it does not count as shopping.

Let’s face it, Cinder does actually need a new lightweight blanket since the last one disappeared in the shipper’s van never to be delivered or returned (Note to self – add to my to do before fall list!).

Rule #2: If it is an item of riding apparel that is show quality… it does not count as shopping.

I have not shown in 6 years, I seriously NEED a brand new show coat and breeches. I MUST have beige breeches and might as well grab two different kinds in case I hate one of them before the show and don’t have time to buy another pair. Did I hear a chorus of “Guuurl you are sooo smart!” from the peanut gallery?

Rule #3: Horse treats never ever count!

Seriously, we CANNOT GET certain treats here in the flyover state. So yes, I will buy two large bags of Meadow Mints and 4 boxes of Cavalor Sweeties and stuff them in my truck for the trip home.

Rule #4: Samples do not count!

But let’s just be real here…. all of us are guilty of the sample grab. You know, you go to Rolex, or Equine Affair or stroll through the vendor area at a show and you absolutely MUST have a sample bottle of that cutting edge Elephant smell remover. Of course, you don’t HAVE an elephant, have no plans to get an elephant and do not work at a zoo and neither do any of your friends.

But you absolutely cannot pass up that bottle, it’s like an addiction. And do not deny this, because you know that you go back to the hotel room and you and your friends empty out your bags and compare your sample haul at the end of the day. Heaven forbid that your friend got more/better samples than you because you WILL spend the next day going to find all the ones she had that you didn’t.

Rule #5: I can buy this one because I threw out/sold/gave away one last week.

The longer you are in horses, the more stuff you accumulate. When we moved to this farm, I got a slightly larger tack room. I filled it and more almost immediately. I looked at my husband and said, “I can’t understand how I filled this tack room so fast when it is bigger than the one I had in Virginia.”

He looked at me and remarked that it was because in Virginia, I had an auxillary tack room in the dining room and another on the third floor. Oops! All of my horse friends seen to have at least one sort of item they tend to “collect”. Me, I go through spells. I will collect one thing for a while, until I have an obscene collection, then move on to the next thing.

You know it’s bad when a friend asks if she can shop your unused saddle pads for a show pad and a schooling pad and you ask “dressage or jumping?” My working theory/justification for multiples is that if you rotate things, they don’t wear out as fast. That goes for boots, pads, breeches, etc. Plus, one must have a spare of the most important items for when one is in the laundry hamper/wet/filthy.

Rule #6: Gifts for other people do not count as shopping!

If I see the perfect Christmas or Birthday gift for you, I will buy it. It does not matter if it is March, I will squirrel it away and save it for you and you will love it!

Rule #7: My friend makes/sells it.

Look, we all own horses and by definition, we are always broke. Buy your friend’s product at least once. If you like it, then tell your friends and try to help your friend grow her business. When you support a small business, you are helping someone else fulfill their dreams. Hello, how is this not a feel good story? I call it a win-win, I get something neat or different and a small business owner gets to pay their feed bill (Guess who has a $20 gift certificate she needs to redeem from #SITS?).

I think those rules should help you enjoy/justify your future purchases…I have to go, my friend just posted a link to some super cute fancy stock ties on Facebook! Happy shopping!

SmartPak - logo_600x100