February 2018 and we are now 8 months out from MGN 2018.

My USEF and AMHA (American Morgan Horse Association) memberships have been renewed, and I am chipping away at the list of things I need to buy or replace, while stashing away every cent I can to my show fund.

After discovering my show shirt disintegrating to thread-bareness, I scored a brand new, snazzy RJ Classics show shirt right after the New Year. All said and done between some credit I had and the sale, it cost me $15. I try not to spend money on myself, but C’MON! I could not pass that one up.

So back to the budget.

Rubber pony reins on a massive sale were the next item to be ordered, and I have a half-wishlist half-necessity list of things I am picking and choosing to order with each paycheck. This varies from the highly practical (we need a breastplate/running martingale that actually fits), to the “if there’s enough money to splurge, I’ll get this” (like embroidering the Morgan Sport Horse logo on one of my Ogilvy pads).

But the bulk of each paycheck is getting put directly in my show fund kitty, which has a decent amount in it – a feat I’m pretty proud of considering I started my fund about the same time I started my holiday shopping (and I love to buy Christmas presents). Now that I don’t have those expenses, I’m basically transferring the entirety of each paycheck into that kitty, or otherwise allocating everything towards my horse, in some fashion.

Last paycheck: Memberships.

This paycheck: Reins, farrier, the rest into the kitty.

But let me tell you what: Vet school is putting a huge damper on my savings ability (sarcasm – I truly love my career path). But in all honesty, you live off loans in vet school, and even if you live VERY modestly, the amount of loan money they give you to live off of for the semester is minimal. I have the wonderful support of my family with a good chunk of my horse’s expenses, and I take care of the odds and ends. So my part-time barn job is a way to keep gas in my car, grocery money sometimes, AND saving up for a National show, all its expenses, lessons, farrier bills, vet bills, and a few schooling shows leading up to MGN.

Being in class, work and getting into exam season has hindered my ability to take lessons with any regularity, mostly because my riding schedule week-to-week is quite variable. I try to ride 4-5 days a week, and I try to put The Mare’s days off consecutively, but that doesn’t always happen. I am a huge stickler on making sure my horse is fit enough for a jump school, and especially for a lesson. So I’m struggling to find the time and consistency to get in some lessons.

And 8 months out, I am starting to panic about the number in my show kitty…is it going to be enough, the way I’m going? Because the REALLY fun part is that during the summer, I don’t get loan money to cover my living expenses. And even though I work more in the summer, it often isn’t enough to cover my rent, utilities, gas, food AND all the pony things.

I’ve already talked briefly with the Trainer. I don’t need to spend the summer going to A-rated jumper shows; We just need to go off property, jump some “looky” fences and allow me to remember a course by myself in the show pen. So we figure that some nice schooling shows, combined tests, maybe a cross country schooling to really get some new fences under our belt, would give me the most bang for my buck.

So now I’m actively looking for creative fundraising. Obviously, with summer will come opportunities to work more, as well as things like the potential to braid at horse shows in the area, and pick up a few more art commissions (which I am slowly working on during the school year as well).

I am very off-put by the idea of a GoFundMe or similar website. I’m not a professional rider, I don’t have a syndicated horse or anything like that, and I’d 100% rather raise the money by myself, if at all possible.  Not that I won’t accept help, but this would be an absolute LAST resort for me.

But I did look into the idea of grants or scholarships for equestrians. What I came up with for an Adult Amateur rider was honestly, pretty abysmal. And maybe this is part of the reason that the adult ammies out there are not showing more on a rated or National level, is that there is not much financial support from national, regional, state or breed associations the same way that there is for junior riders (I found 1 grant that would be applicable to me). The financial commitment can be enormous, even when done conscientiously.

I am all about supporting the up-and-coming riders in the sport; they are the future. But a lot of Adult Ammies are the present. The ‘now’ of the sport.  And even as a younger rider, I would not have qualified for 90% of the grants for juniors that I found.

Maybe I was just not looking in the right places, but I’m usually pretty good on google deep-dives (but if I’ve missed the mark on this one, please, adult ammies, let me in on your secrets).

I’m just an adult ammy, in vet school, doing much of the wok solo, busting her tail to accomplish a life-long dream of showing on a National scale. I literally do not have enough hours in the day to work more than 10-15 hours a week; vet school is my primary full-time job. All of those factors are hurdles to overcome, and finances are just another one.  So I’m willing to get creative.

If you need a portrait of you pet, hit me up. If you are showing (dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers) in Indiana or Ohio this summer and need your trusty steed braided, I’m your gal. I’m continuing to clear out any gear that I no longer need (I’ve got a few pairs of Tailored Sportsmen’s I’m looking to unload).  And I’ll eat ramen every day if it means that I can accomplish the goals we have set.

To follow along with Danielle’s journey to the Morgan Grand Nationals, click here: http://horsejunkiesunited.com/tag/road-to-mgn/

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