Most of us equestrians are pretty budget savvy because we have to be. While it would be lovely to wake up to a few extra zeros in the bank account, that probably isn’t the best back-up plan. That’s why we’re bringing you a new column featuring different ways to earn some extra cash to fund your horse addiction. Hustle sold separately.
You don’t have to have surgeon’s hands to be a good braider. Braiding is a skill that’s relatively easy to learn, and it’s a good way to make some fast extra cash if you can market yourself well and show good work for the price you’re charging.
What You’ll Need
First off, you need to learn how to braid if you don’t already know. If you’re new to braiding, here is a tutorial video we did for braids that would work for dressage, show jumping or eventing. Of course, there are many different styles of braids – even for the different disciplines – so it’s best to either learn how to do several styles well or specialize in certain braids.
For example, you might be excellent at sewn-in button braids. These are commonly found at events and also at dressage shows, so there is your target market. If you’re exceptional at those pretty hunter braids, you’ll earn much more money at the hunter shows.
You’ll also need a good braiding apron, which will hold all of your supplies. Simple braiding kits can be purchased on SmartPak, or there are also these new nifty things called Quick Knot that have been gaining momentum.
If you’re a yarn fan, you can buy yarn in bulk at a craft or material store. You’ll want to stock up on the colors you’ll most often need – black, white, and brown for chestnut horses. I personally am a big fan of waxed thread, which you can buy from select tack stores or online.
How to Maximize Your Earnings
Simply put, braiding isn’t for everyone. It’s hard work, standing there with a horse who may or may not enjoy the process and isn’t afraid to show his disdain. Be prepared for long hours, and wear layers so you can stay comfortable.
When you’re booking your schedule, set aside blocks ahead of time. This will allow you to schedule the maximum amount of horses. It’s important to give yourself enough time to do a quality job on each horse. If that means you block out hour-long blocks for each horse, so be it. Don’t worry about rushing – you’ll get quicker with time. Repeat clients come from quality work and excellent customer service. Even if you don’t braid full-time, you aren’t exempt from acting professional.
Along the same lines, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you only book three horses for your first weekend, fine! Do an excellent job, and make those clients tell their friends about how awesome you are. If you’ve got a small budget, spring for some business cards from VistaPrint. Remember: this is your business!
Scope out the show schedule in your area and figure out what shows you can braid at. Look for area Facebook groups or pages that you can post in to advertise your services. Be prompt and use proper punctuation and grammar in responding to potential clients’ inquiries.
Stay organized! Start an Excel spreadsheet to track your expenses and earnings. This will give you a tangible read on how much you’re making – plenty of motivation when you’re able to pay for something your horse needs with your extra cash!
With any side hustle, it’s important to take it seriously. Treating this like a business and thinking smart will help you maximize your earnings and streamline your process.