No horse, short of cash, desperate to ride? Check out these ideas for ways to ride on a budget

  • The cost of living crisis is biting everyone and your weekly riding lesson or hack might feel like a luxury you can no longer justify. But losing out on your regular horse fix is tough and everyone needs a bit of fun in their lives, so what are the cheapest ways to ride if you don’t have a horse?

    Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your horsey habit…

    1. Consider sharing a horse

    Horse owners are feeling the pinch too and some might consider a sharer, who typically is able to ride the horse a few days a week and makes a small financial contribution towards his or her keep. The details of such an arrangement will vary in terms of access to the horse, what activities are allowed and what financial contribution is required, as well as whether the sharer does any of the work of caring for the horse.

    Make sure you have everything in writing and appropriate insurance to avoid problems, but this can be a great way to ride regularly – and perhaps even have lessons or compete – for a smaller cost.

    2. Help out

    On a more ad hoc basis, if you are a suitably competent rider, you could ask horse owners you know whether they ever need any help with exercising.

    Riding out for a local racehorse trainer could also be an option. You’ll need a level of skill and fitness, but it’s great experience if you are able to do it.

    Competition yards are sometimes short of people to exercise on weekends when staff and riders are at shows – it’s worth contacting local competition riders to ask if they need any help, if you’re a good enough rider.

    Again, make sure you have appropriate insurance in place with any of these arrangements.

    3. Swap from a private lesson to a shared one

    If you take regular lessons, you could trim back on your spend by moving from a private lesson to a group session. Finding the cheapest ways to ride if you don’t have a horse sometimes brings unexpected benefits too – you might also find you enjoy the social side of a group lesson and you’ll probably learn from watching others.

    4. Schemes at riding schools for children

    If you’re looking for the younger members of the family to keep riding and spending time with ponies, ask at your local riding schools whether they run schemes such as British Horse Society Pony Stars or Pony Club centre membership. These may offer a way for children to be around ponies, including learning to care for them beyond riding, and work towards badges and other achievement awards, without significant cost.

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