I am now up to three helmets.
That’s right – THREE.
Today was a wonderful day that came with a bonus, a pay raise, and the selling off of the last of my college fencing gear.
Now, don’t get any ideas. I DO live in California. Which means that 50% of that bonus went straight to the government AND my pay “raise” just makes up for the tax increases I’ve seen in the last 12 months AND here’s hoping I did NOT move up a tax bracket as I’m single and living in an apartment (can anyone say ZERO deductions???) *sigh*
So after asking myself the following questions..
A millionaire yet? Nope
Big name sponsor who’s going to pay all my horse fees? Nope
Benevolent donor who’s paying my ride fees? Nope
Magically richer by $100,000 to pay for school in 2011? Nope (only 16 months away!!!! Can you believe it??)
Can pay off my truck loan? Nope
Can pay off my student loan? Nope
Move out of my 1 bedroom apartment? Nope
Quit my job and play hooky for 3 months while riding the XP trail in 2011? Nope
…I have determined I am still a struggling middle-class citizen who must still put her pants on one leg at a time and it’s time to figure out how to pay for my rides, shows and horsey addiction in general for the 2010 season.
I use my bonuses for ride fees. If I get a bigger bonus, I get to go to more rides. Less of a bonus mean less rides. It looks like I’m on track to do my 3 day ride in May, Tevis, and the Virginia City 100. Whoo hoo! The rest of it I’ll have to play by ear.
Time to move onto dressage…..I need breeches, a jacket, and a show helmet. These are the items that are really hard to borrow. The $200 from my fencing gear seems perfectly suitable for this application. I can get 2 out of the 3 necessary items. I cornered my trainer for advice, who reminded me that I have a punch card for the local tack shop, that once I punch out will allow me to get 40% off any one item……mmmm…..Breeches+helmet+cheap show shirt = a full punch card = 40% off a dressage jacket (which as some of you know is a BIG deal as even the cheap ones are in the $200 range!). I’ll be slightly over budget ($200), but will be totally worth it as I will save at least $100 on the jacket. After doing some quick and dirty calculations I figure out that buying all my required dressage equipment using the punch card + discount will cost me one endurance ride out of the bonus fund……a price I’m willing to pay.
Filling the punch card
First on my list is breeches. This is easy and fortunately, I’m a cheap date. Cotton Naturals are the only way for this shapely woman and lucky me – they run ~$50/pair. Even better, they’ve updated the sizing and fit from my 10-15 year old hand me downs and now, I can get the correct waist (28) with enough room in the thighs and butt! (used to have to wear a 30 to have this luxury.) Of course, Local Tack Shop doesn’t carry WHITE Cotton Naturals so they have to order. *sigh*
Next on the list is helmet. My current 2 helmets could not be more UNACCEPTABLE for showing. *shakes head*. I loved loved LOVED my old version Troxel Duratec Dakota before they put the dreaded dial a fit in it. Troxel has evidentally fallen in love with the dreaded dial, as ALL their helmets now have this “system”, except the schooling cheapie. Have I ranted and raved on this blog yet, how I hate dial-a-fits? How they fit everyone and no one at the same time? But I digress. So I have had to find alternatives. Unfortunately there isn’t anything I have loved so well as that old Dakota…..
For every day riding I have a troxel sport which is great – light, cool, and fits me perfectly. In fact, this was also the model of my very first helmet and only I forsake it when I fell in love with the Dakota. As an added bonus, it’s cheap price of 30 bucks means I’m not bashful about replacing it if I have a questionable fall in it. Its flaw for endurance riding is it’s lack of ear cut outs (wearing with sunglasses for longer than a couple of hours rubs the tops of my ears). Its flaw for dressage is its ever-so bright white, plastic cover that no helmet cover really disguises….
I have the updated model of the Tipperary for endurance conditioning and rides. Fits perfectly, doesn’t rub, but unfortunately is a bit hotter and heavier than the troxel, not to mention a bigger price tag if I take a fall. Not at ALL dressagey…..but a great endurance helmet. If I could only have one helmet, obviously this would be the one, but’s its nice to have the 30 dollar cheapie take the beating instead of the tipperary…..
My choices are limited for a show helmet, especially as I’m interested in cheap…..troxel ones have the dreaded dial a fit, IRH do NOT fit my oval head, so a Charles Owen JR8 in all black is the right choice. Wow! talk about perfect fit….and at the same price I would have paid for a troxel etc.! I find a small flaw and The Local Tack Shop knocks 10% off the price. Score!
Digression – I’m seriously in love with my new CO helmet….I’m committed to wearing it for shows, lessons, and clinics. I’ll continue to wear the troxel for doing stupid stuff – like firing pistols and driving out of control 4 up wagon teams……but I’m not sure I’ll be replacing the troxel once it dies…..between the tipperary and the CO I think I have my helmet needs covered!
I’m a little short on the punch card so I peruse the show shirt rack. Ah Ha! A cheapie but a goodie. Sure the collar is a bit tight, but as long as it’s not actually choking me it’s all good right? A short sleeve, white show shirt is added onto the pile.
Hallelujah we have a full punch card!!!!!
Time to pick out that jacket for a cool 40% off. They have exactly 5 dressage coats…..in 2 styles. Crap. For the whole punch card thingy to work I can’t special order. I’m looking for a size 10. Last weekend during a tack store visit (with a very patient non-horsey boyfriend) I tried on a Pikeur size 10 and fit PERFECTLY. Unfortunately the $500 price tag was not so perfect. I don’t see a size 10 here. Crap. There’s a 12R and a 14T and a 18R. And then 2 more coats with velvet collars and gold piping that you could not PAY me to wear. The sales girl says that this brand tends to fit small. Really? Just possibly?….I slip on the 12R and we have a winner!!!! Shoulders and sleeves and length are perfect. Waist could be tucked in a bit, but honestly I’m starting to gain a little around the middle (that middle age creeping in… *ducking to avoid the tomatoes thrown by you “old people” in your 30s*….) so maybe it’s not a bad thing.
So thus went the story of Melinda acquiring a dressage outfit on a budget, without breaking the bank, and still having enough left over to actually GO to rides this year. Ramen is still on the menu, but I won’t actually have to play fiddle on the street corners for extra cash (I think).
Digression – Shopping excursions like remind me how so very grateful I am to have one horse and a sound one at that! I loved Minx dearly, but she cost me an arm and a leg in lameness diagnostics while she was alive. How nice to spend less money and have cool stuff, instead of a lame horse and a set of ultrasounds? I think of this “gear” as my reward for good management and good luck that have resulted in very low vet bills over the last year. Whoo hoo!