Who doesn't love to bag a bargain, no matter what the economy's doing?
Smart sellers know that saving money never goes out of fashion. To keep your business in tighter-belt times, they put their creative teams to work, devising clever ways to keep you driving--if not into town, to their websites. The result is one of mutual benefit: You get a fantastic deal, and they get a sale.
Here's a collection of horse-world vendor sites that we visit frequently to sleuth out savings. These sites make it possible for you to grab good gear at below-retail prices, without taking that hit at the fuel pump. Check 'em out!
Snatch up unbelievable deals on high-end show couture and tack at this new consignment site managed by participants in the Quarter Horse breed-show realm. You'll find excellent deals on gently used show clothing. Keep a close eye on the clearance section, too, creatively named "The Final Go."
If you ride English, don't miss this site. Sign up for Bit of Britain's e-mail reminders of new products and outstanding discounts, including the Weekly E-Saver Sale feature. The red Tent Sale link will take you to majorly discounted, nonreturnable clearance items that fit in any tack room.
For those stepping up into breed-level showing, Clotheshorse Connection is a must-check-out site. Shop an extensive array of consigned tack and clothing, hand-picked for the discriminating competitor. Some of the gear is brand new!
Sales. Closeouts. Outlets. Equestrian Collections offers several opportunities for shoppers to enjoy up to 70-percent discounts on quality English apparel and tack for riders of all ages and sizes. Check out the "Budget Looks" section, where you can put together a $1,500 A-circuit look for under $400.
A good deal is a smart deal--one you don't have to repeat when you inadvertently buy the wrong thing. While you can't make purchases directly on the site, you can compare items and find links to multiple online vendors to get the most out of your tight budget. The site also lists tack shops in your area where you can purchase the item. Big bonus: This site offers well-researched consumer-ed articles to boost your knowledge of various product categories before you buy.
Consider yourself warned. If you want a functioning keyboard after visiting Showtime Show Clothing's website, you may need to wear a bib. Gaze longingly at the totally drool-worthy $2,000-plus show ensembles that can only be described as works of art. Then, spend even more time sifting through clearance, used, and consignment show clothing and tack offerings. The wares change fast, so visit often.
Three things make Schneider's Saddlery site a must-shop stop. First, check out the industry-unique saddle leasing and financing plans, which allow you to slip into your dream saddle at a low monthly cost. Second, the liberal use of coupon codes can save you dollars on shipping, or provide a nice discount on your order. Third, get paid for shopping. Earn 4 percent of your purchases back in Bonus Bucks, mailed quarterly when certain thresholds are met.
Save as much as 75 percent on new English and Western gear, as well as clothing for practice or the show-pen newbie. Check out the Scratch & Dent section for the best deals. Be sure to sign up for e-coupons, delivered directly to your e-mail address.treasures.
If the free-shipping offer on all clothing adds a little cushion to your budget, then the Bargain Basement offerings will add a lot of cushion. Specializing in mid-price-point basics with flair, The Wire Horse's site features frequent updates, and regular additions to the clearance section.
Do you have a child or grandkid to outfit for that first show? You have quite the challenge ahead of you, from dealing with an ever-growing little body, to the risk of unexpected shifts in interest. With its unique and colorful mix of custom and consignment selections, Unicorn Show Clothing allows you to outfit kids, from size 2T to 16 youth, beautifully and affordably. Let future show-pen superstars pick their favorite colors and designs on this fun site.
With no local tack shops in her area, Contributing Editor April Fingerlos quickly earned to find bargains online to keep her show gelding well supplied. She's become the go-to person for finding the best deal on any needed item.
If you have your own online sources for finding great bargains on horse-related goods, let us know by e-mailing us at HorseandRider@EquiNetwork.com with "web bargains" in the subject header.
This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Horse & Rider magazine.