I have a horse that would be a kick butt jumper/event prospect for a rider that's better than I am (aka, less tense, more confident and actually wants to jump) that I am selling.
I have been in the works to get a pricey dressage horse but now I'm wondering if I'm ever even going to be able to compete - something I want to do. Would you get a pricey dream horse or would you stick with a cheap horse than can do the bare minimum of what you want to do? Would you even have a horse?
My question is this: If you were unable to compete (for any reason) but you could still ride and do all the same stuff (just not competitvely) would you still want to?
I've been feeling pretty torn about getting a new horse once the one I have is gone and wanted some opinions. Would you still want to ride/have a horse?
And if you are a non-professional, how much would you spend on show clothes? Boots, breeches, jackets, etc? I've seen boots starting at $1,200 and jackets a close runner up around $500. Are the investments for professionals or do amateurs take part as well?
If it were me...and this is me... I'd go with pricey dream horse over bare minimum cheap horse. I do compete from time to time, and would like to compete more. I find that having a competition makes me push myself harder since I have a deadline and a judge to face. However, there is no rule that says you have to compete. Even if I could not compete, I would still want the best horse that I could get so that I could still learn and grow as a rider. You can do Grand Prix dressage in your own backyard if you want. So, if you want to learn dressage, by all means get a horse that can take you there.
Let me put it this way. If you have the dressage horse, then the door is open for you to show him. You may not choose to go through that door, you may go through it later, you might pop through it and then come back, but the choice will still be yours. If you keep the bare minimum horse, that door is closed.
Yes, you can buy a trail horse that your kids can sit on for $500. And maybe you can find a horse that is just fine for that price. However, a horse bred for dressage will probably have better conformation, and will hold up better over the years than an ill-conformed horse. If the prospect that you are looking at can also trail ride, he will probably last you a lot longer than something that is not quite so well put together.
Finally, I want to touch on your question about attire expense. I think anyone who spends $1200 on boots probably has more money than sense. I got tall boots for under $150 on sale at Dover. My jacket came from E-bay for under $100, and my show breeches also came from E-bay for under $40. There probably are amateurs that spend that much on show clothing, but I would not be one of them. I would rather spend my money on lessons, clinics, and entry fees.
Finally, on boots, I am going to suggest that you check the dressage rule book very carefully in the dress section. I can't quote the dressage rule book the way I can eventing, that is why I say double check. In eventing, the rules have been changed recently to allow paddock boots and gaiters in dressage as long as they match and are made of smooth leather. Basically, they mean the ones that look like a two piece boot. There may be something similar in the dressage rule book. I hope so. There ought to be a way for you to avoid $2k boots.