BUT: IT CAN BE DONE! With some self control 🙂 There are just a few tips below on how to try and keep moving forward in your dressage without breaking the bank.
For starters; if you need a tack item (that can wait for a little while) keep your eyes on Tack of the Day! I have scored deals on there for saddle pads, bridles, bits, breeches, barn boots, dressage boots for my horse, and many more items. Usually at 50% (or less) of the normal price.
Secondly; video your riding lessons. Not everyone can afford to be in full training or even have access to a trainer locally. So when you do get a lesson in; try to get someone to video it for you. That way you can refresh your memory on the items you need to work on with reminders of HOW to do them. It also is a great tool to visualize what a movement is supposed to look like when you get it right and it is caught on camera.
Next Up; Audit clinics. Not all clinics charge if you are just watching. You can learn a LOT by watching other people ride and hearing the commentary on how to fix their problem items or even to see how something should be done.
Another idea: Scribe for a judge. You will hear some great commentary (even though you can’t watch the rider/horse). And it will let you know exactly what judges are looking for, whether that be; more impulsion, too much bend, not enough bend, straighter, above the bit, etc. It’s just a good reminder of the things we need to focus on in another setting and from another perspective. Not to mention you are helping your local dressage chapter by volunteering and making shows possible!
My final thought for the day: If you have some spare time, see if a local trainer wants a working student. You help them by tacking up horses and doing barn chores and in exchange they give you riding lessons (sometimes on your own horse or sometimes on their horse; every trainer is different).