Bargains Not Found at the Tack Shop

My first show of the year is coming up this week, and as usual at this point my credit card is getting a workout at the tack shop: new saddle pad, more fly spray and shampoo, even new hairnets and braidettes. But my best purchases so far have come from big box stores, not the tack shop.

My great stepstool find.

I positively love finding a bargain or a useful item out of its usual context. Last week I scored a new stepstool at Home Depot and a new wagon at Costco. 

The stepstool cost all of $10 and is extremely light. It’s also wonderfully stable. I will use it for both braiding and as a mounting block. My previous stepstool for shows was the folding kind, but I think this one will be worth the extra space it takes up in the trailer, and stored upside down stuff can be crammed inside. My husband even bought two more to live at home in the garage and workshop.

My other new goodie is the canvas wagon.  My husband had to talk me into it – seemed too much like an extra luxury, even though it was just $57. However, it folds up into the size of a suitcase (thus making up for the stepstool), is very light, has good wheels for rough terrain and is tough and roomy. I will use it first for unloading the trailer, thus saving my back, and then for cleaning my stall. The alternatives are to drag a muck bucket, talk someone into taking the other handle to carry it, or borrowing something with wheels from another competitor.

My only problem is wresting it away from my husband, who has been testing it out with gardening. I already took the trash out with it – one trip to the end of the driveway rather than two. I may not be allowed to keep it at the barn. It’s going to have to come home between shows.

I love my big tack box at the barn, but it’s too heavy for me to wrestle to shows by myself. My solution is two big plastic tubs I got at Target, a total investment of less than $20. One fits inside the other. I then fill it absolutely full with all my odds and ends and fit both lids on top. When I get to the show I separate out the empty tub and fill it half full. Both tubs are now easy to carry and stack nicely in front of my stall and I can find what I’m looking for without any rummaging around.

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