There is no doubt that horse ownership is an expensive undertaking.
With Christmas over and those credit card bills arriving, we thought it might be good timing to share some of our top money saving tips!
1. Purchase feed in bulk. Can’t store a large load of hay yourself? Round up some friends and share the cost between you.
2. Buy hay early: don’t wait until you have run out in the middle of winter and you have to pay double the price!
3. Don’t over feed. Educate yourself on what your horse really needs in their diet, if in doubt, talk to your vet. There are so many supplements and feed premixes out there that it’s quite possible that your horse really doesn’t need that $200 additional supplement.
4. Be careful in your choice of breed/type: that 16.2hh lean Thoroughbred is likely to cost you a lot more to keep on average than the 15.2hh stockhorse.
5. Rug your horse through the colder months. Horses use energy to keep themselves warm when it’s cold, which means they will need more feed at a time of year when the grass has minimal growth.
6. Look after your paddocks, pick up manure, rotate and manage weeds. The more good grass in your paddocks, the lower your feed bill.
7. Keep on top of repairs, usually small repairs turn into big repairs if you leave them too long. This applies to everything from tack, fences, cars, trucks and floats. A broken fence for example can lead to a nasty unexpected vet bill very quickly!
8. Don’t stable unless you have no choice and save on the cost of bedding and additional feed (not to mention the labour!)
9. If you need or choose to stable your horse, consider installing rubber floor matting. Yes, it’s more expensive initially, but it will save you enormously over time with reduced amounts of bedding required and it is much more efficient to muck out.
10. Collect and sell your horse’s manure.
Tack & Equipment
11. Go for good quality second hand rather than new where you can.
12. Look after your tack and gear; it will last longer and save early replacement.
13. Before tossing out old rugs, remove any still working leg straps, clips, buckles etc. They can come in handy if one breaks on a new rug.
14. Be a bargain hunter! Shop around for everything both in store and online. Even from store to store there can be slight differences in prices. Remember that every dollar counts.
15. If you know you are going to need a new winter rug next season, plan in advance and look for the sales at the end of this winter (and vice/versa for summer!)
16. Belong to a riding or pony club? Organise a swap meet or second hand sale.
17. Do regular tack/gear cleanouts to cash in on unused items.
18. Barter for lessons/feed/agistment or anything else. Are you awesome at plaiting for a show or making browbands? Can you offer to do chores? Bag and sell someone else’s manure as well as your own? Be creative.
Sharing is caring
19. Ask your vet/dental/farrier if they are willing to consider a group discount for routine visits. It’s much easier for them to see 10 horses in the one location than one or two in 10 different locations!
20. Struggling with the costs and time of horse ownership on your own? Consider “sharing” a horse with a friend
21. Share a float. Unless you are competing every weekend, it might be more cost effective to share one with a friend. It’s even better if you are both going to the same events!
22. Plan ahead – Keep track of what you spend weekly/monthly/yearly and include everything. You can’t save if you don’t know what you’re spending! Categorise the costs and see where your money goes. When it’s in front of you it is easier to see where savings might be made.
23. Make a budget and stick to it! (And if the pack of wormers is looking expensive this month, you probably don’t need that second set of blingy bandages!)
24. Don’t cut the wrong corners! Trying to save on things like vaccinations, worming, vet and farriers, quality feed will only cost you money in the long run.