No matter what you tell your other half, horses are expensive. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to try to be a little thriftier & save money for the fun stuff, like competing, going to events, shopping, etc.
- Buy in bulk
So we’re coming to Autumn/Winter where many of us will be stabling our horses more, which means greater costs. Try to buy in bulk wherever you can, for example bedding, hay/haylage, feed etc. Not only will you be less likely to run out, you should be able to get a better deal.
- Buy the best quality you can afford
Scrimping on feed/bedding/hay/haylage means that you will either have to use more of the product or you will have to supplement it to ensure that it does the job you would like it to do. Now I’m not saying that every branded product is fantastic, as they’re not, but shop around & speak to suppliers to investigate the features of their product, then you can make an informed decision
- Shop around for horse insurance
It is definitely worth spending a bit of time speaking to insurance companies & haggling to find the best deal for you & your horse. Alternatively, try putting some money aside each month to cover veterinary expenses/accidents etc. Now I’m not nearly disciplined enough to do this, but I do know people who do it very successfully!
- Use a feed balancer
Unless you feed the manufacturer’s recommended amounts, which are often quite high, you will not be supplying all the necessary nutrients that your horse requires. This is where talking to the feed company & discussing strategic use of a feed balance can mean that you can ensure your horse’s feed ration is balanced & effective. That way, you won’t waste money on unnecessary feed supplements, and risk using an unbalanced ration.
- Negotiate with friends
Help each other out at the yard by swapping jobs, i.e. turning out their horse when you do yours in the morning, while they bring yours in at night on certain days. This reduces your petrol bill & means that you can plan other things (you know, like spending some time with your family…!)
- Hay feeders in the field
Stop wasting hay in the field by throwing on the floor; invest in a safe & appropriate hay feeder which will potentially slow down the speed at which your horse munches through the pile, encourages a natural way of foraging and keeps the hay covered & in one place. A short term investment with huge benefits.
- Replace broken equipment quickly
Whether a torn haynet, a broken mucking out fork or a damaged field gate, try to replace or fix the item as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of injury to either you or your horse, and help save on the associated vet bills.
- Save each month
Try to put some money aside each month throughout the year, to help you pay for the expenses of winter, competing, membership, vets bills, etc. Every little helps…
- Buy at the end of season
If you know that your turn-out rugs are a bit battered or your waterproof coat is dying a death, then buy replacements at the end of the season when they’re on sale & store them until needed. For example, most shops have fly rugs & lightweight rugs on sale at the end of the summer, and winter rugs go on sale in the spring. Keep an eye out for shops clearing their stock ready for the new season products to come in.
- Be tidy & organised!
Look after your equipment, tack, rugs, etc. at the yard. Dry out rugs by hanging them up, put grooming equipment away & keep your feed bins organised. That way, everything will stay usable & in good condition for longer, thereby saving you money!