As a young girl I dreamed of one day owning a horse of my own. I would spend hours thinking about what color she would be or what markings she would have. The one thing I never dreamed about was how much it would cost. So how do you save money while owning your own horse?
Saving money while owning your own horse isn’t easy, but it is possible. With a little forethought, creativity, and research, you can find ways to save on some horse necessities.
How To Save Money on Food
Horse nutrition is very important. This is an area where you don’t want to skimp on quality, however, there are ways to save money on food for your horse.
- Turn out– The easiest way to save money on feeding is to turn your horse out as often as possible. The more pasture time horses get, the more grass they will eat. This can cost you less money since horses who are frequently turned out need less hay and grain.
- Buy food in bulk— Buying hay or grain in bulk can always save you some money. If you have the storage, look to buy a season’s worth of hay right at the end of the growing season. Hay costs can go up during the off season.
Pro Tip: When purchasing grain, look for high-quality feed that doesn’t contain a lot of fillers. Because high-quality grain is denser in nutrients and calories, you can often feed smaller quantities, saving more money in the long run.
- Monitor your horse– Every horse requires different amounts of food to maintain their optimum weight. Adjust your horse’s calorie needs based on their level of work and only feed them what they need.
How To Save Money on Grooming Tools
Grooming is an essential part of horse care. This requires a set of brushes, bath time necessities, and other grooming items. There are ways you can save money as a horse owner when it comes to grooming tools.
- Wash your brushes– Brushes that get used daily can easily be washed in warm soapy water and allowed to air-dry. This will help keep them from having to be replaced due to build up of dirt and grime.
- Visit a discount store– Not everything needed for grooming needs to be purchased at a more-expensive tack store. Buckets, sponges, spray bottles, storage boxes, baby wipes, and other items can be purchased at dollar or discount stores for much less.
- DIY — Look online for recipes for making homemade grooming items, such as fly repellents or coat conditioners. You can also make your own tack box, storage locker, and horse treats!
- Look for deals— Watch local tack shops and online equine retailers regularly and look for when grooming items go on sale. Sometimes these types of items are even given away through promotions when you purchase something else you or your horse may need. Stock up on items you know you will need when you can get good deals.
How To Save Money on Riding Equipment
The cost of tack and other riding equipment can add up quickly. While this equipment is necessary to have, you can save money owning your own horse by following a few guidelines.
- Look for consignment shops and sales– Some local tack shops offer the opportunity to sell and buy gently used riding clothes and tack at discounted rates. Shopping for consignment items can be fun, you will just need to allow for the time to go through items to find the sizes you need. Selling your gently used items is also a good way to earn a bit of extra money.
- Repair, not replace–Broken leather or torn fabrics can often be repaired for much less money than it would cost to buy new items. Look for leather and seamstress repair services in your area. Ask around at your local tack shop for recommendations.
- Buy used– Buying used tack is a great way to save money owning a horse and save some serious cash. Many saddle fitters have access to a large inventory of used saddles and can help you find the right fit for you and your horse. Other horse owners at your barn may have tack they are not using that they’d be willing to sell. Post your equipment needs at your barn in the tack room or on a bulletin board. You may find that someone has exactly what you are looking for at the right price.
- Join local social media equine groups–Many social media outlets have local equestrian groups. These groups are full of posts of all types of horse equipment for sale, and because they are local groups, shipping costs are less. You may even be able to arrange for pickup to eliminate shipping costs all together.
Things For Which You Shouldn’t Cut Costs
Although there are many ways to save money when you own your own horse, there are also several things for which you should not cut costs. These areas all directly affect the well-being of your horse and protect you as a horse owner as well.
Horses are prone to injuries that shouldn’t be ignored if they occur. There is also no substitute for regular veterinary care and annual dental care. Horses need vaccines about twice a year, usually Spring and Fall. These veterinary visits are essential, but you can save money on the farm call cost if you split the visit with another horse owner who may need the vet as well.
Yearly dental care
Don’t ignore your horse’s teeth. Regular dental care is important for your horse’s overall health and well-being. Horses’ teeth need to be floated about once a year to get rid of sharp edges that can cause discomfort or pain.
Regular farrier visits
Horses need to have their feet evaluated and trimmed about every 4 to 6 weeks. If they wear shoes, the shoes will need replacing. Ignoring your horse’s hoof care needs can lead to chips or cracks in the hoof wall, and eventually, the structure of the hoof will break down causing pain and lameness.
A properly fitting saddle is imperative to your horse’s overall well-being. Saddles are definitely not one-size-fits-all, and a saddle that doesn’t fit well can cause your horse pain and discomfort and can contribute to behavior issues under saddle. For horses in regular work, saddles should be evaluated for fit about every two months since horses’ muscles are constantly changing.
Horse insurance may sound like a luxury, but it is essential that horse owners shouldn’t overlook it. Insurance is available to protect you should your horse get sick, injured, or need unexpected surgery. Vet bills can add up very quickly, and horse insurance gives you a safety net should the unexpected happen.
Owning a horse is definitely an expensive undertaking. The good news is that if you are willing to get a little creative, there are ways to save money owning when you are owning your own horse.
Creating a monthly budget sheet is a great way to track your spending and see areas where you can cut some financial corners. Horse ownership on a budget is possible with a little extra thought and creativity!
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