Tightening the Belt: Tips for Cutting Expenses in Your Equine Business

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Equine business cutting expenses
Cutting expenses in your equine business can help you save money when cash flow might be affected by the pandemic, or when other tough times come. Photo by Fizkes/Shutterstock

Horse professionals are used to operating on thin margins without sacrificing care or customer service. However, there are times when cutting expenses may be necessary. For some, it can be a chore, but can also be an opportunity to get creative in finding ways of trimming costs while still providing the necessities. Here are four tips for cutting expenses for your equine business without cutting corners on the care horses need, courtesy of the Certified Horsemanship Association.

1. Negotiate Rates

When bills come due, it’s routine to just pay them. For some, services such as insurance, cell phone, trash removal, etc., discounts and negotiations may be possible. Valerie McCloskey, CHA’s New York state representative, called her insurance agent when her state issued pandemic restrictions prohibited visitors, slashing her lesson program.

“Most of the cost in our premiums is liability due to lessons,” McCloskey says. “I asked that if the current situation goes on for months and I’m not teaching on the farm if that could go down.”

Cell phone carriers and television providers are notorious for undercutting competitors rates to gain a new client. Shop around and compare prices. Saving on several bills can add up.

2. Make the Most of On-Property Resources

Horses need to eat, and scrimping on hay or feed quality isn’t an option. However, stables with property may be able to rely on grazing to provide the horse’s nutritional needs. Turning horses out on well-maintained pastures not only reduces hay and grain, it also reduces bedding use and the labor required to clean stalls. Some horses might not need as many supplements if they are not working as much.

3. Delay Expenses

Routine vet and farrier visits are necessities for keeping healthy horses. However, delaying certain services may be an option. For example, if a horse isn’t competing and is sound, routine trimming may suffice. Similarly, it may be possible to postpone maintenance appointments like chiropractic care, acupuncture, or dental work when a healthy horse is temporarily not working, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the horse’s health.

4. Buy in Bulk

Purchasing large quantities costs more up front but can provide significant savings over the long term. However, buying in bulk also means room for storage is necessary.

“I try to order hay in larger loads for a better price,” says Amy Obringer, a CHA regional director and CHA certified riding instructor from California. “I’m always looking for deals on supplements and medications, and I share vet fees with other barn owners in my area when I can.”

With these four tips for cutting expenses, equine businesses can work smarter during trying times, or as a general practice.

For more CHA educational blogs on horsemanship, visit www.cha-ahse.org/store/blog.

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