Cut Horse Costs

Woman and Horse
Your horse is priceless, of course, but he’s also expensive. Make good spending decisions and you’ll be able to afford horsekeeping without skimping on necessities.

Has your horse become one big budget buster? Hold everything! Before you consider selling your horse and taking up goldfish farming, study these do’s and don’ts to see if you’re making some costly mistakes.

Don’t scrimp on basic boarding costs if it means sacrificing amenities like good footing in the arena and an ample, solid feeding program. Good footing helps to stave off soundness issues and injuries, which will not only hurt your horse but also lead to expensive vet bills. And a stable that feeds generous amounts of quality fare promotes good nutrition and health for your horse, extending his life and usefulness.

Do consider the luxury items you’re paying for that perhaps you’re not utilizing. If you don’t ride much at night, why are you boarding at a stable that lights up its arena after dark like a baseball stadium? Your board bill is helping to pay that utility bill.

Do plan well in advance for any show expenses, and begin saving your pennies. Before making a commitment, get a list of potential charges from your coach or trainer. Ask about rail fees, daycare charges and your share of the “splits.” These are potentially hidden costs you might not be aware of if you’re new to showing.

Don’t get yourself into credit card debt! Credit cards flow freely nowadays, and so do the opportunities for using them. Many horse shows now accept credit cards for entry fees. Some breeding farms even let you pay stud fees with the swipe of a card. Wouldn’t that be ironic if you were forced to sell your horse to pay off your equine-related credit card bill?

Do haunt the consignment stores for used tack and riding apparel. Even if an item needs a little TLC or some minor repair, it’s often far less expensive than buying the same thing brand new. On the flip side, consider holding your own version of a garage sale: a tackroom sale! You and your friends should gather up all those useful yet castoff items such as halters, bits, saddle pads, outgrown clothing and no-longer-needed horse blankets—do some local advertising and sell your lovable junk. Who knows, you might raise enough money to balance your busted budget!

Use our Horse Expense Calculator to find out what you’re really spending on your horse.

These are just a few ideas for saving money on horse ownership. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Liked this article? Here are others you’ll enjoy:
7 Money-Saving Tips for Horse Owners
30 Time and Money Saving Tips

The author is considering lobbying the FBI task force to determine just where all the horse money DOES go!

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Cindy Hale
Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show...


  1. I find that buying hay in rolls instead of by bales is alot more cost effective. What I pay in one week for hay in bales will last me 3 weeks in a roll. And that is for 3 horses!!!!

  2. All of that is SOOOOO true.I would read it again.My eyes hurt,I’ve read it so much.
    Thanks for the great article.
    Horse Lover

  3. great article.i’m saving for a horse and costs are one of the things that keeps me from getting right away. whoever put in about the hay roles,thanks!

  4. It’s a great article! I know lots of horse-owners like myself can’t afford tons of stuff for the horses, so I appreciate this article a lot. Another few ways to save dollars:
    Make your own showsheen using 1/4 cup baby oil and mix in a spray bottle with water. It works!
    Save old supplement buckets – they work great for carrying grooming stuff or storing medical items.
    Make your own jumps – it ends up being considerably cheaper than buying them.
    Thanks again for the article!

  5. I would like to comment on a comment. Yvonne from Ocala FL says that she saves money on rolled hay a.k.a round bales. One thing to consider about round bales is waste – what they step on, poop and pee in, and lay in, you paid for but they don’t eat. Also, if a round bale lasts you 3 weeks that means that it has probably sat out in a rain or 2, so it probably gets moldy, if your horses don’t eat the moldy part, it is wasted, and if they do your problems could be MUCH bigger. Horses should NEVER be fed moldy hay, at worst it could contain deadly molds and at the least after enough time of eating moldy hay, your horse will most likely develope asthma like symptoms which will decrease hisher usefulness and shorten hisher life. Now is anyone really saving money by feeding round bales?

  6. I thought it was great. The new comers to the show ring don’t realize as you said the hidden cost of showing. Don’t forget gas prices.

  7. I won’t lie, there are several times when I am absolutely scared to death about the amount of money that my horse bills cost. I vow never to sell her, but at this point I think I may have to get another job just to pay for her. ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!

  8. I think that this is a good article for people who love horses but are short on finaces. When you use these tips I think they will cut back alot of your bills.

  9. wow…this really helps alot ! our pasture fencing is currently unusable for our horses and we are currently boarding at a local definitly would help getting the boarding fee out of the way! I think its great you are trying to figure out where all of our horse money goes … that is definitly a great question . Very nice article !

  10. I like the article very helpful. I keep my horses home and they waste alot of hay. I cut down on it but they still pull it out of feeders and urinate on it. Help?

  11. I always wanted to be a horse groomer when i grow up me and my freind were going to start a busines together. these tips are very helpful and ill be sure to show them to her

  12. with farrier bills and feed cost, I am alway broke, but I would not have it any other way. Specially when I hear thosse “Good Morning” nickers each morning.

  13. You forgot “When your horse budget is tight, either stay away from the local mega tack sale or take a limited amount of cash” (I take limited cash as there is no way I would miss the tack sale!)
    My grown kids ask me all the time why I don’t get rid of my horses so I can do the much needed remodeling on the house. My house could fall down around my ears and I still wouldnt get rid of my 4 hoofed friends! Some things in life are just worth the expense and tight budget =D

  14. I try to avoid reading sales ads for the newest and best tack/supplement/etc. And I also try to avoid “browsing” at the tack store when I really don’t need anything. Swapping tack with friends is also a good way to go… what doesn’t work for you might be just the ticket for your friend, and vice versa

  15. Good tips. I see lots of horse people out there who seem to be paying way more than needed! The newest, latest gadget I often find to be way more expensive and not that much better than the old ones I already have.

  16. Those are all good tips, but here is another tip if you want to sae more money try making an easy duct tape crop. Here are the instuctions.
    You’ll need: any colorof duct tape (preferably black( but any thig you have will work.
    A flexible stick (mull berry, other flexible bedy items.
    1. let the stick dry (if wild) over night.
    2. grab a partner have them hol it, wind duct tape around the whole length.
    3. to make the flapper, make a ducttape sheet o about 5′ inches by 7′ inches, cut it into dsired shape.
    4. tape flapper to the tip.
    5. I used paper towels for the handle if you have old sponges wash them and they will make a cozy handle!
    This is my idea, because my parents wouldnt let me spend 49.99 on a hunter bat so I made one it only cost about $1.99! I am very proud I have rode with it in cross coutry shows and I am proud of it! Please tell me what you guys think!

  17. I would sell my house before I sold my horse! <3
    I actually prefer used tack, it's not stiff as a board and it's already oiled-up! (:

  18. My horses and dogs are family they are not for sale now or ever. they are included in my will everything will go and in the dead middle of winter we will be living on 10 acres in a tent. family sticks together through thick and thin

  19. If it came down to showing or keeping my horses, showing would go. I too, watch to halters, tack, and horsey things at garage sale and consignment shops. Even if I can not use it, perhaps, doante it to the 4-H or rescue groups to help others out.


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