The problem with the horse hobby is that it’s not always the purchase price of the horse that makes it impossible for many people to own one—it’s all the expenses that go with caring for and riding the horse: feed, shelter, tack, grooming equipment, riding apparel, et cetera. Here are some tips for making horse ownership a little easier on your budget.
- Buy hay in bulk and share it with a fellow boarder to split the cost.
- Talk with your veterinarian about an appropriate diet for your horse—if overfeeding is making your horse fat, a dietary adjustment will help slim him to a more healthy weight and trim your feed bill, too.
- It’s false economy to buy poor quality feed, as you’ll likely wind up having to feed more of it.
- Take group lessons instead of working with an instructor one-on-one. Or ask your instructor if you can barter or help with barn chores in exchange for lessons.
- Buy used tack. eBay can be a good source, and many tack shops sell used saddles on consignment.
- Unclutter your tack room for cash: Sell any items that you don’t currently use, such as that extra saddle gathering dust in your tack room, or the show coat that doesn’t fit.
- Ask your farrier if your horse is a good candidate to go barefoot, whether all around or just behind. Hoof quality and your riding demands will factor into the decision. (Be sure to stay on schedule with regular trims.)
- Wash and waterproof your horse’s blankets and sheets yourself instead of sending them to a horse laundry service.
- Stay up-to-date with your horse’s vaccines and deworming to prevent serious (and expensive) health problems.
- Dilute your horse’s shampoo so that you’ll use less. It’s also easier to rinse out.
- Keep your horse outside as much as possible to minimize the amount of stall bedding you need.
- If you board, are you spending big bucks for amenities you don’t use? Consider moving to a less pricey facility that still meets your horsekeeping needs.
- Use energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs at the barn.
- Half-lease your horse to save money on boarding fees.
- Offer use of your horse in a lesson program with a trusted trainer in exchange for discounted lessons or board.
- Shop the sales for your big ticket items.
- Compare prices locally and online to get the best deal. You can often save by buying in bulk.
30 Time and Money Saving Tips
Cut Horse Costs
This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe.