15 ways to save money on your horse
Be economical with your mucking out
It might sound ridiculously obvious, but pay a bit more attention to what you're putting in the wheelbarrow when you're mucking out. Spend a little longer shaking the cleaner shavings off the shaving fork for example. We have a straw bed and I like to use gloves to poo pick before moving onto using the fork for moving the straw and removing the wet. This ensures I don't remove excess straw around the poo that could have stayed in the bed.
Use un eaten hay as a base layer of the bed
This might not be right for all, so as always judge according to your own horse and circumstances. but as Sailor has a big straw bed, I like to chuck everything up as banks, sweep and leave to dry, and then sweep any left over hay that was left in the stable from the night before onto the base of the bed before bringing the straw down from the banks and creating the bed on top of that base of hay. I find it soaks up the wee nicely and means the hay hasn't just gone straight into the muck heap.
Pair up with a yard friend to save petrol
If you're on a DIY yard, can you pair up with a field mate and share chores to limit your journeys to the yard to once instead of twice? Half the journeys equals half the petrol. One of you could take the am shift, one the pm shift. You can get your stable and other chores done at that end of the day, and your field mate the opposite. We often don't think about the petrol adding up, but the idea of halving that bill sounds pretty good!
Dilute your grooming products
If you want to make your products go further, diluting them can be a great way to do so. If you're half way through your mane and tail conditioner, fill the other half back up with water and help it go further, or, be more economical with the amount of sprays you're doing, and make sure you're spraying at optimum distance to get the most coverage instead of losing half the spray to the floor, or because it's too concentrated in one area.
Make money from what you're not using
It's an obvious one, but how many of us don't do this. Lots of us horsey people have hoarder traits. We think we just might need that thing at some point or another. However, clearing and organising is super therapeutic and actually if you haven't used it in a couple of years, the likelihood is you're not going to. Have a good old clear out and get selling on Facebook marketplace, e-bay, or other reselling sites. You'll be surprised how it can add up and that just might cover a farrier visit or two.
Repair instead of buying new
This is an obvious one that lots of us equestrians are quite good at. However, we still throw away and buy new more than we ever used to. It seems to be for certain things we do still consider repairing, such as rugs or hay nets, but how often to we repair other things. Most things can be repaired and it's worth a quick google to see if a new part and a little bit of time in the process could be worth the effort over buying new. You'll also be helping the planet too!
If you do need something, buy second hand
If you do find something is irreparable, consider buying a quality second hand product over a cheap new one. Lots of items that have an attractive price tag often aren't made to last these days. Be careful with how you spend your money, sometimes what you think is a bargain lasts no time at all and you end up spending more on replacements. (I'm thinking of the amount of flexible water buckets we've gone through where the handles have broken!) It is hard when money is tight, but it's still worth thinking quality over quantity, buying less and buying better when it comes to purchases.
Review your monthly outgoings
When was the last time you sat down and wrote down what you were spending on different things for your horse? If you looked at your bank statements and wrote down what you were spending (I know, sometimes it just sounds too petrifying) it could be scary, but if could also be a great way of noticing where you're spending money where you don't need to. If you notice you're buying a coffee on the way to the yard 5 times a week, or you're spending on a subscription you don't really need any more, you could find that money added up would cover part of your hay bill, or a chunk of your feed costs. It's really worth sitting down and looking at where your money is going. I was shocked when I realised how much I could save if I started budgeting my own food expenditure better again.
Earning extra pennies to cover one or two of your equestrian expenses can make a big impact
There's also things you could do to earn some extra pennies in the tough times such as selling your horse's manure or offering to poo pick, tack clean or muck out for others on your yard. It's keeping you fit too and the pennies all add up so if you've got the time, why not?
Ask your farrier to reuse your horse's shoes where possible
If the wear isn't too bad on your horse's shoes, your farrier will most likely be able to reuse the shoes. This may not always be the case, but it's a great way to save money when it is possible. Speak to your farrier and get their advice.
Your horse might not need sedation for the dentist
Dentist appointments are incredibly important for your horse and for saving you money in the long run avoiding problems too. However, they are costly, especially when your horse needs to be sedated. Sometimes we only sedate horses because the previous owner did, or it's all we've ever done and so we've got into the comfort zone of this, but have you ever trialled your horse without sedation? There are some great dentists that are brilliant at making this possible. I use my good friend Charlee Bishop at CMB Equine Dentistry. Charlee is based in East Sussex and creates a very calm environment in order to see whether a horse can have the dentist without sedation. I've seen Charlee convert many owners to not sedating their horses when they have their teeth done, saving lots of money for the owners and creating a better relationship with the dentist for the horse too. This isn't the right option for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, it's worth trying with the right dentist. I can highly recommend Charlee if you are based in or around Sussex.
Know the money saving options with your vets
Some vets offer no call-out cost days or discounted times of day which means if it's a non urgent appointment, you can book on for the specific day or times and instantly save some money. It's also worth seeing if any others on your yard need the vet in order to share the call out fee.
If you need to cut back on training, learn from watching others
As Joe Clayton said in Horse and Hound, "A great secret for saving money on training is to go to shows and watch top riders. It’s a free way to improve your riding simply by watching the pros." If you are having to cut back on training, lessons, clinics, whatever education you're having, your education doesn't have to fully stop because you can't afford these things. There is so much available on the internet now that you can take back into your own practise. If you're missing it or feeling guilty about cutting back a child's training, why not go watch riders and take notes and ideas away with you. Focus on an area you want to improve, watch for tips and ideas and go put it into practise.
Bulk buy where you can
Buying directly from a local farmer rather than through an equestrian retailer can be a good way to save money. In some cases where the option is there, there are great savings to be made if you buy straight off the field too. Doing your worm counts are important to know whether or not you need to worm. If you do need to, then wormers are another item to bulk buy. This is where working together as a yard can be a great idea too.
Buy essentials out of season
Where you can, be organised enough to buy your essentials out of season or when discounts are on. For example, the best heavyweight rug deals are going to be at the end of winter, if you can be organised enough, pre planning and buying what you need for the future seasons whilst there's discounts on or lower prices can be a great way to save money in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you know of any other ways to save money please do leave a comment to help others looking for help in cutting costs. Many thanks in advance. We’re all in this together!
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