Make horse ownership more affordable with these handy tips!

Everyone is feeling the pressure of inflation right now. Horse owners are experiencing higher costs for grain, hay, sawdust, boarding, and building materials. Most are looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their budget. Owning a horse isn’t cheap, but there are ways to make it more affordable. It doesn’t matter if you board or have your own barn, these tips can help you save a bit!

Money Saving Tips:

For those that board:

  • If you board your horse, you don’t have as much control over hay, sawdust, and grain. You’re responsible for paying your monthly board fee in exchange for all those items. You can cut costs by offering to pitch in though. You can clean your horse’s stall, feed and turn them out, and even provide your own hay or grain. This is known as self-care.
  • Be careful of changing boarding barns for the sole reason of lower fees, as quality care comes at a premium sometimes. You can move from a show barn to a casual one, if that works for your interest better though.
  • You can also work off board. Most barns are usually in need of reliable help!
  • If you board at a lesson barn and your horse qualifies for the program, you might allow them to use him in a few lessons a week. This can cut costs drastically.
  • Half-leasing your horse is another great way to make boarding more affordable.
  • Split vet farm visits with other boarders when possible.

For those with their own barn:

  • Buy everything in bulk, if you have the appropriate storage.
  • Hay should be purchased during the summer, rather than middle of middle. You’ll get your best price that way.
  • 1st cutting hay is cheaper and fine for most horses.
  • Pick up your own hay to get rid of a delivery fee.
  • Talk with an equine nutritionist to ensure you’re feeding your horse the correct amount.
  • Store hay properly to avoid mold and dust.
  • Use slow feeder hay nets to reduce wastage.
  • In the summer, utilize pasture as forage.
  • Use a solar fence charger to reduce your electricity bill.
  • Keep your horses turned out as much as possible.
  • Offer boarding for one to two horses.
  • Rent out your arena or facility.
  • Bathe your horse with a bucket and sponge.
  • Make sure all water fixtures are in good repair and not leaking.
  • Switch to CFLs or LEDs light bulbs.
  • Use rubber mats in stalls, so less bedding is needed.
  • Bag up your horse’s composted manure and sell it.

For all horse owners:

  • Talk with your farrier and see if your horse would be okay barefoot or with front shoes only. 
  • Learn from an experienced horseman how to do your own vaccines. It’s not as bad as you might think!
  • Buy good-quality, used tack. Quality is important, as it’ll usually last longer and be more comfortable for your horse.
  • Purchase items like fly masks, coolers, and heated water buckets in the off-season. They’ll usually be on sale or even clearance.
  • Don’t be afraid of natural remedies or alternatives. There are many household products that are effective in the barn. For example- a simple peppermint spray can keep bugs away from the barn. Coconut oil can be used as a detangler.
  • Deworm your horse based on their fecal egg count. You’ll save money on buying unnecessary dewormers and you’ll actually treat the worms they have!
  • Get creative and DIY when possible. You can make your own hay feeders, stall signs, reins, fly bonnet, jumps, etc…

Ultimately, horse ownership is going to be expensive no matter what. There are ways to reduce your expenses and still keep your horse healthy and happy though.

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Emily Fought

Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn't writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily's background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northeastern Ohio with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm. Emily not only writes for but as well!

July 20, 2022