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While we all know that keeping a horse isn’t the cheapest of pastimes, we have still got to find ways to ensure that we don’t spend above and beyond. In terms of keeping your horse healthy and happy, there can be a lot to take into account. When you, as the owner, need to think about the welfare of your horse, giving them everything they need in an emotional sense, as well as the day-to-day requirements, can be costly. So, with this in mind, let’s find ways for you to cut back on, not just unnecessary expenses, but also, ensuring that your horse is healthy and happy without you being out of pocket.
Horse Care Products
There are so many products out there that are deemed superior, and therefore, essential for your horse. But when you want to make sure that they are healthy, and their wounds are treated, their poultices are in abundance, but also, their mane is shiny, there’s a lot you can do using products that work just as well. Being economical means getting into the right mindset. And it’s about using things that can double up.
An excellent example would be the water you use. If you purchase one of the many rainwater tanks out there, you can collect water, and then treat it, so it’s as good as clean water. This way, nothing is going to waste, and when you have stains that need removing, you can quickly get some of this collected rainwater, soak it on the stain, and rub the baking soda into the coat or the tail before rinsing. In terms of general cleanliness, shampoos are considered to be the best bet, but actually, baby shampoo works as well. Baby shampoo is very cheap, depending on where you go, and there is an abundance of brands that you can try. If you spend a lot of money on hoof oil, you can use vegetable oil as an alternative. Nappy rash cream works as a mudguard. And when cleaning wounds, or treating them, various types of honey have antiseptic and natural healing properties.
Certainly, it all depends on the type of sustenance your horse requires. You can easily buy packets of salt lick that provides them with that minimal amount of sustenance, but in terms of hay and fruits or vegetables, you’ve got to think about bulk buying. Bulk buying is the best way to get plenty for cheap. It’s also worth getting in contact with local farmers to see if they sell carrots. These tend to be less expensive than in a store. Make sure that you save up together with other liveries to buy a large sack.
Also, time it correctly. Much like in supermarkets when they are trying to get rid of everything for cheap, you can do the same for all the vegetables that they’re throwing away at the very end of the day. As well as this, think about the friends that have a surplus of apples, or an apple tree. You could even think about growing certain fruits vegetables yourself. Yes, it can be a lot of time and energy depending on the season, but in the long run, it saves you a lot. And with the essential supplements, consider purchasing a larger pack, and, if another livery uses the same one, split it between the both of you.
Using a cross-country course or a school, there’s a lot that can be done to save money. It’s not the cheapest endeavour, to begin with, but it’s all about sharing with another livery. It’s always worth asking if another livery wants to share, so you can split your time evenly. It’s still worth asking, just before arranging a lesson, and there are plenty of social media groups out there to keep your eye on, so you can get discounts for organising multiple lessons. If it’s such an expense, group lessons, or taking lessons on a part-time basis is common sense.
Equipment And Saddlery
Because equipment can only go so far, especially if you’ve got a growing horse, you can expect to buy new equipment almost every year. It’s essential to get into the price comparison mindset. Look online, but think about delivery charges and comparing them between all suppliers. When you place a larger order online, think about asking other liveries if they need anything else. Working together with different liveries in the local area can help you to share the cost. It’s also worth looking at online auction sites. Second-hand items are there in abundance, but you can get a good bargain on something new on occasion. Items can be more expensive depending on the season, but it’s about getting ready for the next season by purchasing these items for cheap. Seasonal products are always on offer at the very end of the season, so if you buy them now, and put them in storage, you will save an abundance ready for the next year. The serious difficulty when it comes to stocking up pre-season is that you could run the risk of leaving it too late, and the prices get jacked up.
But also, it’s not just about buying items, but it’s about repurposing and reusing certain items. We want the best for our horse, but if we end up buying expensive heavyweight rugs every season, we can benefit more from layer fleeces, or cotton sheets. All you would need to do is change the exterior work, and when you are making the changes, your horse stays warm and comfortable. Also, you are thinking about learning how to say. You can easily patch quilts and rugs together, rather than buying a whole new one.
Naturally, we want the best for our horse, but healthcare is one of those things that can bleed us dry. If we have an emergency, our credit card takes a battering. But there are ways around this. While you might not want to change vets, it’s worth looking at the call-out charges for different practices in your area. When the time comes to send them for their annual vaccinations, gauging it carefully, and finding vets with a cheaper call out charge, or even those that have no charge at all, can make all the difference. You could always hack. If that is within hacking distance, you could do this instead.
But it’s all about making things go further as well. If the horse is shod with good quality feet and a lower workload, it’s worth asking the farrier if going barefoot or shoeing on the front hooves would be worth trying. Sometimes there isn’t much wear on the existing shoes, and so, the shoes can get re-fitted, instead of a new set.
It’s worth getting in contact with other liveries to find out when their horse’s dental checks and vaccinations are due. By sharing the call-out charge, and scheduling your horse to have these done with other owners at the same time, it will spread the cost. And every year, as the insurance becomes due for renewal, make sure you look around for cheaper insurance quotes. We can spend a long time with the same supplier because they don’t bother us, but it’s about being competitive and keeping your ear to the ground.
One of the most crippling aspects of owning a horse is the livery bill. There are different types of livery out there, not just full, but part livery, DIY livery, and grass livery. Changing your current setup to one of those can help. If you want to find ways to reduce your current livery bill, consider offering your services in the yard.
Conversely, if the yard isn’t needed anymore, look for a field to rent. This set of land can be an expense upfront, but over time, this can balance out. The bedding can be costly, as well. If you look for a cheaper brand or supplier and comparing the costs, you can feel the difference. Many yards provide the bedding, but what you can do is work with other livery owners to purchase in bulk.
As well as this, purchasing rubber matting can limit your bedding costs. And it might be worth doing what many farmers have to do now. If your horse could do with more exercise, you could offer your horse for sharing. Somebody could ride your horse a few times each week, especially those that need to fine-tune their equestrian skills, for a fee. Using this fee towards the livery bill can make all the difference.
You knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but if you want the best for your horse, you don’t necessarily have to purchase top-line items across the board. You’ve got to find ways to be economical, and there are certainly ways to let your budget stretch a bit further. As you can see, there are so many money-saving tips out there. And while it can be easy for us to continually look for ways to save money, we should never let the welfare of our horses suffer as a result. There are ways to keep your horse healthy and happy, but also save your bank balance a little bit.