Times are hard right now. Everything is going up and as we start to head into winter, horse owners are really going to start feeling the pinch. But here are some top tips to save money on your yard bills.
1. Reduce Waste
Does your horse pull their hay out and dump it on the floor? Do they mix it into their bed? Are you throwing away more bedding then you have to? Asking yourself these questions can help reduce waste and get more from your money.
If your horse tends to waste hay, there are a few ways to reduce this waste. You could try feeding them a little less hay so there is less left over. If they make a mess with their hay, maybe they would be better off with a haybar or a smaller holed haynet. If they leave hay on the floor and it’s still perfectly edible, don’t throw it away! If Scottie leaves hay, I tend to leave this piled on the floor and give him slightly less hay in his next net, encouraging him to eat it.
It might be hard for you clean freaks, but try and be more economical with your bedding and mucking out. If they mix clean hay into their bed, so what? It’s extra bedding. Can you scrimp a bit more, spending a bit more time sifting through the bed to only throw away the dirty bedding? Maybe deep littering could also help you throw less bedding away. I have Scottie on Wood Pellet bedding. During the week I just scoop the poo off the top and tidy up the surface a bit. Then once a week I remove some of the wet, replacing with a fresh bag. This means I have very little waste and a nice clean bed.
2. Buddy Up To Save Money
How many times are you going to the yard every day? Is there any way you could lift share or take turns in looking after the horses with someone else at the yard? Fuel prices have gone up drastically this year and even short journeys quickly add up.
The same applies to lessons, shows, even riding in the dark. If you get charged for using arena lights at the yard, why not try and share the arena, so you can share the cost of running the lights. For routine visits such as vet, physio even instructors, you sometimes get charged a fuel fee. If a few of you book on the same day, you can split this fuel cost.
3. Check Your Horses Body Condition
Many horses in the UK are overweight. Not only is this a huge health risk to our horses, but we might also be wasting money on food they don’t need. Properly assessing your horse’s body condition will help you understand how well your current feed is working for them. If they are overweight you might be able to reduce their ration, saving money. Even if they aren’t a bit overweight, there might be changes you can make to what you are feeding what could be more economical too.
If you need help with this, lots of feed companies offer FREE body condition scoring and feed advice if you can get a few different horses at the yard done at once. We had Saracens out earlier this year and I thought it was a really great experience.
4. Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk is nearly always cheaper so where possible, try to buy in bulk. Feed, bedding and hay can all be bought in bulk, often for a saving. More and more companies are offering schemes where you can split the cost of large purchases over several months interest free, making buying in bulk more affordable. Plus if you can buy in bulk with other people at the yard you can split the cost.
I buy Scottie’s bedding in bulk, a pallet at a time. I currently have 2 horses using this bedding, but when it is just Scottie, a pallet lasts just over a year. My bedding has also gone up. But buying in bulk usually gives me a saving of £2-£3 per bag.
5. Have A Sort Out
I am guilty of having a lot of stuff I don’t really use. Not only do I not use it, I often buy extras because I forget what I do and don’t have! Now is a great time to have a sort through all of your horse bits and pieces, especially rugs and saddle pads. You can reorganise your storage so that everything you will need over the next few months is easy to get to, so you won’t be tempted to buy unneeded extras. Is there anything you can get rid of? There is a good online market for second hand horse wear. Any money you make can go towards repairing or replacing any must have equipment you need.
6. Don’t Be Tempted To Scrimp On Essentials
It can be tempting to cut other essential costs to save money. Going longer between shoeing or taking shoes off, swapping to cheaper hay, reducing feed, stopping vaccinations, worming programs or insurance cover can all save you money in the short term. But all of these things can lead to new problems which can be expensive to resolve. So cutting back in these areas should really be avoided!
Check out some more tips for saving money this winter.
It’s going to be a hard few months for everyone so don’t be ashamed if you are struggling. Never be afraid to speak with friends and family about how you are feeling. If you don’t feel like the above tips are enough to help you save money in these hard times, there are other options too. Such as looking at cheaper yards or taking on a sharer.
Last Updated on 18/11/2022