Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Money Saving Tips For the Equine Inclined
All things considered, Britain is quite the horsey nation. Riding and keeping horses continues to grow in popularity, with more than four million riders in Great Britain. And even though equestrian sports have long been the province of the well to do, not all horse owners and riders are wealthy – not by a long shot. In fact about 25% of horse riders earn less than £10,000 per year. Keeping a horse, however, can be an expensive endeavour, which is putting it mildly.
People who have horses and love horses want to buy their equine companions the very best of everything. But this is not always possible, particularly for those who are on a limited income or are facing hard times, like so many others in this rough economy. A payday loan could provide the extra funds needed to kit out your horse with everything it needs. If you are facing challenges and wondering how you can cut costs, there’s good news. With a little thought and creativity you can provide your horse with excellent care without emptying your bank account.
Cutting back on feed costs
First off do not ever skimp on hay. High quality hay is a must, and it is least expensive in the summertime, most expensive in the winter (particularly if you get it delivered). During hay season you can probably buy straight off the field and load your own hay, or you can choose to have it delivered, but always buy the very best.
You can cut back on concentrates (grains, sweet feed, pelleted feed, and the like) unless there is some particular reason for feeding them. If you feed your horse good quality hay, that’s really all you need. Whatever you do, don’t feed your horse cattle feed, as it may contain additives that are toxic or deadly to horses.
If you do feed your horse grain, bulk purchases can be less expensive than buying by the bag – provided, of course, that you have a way to store loose grain. Your local feed store or farmers’ co-op should be able to help you.
As is the case with dog and cat food, “generic” horse feed, which you can get from your local feed mill, can be just as nutritious as the pricier brand names. Do, however, be sure to compare ingredients and quality as well as prices.
Saving on equipment costs
Learn to repair instead of replace. You don’t have to buy the newest of everything, as tempting as it might be. Even if you don’t have a heavy-duty sewing machine a lot of equipment can be hand sewn.
With the exception of helmets, which you should never buy used, you can save money by purchasing used equipment such as saddles, bridles, halters, riding boots, blankets, and other accessories from the consignment section of your tack shop. Also, consider taking part in – or organising – a tack swap to clear out unused equipment and acquire the stuff you need. Another idea: sell unused equipment to raise the money for the things you really need.
Instead of expensive and environmentally unsound polishes, make your own polish to shine the brass on harnesses, bridles and halters. Simply use salt or baking soda and vinegar.
Here’s a secret that the tack and supply shops don’t want you to know: Just about any item that bears a horse image or the word “horse” on it will probably be more expensive than identical items that don’t. Frankly, your horse will not notice or care if his bucket or brush has a picture of a horse or not. However, if it’s something that you’re going to put in or on your horse it should be made for horses.
Auto-part and farm supply stores can be an excellent source of inexpensive tubs, buckets, , brooms and other supplies.
Saving money on care
Many horse owners, particularly those who have several horses, will say that veterinary care is by far the most costly part of owning a horse. Horses are gorgeous, magnificent, even noble creatures, but they are also prone to any number of ailments and injuries. Be sure you build a good working relationship with a qualified large-animal vet. Beyond that…
Learn the basics of good horse care, and you can prevent common but potentially deadly ailments such as colic and other health problems that can result in those exorbitant vet bills. Try letting your horse go “barefoot,” or, if he must be shod, experiment with front shoes only.
Don’t breed your mare, no matter how appealing it may seem to have a wobbly-kneed foal around the place. In most case it is less expensive – and less risky – to buy a four-year-old horse than it is to raise one from a foal. There are some routine procedures that your vet might normally do that you can do yourself. De-worming is one of these things. Don’t skimp on immunizations, however.
If you’re a horse lover looking to cut costs, you are far from alone. Beyond these tips, you should be able to find plenty of help and support, both online and off. And if all else fails and you decide your horse is too high maintenance – but you are still enamored of the equine race – re-home him and get yourself a donkey or a mule. Now those are hardy animals.
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