Ownership can be a really rewarding experience but no matter how much you love your horse or pony, taking care of him can put a real strain on your finances and your freedom.
If that strain begins to dull your enjoyment of horse ownership, there are some simple steps you can take to help reduce the amount of time and money you need to spend on your horse without compromising on his welfare.
Here’s a few tips:
Share your Time and Resources
You don’t need to enter into a formal ‘shared ownership’ plan to benefit from reduced costs and responsibilities.
- If your horse is stabled at a livery, befriend other owners and share some tasks with them. By sharing daily yard duties like turning out, mucking out, feeding and rugging up, you could cut the time you spend on daily chores in half, giving you more time to spend on more rewarding bonding activities with your horse
- Generally speaking, when stored in ideal conditions, the majority of horse feed won’t begin to lose its nutritional quality until it is approximately 6 months old, so bulk ordering with other owners may be a money-saving option if you keep your horse in a large yard. Though be sure to store the feed correctly if you plan to do this.
- Call out veterinary fees can mount up over time, so it’s worth enquiring about free-of-charge call out days that your vets host for these routine check ups to help keep costs down.
By finding ways to pool your time and resources with other owners, you could make significant savings and get more time with your horse overall.
Make your money work harder
Though horse ownership can be costly, any equestrian will tell you that it is so worth it. Here are a few ideas to help reduce costs so you can concentrate on spending your time and money on more fun activities with your horse..
- Livery services are competitive so it’s a good idea to shop around to ensure you get the best accommodation at the most ideal price for your horse. The British Horse Society have a network of over 1000 approved liveries offering various levels of service across the UK.
- Alternatively, if you have your own yard, you could offer accommodation and livery services to other owners to generate an income from your land.
- Never renew a horse or pony insurance policy without shopping around for a better deal.
- Compare the price of any equine product or service on offer from a few suppliers before making a purchase.
Making the most of your time with your horse
- If, for whatever reason, you’re a little short of time to spend exercising your horse one month, offer other owners or horse-lovers the opportunity to take them out for rides on set days of the week. There are plenty of people who want to spend more time with horses but lack the funds to do so.
- If your horse is at a livery, ask about small upgrades that can take specific tasks off your hands for a minimal fee.
- Be disciplined with your time. It can be easy to spend many more hours than you plan to on the more mundane tasks, but when time is limited, prioritise tasks that need to be managed.
- Order the equine supplies, such as horse feed, hay nets, supplements etc you need online and if possible, book delivery slots so that it arrives at a time convenient to you.
Every Little Helps
Even small savings can make a difference so try these tips for keeping more pennies in your pocket:
- If you can, consider swapping four wheels for two and cycling to and from the yard to cut down on fuel costs.
- Look at how much you spend on bedding and see if there are alternatives that suit you and your horse available. Rubber matting, for example, is an investment upfront but could save you both money and mucking out time in the long term.
- If you need to make big purchases, wait until the sales are on and take advantage of any BOGOF deals you spot.
- Sell bags of manure to local garden centres or home owners.
- Join local, or even online, equestrian groups where discounted new or used tack, grooming tools and riding kit often come up for sale and sell on any items you no longer use.
Finally, you can make long-term savings by choosing not to compromise on certain tasks and costs. Protect your horse’s health by making sure it gets adequate exercise, regular vet and farrier checks and access to a nutritionally balanced diet.
Featured image: Flickr b.t.photo – Horse Whisperer #Flickr12Days. CC Image License.