Help to keep your horse
Equine charities receive a large number of calls every month from horse owners seeking alternative homes for their animals.
Caring for a horse properly is never going to be cheap but there are areas where you can minimise costs.
The majority of horses manage very well on a forage-based diet and if necessary one vitamin and mineral supplement. A veterinary surgeon or nutritionist can advise whether your horse really needs additional feed or supplements. Fortnightly weigh taping and body condition scoring will help you monitor your horse’s health and could save you money.
There are many bedding products on the market. Look into alternatives and decide what will work best for you and your horse. For example, although there is a high initial expense in fitting rubber matting, it can soon pay for itself in reduced bedding costs.
3. Livery / location
One of the biggest costs for many owners is a livery yard fee. Review the facilities you are paying for to check that you do need and use everything you are paying for. If you are paying for someone else to provide all or part of your horse’s day-to-day care, it may reduce costs if you were able to do more yourself, even on a temporary basis. Many horses can do very well on permanent turnout. It could be worth looking around for a suitable grass livery or renting a field, which can be even cheaper if it is shared with friends.
4. Horse share
To reduce costs in all areas, look into sharing your horse with someone else or keeping the horse on working livery. This will also reduce your workload.
5. Working together
If you share a yard with other people, why not club together to save money and time. Many feed, forage and bedding suppliers may offer reduced rates if they deliver in bulk.
Ask veterinary surgeons, farriers and other professionals if they can reduce rates for group bookings.
Save fuel by sharing transport whenever you can.
Work as a team with other owners to share daily duties, this will save time and fuel.
6. Routine veterinary care
Discuss worming and feeding routines with your veterinary surgeon to make sure you are using the most effective and economical regimes.
Discuss the shoeing options for your horse with your farrier; you may find your horse doesn’t need to have a full set of shoes. If there is not much wear on the horse’s shoes your farrier may be able to refit them.
8. Resist marketing
Horses have simple needs. When money is in short supply think very carefully about what is REALLY needed for your horse’s welfare. Make sure you are not buying unnecessary supplements, rugs or equipment. Looking after existing equipment helps it last longer, even if it starts to show its age.
There are some essential areas of horse care where corners should never be cut. These are the fundamentals of responsible horse ownership; short-term savings can put the horse’s welfare at risk and can cost the owner a lot more in the long run. The essentials include proper veterinary care, vaccinations, regular hoof care, worming and dental checks and insurance.