Last updated on November 14, 2023
5 Ways to Save on the Cost of Owning Horses
It’s no secret that the cost of owning horses is a commitment of both finances and time. Between feed, boarding or pasture, supplements, regular veterinary care, vaccinations, worming, and farrier visits, it’s no wonder that there are so many jokes about equestrians being broke but happy.
While we are huge proponents of taking the best care of your horses (and dogs) possible, we also realize that budgets are part of life as well. So we’ve put together a list of ways to easily cut expenses and give your wallet a little bit of a break.
5 Ways to Save Money on the Cost of Owning Horses Without Compromising Quality of Care.
1. Buy hay in bulk directly from the farmer.
- I will never forget growing up when I learned that one of my rodeo friends bought hay from the feed store. She was paying over twice the amount per bale that I was paying to the farmer directly. My friend felt like she was getting better quality hay, but my family actually knew the farmer who sold hay to the feed store, and we bought some hay from them as well.
2. Prevention is cheaper than cure.
- Like the old saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
- While we are always thankful for our veterinarians, the fact of the matter is, many injuries and illnesses can be prevented, or their severity lessened, with a little bit of foresight and planning. Turning your horse out on a new pasture? Walk the fence line and fix any potential issues. Have a horse prone to gut issues? Keep free choice grass or hay in front of them 24/7. Have a horse with less than stellar feet? Feed them the right supplements and keep them on a regular schedule with a skilled farrier.
3. Read ingredient labels.
- Many, MANY supplements may look appealing or be promoted by your favorite competitors, but when it comes to the actual ingredients, they are either chalked full of fillers or way overpriced to compensate for endorsement deals.
- This is one of the many reasons why we are so passionate about Animal Element and why we are so proud to use food-grade ingredients and no fillers! The dosages and packages may look smaller, but often that’s because you’re comparing it to a supplement with filler ingredients and/or lower-quality ingredients. We even proudly display all of our ingredients right on our website!
4. Proper warming-up and cooling-down routines.
- I’ll never forget watching this girl at my local college. She took nearly 30 minutes to brush and saddle her horse, braid his mane, and tack up. Then she got on, RAN several circles around the arena, got off, unsaddled, and stuck him straight back in his stall. I was beyond mind-blown.
- Just like human athletes who want to stay at the top of their game need a proper warm-up and cool-down with each workout, equine athletes do too. Even if you aren’t using your horses competitively, allowing their muscles, tendons, and ligaments to warm up before heavy exertion and then cool down after can prevent a slew of injuries.
5. Save up!
- The days where vets are offering payment plans on large bills are slowly coming to an end, and understandably so. However, if an emergency ever arises that requires major veterinary intervention or surgery, a hard situation can be much less stressful if you already have the money set aside to pay for it.
- Credit card interest rates are no joke and can often mean the credit card holder pays multiple times the original amount borrowed if minimum payments are all that they can make. While it may seem silly to have a separate place to squirrel away money for horse emergencies, we’d much rather have it and never need it than to need it and not have it.
Cost of Owning Horses Definitely Worth It
Horses are certainly an investment and truly one that we gladly make. When you hear that nicker from the barn or your favorite sorrel horse leaves her meal to greet you for hugs and scratches, all the hard work and financial sacrifices are worth it. Hopefully, these tips give you a few ideas on how to save money on your horse budget without compromising care.