Owning a horse is a very expensive hobby, so here are a few tips to help owning a horse that little bit easier. The current cost of living crisis is hitting everyone hard, and owning a horse on a budget is now a necessity; however when you have a horse relying on you for survival, you need to do it responsibly.
Owning a horse on a budget seems like a near impossible objective, however it is completely doable. As it is becoming more and more expensive for the common horse owner to cope, the increase of “horse tipping” and “fly grazing” has been dramatic. These newest crimes simply refer to dumping your unwanted horse on free land, and putting your horse out to graze on private land without permission or payment, in order to save valuable pounds in hay and foliage.
The British Horse Society has even reported that past recessions have not just affected the less fortunate horse owners, but middle class owners are also finding it hard to keep up with the average £1,500 year cost of a horse’s upkeep. With the increase of horse abandonment, some rehabilitation charities are finding themselves having to turn away horses, especially older ones as they are extremely costly to look after and just as costly to put down humanely.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are Horsefinder’s top budgeting tips to make life a little easier.
Horsefinder’s top 12 budgeting tips
1. One of the biggest money drainers when looking after horses is shelter; this not only includes the obvious livery costs, but the upkeep of any stables in your ownership. Horses are very hardy animals so a good way to decrease this cost is to keep your horse outside with the food, water and shelter; not only is it cheaper buts it’s also extremely natural for your horse. *Please note that what is right for some horses may not be right for others, so don’t be disappointed or think something is wrong if your horse does not thrive outside.
2. Kitting out your horse with good quality tack can set you back thousands of pounds, so a good way to keep your costs down is to buy second hand; not only will it be cheaper, but it will have already been softened thus saving days of effort and the need to buy treatment oils.
Ensure that you ensue the tack is suitably fitted to your horse. Don’t however buy second hand helmets, as you have no way of telling if they have been dropped previously, making them unfit for purpose.
3. Vet bills are often an unexpected cost, which always seem to crop up at the worst possible times. A good way to take away that constant worry of this possibility is to seek horse insurance, the price will vary dependent on your horse and the plan you chose but it averages at about £600pa and the majority of policies include the cover of medical treatments up to around £3,000, however your policy may not cover the full price, and you must remember there will be an excess to pay. Horse insurance may seem like an unneeded extra but I assure you it is extremely important! Lastly a good diet equals a healthy horse, so make sure your horse is eating the right food in the right portions, and remains regularly exercised. if you need advice on the right horse feed, ask your vet or speak to your local supplier.
4. Prioritise! There are certain things that horses need to survive, however a lot of money is spent on things that the owner wants for their horse, these types of things are nice to have but are a luxury and completely unneeded for your horses health and happiness. If you do find yourself wanting extra bits for your horse (or you), then wait for special occasions and ask for them to be gifted to you.
5. Budgeting for horse care isn’t all about cutting down regarding your horse; it can also mean cutting down for you the owner. Try living more simply, eat in, create your own entertainment, you’ll be surprised at the saving you could make, which will in turn make paying for your horse less of a strain.
6. If you know any fellow horse owners in the same situation as you then you could suggest coming together and buying all the essentials such as bedding and food in bulk, it can reduce the monthly cost dramatically.
7. Leasing out your horse is a good way to bring in money and take a break from the financial burden of owning a horse. When leasing your horse it’s very important to follow correct procedure, so that neither you nor the lessee is unclear of the arrangement. The key areas of the lease you will need to cover are;
• Length of the agreement
• Price and how often fee will be paid
• details of lessee e.g. name, address, age and contact details
• details of leaser
• Address of property the horse will live
• Who is authorised to ride the horse
• Insurance details
• Detailed description of horse, including medical history and measurements etc
8. Removing your horses shoes; your horse may not need shoes all year round, and if it does need shoes they may not be required on all four hooves, so you could look into having your horse half shod. However only remove the shoes if you are not riding your horse regularly or you only ride on even surfaces as lack of shoes can lead to hoof problems.
9. Repair, don’t renew! If you can try and repair any tack you have for your horse, it may not look as good as a new piece but it’ll still do the job and potentially save you hundreds.
10. Go to your local livery yard and ask if they will let you keep your horse there in return for manual labour; it’s a great way to get cheap livery and spend time instead of money.
11. Do some things yourself; by building up your skills, and learning to do certain things you may be able to save a large sum on certain aspects of a horses upkeep. An example of this is learning how to properly rap a wound which could reduce the need for veterinary visits for minor injuries. There are a wide range of courses or guides available for the horse owner who would like to be more active in their horse’s healthcare; an investment in a £15 book could save you hundreds of pounds.
12. 9 times out of 10 the product that you like will be cheaper on a different website so make sure you search around first; some places may have sales on, or be offering discounts and deals.
Although these are all ways to reduce your costs there will always be unexpected costs that may come your way, so it is advisable to always have emergency cash for any unforeseen circumstances you may get into.