Horse Owners Look to Save During Economic Crunch

The current economic climate and tight credit markets have everyone looking for ways to live more frugally, and horse owners are no exception.

"Nervousness about loans and housing is certainly affecting people," said American Horse Council president James Hickey Jr. From industry meetings, Hickey has observed that there is a general concern that horse sales are flat and show entries are down. In times like this, Hickey notes that people are going to cut back. "Horses are not a basic need," he said.

Here are a few tips for horse owners squeezed by tight finances:

  • Don't scrimp on feed. "When one owns a horse one has to take responsibility to feed it properly," said equine nutritionist Juliet Getty, PhD, of Getty Equine Nutrition. Getty does recommend evaluating your horse's current feeding program to see if you can feed more efficiently. If you can't afford a nutritionist consult, there is plenty of information available online, according to Getty. "People sometimes tend to overfeed commercial feeds, but they should never cut back on forage," she said. Regular maintenance on your horse's teeth will also help with feed bills.
  • Practice good pasture management. A robust pasture can cut hay and weed control costs, and there are steps you can take this fall to make your pasture more productive for next year. Some tips for maintaining your pasture can be found at Rutgers.edu/horsepastures/index.htm
  • "Buy in larger quantities in order to get a better price," recommended Jerry Finch, president of Habitat for Horses, a large equine rescue organization. Things like supplements can be cheaper in bulk, but they often have expiration dates. Consider splitting a large order with a fellow horse owner.
  • Schedule routine veterinary visits with neighbors or fellow boarders. The veterinarian will use less fuel and you'll be able to split the farm call fee.
  • Take care of your equipment. Keeping tack and blankets clean and routinely checking for wear and tear will extend the life of your horse apparel. Patch and stitch what can be fixed instead of buying new items. If you're handy with a sewing machine, consider making your own show clothes and blankets. The Web site Suitability.com sells equestrian patterns.
  • For more money-saving tips, or to share some of your own with other horse owners, visit Moneysavinghorsetips.com.

About the Author

Liz Brown

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