Why do I feel that Notorious BIG had it very wrong when he sang "The more money we come across, the more problems we see"???
Currently sitting here thinking that having more money would solve most of my problems...
There’s no getting away from the fact that, financially, times are hard. I don’t need to go into the details of rising energy prices, cost of fuel and cost of anything to do with horses, because you’re all more than aware. And it's affecting all of us, all of the time.
Being a horse owner is a funny thing. To non-horsey (sane?) people, we seem to be on a similar par to Scrooge McDuck - swimming around in his vault of cash. However, for 90% of us equestrian folk, that’s clearly not the case. In fact, I think that most of the horse owners I know, work as hard as they can just to support their hobby.
An Unfortunate Situation...
While I have just recently moved into a new flat with my boyfriend, which I am obviously very excited about, I have just recently lost my job. This means that I am now working my a*se off, going from yard to yard freelancing, all in order to support my horse, pay my bills and provide some sort of financial contribution to the flat.
Not Alone in this Financial Crisis
It has become very obvious that I am not alone in my situation. Never before have I seen so many posts on Facebook where people are selling off their lesser used items in order to pay for vets bills. I also see more people looking for sharers for their horse due to a change in circumstances or sadly, I see people openly saying that they are selling their horse due to financial troubles.
Heartbreaking decisions, Heartbreaking stories – but I most definitely get it.
Where do we draw the line of putting ourselves in extreme financial difficulty in order to keep our horses?
Personally, my livery bill has doubled in the last few years, and I know others are in the same situation. This is no way a dig at yard owners, when the cost of feed and bedding etc, not to mention insurance and electricity bills, are going up at such a steep rate, they still need to make a living somehow and therefore have no choice but to pass this extra cost on to their clients.
Farriers have had to put their prices up due to fuel, gas and material increases, vets have had to do the same – and all these costs are passed on to us, the owners.
Currently, my car needs 2 new tyres, but my horse is also due shoeing. I’m obviously going to prioritise the shoeing over my car, as it's not my horse’s fault that I can’t afford both…but what good will I be to him if my car is not safe to drive???
Overall, this can be a triggering and very stressful subject to discuss. However, the good news is that there are definitely steps you can take in order to save yourself money while being a horse owner.
Here are a few of my cost saving tips:
Muck out properly
I don’t want to teach anyone to suck eggs here, but taking the time to fully sweep the floor of your stable and ensure it is dry before re-making the bed, is a vital way to save on bedding. If you put clean bedding onto a damp floor, you will be wasting bedding the next day by throwing more away.
Also, consider a deep litter type bed for your horse. By putting a layer of super absorbent pellets (or similar) under your normal bedding, you can save a huge amount on the bedding itself.
I know its not possible for everyone, or every horse, but by prioritising time out in the field, you will naturally save on bedding and hay costs.
Assess your horse’s feed
Is it possible that you are over-feeding? Feeding unnecessary mixes? Or supplements that your horse no longer needs? Is there a more efficient way to ensure your horse is getting everything he needs?
I would recommend investing a small amount of money in having a feed expert come out to discuss your horse’s feeding regime and answer these questions for you.
Getting an overview from a professional, will also help you to assess what type of forage your horse should be on.
It is also noting in relation to feed that many brands offer discount codes at certain times of the year. Signing up to their mailing lists to keep up to date with promotions.
Keep up to date with dentist checks
It’s easy to think your horse could go another few months before seeing the dentist. However, having recently spoken to an equine dentist about this, she mentioned that she is seeing more “problem mouths” which require a large amount of work (and therefore big bills) due to owners missing regular maintenance appointments in an attempt to save money.
Buy second hand
As previously mentioned, there are more posts than ever for second hand equipment on Facebook etc. Take advantage of this, and you could be helping another horse owner out at the same time.
Review your horse’s insurance policy
Re-evaluate your horse's insurance policy annually... circumstances change and your horse's insurance policy should reflect that. No harm in shopping around too!
Buy a fly rug
It’s surprising how much the cost of repellent adds up over the summer – it may be cheaper to invest in a fly rug in order to give your horse the protection they need rather than shelling out circa £15 a bottle every couple of weeks!
These are a just small selection of a number of tips and tricks we will be sharing with you during this part of our #StressAffectsUsAllCampaign. If you’d like to get involved and share your money saving advice, please get in touch through our Instagram page - Equitas