Money saving tips for horse owners

Owning a horse is expensive but there are many ways to reduce the costs and make your horse budget stretch a bit further. Check out our money saving tips to see if they can help save on your costs.

  1. Saving money on fuel bills to the livery yard
  • If other livery owners live nearby see if you can arrange to share transport to the yard, alternating the days or weeks when one drives and gives the other a lift to the yard.
  • Arrange with another livery to look after each other horses - ie one turns out both horses in the morning, whilst the other brings both horses in at night meaning that each owner only has to visit the yard once per day instead of twice.
  • Consider cycling to the yard in summer - a great way to keep fit whilst keeping fuel costs down.
  • Consider getting an LPG converter fitted to thirsty 4x4s or when looking to buy a 4x4 look for one with an LPG converter already fitted - gas is around half the price of petrol so cuts fuel bills in half.
  1. Saving money on livery bills
  • Consider changing from full to part livery, part livery to DIY, DIY to grass livery.
  • If facilities aren't needed then look around for a field to rent.
  • Offer your services working at the yard in return for a reduction on your livery bill.
  • If the livery yard is also a riding school and your horse is suitable, ask if they would consider a working livery whereby they are able to use your horse for lessons in return for a discounted livery bill.
  • Turn your horse out for as long as possible - the less time it spends in the stable, the less bedding will be thrown away during mucking out.
  • Consider changing your stable bedding to a cheaper alternative - shop around for different brands and sources to buy from and compare the costs of different types of bedding.
  • If bedding is not provided by the yard, then consider clubbing together with other livery owners and buy in bulk as this often works out cheaper.
  • Consider buying rubber matting for the stable as then you don't need to use as much bedding and the reduced bedding costs soon repay the cost of the rubber matting.
  • If paying the livery yard to carry out duties such as turning out, mucking out, feeding, etc then consider asking if any other liveries want to earn some extra money by doing for you at a reduced cost when they are at the yard visiting their horse, or by offering to do something to help them in return.
  • If your horse may benefit from more exercise, consider offering your horse for share where someone can ride your horse a few times each week in return for a monthly fee which can be used towards your livery bill.
  1. Saving money on health care costs
  • Check the call out charges for different vet practices - although you may not wish to change vets, you could make a saving on the cost of annual vaccinations by using another vet with a cheaper call out charge and some practices have a day that is typically quiet where they don't charge for a call out.
  • If the vet is within safe hacking distance, hack to the vet for annual vaccinations.
  • Check the charges of equine dentists as you may find a cheaper alternative to your current dentist.
  • Ask other liveries when their horse's annual vaccinations and dental checks are due and try to schedule having these done with one or more owners at the same time to share any call out charge.
  • Compare the costs of different farriers to see if there is a cheaper alternative to your current farrier.
  • If your horse is shod then ask your farrier if shoeing only on front, or going barefoot (with or without hoof boots) might be suitable for your horse.
  • If your horse is shod and there is not much wear on existing shoes when the farrier visits, ask if they can be re-fitted rather than have a new set fitted.
  • If your horse needs a visit from an equine osteopath, chiropractor, etc then ask other liveries if any want their horses checked and share any call out charge or negotiate a reduced rate for multiple horses.
  • Shop around for cheaper horse insurance quotes each year as your insurance becomes due for renewal.
  1. Saving money on saddlery and equipment
  • Arrange visits to saddlery shops with other liveries or friends and share transport.
  • Compare prices of saddlery and equipment online but don't forget to check delivery charges and compare these also.
  • When shopping online ask other liveries if there is anything they need. By placing a large order between you any delivery charge can be shared or the order value may be large enough to qualify for free delivery.
  • Look out for equestrian table top sales in your area - often there are sellers with both second hand and new items for sale.
  • Check out online auction sites for new or second hand items but for new items compare the prices with online stores, as although auction sites have a reputation for offering bargains this is often not the case these days and you may find online stores selling the same items cheaper.
  • Check out classifieds web sites for new and second hand items for sale.
  • Ask others liveries or horsey friends if they have any unused saddlery or equipment they would consider selling.
  • Find and join groups on Facebook for equestrian items for sale where you will find new and second had items advertised by others.
  • Check out local horse auctions as many have a tack auction also.
  • Compare different brands of products - well known brands are often more expensive but lesser known brands can be equally as good for a lower price. Search the internet, ask other liveries or friends for recommendations or reviews if unsure about a brand you are considering changing to.
  • Buy seasonal products when on offer at the end of the season, ready for next year.
  • Layer fleeces, cotton sheets or under rugs under lightweight stable or turnout rugs rather than buy expensive heavyweight rugs - just change the exterior rug and your horse stays warm when changing rugs.
  • Use old torn rugs as under rugs.
  • Clean and reproof turnout rugs yourself. Lie the rug on clean ground, soak with a hose, brush in some detergent, then rinse and hang to dry. Reproof afterwards with a rug reproofing product.
  • Rather than replace torn turnout rugs, repair with tent fabric and sealant.
  • Clean and condition tack regularly as well maintained tack will last longer.

  1. Saving money on horse care products
  • Shampoo - baby shampoo works as well as many horse shampoos and is often cheaper.
  • Mane And Tail Detangler - baby oil works great as a mane and tail detangler.
  • Hoof Oil - vegetable oil is a good alternative to hoof oil.
  • Fly Repellents - there are a variety of home-made fly repellents that work well.
  • Cotton Wool Rolls - these are cheaper in supermarkets than saddlery shops.
  • Mud Guard / Repellent - baby oil forms an effective barrier against mud and stops it sticking, nappy rash cream also works well.
  • Coat Shine - a small squirt of baby oil in a bucket of water and applied with a sponge or cloth gives the coat a good shine but avoid the saddle area.
  • Wound Treatment - all types of honey have antiseptic properties and natural healing properties, manuka honey also has antibacterial properties.
  • Stain Remover - soak with warm water, rub baking soda into the coat or tail then rinse.
  • Poultices - disposable nappies work well as poultices.
  • Saving money on horse feed and supplements
  • If hay or haylage is not provided by the livery yard, then consider clubbing together with other livery owners and buying large bales as these work out cheaper for the same amount than buying several small bales.
  • Feed hay and haylage in nets or hay bags in the stable and in hay bags hung from the fencing or trees or placing hay in hay feeders in the fields over winter to reduce wastage.
  • Contact local farmers to see if any sell carrots as these are often cheaper from a carrot man or farmer than buying from a tack shop/feed store. Also savings can be made on larger bags or sacks, so club together with other liveries to buy a large bag/sack.
  • Check out local markets and supermarkets for reductions on vegetables or vegetables they are throwing away at the end of the day.
  • Find someone with an apple tree with a surplus of apples.
  • Take advantage of buy one, get one free offers or special offers and stock up on products that you use regularly.
  • If another livery uses the same supplement, buy a larger tub and split the tub between you as this often works out cheaper than buying two smaller tubs.
  1. Saving money on training
  • When hiring the use of a facility such as school, cross country course, etc ask if another livery wants to share.
  • When arranging a lesson with a trainer ask if another livery wants to share.
  • If you have your own visiting trainer, ask if other liveries want a lesson after yours and see if your trainer will offer you a discount for organising multiple lessons.
  1. Earn extra money
  • Poo pick fields and sell bags of manure to gardeners and those with local allotments.
  • Have a clear out and sell any items you haven't used in the last 12 months at an equestrian table top sale or on an online auction site.