How can I save money at the barn?
Lots of ways!! Horses will often sail through months at a time with not a single “accident”, and then, you are hit with a huge bill…or you want to go to that show…or attend that clinic…your trailer needs repair… the list is endless. I have a few ideas on how you can possibly save some money at the barn….
For feeding your horse:
- Go bulk or go home! Buy hay in bulk, split loads with neighbors, make a larger storage area. You can also buy grains and feeds in bulk, but only if they can be eaten within a few weeks or months. Fresh is definitely better!
- Find your horse supply things at the grocery store or the dollar store. You can find loads of bargains here. For dollar store ideas, click here, and for grocery store ideas click here.
- Consider making your own horse cookies, or sticking with a nice massage or scratch to reward for good behavior.
- Maintain your pastures! Protect wet and muddy pastures from horse hooves. Rest and rotate the pastures. Healthy pastures = less hay to feed.
In the barn:
- Increase the amount of turnout to decrease the amount of shavings used! You may also want to try different types of bedding to find the most absorbent type, as well as at the type that easily sifts away from manure. Using an ammonia control product, like Sweet PDZ, absorbs urine and lets your shavings last longer, too.
- Does your barn have a self care option? Maybe even part of the time you can clean your own horse’s stall and scrub his waterer.
- Keep things organized and clean. You will soon start to notice what you can possibly sell, what needs care and cleaning (leather tack is expensive to replace, and costs barely anything to maintain!)
- Organize a tack swap/sale at the barn, or see if you can consign your items to local tack shops. On that same note - buy quality used items! Make sure any used leather items are in top shape, you can’t bring dried out leather back to life.
- Shop the sales. And, sign up for the email lists of the products you love, you will often get coupons for future purchases. You can sign up at tack stores, on your fave product’s Facebook page, or on your fave products website.
Can you skimp on shavings? Many horses are wasteful, or are trained to do their business outside in the run or in-and-out.
For the Vet and Farrier:
- Schedule the Veterinarian and Farrier for multiple horses at once to share the farm calls.
- DO NOT WAIT to call the Veterinarian. It’s fact that the longer you wait when your horse needs the Vet, the more the Vet bill is. And, the more uncomfortable your horse is. If you have any doubts, call anyway. Here are some guidelines about when to call the Vet!
- Be smart about preventative care. Use your amazing grooming skills to stay on top of his health. Ice his legs, massage his muscles, keep his skin clean and dry. Avoid questionable footing, make sure his turnout is safe and not muddy, inspect the fencing that houses him. He needs vaccinations on time, fecal egg counts and deworming when necessary, and stay on top of disease spreading prevention when at shows, when new horses arrive, when he goes to a new barn.
- Treat his hooves like you treat his heart - like it’s the most important thing on the planet, in the galaxy, in the universe. Hoof issues can spiral into major pain for him and painful bills for you.
****A note about working for board, getting hired by your barn mates to clean tack, do turnouts, etc. While this is an EXCELLENT idea to earn some extra dough - keep in mind you are running an actual business. YES, BUSINESS. More on this here, with some guidelines about keeping your butt covered if something goes sideways - AKA don't get sued.
So - how do you save money while working with horses?