The costs of keeping a horse aren’t getting any lower and, with the way the economy in the US has been going, it makes sense to try to take steps to ensuring that those costs come down.
I’m Francis Budloyar and I’ve been keeping horses on my ranch in Wyoming for near on 23 years now. I just love horses and everything that goes with it. I’m luck in that I’ve only ever lost one horse during that time and that was down to a bad case of laminitis but I’m sure that Effie is still looking down on us from that place where we all go to in the end.
Anyhow, I’m sure you don’t need reminding that grain costs in general coupled with the rising cost of oil have meant that the cost of horse feed will continue to climb for some time to come. This is actually exacerbated by the fact that the crops that were feeding horses (such as alfalfa hay) are being replaced by a lot of bio-diesel crops. This whole issue is a bigger question in itself, but I’m not going into that right now. I love horses.
My concern is in giving you some of the best advice a horse-loving guy like me can pass on.
The first thing to do is to buy in bulk. Whatever horse food and horse treat you buy for your horse, you can be pretty sure in all cases that the consumption is a regularly repeating pattern. So, gather some of your cash and buy a good six months or a year ahead. Sure – some things don’t keep; such as alfalfa hay or the like, but rice bran oil is good for up to three years so there’s no reason why that can’t be bought in finch sizes. You can save up to 20% on your horse healthfoodstuffs by taking this approach. Spend your money wisely, buy in bulk.
Another approach is to club together with your friends. Shortage of cash is everywhere these days and you might find that your neighbors and friends will be delighted to be approached about such a proposal. In fact, it might even be better to approach people who you aren’t really friendly with. In that way, you might even end up with more friends than before. It will at least widen your circle of friends.
You should never buy winter feed when winter is approaching. This is a common one and a trap that so many people fall into. It’s amazing how stupid we can all be until we realize the sensible thing to do. You’ll need hay for the winter. Now storage problems aside, if you go and get your hay in September instead of November, then you stand to save up to 40% on your hay costs.
The forage stuff can be hard to store, but why not ask your neighbor if he has some extra space in the barn. There’s no shame in asking; especially if you’re getting along with the bulk-buying thing.
A stich in time saves dollars. Ok – so that’ not how it goes, but what I’m talking about are repairs that you can do yourself. Almost everyone wants to get a new cover for their horse. This is only natural if you love your horse and are interested in its welfare well beyond its horse health. But you can repair the old cover. There’s nothing wrong with that and if you take that attitude, you’ll be surprised how much you actually do save throughout the course of a year and how that same attitude will infect the rest of your thinking when it comes to looking after your horse. Love your horse.