Money Saving Tips

Last post 12-04-2011 9:29 PM by robison02. 25 replies.
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  • 10-02-2011 10:52 AM

    Money Saving Tips

    I'm going to be working on an article and would like to use suggestions from forum members.

    How do you save money around the barn and on horse care without sacrificing on the quality of your horse's care?


  • 10-02-2011 12:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    I weigh the hay put out for meals, that way they're getting exactly what they need and don't waste the extra. As for waste, my girls have corner feed bins that allow them to eat their hay from the ground but can't stomp all over it.

    When buying pelleted bedding I buy a pallets-worth--about 70 bags--at a time and get a discount for quantity. Also, I believe the pelleted bedding is cheaper in the long run b/c there's less waste of bedding and time. Plus, your horses have healthier air to breathe and healthier coats b/c they don't lay in urine.

    The water heater for the wash stall is an on-demand model. It takes a bit longer to get hot water, but if you can wait for a min or two before it gets hot you don't have a massive electric bill from heating a water heater even when it's not in use.


    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


  • 10-02-2011 5:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    I re-use feed bags for pretty much everything - garbage bags, blanket bags, "stuff bags".  The material they are made of is really tough and can be washed and sewn into pretty much anything you can think of.  

    Tack swaps and sewing skills I think have saved me a lot of money on buying things second hand with a lot of use left in them.  I also make hay bags, fleece coolers, leg wraps etc. out of inexpensive but quality material.
  • 10-05-2011 12:11 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    i use haynets to feed.  when i put the hay in the manger, he just shoves it all out onto the ground and then won't eat it.  i've set up hangers above the manger for two hay nets and excess hay falls into the manger.  now, it all goes in his belly where it belongs.  (took a bit of hit and miss to get them the right height though, as they get alot lower as they empty)

    i go pick up my own hay.  that saves $2 a bale.  of course, the f350 truck wasn't cheap, but, it's my husband's, so, i don't have to pay for that...LOL.

    shop around for tack...i have 2 very nice bridles that i bought from someone that had never used them, so, i got the new  at used prices.  and i bought a saddle that is just worn enough to be broken in, but, not worn at all.  new it's about $1000 and i paid $300.

    of course buying quality saves money in the long run.  i am riding in the saddle i bought 30 years ago and it's in excellent condition still.

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 10-05-2011 5:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     I've heard good things about the pelleted bedding. Good idea to buy in bulk and get a discounted price for it.

    And I don't think I've ever boarded anywhere that had a water heater in the wash stall!  Of course, down here in Texas it's not considered such a priority!


  • 10-05-2011 5:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     Some good money saving tips there Gailforce, thanks :-)  When you shopped around for tack, did you do it through local classifieds, eBay, or some other way?

  • 10-05-2011 7:03 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips


    And I don't think I've ever boarded anywhere that had a water heater in the wash stall! 


    Well. the water heater is not in the wash stall itself, but in the tack room next door. A wall separates the two rooms, and the water heater supplies hot water to the wash stall and the washer in the tack room. I'm pretty lucky to have a partner who knows how to install utilities. He and I built my 4-stall barn--his dad taught him to build houses--so I saved a LOT of money b/c we didn't need a contractor to put it up. That's a money-saving tip: spend your life with a Renaissance Man who can build or repair anything you own!

    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


  • 10-05-2011 7:59 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    well i don't have a renaissance man, but, my 2 brothers in law flew out for a long weekend and built my wee barn.  it's 12'x24', half for hay and the other half a run in shelter.  it cost me a couple of plane tickets and the supplies.  i was impressed with how much they did in 3 days!  and i love my barn.  it has doors that open into the manger and shelter, so i can feed/visit my horse in all weather and stay dry.  and i feel like the friendly giant (remember him?). 

    the tack i bought jayne, all actually came through members of my riding club. i put an email out to our club looking for tack, cuz, i bought 2 horses and only had tack for one.

    the bridles were bought in england and when the woman got home she found they didn't fit any of her horses (?) and they fit my 2 perfectly.  brand new still had the tags on them.  they are gorgeous quality and are worth at least a couple hundred bucks each.

    the saddle came from a woman in a town an hour away (our club emails circulate between their club and ours).  she had someone drop it off for me to try and when i told her i liked it and would keep it, she came around a week or two later for payment.  that was a bonus.  so casual.  drop off saddle to a stranger and pop around eventually for the money (or return of the saddle).

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 10-08-2011 11:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     When I buy supplements ( he has to have for IR ) I buy enough to get free shipping.

    I no longer buy impulsively. I put more holes in a halter I'd had for another horse so it fit my current horse (smaller head).

    I use Gorilla Tape to repair winter blankets ($8 a roll at a hardware store). It's much stronger than duct tape and stays on even after rain, as long as it's put on a dry and clean blanket. But it's so strong, as the hardware clerk told me, don't get it on your skin (or your horse's hair) - it'll take your skin off.

    I am taking fewer lessons and part-leasing my horse.

  • 10-08-2011 6:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    Lots of great tips.

    I also buy shavings by the pallet.  That nets me a 25 cent per bag discount.  There are 45 bags on a pallet so I get two bags free with 75 cents left over.

    My horses come in every single night so I go thru about 8 bags of shavings weekly.  Those two free bags and extra 75 cents add up.

    The barn fans are all on timers so they don't run clear into the next morning during the summer.

    I also weigh hay but the guy with the haynet is insulin resistant with a voracious appetite.  He gets a slow feeder haynet to slow him down, which does save me hay.  The other three are good about keeping their hay in the tubs, for the most part.

    I have two horses with metabolic issues, so nothing's cheap.  I measure everything and spend the money to get the highest quality (and pure) products.  More is less in this instance.

    I am thankful to know how to trim so I took everyone's hooves back when I fully retired last spring.  That saves $160 every five weeks.  I have to visit the chiro bi-weekly anyway, so he might as well earn his money:)

    One thing I will not scrimp on is clean water or showering the horses down during height of the summer.  My water bill is awful but keeping their water fresh and keeping them clean from sweat, dirt, etc. beats vet bills for who-knows-what.

    I look for deals on new face masks over the winter, on Ebay, and try to buy them ahead.

    Over the winter, I try to stock up on things I need in the warm months, like fly spray, wound ointment, shampoo, etc. Not that I find it on sale, but it's a lot less painful to buy these things a little at time plus they generally increase in price once "the season" gets here.

  • 10-09-2011 6:20 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     I never EVER pay full price for stuff -- eBay, tack swaps, friends, sales are a necessity.  Also shop in the off-season -- I buy winter stuff in summer and summer stuff in winter.

    I almost never buy "horse" branded clothes for riding either, except breeches.  Great riding shirts with wicking or insulating fabrics can be had for MUCH cheaper from outdoor stores -- running shirts, hiking clothes, etc.  

    Often, all it takes is a little creativity and critical thinking to find a cheaper solution to a problem or to save you from buying an unneccesary product -- fight those marketers!

    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 10-10-2011 6:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    Keep my horses on rotated pastures 24/7. Don't have to feed hay until fall. Stalls are kept open to the pasture and 99% of the time the horses keep them clean. I do bed them down in the winter. Feed hay in the stalls and not on wet, muddy or snow covered ground. Feed only what they eat, don't over feed. I feed twice a day. If you can only feed once, I suggest putting the hay in a hay net so they not tramping on a large amounts of hay and wasting it before they have a chance to eat it.

    Get hay delivered in a wagon straight off the field. Much cheaper that way and less handling.

    Keeping the horses feeding grounds clean, also helps keep them from getting worms. I do fecals before any worming. So far I have not had to worm because the count is always so low or non-existance. Keep them from eating off manure covered area's. And scrub the water tubs out weekly and add fresh water every couple of days.

    Buy used tack from auctions and Craigslist. I don't do Ebay because that's too easy for me to buy more stuff than I need. Way too many choices. LOL. And when I go to the auctions, I bring along a few of my catalogs to see if I'm really getting a deal on products that they are selling new. Auctioneers like to make it seem you're getting a deal when you may very well be paying more for items that you can find for less. I never take their word on it.

    My everyday clothes are my riding clothes. I wear Wrangler jeans, T-shirts and boots everyday. One of the perks of my job. OK, it may be the only perk but whatever. LOL.

    I don't show but I do some Trail Trials a few times a year. We bring our own food and tail gate with friends.

    I bought all my water tubs from a Farm and Garden store when it was going out of business and everything was 50% or more off. And a friend had an old cast iron bath tub just sitting in his barn and gave it to me. I use it in one of the pastures for water.

    I keep my brushes in a basket I got at the dollar store, along with combs and mane brushes from there. You can also get spray bottles for fly spray, laundry bags to store towels, wraps and such in. There are alot of things in these stores that you can find a use for in the barn.

    We do daily, weekly, monthly repairs on the barn, fencing, pasture so you hopefully won't end up with a big major repair down the road. We keep the barn painted every 5 yrs or so to keep it from getting weather damaged.


    If you don't want to stand behind our soldiers who are in danger zones, please stand in front of one.

    If you really open your ears and eyes, you will see that there is alot of great advice given on here. You just have to see it and hear it without closing off your mind.

    VanHalen 26 yr QH Stallion R.I.P. 4/11/82 - 5/8/08 24 wonderful years together.
    Scout 25-28 yr Paint/Draft Cross Gelding
    Glistening 13 yr Arab/Saddlebred Mare
  • 10-12-2011 3:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     One of the best ways to save is buy "non-horse" stuff when ever possible. Breeches, boots (I have 6 completely different pairs of Ariats, lol), some grooming stuff, and most of my show shirts are it for me. I made one show shirt - from oxford-cloth type material using a regular blouse pattern. I modified the collar using a ratcatcher as a guide. But in TX, I prefer the high tech fabrics, so I've bought a long sleeve and a short sleeve.

    Belive it or not, coupon sites (like Coupon Cabin) sometimes have codes for websites like Equestrian Collections (free shipping or $X off orders over $XXX) - combine that with sales and WOW! I once got 3 pairs of breeches (2 were TS!), a show shirt, and 2 pairs of gloves for $150 - and free shipping. Just google the name of the online shop and "coupons" to find them.

     Non-horse horse stuff:

    Shampoo/conditioner for coat/mane/tail - Suave is awesome, I have also used White Rain shampoo and Aussie leave-in conditioner. As long as the smell doesn't attract flies, you're good to go. I've heard the Dawn (dishwashing liquid) is awesome for whites, but haven't tried it yet.

    Brushes - I've bought grooming brushes and wipes in the dog/cat section at Walmart.

    Leather cleaning supllies (including wipes, stretch spray, saddle soap, brushes) - also at Walmart, this time in the shoe section.

    I also agree w/ athletic stores (and Target, usually near lingerie) for hi-tech casual riding tops (and bras and socks). Especially when there's a sale.

    (Oh, and on the "hot" water - at my barn we have to let the water run before hosing down, because the water in the hose that's been sitting in the sun will burn!)

  • 10-25-2011 12:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

     Seems I've been living at the bottom of the barrel spending wise for the last 20 years. I haven't bought a store bought feed bag or supplement in the same amount of time. I've called the vet twice for anything other than for 3 births and the usual vaccs in all that time. My motto is "you don't want to have to call the vet", so I avoid, prevent and keep a sharp eye out. (ofcourse, I would at the drop of a hat if indicated) I don't show anymore, so my needs are simple.

     My money goes towards investing in the future and ease of chores (getting older) and less expense in the daily aspect.

    a) I use slow feeders...saved $400 on hay last year, not to mention all the advantages of trickle feeding. I went and bought puck hockey nets and made my own. I have 6 in use with no holes for 7 years now. The freedom of design it offered, allowed me to set up 5 different designs according to what I had to work with around the place. $30 a shot. Compare that to the Nibblenet.

    b) I eliminated the stalls (cept one) and filled the barn and 60' round pen (built alone) with crushed limestone. 

           i) rock crushing feet One particular muddy spring I used the round pen as a stall. When they came out of there I

             took them to the fist-sized quarry stone road back the land and they never twitched an ear on it. It was the day 

             we really arrived with the barefoot trim.  Don't have to engage a farrier anymore either.

          ii) less thrush, cause no hoof can build when its being eaten away.

         iii) bedding eliminated except for that one stall and only when being used. The gravel allows me to clean it like a 

            kitty litter pan and in half the time. No more stall cleaning, horses can come and go and bedding decreased by


       As for the round pen, they prefer to stand on it. I'm spreading a new load right now, only have half the riding ring done. (alone again) They prefer to stand on the gravel and roll in it too. When going from old ground to new gravel surface they save their shinanigans for the gravel, cause they know the traction will allow it. By the time all 4 feet hit that gravel, the first buck is out already.  When they cross the old ground, they're careful again. I find toads and frogs buried in it for the winter. I take them to the treeline and the next day they're back again...go figure. You'd think they wouldn't be able to stand it on their skin. The cats and dogs also come in to roll and languish...usually when I'm training, ofcourse. 

    I have an english saddle I bought for $50 and and dang fine Synergist that I picked up off Ebay for $900. I have a bitless bridle and donated everything else to a rescue recently. Missyclare has had the same halter for 25 years.

    Electric fencing. Nothing's ever been broken and nobody has ever been wounded. No nails in stall construction. They sit in slots. I can reconfigure the barn 3 different ways in minutes and without any tools. Still using 20 year old boards that are unchewed. No chemicals...just happiness.

    I use barrels with lids for feed and to store winter blankets beautifully.

    My tack room is in the barn the proper and subject to dirt. Those plastic drawer units from Walmart are incredibly tight and keep things clean.

    I invested in a freeze-free tap for water supply. Wish the pressure was as good at the house as it is at the barn! Should have run a hot water line while I was at it. I don't mind carrying one pail of hot water if I need it, sure beats all the water I had to carry before. A water heated communal bucket was also a great more hacking at ice and 24/7 availability.

    The very best material EVER that I've found is felts off a paper machine. The stuff is absolutely indestructible. Dog doors, the big door on the barn, and the ramp coming out of the barn, I covered the drainage rock with it until I could get it covered with the limestone.....year old now....looks like I just laid it there 10 minutes ago and this is a steep enough ramp. Its holding the drainage layer separate from the limestone on the whole barn floor. I'll bet I can make a decent horse boot (slipper/rehab) from it as well. I'll have to try that. Hundreds of uses. 

    I switched to round bales and don't have to "do hay" every summer any more. Also savings. I abandoned the wheel barrow years ago and now use plastic toboggans.  I pull straight down my spine instead of killing my knees and back. I have 6 currently and they are all precious....transport everything winter and summer. If its too heavy, I just tie them to the lawnmower and off I go. I also unroll the hay like toilet paper, put it on a sled, slide the net over the whole thing, standBig Smile it up, pull the sled out with one hand and voila...bag stuffed and good for 12 hours...1 horse.

    Hope I haven't bored you. None of this was incorporated until 10 years ago, when I innocently put pics up of my newly trimmed horses feet and got a big load of things to think about. Fired the farrier the next day and never looked you think I've changed much?Big Smile The bottom line is that I must be able to continue to care for my horses in my advancing age. The day I have to sell them, I won't be a happy all. Big Smile




  • 10-25-2011 8:47 AM In reply to

    Re: Money Saving Tips

    How do you handle their vaccines and teeth floating if not by calling the vet?

    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


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