We all know horses are expensive, but that doesn’t mean savings can’t be made. H&H asked a team of financial experts for their money-saving tips for horse owners — from reviewing your insurance policy to researching bedding brands.

Ways to save on your horse bills

  • Feed: The majority of horses manage well on a forage-based diet and, if necessary, one vitamin and mineral supplement or feed balancer. Your vet or an equine nutritionist can advise whether your horse really needs additional feed or supplements.
  • Bedding: Research the many products on the market and shop around. In some cases it may be cheaper to buy direct from the supplier, rather than via your local feed merchant. And while fitting rubber matting requires a significant initial financial investment, it can pay for itself in reduced bedding costs over time.
  • Livery: Do you really need everything you are paying for at your livery yard? If you are paying for someone else to provide all or part of your horse’s day-to-day care, it may reduce costs if you were able to do more yourself, even on a temporary basis. Many horses do very well on permanent turnout. It could be worth looking around for a suitable grass livery or renting a field.
  • Horse care costs: Discuss worming and feeding routines with your vet to make sure you are using the most effective and economical regimes. Protect your horse and your pocket by worming strategically based on test results. The exception to this is treating for encysted small redworm, which must be undertaken annually in winter to maintain your horse’s health.
  • Farriery costs: Investigate shoeing options for your horse with your farrier; you may find your horse doesn’t need to have a full set of shoes all year round. And if there is not much wear on the horse’s shoes, your farrier may be able to refit them rather than replace them.

Don’t ignore encysted small redworm, advises Zoetis vet Wendy Talbot

Worming-a-horse-nativeAlmost one in five horse owners are still not aware of the dangers that encysted small redworm pose to their horse’s health, according to the latest National Equine Health Survey.1

Encysted small redworm can cause potentially fatal disease. ALL horses should receive a treatment for encysted small redworm during November/December, even if they have a negative faecal worm egg count.2,3

There are only two active ingredients licensed to treat encysted small redworm: a single dose of moxidectin or a five-day course of fenbendazole. Resistance to fenbendazole is now widespread in the UK so a resistance test is recommended before using it.3

Discover from the experts why encysted small redworm are so dangerous to your horse by watching the new Vet Essentials documentary on worm control on Horse & Country TV (Sky Channel 253).

Don’t risk your horse’s health. Speak to your vet or SQP about responsible worm control. You can also visit www.esrw.co.uk to find out more.

1. The National Equine Health Survey, conducted by the Blue Cross and supported by Zoetis, was completed by 4951 horse owners in May 2015, with records returned for 14,952 horses. The survey contained questions on general horse health, care and management and was validated by Professor Josh Slater of the Royal Veterinary College.
2. Nielsen (2012) Veterinary Paristology. 185. 32-44
3. Matthews, JB (2008) Equine Vet. Educ. 552-560

6 top tips for managing your money

  1. Know what you’re dealing with. Sit down and perform a monthly budgeting exercise each month. Be honest and realistic with yourself and include all expenditure that will occur. Visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk and www.moneysavingexpert.com for advice on how to pull together a monthly budget.
  2. Face your debts. List all your debts and create an action plan of how/when you are going to repay these. Find good advice on dealing with debt at www.direct.gov.uk, www.nationaldebtline.co.uk and www.citizensadvice.co.uk
  3. Consolidate accumulated debts where possible. Look for good rates of interest, especially on credit cards – there are always 0% balance transfer deals around. Visit the useful www.moneysupermarket.com to compare.
  4. Struggle to limit your spending on credit cards? Lower your credit limit at the first possible chance.
  5. It sounds obvious, but strive to save as much as you can where possible. As a guide, try to have a minimum of at least one month’s salary in reserve. This will help plan for the future and ensure you have a cash reserve in an emergency – for example with an unexpected vet’s bill or lorry breakdown.
  6. Review your insurance policies. Are you really prepared/able to make that one-off payment should an accident occur? It may be wiser to have a reduced excess and pay slightly more each month.

H&H 19 April 2012