Horse & Hound surveyed readers to find out what impact — if any — the credit crunch is having on the equestrian world. The finders made it clear that horse owners are feeling the pinch.

When asked if people in your local equestrian community were concerned about the credit crunch, 88 per cent said they were, while 78 per cent of respondents said the stagnating economy was a regular topic of discussion at their yards.

The majority of you are booking fewer lessons — 65 per cent of respondents have cut back on lessons in the past six months — while 43 per cent admit to entering cheaper shows and events.

A quarter of you have stopped running your lorries and the price of fuel was repeatedly mentioned as a cause of concern.

While 42 per cent of you report that livery costs have become more expensive in the last year, our survey showed that selling up is a last resort. The general attitude appears to be summed up by one respondent who wrote: “I’m spending less on non-horsey things. My horses are my priority.”

Reader comments

“I’m buying less expensive feed, spending less on training, turning the horses out for longer and doing my own fencing and paddock maintenance. It’s not so bad when you get going!”

“Riders at my yard are grouping together when attending shows so that we can all share transportation and the fuel costs involved.”

“I’ve had to move my horse on to DIY from part-livery. All of us at the yard on DIY are trying to collate our feed and bedding orders to take advantage of bulk-buying discounts.”

“As a family, we have had to curb everything that involves leisure and socialising in order to keep one horse.”

“I’ve changed to a cheaper farrier and taken my lorry off the road as I can’t afford the repairs to get it through its plating at the moment.”

“I share my daughter’s pony with friends in return for free grazing for my horse.”

“I moved from a 4×4 to a lorry as it’s actually cheaper to run.”

“I’ve changed my insurance to a cheaper company in an attempt to save money. I’m also patching up and mending kit rather than buying new stuff.”

“I’ve been working in kind for instructors, doing their PR and sponsorship packages in order to get free lessons.”

Read more comments from H&H readers, plus the full feature on the impact that the credit crunch is having on the equestrian industry, in today’s Horse & Hound (12 June, ’08)