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Cost-saving horse care

You don't have to break the bank in equipment and feed costs

Horses aren’t cheap to have around. They require space and equipment – and they eat a lot. Some people have to take out a loan just to purchase the animal, but there are less-expensive ways to enjoy having a horse.

Monte Stauffer is an extension livestock educator at the University of Nebraska. He says consider borrowing, leasing, or sharing a horse. Some horse owners are willing to loan a horse that isn’t being used much, but not willing to sell it.

If the animal doesn’t come with its own tack, Stauffer says there are inexpensive ways to find the equipment you need.

"You can go to different tack swaps, or many times on the internet you can find used equipment for sale, people that are getting out of the business, neighbors that you know have sold their horse," says Stauffer. "Many times you can get some slightly used equipment a lot cheaper than buying brand new equipment that you’re not sure whether you’re going to use or not."

The most expensive part of owning a horse is feeding it if you don’t raise your own grain and hay. Stauffer recommends buying grain in bulk rather than bags, and buying your hay supply in the summer.

"Many times at the elevator you can have them mix up a grain that has the protein and mineral supplement all mixed together, and you can have them run it into a trash can or a barrel or something. Usually if it’s bulk it’s probably around half the price if it’s bagged," says Stauffer. "Hay is usually more expensive in the wintertime after it’s been put away and stored, so if you can stock up on your year’s supply of hay in the summertime when it’s being harvested and you can just get it right out of the field, that’s when it’s the cheapest."

To save on health care, schedule routine vaccinations and other checkups with other horse owners in the area, and split the cost of the veterinarian’s call fee.

Find more money and time saving horse care tips

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