5 Money Saving Tips for Horse Owners

Discover money-saving tips for horse care during uncertain economic times. Make your own products, change to cheaper feed and bedding, and offer services.

Jeremy Ricketts
Jeremy Ricketts Posted on 5 March 2023
3 Min Read horses, animals, love

Table of Contents

    We are living in very uncertain economic times and a worldwide economic depression is on the horizon with spiralling inflation. However, we can make small money-saving changes and reduce the impact of increasing prices. Just read on and see where you can make small changes that will ease your financial squeeze.

    Make your own money-saving products

    In some instances, you will be able to make your own products. These will be just as effective but substantially cheaper than purchasing the product elsewhere. As a bonus, you will be able to sell your overproduction to your horsey friends at a price lower than they could expect from other sources. 

    Make your own horse fly and midge repellent.

    Buying fly repellents online is expensive but homemade fly sprays are so much cheaper and really effective.

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    Copper Sulphate Crystals

    Make your own thrush treatment product.

    To treat thrush and other fungal foot infections in horses, I mix copper sulphate crystals with a binding agent to make it adhere to the sole. The mixture quickly eliminates the infection, but should be avoided in the eyes. I use either hoof oil or petroleum jelly as the binding agent, mixing one part copper sulphate with four parts of the binding agent. Copper sulphate crystals are now only available online and are inexpensive.

    Iodine solution for horses

    Make your own horse leg coolants

    Consider making your own leg coolants. One option is to use cabbage or dock leaves, which have been used for centuries to treat horse sprains and strains. The outer leaves of savoy cabbage are especially effective for this purpose and should not be discarded. To use, wrap the leaves under bandages and apply to the horse's legs.

    Another option is to make a cooling iodine solution using a strong iodine solution and a cheap vegetable oil. Mix one part iodine solution with four parts oil, shake well, and apply to the horse's legs. Keep in mind that the iodine may stain, so be careful when applying and wash your hands afterward. This DIY coolant can be an affordable alternative to commercially available products.

    Change to cheaper hay feed and bedding

    You cannot save money by underfeeding your horse but there are things that will lower your costs. If your horse has COPD or even a mild dust allergy soak your hay rather than feeding very expensive hayhage. Soaking hay for five minutes substantially reduces the dust and spore content but the hay must then be fed as it will not keep.

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    How to Slow down your horse's hay consumption

    If your horse needs to slow down its hay consumption and is overweight the cheapest thing to do is to suspend a small hole net at an appropriate height from a rafter so that it can spin without touching a wall. 

    Your horse will find it harder to feed from the net and its consumption rate will be reduced to trickle feeding. This will be substantially cheaper than buying a commercial slow-feeding product.

    Saving money from my horse's bedding bill

    If your horse has COPD and needs a wood chip bed then you can not use straw but otherwise, this will be will be the cheapest bedding. If you have stable mats you can still use straw and you will be able to use even less of it.  

    All things considered, you will make a substantial saving by converting from woodchip bedding to using straw. However, If you don't have stable mats do bear in mind that the amount of waste will be greater than with a wood chip bed and your manure heap will grow.

    Save money on your horse's worming bill

    With careful pasture management, the cost of worming will be substantially reduced and this will also help the environment. For more on this read the article suggestion.

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    NIKWAX for horserugs

    Clean and re-waterproof your turnout rugs

    1. Soak your rug in a recommended detergent solution for at least an hour in a large enough plastic container.
    2. Remove the rug and lay it on the ground then use a pressure washer with the pressure turned down or a yard broom to thoroughly clean the rug.
    3. While the rug is still wet use the NIKWAX rug reproofing product and work it into the fabric using a sponge.

    Don't use clothes detergent

    Don't use a clothes detergent and hot water as this will remove all of the waterproofing from your rug.

    Offer your personal equine services

    There are numerous ways of offering your services but if you are in full-time work you will be limited by the amount of time you can spare. Nevertheless, offering your services can really help to cut your costs and this is especially if your horse is boarded in a DIY livery yard. However, you will have to check with the owners of the DIY yard about what services you can offer. 

    Here are some examples of services you can offer:


    1. Bringing in or turning out another DIY livery horse in return for the same being done for your horse. This will cut down on your visits to your livery yard, so reduces your car's petrol consumption and it will also give you more time in the day.
    2. Clipping another DIY livery horse for a suitable fee, and obviously, this assumes that you are a good clipper and will do a neat job. 
    3. Transporting another horse to the same show you and your horse are attending for remuneration to cover your petrol cost.
    4. Looking after someone else's horse when they are away on holiday in return for a payment or the same favour being done for you and your horse. 

    The take-home message

    Think carefully about all of your horse expenses and the ways you can make savings as well as how you can make a little bit of money.  Obviously, there is a cut-off point beyond which you do not have enough funds to own a horse. However, many people will be able to enjoy their equine partner with careful consideration and good “housekeeping” or should I say “stablekeeping”. 

    Something your granny may have told you!

    Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.


    Can I save money by extending the time between having my horse reshod?

    Is it advisable to offer lessons on my horse?

    Is it advisable to keep my horse at a riding school for a reduced fee?

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    Jeremy Ricketts

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    Hello, I'm the resident writer here at The Rideout. I've been riding horses for the best part of... well my entire life! Over the years of owning, riding, competing and looking after horses I've built up a small wealth of information.

    This site owes tribute to my many hours spent in and out of the saddle learning about the behaviours, needs, and quirks of these amazing animals. From basic care and grooming to advanced training techniques, I've honed my skills through years of hands-on experience.

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