What do you do if your checkbook is screaming for cash while your horse is whinnying for attention? In these penny-pinching economic times, what's a horse-addict to do? It seems like everything costs way too much money these days, from showing your horse to paying the farrier. So what can you do? Easy … practice equinomics with these money-saving tips that will keep you and your horse healthy and happy!
Equinomics, or the practice of having fun with your horse without breaking the bank, falls into three categories:
It may not be practical to go truckin 'down the road to every horse show anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't travel with your horse and still have fun. Here are some great equinomic ideas for what to do with your horse.
1. Get Social
Getting together with friends to ride can be both fun and inexpensive! Many people accustomed to being on the show circuit are economizing by trail riding (or even riding in a neighborhood arena) with friends. To save money, share rides and haul in the same trailer. If you still want to take lessons, economize by taking a group lesson and hauling to the trainer's with a buddy.
2. School and Show Locally
If you're not ready to ditch the show circuit altogether, consider hauling to local shows. Local shows are an inexpensive way to school your horses. Use these shows to put mileage on young horses or to tune up experienced show horses. Either way, show fees are usually 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of top-rated shows.
This economic "down time" is the perfect opportunity to really focus on your horse's health from the inside out.
3. Focus on Cure
If you've been palliating your horse's health issues, now is a good time to transition to cure, since cure is a less expensive and more permanent solution in the long run than palliating symptoms. For instance, if you've been just "dealing with" your horse's ulcer symptoms, stop and take stock of what's causing his symptoms. Does he need to live out on pasture rather than in a stall? Does he need supplements like Stomach Soother, probiotics, or slippery elm and aloe vera? Or does he just need time off from work to decompress?
4. Healthcare Maintenance
With fall and winter around the corner, now is a good time to float your horse's teeth and see to any other healthcare maintenance he might need. A healthy horse that assimilates nutrients easily will be less expensive to feed during the winter. To offset the cost of these veterinary services, consider pulling your horse's shoes and giving your horse's hooves a rest, especially if he's not going to be showing. A barefoot trim costs less than four shoes, and is healthier for your horse.
5. Discover Your Horse's Five-Element Type or Temperament
Once you know your horse's type, read about it in the "Horse Harmony" book to discover how best to manage him. A well-managed horse is healthy, happy, and less expensive to keep.
6. Barter or Buy in Bulk
People are always more willing to barter in tough economic times. If you've got goods or services to offer, consider suggesting a trade with your trainer, hay supplier, or veterinarian. Another technique that works well is to buy hay and feed in bulk. For instance, you might put together an informal "co-op" of horse people in your neighborhood and order a large load of hay or feed to get a discount.
Ultimately, this economic downturn is the perfect opportunity to implement healthy financial practices. I've saved my best equinomic tip for last.
7. Learn to Support Your Horse Habit
Horses are an expensive addiction, and luckily there are ways to support that addiction, especially now.