Is this for real? Can a horse lover really have a horse on a small wallet?
The answer is probably more practical than one may think. There are many things a horse owner can do to limit the expense of owning a horse. Probably one of the most important things is to have an excellent, professional farrier. They will be worth their weight in gold. Most especially if they own horses, as they can help in a myriad of ways. This PFO’s (Primary Farm Operator) go-to for any horse question is the farrier. It would be recommended that they go see the horse and check out his feet before purchasing.
The main goal in mind is to own an easy keeper. That will be the largest help on the wallet. An easy keeper is sound, mature, has solid feet, is good tempered, and social. Horses are herd animals. It is unkind to own a horse and keep it alone. This does not mean another big horse is in order. A barn cat, chickens, a goat, a sheep, or a miniature horse will provide company. Perhaps the new horse will be boarded with other horses.
Boarding is a huge expense, and is often the reason owning a horse is not practical. Perhaps though the barn manager would be willing to trade work for some of the boarding fee. It sure is worth asking. Barter to care for the animals in exchange for a portion of the fee while the manager takes a much wanted vacation, cleaning the barn, washing tack, etc. Be creative in bartering!
At Blue Rock Horses & Farm this PFO works hard to keep the animals well. Here are a few pointers:
Keep hooves picked! Remember: no feet, no horse.
Take careful look of animals daily. Vets are expensive, work to keep animals well! Know what “well” looks like.
Buy good used tack and take very good care of it!
Feed horses good hay, and plenty of it. On this farm, the healthy, mature horses are not grained in the winter. They simply do not work hard enough to require grain, nor does it keep them as warm as good hay. But they do get MUCH hay!
Do not waste hard-earned money on blankets. Unless the horse is an old one, or not healthy, they do fine in the winter. So long as they can get out of especially cold, wet weather and into a stall, if they choose, they will be fine.
These are just a few ideas. There are plenty more! Read and ask questions of the folks that have healthy, good-looking horses. This is a favorite subject for horse people!
Know the farm. Know the farmer.
Homemade is best.