Smart Horse Keeping

Farm Equipment: Buy or Lease?

Shopping for a new vehicle last year I had to decide whether it would be more practical to buy or lease based on my budget. The same case can be made for farm equipment – from tractors to all-purpose vehicles to trucks and trailers. You can find significant savings in either buying or leasing depending on your needs and objectives. First determine those needs and objectives, factor in maintenance cost, and then compare the affordability of lease payments versus purchase price.... Read More

Filed under:

Labor Pains

If you own your own small farm with a few horses, chances are you do much of the gruntwork yourself. But when is it necessary to hire out for labor, and under what circumstances could you be saving money by doing chores and maintenance yourself? Not all of us are handy enough to make fence repairs or equipped to hay pastures, but we can certainly clean some stalls and turn out some horses.... Read More

Filed under:

Farm Care

If you own your own property, you know maintenance and upkeep expenses never disappear. But whether or not you own a barn or board your horse at someone else’s, there are some steps you can take to help ease the pain of general upkeep costs:... Read More

Filed under:

Bedding Selection

This week’s excerpt on stall bedding will be more relevant for those horse owners who house their horses on their own property. Bedding is a necessity if you bring your horse into a stall, and there are a surprising amount of product choices, but which is the most economical? This primarily depends on what’s available where you live.... Read More

Filed under:

What is Your Board Worth

Moving on to the next chapter of our Thrifty Horsekeeping project: Housing. Over the next four weeks I'll be discussing ways to save on board, how to cut costs around the barn, and economical choices for barn essentials such as stall bedding. This first segment will cover boarding costs. Ultimately, keeping and caring for your horse on your own property is the most cost-efficient way to house a horse, but for many of us, myself included, it's just not an option.... Read More

Filed under:

Easy on the Supplements

Equine supplementation is a hot topic: Are supplements necessary? Effective? Over-used? Dangerous? Expensive? Supplements have become a major part of equine nutrition, and there are countless types of horses out there that benefit from and need them – high-performance athletes, horses with certain health problems, horses without access to high-quality forage, etc. – but over-supplementation is becoming a common and costly problem. ... Read More

Filed under:

Giving Up the Grain

Now that we’ve discussed the value of quality forage for your horse’s diet, let’s talk about grain. If you’re going to try to save money on your horse’s feed you may need to ask yourself if your horse even requires grain. You may be feeding (or over-feeding) him something he doesn’t even need.... Read More

Filed under:

Greener Pastures

I think the real cost-saver when it comes to your horse’s feed and nutrition is pasture. Unless your horse is young and growing, pregnant or lactating, or in strenuous work, his nutritional needs can easily be met with a simple forage diet of good pasture or hay (plus water and some free choice salt). The hardest part then becomes providing the highest-quality grass and managing your pasture to get the most out of it.... Read More

Filed under:

Hay Days

One of the unfortunate consequences of a slow economy is that when horse owners begin to struggle financially, their spending on horse care and feed is one of the first things to be cut. I can’t even begin to recount how many stories I’ve heard over the past year of horses whose owners just can’t afford to feed them anymore. So we’re tackling the important topic of feed and nutrition... Read More

Filed under:

Creative Recycling

In today's world we are constantly reminded to be ecofriendly, to live “green” - so why not apply that mindset to horse ownership? You will be doing a favor to both the environment and your wallet. I'm not just talking about recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans, but reusing your old horse stuff, household items you would otherwise throw away, and dollar store goods you may not have thought would have an equestrian use.... Read More

Filed under:

About This Blog

Smart Horsekeeping aims to provide practical advice for managing horses in a more environmentally friendly way, and on navigating difficult economic times as a hands-on horse owner. Our bloggers believe it’s possible to keep horses in an environmentally savvy way without breaking the bank!