What To Do When You Can’t Afford Your Horse Anymore? 18 Money-Saving Tips

Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by Sam

Riding horses is a beautiful experience, but it’s pricey to keep them healthy, especially when they reach their old age. Here are 18 tips on how you can afford your horse without breaking the bank and some of the ways that you can make money by selling off parts of your animal through online auctions or classified ads.

Horse ownership is a hobby, but not everyone can afford to maintain the horse they have. Use these 18 money-saving tips to help you enjoy your equine friend without breaking the bank.

The “how to make money for a horse as a kid” is one of the most common questions that people ask. The article provides 18 money-saving tips on how to save up for your next horse.

We all know that owning a horse is costly, and although you may have planned ahead for your favorite horse 10 years ago, a lot can happen in ten years. Feed, bedding, and boarding costs may rise, but if your wage does not, this can be an issue. There are also unforeseeable changes in circumstances, such as pregnancy, redundancy, or, unfortunately, divorce. 

Circumstances may change at any moment, and it can be terrible if you can no longer afford to maintain your horse, but there are a few things you can do to decrease the cost of ownership, or at the very least split the expenses, before you sell or rehome them.

Here are some innovative ideas for lowering the expense of keeping a horse.

Getting a better deal on your horse’s board

The cost of boarding a horse may range from $150 for DIY board to $2000 for full board, but the good news is that there are things you can do to decrease it, sometimes dramatically.


Calculate the cost of the board.

If you’re having trouble affording the monthly cost of boarding your horse, ask the yard owner if you may work off part of the charges. Many owners will appreciate the additional help, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money on boarding expenses.

This option isn’t for everyone, particularly if you don’t have a lot of free time, but common responsibilities include cleaning out stables, feeding horses, turning them out/in, and sometimes even exercising them.

Change the board’s kind.

Ask yourself whether the sort of board your horse is using is really essential, and if it isn’t, try dropping down a level or two.

If you have some free time and your horse is on full board, consider lowering it to partial or self-care. Both will enable you to keep your horse stalled without having to deal with the frills like turning out, grooming, and sometimes exercising it.

Many horses have been shown to be happier when kept on pasture board, so it’s worth inquiring whether this is a possibility at the yard.


Change boarding yards if necessary.

You may like your horse’s stable, but are you spending more than you need to? I’m not advocating that you transfer your horse to the cheapest barn you can find; rather, think about whether you truly need (or utilize) all of the extra amenities at your present barn.

While having a floodlit outdoor arena or a heated indoor facility is fantastic, how frequently do you utilize them? If the answer isn’t frequently, you may save a lot of money by changing to a yard that doesn’t have some of those amenities.

Moving yards may be stressful for both you and your horse, which is why I’ve put up a guide to help you select the appropriate yard the first time (for both of you).

Your horse’s bedding should be changed on a regular basis.

The cost of bedding varies during the year, but in general, wood flakes are the most costly, while flax and straw are the least expensive, which is why making this minor adjustment may result in a significant savings.

While the initial cost is significant, using rubber mats beneath your horse’s bedding will save you a lot of money in the long run. Because the mats function as a cushion, you will not need as much bedding as you would if you did not have mats.

Allowing your horse to be utilized in lessons is a good idea.

This isn’t for everyone, and it’s not for every horse (particularly if they’re tough to ride or don’t like new or inexperienced riders), but if your boarding yard provides classes or has a resident teacher, allowing them to use your horse may help you save money on boarding.

It’ll be a win-win scenario for everyone: your horse will receive regular exercise, the teacher will benefit from having another horse to train with, and you’ll be able to save money on boarding costs.


Put your horse on a half-lease agreement.

It might be tough to trust someone else to care for and ride your horse (particularly if you don’t know them), but giving your horse on a half lease could mean that you not only get to retain your horse, but the monthly payments are divided with someone else, typically halving them.

If you’re concerned about entrusting your horse to the incorrect individual, don’t worry; as the owner, you’ll be able to screen every possible lessor. You’ll also have the last say in who you share your horse with, and your horse will remain put so you can keep an eye on him at any time.

If you do decide to put your horse on a partial lease, make sure you have a contract in place beforehand. This should clearly define everyone’s roles and obligations, as well as deal with the problem of responsibility.

Please leave your horse at home.

If you have adequate room to keep your horse at home (or with a friend), you may save anywhere from $150 to $2000 per month (depending on boarding prices). You’ll still have to pay for feed, bedding, fencing, water, and other necessities, but you won’t be paying for a stall or pasture.

Feeding your horse at a lower cost

We often assume that the expense of feeding a horse is unavoidable, but there are a few simple modifications you can make that can significantly lower your monthly feed costs.

Directly from the farmer, purchase your hay.

Some boarding yards may purchase hay in bulk and charge each owner a minimal fee, but if your yard does not do so and you live near a farm (or at least within driving distance), purchasing hay directly from the farmer will save you a lot of money. Some farmers would even transport it to you, while others will enable you to purchase in bulk and store it for you, saving you even more money.

During the summer, buy hay.

If you have ample storage space for hay (and straw, if you need it), purchasing your winter supply in the summer will ensure that you have enough for the winter while avoiding the higher winter rates. 

This is because most crops (such as hay, straw, flax, etc.) are produced and abundant throughout the summer, but there is less hay available during the winter, but more people demand it. This implies that the cost may rise by up to 75% in the winter, so you can see how much you might save.


Prepare your own meals

We’re all guilty of overspending for convenience, whether we like it or not, and horse food is no exception. Feeding your horse ready-mixed concentrates is by far the most costly method of feeding them, not to mention the fact that you have less control over what they consume.

You’ll save money by mixing your horse’s feed yourself, but you’ll also have more control over what your horse eats and can adjust his diet to match his individual requirements. 

Measure out the feed for your horse.

If you feed your horse by the eye or by volume, you may be giving him more than he requires and so spending more money than is required. You’ll not only save money by weighing his meal as you mix it, but you’ll also know he’s receiving the precise quantity of food he needs.

Weigh your horse on a regular basis.

Using a weigh tape to keep track of your horse’s weight every other week will allow you to give them just what they need, no more and no less.

This may mean giving them more one time and less the next, but you’ll know your horse is receiving EXACTLY what he needs.

More pasture and less concentrate should be fed to your horse. 


Horses need significantly less concentration than people often believe; even a horse working hard will only require roughly 3% of his body weight in concentrate. Even if you feed your horse the best quality hay, raising the forage (and lowering the concentrate) will ensure that he gets enough to eat while costing you a lot less.

You should also see your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to see whether your horse need any extra nutrients.

lowering the expense of owning a horse in other ways

There are a number of additional modifications that may be done to save you money in addition to lowering your board and food expenditures.

Consider going barefoot for a change of pace.

Whether your horse is shod, check with your farrier to see if they truly need to wear shoes. You’ll still need to trim his toes on a regular basis, but going barefoot (even for a portion of the year) might save you a lot of money each year. When you consider that a new pair of shoes may cost anywhere between $80 and $200 (depending on whether they have two or four shoes) and that they need to be changed every 4 to 6 weeks, it’s easy to understand how much money you can save.

Only purchase what you really need.

It’s all too tempting to fall prey to marketing hype (I’m guilty of it myself), but consider if your horse truly needs the newest and shiniest halter or the all-singing, all-dancing shampoo. Don’t buy it because there’s a good chance he doesn’t.

Horses have basic requirements and don’t care what color anything is, if it matches, or whether it sparkles, so keep this in mind the next time you’re at the tack store.

Learn the basics of first aid. 

I’m not recommending that you take a full-fledged veterinarian school, but acquiring a few fundamental medical skills might help you avoid some unexpected expenses. If your horse wounds himself, for example, you’ll be able to treat the wound yourself rather than having to contact your veterinarian; similarly, if you can give medications yourself, you won’t have to pay your veterinarian to do so.

Budget stores are far less expensive than tack shops.

When it’s time to replace your sponges, shirts, or other supplies, instead of going to your local tack shop, go to your local budget or domestic store. You’ll save a small sum. While this isn’t always the case, many ‘horsey’ goods are more expensive than everyday items.

Check out this post I just prepared for a more comprehensive breakdown of what home goods may help you save money.

Keep track of your expenses.

I acknowledge that this will not save you money, but it will help you understand precisely how much everything costs and what you actually need and don’t need, enabling you to budget more effectively and save even more.

Expense record books are available at most stationers, or you may subscribe to the Horse Factbook newsletter and get our FREE horse record kit. You’ll also get frequent updates, money-saving suggestions, and horse-care advice from the Horse Factbook stable as a bonus.

Horse owners should never cut down on these expenses.

When you’re trying to save money, it’s easy to believe that your horse is OK now and you don’t need insurance, or that you won’t be traveling this year and can skip immunizations, but this is incorrect. It’s vital to remember that a horse is still a live being that you have decided to care for and look for, no matter how tight your budget is. As a result, it is your job to ensure that your horse’s health is taken care of and that they have all they need. This suggests that there are certain expenses that should never be reduced, regardless of the circumstances, such as:

  • Veterinary care – You may be able to give your horse some basic first aid, but there’s no replacement for expert veterinary care when it’s needed.
  • Vaccinations – Horses may be vaccinated against a variety of diseases, including equine influenza and rabies, and these should be kept up to date at all times.
  • Hoof maintenance – Whether your horse wears shoes or not, his feet will need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks.
  • Deworming – You may not need to deworm your horse every time, but having a fecal count done twice a year can help you target any worms he does have more effectively.
  • Dental care — Even though your horse’s teeth seem to be in good shape, it’s a good idea to get them examined on a regular basis. This will not only help them stay in excellent shape, but it will also allow any issues to be identified early.
  • Insurance is not required in most jurisdictions, yet it is vital in my opinion. It may cost a few hundred dollars a year, but it might save you thousands if anything happens to your horse.


If you still can’t afford to maintain your horse, what should you do?

If you’ve done all you can to save money but still don’t have enough to retain your horse, now is the time to consider selling or rehoming your horse, as tough as it may be. You may believe it is preferable to wait until the last minute, but you may not have enough time to determine where he goes if you do so. 

The sooner you attempt to locate a new home for your horse, the better for both your peace of mind and the happiness of your horse. 

If you truly need to sell your horse, read this article first before posting an ad. It covers topics such as what to put in an advertisement, how to take a decent image (and video), and how to ensure that your horse goes to the proper family.

Additional reading

Products that are suggested 

I’ve tried hundreds of different horsey goods over the years, from various blankets and halters to various goodies. I’ve liked some and disliked others, but I wanted to share with you my top all-time favorite goods, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve given links to the goods that I believe are fantastic (in no particular order).

  • Mane and Tail Detangler – Even if you never exhibit your horse, you’ll need to disentangle his tail (and maybe his mane) from time to time, which is always a difficult task! I’ve discovered that running a little detangler through my horse’s tails every few days keeps them from mattifying and makes combing them simple, even when they’re covered in muck. It also works wonderfully on my hair, which I’m not sure whether I should disclose or not.
  • TAKEKIT Pro clippers – I’ve tried a number of various clippers over the years, and although some were clearly better than others, these were by far the finest. They’re heavier than many other clippers, which I think is a good thing since it makes them seem more solid and durable. Furthermore, they come in a variety of speeds, making them as effective at trimming your horse’s back as they are his face. I also enjoy that they come with a convenient travel bag, although that isn’t for everyone. The firm that manufactures them is fantastic, and they’re also really helpful, which is a huge plus these days. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it didn’t come with any oil, but it’s not a big deal since lubricant isn’t hard to get by.
  • Shire’s ball feeder — There are a plethora of boredom-busting toys available, but I like to use them on a daily basis, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I found that giving my horses with treats (or pieces of fruit) not only encourages them to solve problems, but it also mirrors their natural grazing activity, which helps to keep them relaxed and de-stressed.
  • Horse safe mirror – This is an odd one that many people are startled by, but I prefer to have horse safe mirrors in the trailers and quarantine stalls. It helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness by creating the idea that there are other horses around. Horses, like herd animals, may get severely anxious if they think they are alone, but with these stick-on mirrors, they assume at least one other horse is around.

I hope you found this post to be informative. If you do, I’d like it if you could share it with me since it would be quite helpful.

Watch This Video-

Horse care can be expensive and if you’re not able to afford your horse anymore, there are plenty of ways to save money. Here is a list of 18 money-saving tips that will help you keep your horse healthy and happy. Reference: how to pay for a horse.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do when you can no longer afford your horse?

A: If you can no longer afford your horse, go to a nearby stable and ask if they will take it in.

How do I save money when I have a horse?

A: You could probably buy a cheaper horse. Or you can just not have one, its your choice!

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