Owning a Horse

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Horse Ownership Made More Affordable

An Affordable Approach to Horse Ownership

Many of us in childhood dreamt of owning a horse. Today in Dubai, many among us are now in a position to fulfil that lingering dream.

The first financial lesson quickly learned by owners is that horse maintenance costs can far overshadow the horse’s initial purchase price. While outlay to buy a horse in the United Arab Emirates can be significant, these longer term costs require special consideration. Expense in caring for our equine friends can quickly add up, on items ranging from farrier costs, vet bills and competitions, to blankets, tack and the other essentials.

Although providing for your horse’s wellbeing should never be skimped upon, many inventive methods do exist to help reduce those recurring bills and the overall expenses associated with ownership.

Preventive Measures: Understand Your Horse

A better understanding of your horse can save you money on farrier visits and vet bills. Horses, like humans, possess individual traits and quirks. When left outdoors during a rainy period, does your horse suffer hives or rain rot? Keeping your horse stabled at such times can help reduce your veterinarian bills for treatments and antibiotics. To keep his hooves in top condition, does your horse need to be shod exactly every five weeks? In that case, you should pay close attention to your calendar. Understanding how your horse reacts to varying weather conditions, as well as physical issues such as bruises and bumps, can save you money over the longer term.

Understanding your horse’s reactions to particular situations, as well as his general temperament, can also help you identify possible problems that may arise. A potential health emergency, for example, could be averted by an early recognition of change in your horse’s attitude. Close attention should also be paid to his idiosyncrasies and recognising what is normal and abnormal, in regard to your horse’s vital signs.

Besides noting your horse’s individual quirks, provision of preventive care is also a high priority. Which vaccinations are recommended for horses in Dubai should be checked upon with your veterinarian. The vet should also be consulted about vaccines if you plan to transport your horse outside of the city.

Costs can be reduced by arranging for your vet to vaccinate the whole stable in just one visit, thus lowering visiting fees to a minimum. Direct purchase of vaccines from the retailer can also save a lot, provided you feel comfortable doing the vaccination yourself, or have a stable manager who can carry it out. Importantly, your vet should still be consulted before buying the vaccines and, once acquired, they should be stored, handled and administered correctly.

A veterinarian is not essential for every minor scrape or bump your horse may receive. The most important thing is assessing the difference between what does, and what does not, constitute a serious injury. If any doubt should arise, then consult your vet, since early treatment of injuries can help hinder complications and longer term costs.

Choosing the Right Feed

Some owners attempt to reduce costs with a lower cost or quality of feed and then bring additional supplements to the mix. If you study the feed options in Dubai, you’ll often uncover affordable products that require no further supplements, or at least reduce their need. An equine nutritionist should be consulted about combining the best value feed with your horse’s nutritional requirements.

No Cutting Corners

In certain circumstances, costs should never be a determining factor in your horse’s welfare. His well-being should never be jeopardised by selecting inferior services or products in the hope of making savings. If, for example, your horse appears to be suffering from colic, has been injured in a turnout accident or is in any other life-threatening situation, then you should call the vet immediately.

Precious minutes can be decisive to your horse’s health and recovery speed in emergency situations requiring veterinary attention. Although higher costs may be associated with an emergency, owners do have the responsibility to place the horse’s welfare above expense. Always take seriously an illness or injury that appears to require immediate action.

The same principle applies equally to shoeing. As the old saying goes, “No hoof, no horse”. If your horse has bad hooves, a quarter crack or a special shoeing problem, then timely action will be required. Horses are unaware that they need to be shod or trimmed every four to six weeks. It’s the owner’s duty to note when the next farrier visit should be arranged.

Buy In Bulk

If you have sufficient storage space, then it’s best to buy hay in quantity. The general rule of thumb is, “the more you buy, the better the deal”. The same can be said of shavings. Buying in bulk instead of by the bagful will also produce further savings. Discover loose bedding prices by contacting the local mills in Dubai. Some will allow you to fill your truck with the sawdust or shavings, while others will provide delivery for you.

Turnout Preferred

Whenever possible, and as long as it suits your horse, try to have him turned out as much as you can. He’ll then suffer less exposure to boredom in his stall, which may help in reducing stable-associated stereotypies such as cribbing, weaving and stall-walking. Another benefit will be in reduced costs for hay and bedding.

Spend Now, Save Later

In some cases, spending money can save money. Sometimes an upfront payment will help you save money over the longer term. One example might be a $300 investment in a quality set of body clippers, which would then allow you to perform your own clipping throughout the year. Since body clipping rates are around $150, the initial investment would be returned after only two clippings. Extra money to offset your ownership costs could also be made by offering your clipping skills to other owners in the stable. The cost of sharpening services or new blades will then seem minimal compared to the savings made by doing your own clipping.

A trailer, although a more significant investment, is an item all owners should consider. With fuel prices on the rise, transport rates always tend to follow suit. Owners planning on travelling regularly to competitions should seriously consider investing in a trailer. Instead of a brand new one, lightly-used examples of high quality can instead be obtained quite affordably. A further option to ponder would be purchasing a trailer jointly with another owner, which will also help reduce your initial investment.

Tack, as well, should be considered an important investment item. Higher quality tack will save you further money over the years. Particular saddle brands, for example, hold their value over the longer term. Obtaining the best resale value for your tack involves taking good care of it on a regular basis.

Good Maintenance Habits

Many horse owners prefer to buy brand new tack and equipment. Not all of them, however, take proper care of their investments. Always clean and store your tack properly, since equipment well-maintained will both last longer and save in replacement costs. Always remember that new tack is not essential, as used items still in good order can be obtained for less.

The Budget Competitor

The costs of visiting competitions and other events are among the largest expenses incurred by horse owners and riders. Methods do exist, however, to save you money whilst travelling around the United Arab Emirates. A starting point in saving money could be for owners with a trailer to transport a friend’s horse as well as their own. You can also turn your horse out yourself for the chosen discipline, instead of paying somebody else to do it for you.

Packed meals or snacks to see you through the day will also save on overpriced and sometimes unsatisfying visits to the food stands. Sharing a hotel room with friends or stable acquaintances will further save you on those trips requiring an overnight stay.

Do-it-Yourself

Thinking creatively may also help you to save money. Not all items need to be bought and some can even be made at home. Jumps, for example, fall into this category and many creative plans can be found through only a simple Internet search.

Spread the Costs

Perhaps you own a horse you love but can’t find enough time to visit the stable? Why not lease, or at least half-lease, your horse? Not only will you fulfil a horseless rider’s dreams of access to a mount, it can also help offset some of your costs. Terms of the lease might include, for example, part payment of the horse’s board, vet bills, shoeing and other items mutually agreed upon. Both parties in this case would enjoy the benefits of the common agreement.

 

 

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