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How to Keep Your Horse Fed on a Budget


horse eating grassWe’ve hit a point where tough decisions are being made every day about how we’re going to spend our money. While it’s fairly simple to think of ways to trim a family’s food budget, doing the same for a horse can be complicated. Horses need a lot more than humans do on a daily basis, and malnutrition can have some pretty devastating effects if not corrected quickly. So how does one keep your horse fed on a budget? Let’s take a look.

One of the biggest tips you can learn is also one of the simplest and most natural way to cover much of your horse’s food needs: Grass. If you have a large enough property, make sure that you have wild grass for your horse to forage from. Your horse can happily wander about, eating grass as it goes, though make sure you’re keeping an eye on any bald spots around the yard as this could indicate that your horse is picking the ground clean because there just isn’t enough to sustain him.

Besides simply letting your horse forage, another extremely simple tip comes down to the age-old method of sharing. If you have neighbors who also raise horses, get together with them and see if you’d all be interested in buying a large portion of hay all at once in order to get a bulk discount and then sharing from there.  The more neighbors you can include, the more the bulk discount can become, so be sure to ask around.

A lot of equestrian lovers will lament the expensive nature of salt licks, which is understandable as they seem so impractical but are incredibly important nonetheless. Horses need salt to round out their dietary requirements, but salt licks aren’t the only way to get them into their diet. In fact, salt licks are relatively impractical since many horses end up disliking salt licks as they can agitate their tongues. That’s why the best solution for everyone is actually to just sprinkle common kitchen salt into their hay. They get the salt and you don’t have to pay for an expensive salt lick.

The more advanced method to save money also happens to be one of the most effective in the long run but does require a lot more planning on your part. A horse typically needs to eat between 1.5% and 2% of its total body weight in hay per day, so first you’ll need to weigh your horse, then do the needed math to figure out how much 2% of that is. Then, measure out just that much each day. If you let your horse continually feed on your entire stock, they will inevitably eat more than necessary, so rationing their food will go a long way toward making it last.

Owning a horse is already expensive enough; there’s no need to add to that expense if you can help it. Take some time to get your horse the proper nutrition, but search for ways to make practical saves. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to stretch that budget each month with just a little planning.


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