Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Between two places in Canada!
• Horses: 0
The idea of buying shavings for like $7 a bale makes me sick.. What we do is save old feed bags, and sometimes we don't have enough so we go to the feed store and you can buy 50 for like $5.. Then we go to a sawmill and we pay $5 to take as much sawdust as we want. My dad bought this little contraption, it looks like a big rod, and we buy wire. We fill the huge feed bags tight as we can with sawdust, then twist the top, wrap a wire around, and the rod thing twists it nice and tight. We take two truck loads and it's enough for our two horses, usually from October - May.
It breaks down to this:
Gas: (it's 45 minutes away) $20
Sawdust: $5 (a lot of the time we don't get charged, and the $5 is like .. "take some today.. tomorrow.. next week.. until you have enough")
Bags: usually free, sometimes $5
1/2 pound wire clips - $4
Saving $7 a bale: priceless.
Total: $34 for 8 months worth of sawdust.
That's probably my biggest money saving tip. Also we keep round bales instead of square, we have tombstone feeders but don't use them. We use a tractor to lift our bales into our loft, then we "unroll" them like cinnamon rolls. My horses get the same amount as they would be getting out of a square bale.
Automatic waterer (outside) - my horses dump buckets, wasting water.
Making your own show clothes - my mom's best friend custom makes my english show shirts. Plus side is I got a HOT magenta show shirt (I'm a jumper haha), custom tailored to fit me, and monogrammed.
Keeping horses inside all day - my barn is well ventilated but unappealing for flies. I keep my horses inside all day with the lights off, and it's nice and cool. I don't have to fly spray them or anything, and they stay out all night. I ride early in the morning (around 7am) so I don't fly spray then either.
Deworming - I live in Canada where dewormer is around $28 a tube (and we use one per horse). My uncle regularly travels to the US, where he picks up various dewormers for me at around $17-18 a tube. Our dollar is almost par, so it's a huge savings.
Vaccinations - I had my vet do one vaccination, and he taught me how to do a second. I haven't had a vet vaccinate since.
Doing things ourselves - we do all our own fencing, since we bought an auger cheap at an auction. My dad put some time into it, fenced our back pasture, and then sold it, which paid for some (if not most of) the fencing materials. Also, he's a great diesel mechanic and crane operator, and works a lot on "favors". He's able to call on these favors to use excavators to clear land.
I guess those are my best tips, sorry they're so long!! I'll post more if I think of them!