When cash is short, it’s sometimes hard to justify the expense of keeping a horse. Yes, one way to save money would be to sell your horse – but this can be heartbreaking, and not always easy in this economic climate. Some of us would economize on anything, sell anything, rather than have to let the horse go – and it just isn’t an option. So have you thought about the possibility of making money out of your horse? Here are five ideas you could try.
- Find a sharer
Depending on how much or little access you want your sharer to have to your horse, this can pay a proportion of horse care costs, as well as freeing you up from some of the hard slogs like mucking out and poo picking, when presumably you could be earning money elsewhere. Some people say sharing a horse is like sharing a partner – you just wouldn’t do it. But if you’re careful about finding a sharer, and can get someone who shares and understands your approach to horse care and riding, it might work out well, and pay some of your bills.
- Give horse riding lessons
If you’ve got lots of experience with horses, and patience, you can earn quite a bit from giving lessons on your horse. Of course, you have to know what you’re doing, and be aware of safety issues – check your insurance to see if it covers other riders on your horse. You won’t be able to charge as much as someone who’s qualified if you’re not, but lots of people value experience, and can’t afford riding school prices. You will also need access to an enclosed space for your lessons, and if this is at your local yard, probably seek permission from the owner of the yard. Bear in mind you’ll also need a fairly quiet horse, of course, for nervous beginners.
- Hire out your horse
This might work well – especially if you live in a tourist area – and don’t want to give lessons. Do you have a friend with a horse who might do the same thing – possibly taking turns escorting holiday riders on local hacks.
- Take photos of your horse
This won’t make money instantly, but there are websites where you can download photos for sale, and over time, good photographs might accrue an income. You will need to check out what sort of photographs are available on these sites, see which sorts of horse pictures sell the most as it usually gives a count of how many have been downloaded, and then take some that might fill a gap. One of the best is www.istockphoto.com
- Sell spare tack at equestrian boot sales
If all else fails, find out all your old tack, and sell it at an equestrian boot sale. Maybe you could hire a venue and organize the sale.
Realistically, keeping a horse will always be expensive, and any money you might make from your horse isn’t likely to do much more than cover these costs. So be sure before you decide to take on the responsibility of a horse that you can really afford to care for her properly. If not, it can be a heartbreaking and expensive mistake.