Cutting the cost of keeping your horse without compromising quality

Jan 27, 2022 | Horse Health in the Stable

With the cost of living and keeping a horse set to rise substantially this year, we’re looking at ways you can cut costs but still maintain your commitment to high standards of equine health care.

2022 is going to be a tough year for us all. Energy prices are rocketing and so are the costs of pretty much everything from timber and transport to fertiliser and food. For horse owners, that means the cost of keeping your horse is rising fast. Raw materials like timber are doubling in price, farming costs are leaping, and right across the economy employers are facing a hike in basic pay. That means that the cost of production and distribution of feed and bedding, the price of equipment and the cost of services such as livery, vets and farriers, are all heading upwards for the foreseeable future.

Your horse’s wellbeing comes first

You may have read in Horse & Hound that equestrian businesses are worried that they will inevitably need to pass on their higher costs to their customers. Welfare organisations like Redwings are also concerned that this will impact on the health and wellbeing of horses and ponies in the UK.

We know that the great majority of owners in this country put the wellbeing of their horses first and foremost. Our latest equine health survey showed us once again that this is the absolute priority for owners when they’re deciding which is the best bedding to buy for their horses. Cost comes a long way down the list.

But in these uniquely tough times, we would like to suggest that you can choose a cheaper equine bedding without jeopardising your horse’s health, and you can even cut other major costs like vets bills by raising your game in the management of your horses’ stable.

Choose a more cost-effective bedding

A cheap bedding can still be healthy for your horse as well as for your budget. In fact we’ve launched a new straw pellet bedding called Strawmax which could be the most cost effective, high quality equine bedding option on the UK market.

The majority of owners in the UK today use purpose-made shavings like Bedmax or Littlemax (and other brands are of course available). But about 20% still use traditional straw and many use wood pellets.

The problem with straw is that it varies hugely in quality, it can be full of dust and with pressures on farming costs it is going to be very expensive this year. Wood pellets are mostly made from imported timber, which in turn makes them cost more.

So we have developed Strawmax to combine all the best benefits of straw and pellets, but avoiding their downsides. Strawmax is made from locally sourced UK high quality straw. We crush it, dry it at sterilising temperatures, and thoroughly dust extract it, and it’s compressed naturally into dense pellets. Unlike straw, you can buy it from your local retailer in handy 15kg bags which are consistent in quality and price, and really easy to handle, store and use.

What makes Strawmax such a cheap bedding option?

The simple answer is that you need less Strawmax to maintain an optimum bed. It lasts a long time, and because it’s so super-absorbent, it concentrates urine in neat, isolated patches that can be removed with very little excess waste. Once you’ve made your initial bed, you only need about 1 bag a week to top it up.

So rather than calling it a cheap bedding option, a better description is that it’s an economical, cost-effective, and more affordable choice at a time when most of us who don’t own a money tree are trying to cut costs in every sensible way we can.

Don’t incur costs you don’t have to

This is our second suggestion for cutting the costs of keeping your horse. We’re talking about big costs here – the costs of health problems you might be able to prevent with better stable management.

Nearly 1,000 owners responded to our latest survey, and 45% of them reported that their horses had suffered health problems that needed veterinary treatment and/or box rest. Over 50% of these 450 owners had paid vets bills of more than £1000, and 25% had paid over £2000.

As with every previous survey, the biggest health problems were respiratory disease and hoof disease.

Both these problems can be avoided or at least mitigated by using high quality, hygienic bedding, and managing it properly. As any good equine vet will tell you, prevention is far cheaper than cure.

So even when you pay a bit more for Bedmax shavings, you could be saving yourself a much bigger bill down the line. And now you have the option of paying less for Strawmax – a cheap bedding solution with high quality equine health and human wellbeing benefits.