As children, many of us dreamed of owning a horse. And now as adults many of us are living the dream.

Horse owners quickly learn that the cost of buying a horse pales in comparison to the costs associated with horse maintenance. From vet bills and farrier expenses to blankets and competitions, the costs of caring for our four-legged friends can add up in a hurry.

While there are certain times you should never try to cut costs when providing for your horse, there are many creative ways to reduce your horse bills and overall cost.

Preventive Care: Know Your Horse

You can save money on vet bills and farrier visits simply by knowing your horse. Just like people, horses have individual quirks and traits. Does your horse get hives or rain rot from being left outside during a rain shower? If so, stabling them when it rains could help reduce your vet bill for various topical treatments and antibiotics. Does your horse need to be shod precisely at four weeks to keep his hooves in optimal condition? Keep a close eye on your calendar, then. Knowing how your horse responds to different weather conditions, bumps, and bruises and the like can save you money in the long run.

Knowing how your horse reacts to certain situations—and even understanding their temperament in general—can also help alert you to potential problems that could arise. Recognizing a change in attitude early on can help prevent a potential health emergency. Further, pay close attention to your horse’s idiosyncrasies and learn what is normal—and abnormal—when it comes to your horse’s vital signs.

In addition to knowing your horse&r