Cost-Cutting Tips for Horse Farm Owners

Making a horse property or business financially sustainable can be challenging. If you could use cost-cutting help, here are a few tips from two barn owners.
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cost cutting tips for horse farm owners
Using LED lighting can help reduce monthly energy bills; LED lighting uses less electricity than fluorescent, plus the bulbs last longer, thereby saving costs. | Photo: iStock
Do you want to know how to make a small fortune in horses? Start out with a large one! While this might be an often-told joke, it’s no joke that making a horse property or business financially sustainable can be challenging. If you could use cost-cutting help, here are a few tips from two barn owners.

Teri Herrera owns a 16-acre dressage boarding and training facility called MisFit Farm, in Redmond, Washington. She has worked carefully to provide a neat, safe, and aesthetically pleasing horse property by paying careful attention to bottom-line costs.

Here are some of her tips for keeping expenses down:

  • “I source my hay directly from the grower, cutting out the expense of middlemen,” she says. “Early in the year I walk the exact fields that my hay will be cut from, which allows me to maintain a high quality at a much lower cost.
  • “I have now installed all-LED lighting throughout MisFit Farm at no cost by using a grant for small businesses from our local power company. LED lighting uses less electricity than fluorescent, plus the bulbs last longer, thereby saving costs.
  • “I’ve installed energy-efficient heaters in the indoor wash rack and aisleways, which are also nice for winter comfort.
  • “Using acreage on our horse property that’s not in pasture, we have started an organic produce growing operation selling to farm-to-table restaurants—another income source. Chickens at MisFit Farm are free-range and multifunctional, providing both horse enrichment and egg and poultry sales.”

Karina Heiting Sogge, of Maple Valley, Washington, has been fortunate to have horses in her life as far back as she can remember, from riding as a youth at relatives’ ranches, to winning the college rodeo queen title, and now as an adult sharing the passion with her three children. Along the way she operated a horse boarding facility for as many as 15 horses. Currently she owns her own place with three of her horses and three boarders

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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