Board and Feed
My board covers hay twice a day, stall/paddock cleaning, truck/trailer parking, and use of the ranch's facilities (tack room, arena, round pen, and a few minutes' worth of trails). The horses are fed alfalfa and grass hay, but the amount is customized for each horse. If they need more, they get it. Speedy lives in a generously-sized paddock with turn out at night while Izzy lives in a dirt pasture which means he's turned out all of the time.
Eventually, I paid my farrier to come out and pull the one shoe that was on. From that point on, Izzy has gone barefoot, and he's doing great. Now, I don't deal with lost shoes, and as an added bonus, my farrier bill is one of my cheapest expenses.
Tack and Gear
In 2012, the first year I kept track of my spending, I spent $21,101. Keeping such a detailed account of my spending really helped me see what was important. I learned to curb my spending a bit that year and developed some patience. I learned that want and need are not the same thing at all, and that sometimes, it was spiritually and emotionally healthier to not indulge myself.
Four years later, I definitely still respect the difference between want and need even though I do indulge myself now and again (but always within my budget). I spent $4,845 less in 2016 than I did in 2012. I would never have predicted that; inflation alone should have driven my costs upward.
As I looked for a lesson learned this year, I realized that it's about perceived value. Do I feel as though I got my money's worth in 2016? Absolutely. To me, lessons (and showing) bring me great happiness. Even paying my vet brings me satisfaction. Living within one's means is definitely a priority, but how you do that should give you a feeling of gratification. If not, you're probably doing it wrong.
Here's hoping your vet bills stay low, your truck keeps running, and your show entries garner blues!