I admit it: I’m cheap. I like to save as much as I can while giving my horses the best care possible. There are some things you should never skimp on, like feed, bedding, veterinary care and instruction, but for the rest of your horse-care life – go “Dollar Store”!

Here’s an extensive list of things you can find in your local dollar store for a buck or near it, that are really useful in the stable, and save you a lot of money.

  • Artificial flowers– cheaper here than anywhere, be creative, many of the decorations for various holidays like Halloween and New Years make fabulous jump décor – wait till after the holiday and get bags full even cheaper!
  • Baby oil – good hoof oil, look for the non-scented/non-perfumed
  • Baby powder – good for pulling on human boots and keeping them odor-free, and under horse boots, too or talcum powder
  • Human shampoo and crème rinse – great for tails, unscented or mildly scented OK
  • Bedspreads – look for the cotton woven type, full size – makes a good lightweight cooler for mild days when you need a cover for a wet horse but not a full heavy cooler
  • Broom handles – hang with cord, (the thicker clothesline cord works great) and make your own blanket and cooler rack
  • Bungee cords – tie anything, lids on plastic keepers; tie down your horse’s fan on his stall front, etc.
  • Detergent – a small bottle will last a long time, only a drop or two needed for cleaning feed tubs and water buckets, etc.
  • Dish pans (large, round type) can be used for feed tubs in a pinch
  • Plastic garbage cans (clean and new) can be used for water tubs also in an emergency, or storing grain or other organic things that are subject to rodents, or for storing clean fabrics like leg wraps and sheets in an outdoor environment.
  • Duct tape – for everything else!
  • Epsom salts – for soaking abscessed hooves
  • Ginger snaps and peppermints for treats – you can get big packages of mints enough for the whole barn for just a few dollars
  • Hairbrush – great for tails, get the kind with bristles embedded in handle (not the kind with bristles in a rubber pad, they aren’t strong enough for tail hair.)
  • Hair clips – great for braiding, to keep the unbraided locks from getting in your way, usually can get a pack of 3
  • Hand sanitizer– great in the tack room, horse trailer, wash rack. It’s basically gel alcohol, so it’s also ok for bracing legs! (Check ingredients)
  • Hooks – for hanging lightweight items like halters or lead ropes in handy places, or hoof picks so they don’t get lost.
  • Leather wipes in the can – great for the shows, take along to events and shows instead of a bunch of tack cleaning stuff
  • Measuring cups – big quart size with a handle is super for measuring out feed
  • Milk crates – collect grooming tools or boots for each horse, or organize your tack room stuff. Different colors for different horses works!
  • Mouthwash – good antiseptic
  • Paint mixing cans – good for individual feed containers, carry portions from feed room to feed tub and most hold a 5lb. serving easily and fit through feeding doors, and wash up easily
  • Pantiliners – for sweat-stoppers inside your helmet, and for first aid applications on legs, to protect your bandages from ointments or discoloration
  • Plastic zip top bags – for organizing small items like eye screws, nuts, bolts, nails, studs, tools, treats, etc. in various sizes – I put my armband and emergency information in a clear one that lives in my horse trailer all the time.
  • Polyester throws – right size for exercise blankets when folded in half, put under the saddle and above the pad when you tack up and voila – exercise blanket at a quarter of the tack store price!
  • Puff cotton balls – for stud plugs, applying ointments, wiping eyes or dabbing something; you can even stuff your saddle with them in an emergency, get the bags with resealable tops
  • Recycling bins of poly fabric (collapsible) – great for horse trailer show-day garbage and for recycling drink cans in the barn, also very useful for sorting leg bandages and wraps
  • Rubber bands: a quarter the price of tack store bands and work fine for quick braiding or mane taming.
  • Rubber gloves or disposable plastic or poly gloves – for applying ointments, leg braces, poultice, hoof packing, protecting your hands from over drying when washing things
  • Rugs – the small cotton throw type – great for padding the wooden or wire saddle racks to prevent scratches or marks on the underside of your saddle while it is on the rack, also add a couple to your horse trailer tack room, so you have something clean to stand on while you change clothes
  • Saline contact solution– same as expensive eye washes, a tenth the cost, safe for equine eyes

    Well… doesn’t have to be this fancy!

  • Scissors – to cut open hay bales, grain sacks, supplement packs, packages or other needs, the kid’s type work great for hay, get the brightest colors so you can find if dropped in the hay room, safer than knives or box cutters.
  • Shower caps – usually you can get a pack of 4-8 for just a dollar, and they make terrific feed bucket cover-ups to keep flies out of the grain, lets you set them out overnight for your quick morning feeding
  • Small brushes and scrubbers – great for cleaning bits and buckles on tack, other hard to reach things around the barn Spatulas: great for applying poultice, greasy hoof packing, or stirring mashes and wet feed without dirtying your scoop, get the kind with a heavy sturdy handle
  • Sponges – look in the car section — car wash sponges are the right size for body sponges for bathing horses, and the small packs of kitchen sponges with the rough side are super for tack cleaning
  • Spray bottles – for fly spray, mane and tail detangler, plain water for misting, alcohol for leg brace. Most can be written on with permanent marker for identification.
  • Storage containers – braiding supplies, stud kit, grooming stuff, tack cleaning stuff, saddle pads, towels, tools, things you need to keep clean yet don’t want to put in the house
  • Toilet brushes – the best for scrubbing the bottoms of water buckets as they get into the corners easily and when worn out, throw out and get another!
  • Towels – cheaper here than anywhere, the small size bath towels are lightweight and useful everywhere for wiping, and if one gets ruined wiping up that spilled hoof dressing, it’s not a great loss
  • Vitamin E cream – for hotspots or chafed places like elbows and heel cracks, look for the kind without perfumes or added ingredients. A note of caution: I always look for the kind of basic lotions, mixtures, ointments or products that are free of perfume, menthol, artificial scent or flavor, or that are specified non-allergenic, asthey are the plain jane versions which are best for use on horses. If you aren’t sure, don’t buy it or use it, and please ask your vet first.

Here are my money saving tips from the dollar store.  What are yours?

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