Consumer Hotline: Purchasing Barn and Farm Products For Your Horse
In the beginning stages of starting Ramm, I remember thinking that we needed to provide our customers with products that would stand the test of time, carry quality products that were made for horses, and tell our customers everything about products that they wanted or needed to know! Because we owned horses ourselves, we needed to also purchase products for the barn and pastures -just like our customers. I have always said that "We are consumers, just like you" and want to put our horses behind products that are safer and made with horses in mind.
Over the past 22 years, our family and myself have visited hundreds of horse facilities across the United States and Europe. I feel that this is a true privilege as well, as we have gained a wealth of information about what's available for our customers. With that being said, let me share some information on what we feel is important to any horse owner when purchasing products for your horse farm and barn.
Today's economy can make it tough to keep up with required yearly horse needs.
Standard vaccinations, proper hay and grain, shoeing or hoof trimming takes a chunk of the monthly budget. For most horse owners, cut backs in these areas are not even questionable. Additionally, fencing, proper stalling and/or sheltering are every bit as important for your horse's well-being. Do your homework and you will be able to purchase quality products that will prove to save money now and later! If you think about it, your horses spend much of their time in a stall, pasture, shed or fenced in paddock. Their well-being, or "home";, is going to be in one of these areas. We also all know that horses are flight instinct animals, weighing approximately 1,000-1,200 lbs, (or larger), so it's crucial to give your horse the safest living area that you can. Also you avoid costly vet bills or irreversible injuries as well as provide the healthiest environment possible.
Horses are large animals and if they decide that they would like to go somewhere, they will do just that. Abuse occurs with the best of horses, so always seek out the strongest and safest products that you can afford. The cost of getting a strong product is much less than even one vet bill, (not to mention all the care giving, healing time, and emotional stress on both you and your horse). The old adage "you get what you pay for" still rings true! Be aware that when you ask for lower prices, you may get just that -along with a lower quality product! So, you're actually getting less of what you intended to receive!
Ask what comes with the product before you purchase. If your purchasing a kit (for example with fencing), find out what comes in it. Compare the accessories to others. You may find that the lower price is due to less or no accessories, and could have purchased a complete package at an even better price. Separate parts and pieces can add up.
Complete packages can give you the ease of having everything that you need at your fingertips vs. trying to calculate what you need and where you will get it. Be sure to ask what comes with your product. Find out what accessories are needed to complete your project before you purchase.
Buy once, not twice, and save money! Compare quality. For example, with stalls, find out if grill work bar spacing is even, or are some bars unevenly spaced. Are the grill sections square? (Do all corners form 90 degree angles? If you look down the grill section are all bars evenly in line?). If not, this creates large gaps between bars. Unsuspecting customers are given the closer bar spacing measurements, not the larger-uneven measurements. The manufacturer will list the smallest bar spacing, neglecting to mention the inconsistent larger spacing, which could be detrimental to horses with smaller hooves.
It would look like you're saving money due to lower pricing, but you may be sacrificing quality leading to an injury.
Always make sure you're getting exactly what you need. Ask what type of quality control is used and if all products are consistent in size, and if consistency is used in the manufacturing processes to be sure all products are made the same way and size, every time.
If something looks too good to be true, it most likely is! Free is not always free! Many times items will be marked up to accommodate the "free" item. Check prices and be aware that most suppliers have to cover shipping costs to and from their location to stay in business, and if the product was a "second", or lower quality product to start, free is easy! Just be sure to ask what the company's return policies are and see what warranties cover.
Be sure you do an "apples to apples"; comparison when price or product checking. Many similar looking products on the market are very different. They may look the same, but will perform very differently and you could end up with a short-lived product that you thought was a great bargain!
Beware of Life Time Guarantees - This one can get sticky. Lifetime can mean "the life of the product". Basically, that could be a very short time. Be sure to understand what is guaranteed or warranted and know that most often, with horses, products are not covered from abuse. That is not uncommon. Ask how long the company has been in business, and be aware that companies that have gone in and out of business tend to add all the "in and out" time together. Find a long serving company that knows the industry and stands behind their products.
Find true experts that will give truthful and solid answers. If your horse is injured, you call your vet for expert opinions and treatment. When you are looking for quality products seek out experts that are able to help you from first hand experience with horses. Additionally, find out if they make the product themselves or what has been their involvement with the product. Some people just sell products to stay in business. Rather, find the experts who want to help you and your horses get the best, long lasting products that will work for you!
With over twenty-two years in the horse industry, RAMM's goal is to help horse owners find quality products that are safer alternatives for their horses. Our family run and owned company offers quality products that are 'horse tested' at our barns. If you would like help with your farm or barn products, feel free to contact us!
Every horse owner deserves quality products for their horses! We wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and in equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, and boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials and Dressage classes. Debbie has been involved in driving, foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible. She welcomes your questions and comments.