PDA

View Full Version : tell me again, how much it costs to keep a horse...



Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:25 AM
I got to browse CL again...I sometimes do...came across a couple of decent fellows, nothing fancy but certainly not horrible.
but since we are having some major expenses and a greatly diminished paycheck, I am not comfortable committing myself to the ongoing monthly expense of ownership.

Just remind me again that he purchase price is the cheapest thing about a horse (99% of the time)

:cool:

arabhorse2
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:34 AM
Whatever your paycheck is, THAT is how much it'll cost to keep a horse. Oh, and if you have any savings, someone will need the vet. On a Sunday, at 4:00 a.m., on a holiday. :lol:

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:35 AM
I've spent over three thousand dollars in the last 5 months on my horse and dog. The horse is even insured, but of course that is an additional $500 or so a year.

There, how was that for discouraging!?

Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:40 AM
Not very :lol:

keep'em coming!
(how did this end up on the farmboard...getting old...another reason not to get a horse, right! ;))

FitToBeTied
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:50 AM
I'd say 3-5k per horse when you include everything.

Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 10:52 AM
I'd say 3-5k per horse when you include everything.


about my estimation....

JB
Aug. 1, 2012, 11:08 AM
Keeping on property you already own, or boarding? How much acreage? The less acreage, the more hay you have to feed. Even then maintaining pasture to a decent level of health takes $$.

wendy
Aug. 1, 2012, 11:17 AM
horses that are cheap to buy are always the ones that off-the-rack saddles don't fit so you have to buy $$$$ custom saddles; then they are the ones that need special shoeing at $$$ per month; then they go lame and need an assortment of $$$ supplements and medications; and then they live forever, gimping around, eating pounds of expensive grain and mountains of expensive hay and gallons of expensive medicines well into their 40's.

msj
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:12 PM
I've got 2 horses in my backyard.

Shavings: I go through approx 5-6 large bales of shavings/wk. That's easily 260-312 bales/yr. Let's average that to 286 bales @ $5.50/bale=$1573.

Grass Hay: $4/bale and I buy ~ 300 bales so that's another $1200.

Grain: a 50 lb bag lasts me about 9 days so for a yr I need about 40+ bags @ $18.00/bag=$720. I also buy about 100 lbs of oats for summer and several bags of beet pulp though the yr so that probably adds another $60-80.

Vet costs run on the average of $5-600 for annual Wellness exam, blood work and dental and some vaccines but I do my vaccines except Rabies so that probably runs me another $30-50/yr.

Farrier runs me $40 every 5-6 wks so figure 9 trims=$360.

So not counting buying blankets, equipment, etc, just the very basic feed, bedding, grain, vet and farrier runs me just under $4600. That doesn't account for any emergeny vet calls like arabhorse2 alluded to either. :no:

Also it doesn't account for fertilizing the fields, mowing the fields, paying taxes on the land and it sure doesn't account for the barn, fencing, indoor and outdoor rings for riding. Heck taxes alone are ~$9K+. I think I figured out in '05 that if I had to buy the land and put up my barn and indoor and outdoor ring and fence the 5 post and rail paddocks/pastures it would have cost somewhere between $493,000 to $558,000.

Now, if those figures don't remind you that affording a horse is an expense, nothing will. :)

If you lived closer, I'd say come and ride the 2 retirees I have. :D :D

Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:12 PM
Keeping on property you already own, or boarding? How much acreage? The less acreage, the more hay you have to feed. Even then maintaining pasture to a decent level of health takes $$.

LOL, if I had a farm I probably already owned a horse or two...:lol:

AliCat518
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:16 PM
Alagirl, I dont know where youre located, but you can shop for me! We're looking for an older horse and we'd like to "rescue" something that looks like it could use an upgrade!

Not quite as much fun, but you could spend my money!

Hinderella
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:16 PM
I'm in New England, which is fairly expensive, but I figure on $8,000-$10,000 per year. Board $500/month, 8-9 trims/year from the farrier at $40, annual vet costs for shots, etc. $500-600, insurance $600, and then all of the various stuff you pick up at the feed store: fly spray, dewormers, treats, etc. Then there are new tack items you want, a blanket to replace the one with the big hole in it, lessons ($600-$1000/year).
That's if nothing goes wrong :)

JB
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:41 PM
Since you'd be boarding you really have to start with what's available around you. Boarding is a fixed rate, at least for a time, so that's what it is. Even "cheap" board of, say, $300, means $3600 a year just for that, but most importantly, it's $300 each and every month. Or more. That is probably the biggest deal - you can pretty easily save the $$ for bi-annual vaccines along the way, but can you come up with board, at a minimum, each and every month?

Farrier fees - barefoot or shod? If shod, special shoes required? You can minimize expenses here a bit by choosing a horse who has been doing the work you want to do, on the footing you want to do it on, either barefoot or with boots. He'll still need trims, but usually trimming is a good bit less than shoeing.

Vaccinations - figure $150 every 6 months or so - that's pretty safe, unless you like to vaccinate for everything under the sun. $150 should cover all the core vaccines in most places.

Floating - figure yearly at whatever rate in your area - some are VERY high, like $300+, I don't pay nearly that much.

Those are the basics. Everything else is fairly optional :) You can get used tack for almost everything, for the most part - saddle may be something you have to get new, but again, you can decide you will not get a horse who has an "odd" back and greatly increase your chances of finding something used. They are also one-time expenses, usually, rarely needing to be replaced. Just don't develop a thing for collecting saddle pads LOL

Simkie
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:50 PM
Since you'd be boarding you really have to start with what's available around you. Boarding is a fixed rate, at least for a time, so that's what it is. Even "cheap" board of, say, $300, means $3600 a year just for that, but most importantly, it's $300 each and every month. Or more. That is probably the biggest deal - you can pretty easily save the $$ for bi-annual vaccines along the way, but can you come up with board, at a minimum, each and every month?

And if you go "cheap" for board, will that include everything, or will you be on the hook for additional grain or hay or bedding or whatever if your horse exceeds what is included with your board?

I pay a pittance for board, but doesn't include grain. Isn't a problem for an easy keeper, but my hard keeper winds up being quite a bit more per month.

Xanthoria
Aug. 1, 2012, 12:57 PM
How long is a piece of string? It really depends on the horse, how you like to keep them, and where you live.

I'm in CA so it's expensive. Luckily I think pasture board is the best for horses, and it's cheaper - if you can find it here!

I have 2 horses at opposite ends of the needs spectrum. If money is an issue I strongly recommend you buy a horse who is an easy keeper and happy working barefoot. Learn how to trim feet and give vaccines and dewormer yourself and you'll save big and be a better horseman for it.

Horse 1:
Barefoot, I trim him myself, easy keeper.
Board: $320/month
Vaccines 2x yr/deworming 6x yr: $7.50/month
Dental work: $300/yr
----------------------
$4230/year

Horse 2:
Expensive corrective shoeing, hard keeper.
Shoes $300/7 weeks = $171/month
Board: $320/month
Feed: $300/month
Vaccines 2x yr/deworming 6x yr: $7.50/month
Dental work: $300/yr
----------------------
$9882/year

As you can see horse 2 is almost THREE TIMES more expensive to keep that horse 2. I didn't even include the $21/day medications he's been on the last 6 months for a fungal infection, or the fact I have to drive 30 miles round trip per day to administer them and feed him... argh.

I also budget about $300 per horse in emergency vet work per year, on the low side, as that's how much it is for a vet around here to show up and give some banamine or make an assessment, it seems. Horse 1 has done his twice this year so far...

Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 01:14 PM
I gave myself a budget of 500 bucks a month, meaning that's the total, leftovers saved for a rainy day...6k a year. OF COURSE, if that would be the bottom bottom line, after the coins are rolled and the couch cleaned out and the ashtrays, the horse would implode and require a 10k veterinary bill...:lol:

But since all the horsey equipment I oen is a bitless contraption, not even the whole head stall nor reins and a pair of ropers/paddock boots....I am slow to pull the trigger...the 200$ CL special would could cost me easily 2k on top of the 6k alotment in stuff...

Simkie
Aug. 1, 2012, 01:41 PM
Another thing to consider if cash is tight and you WOULD spend $10k on a vet bill is to insure the horse for major medical. It's not terribly expensive, really, and is protection for those crazy things that happen.

Alagirl
Aug. 1, 2012, 01:53 PM
Another thing to consider if cash is tight and you WOULD spend $10k on a vet bill is to insure the horse for major medical. It's not terribly expensive, really, and is protection for those crazy things that happen.

The horses I am looking at, that would be CRAZY to consider.....seriously.

Simkie
Aug. 1, 2012, 01:56 PM
The horses I am looking at, that would be CRAZY to consider.....seriously.

But it's not the horse. It's how much money YOU would spend if the shit hit the fan. The mortality is inconsequential...it's the major medical that's important.

If you know you would euthanise right away rather than spend a boatload of money to fix the free or nearly free horse, then spending the dollars on a major medical policy doesn't make any sense.

But if you WOULD spend several thou to treat or fix a problem, then a MM policy DOES make sense, even on a "worthless" horse.

JB
Aug. 1, 2012, 02:11 PM
Figure out if feed is included in board. That can make a big difference and it can be a variable cost based on fluctuating hay prices.

Hinderella
Aug. 1, 2012, 02:39 PM
Why not lease? That eliminates all of the maybe and what-if expenses, you're locked into a fixed monthly cost. And you have an out, at the end of the lease.

candyappy
Aug. 1, 2012, 03:08 PM
I don't find them expensive at all. I am blessed with healthy horses, we grow our own hay, mine don't need grain to stay at a nice weight and can be ridden on all surfaces we ride on barefoot. Go get yourself a horse-- life is short--.

Ambitious Kate
Aug. 1, 2012, 08:04 PM
I say get yourself a horse. You could spend alot of this same money on other things. But if you really feel its tight, think about a lease, for the above reasons. Even a half lease, you can ride 3 or 4 times a week and 'play' with him, like give baths and such on off days. You can always buy your own at a later (better) time.

shakeytails
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:53 AM
I don't find them expensive at all. I am blessed with healthy horses, we grow our own hay, mine don't need grain to stay at a nice weight and can be ridden on all surfaces we ride on barefoot. Go get yourself a horse-- life is short--.

This. We grow our own hay and have plenty of pasture- all but a few are out 24/7/365. I don't feed much grain, and what I do feed isn't high dollar horse feed. No supplements except for Diamond V yeast which is very inexpensive. Sawdust comes green from the mill for $250/dump truck load and lasts me several months. $150 for shots? No forking way! I can do it myself for a fraction of the cost- I've been doing my own horse (and dog) vaccines since I was 17 or 18. About the only time my vet gives a vaccine is when he's out to geld something, as in "Hey Doc, give that colt a tetanus booster while you're at it." My vet would think I was crazy if I called him out to do a "well-horse" checkup. It costs me more per month to have one horse at the trainer's than it does to keep 15 at home. I must say, though, that I have accumulated so much tack, blankets and supplies over the years that I rarely need to buy anything.

JB
Aug. 2, 2012, 09:50 AM
Yeahbut - not very many people are afforded the luxury of growing their own hay, but even then, you can't tell me that makes your hay cost nothing ;) You still have expenses of maintaining your hay fields, and one bad day can cost you ALL your hay, so not only are you out the $$ from trying to get it, you have to go buy some :( And, if you're growing your own hay, chances are you have your horses at home too :) Unless you were already living there and having to pay property taxes and maintain pasture, then you also have to add in the costs of all that - property, equipment, supplies, etc - in terms of providing for the horses.

The OP has to board.

I mentioned $150 for shots as a fairly high end because YES, in some places it does cost that much, and when you're boarding, you aren't often afforded the luxury of doing it yourself - barn rules.

It's different when you have them at home vs boarding. You can't always just do things your way.

My expenses are usually pretty low. I spend less than $1000/year on hay for 4 horses because I have a great, inexpensive local source. I spend probably $1000/year on seeding/fertilizing/mowing the pasture. I have pretty easy keepers, so concentrate costs are low. I spend far less on 4 horses than I did on boarding 1.

I think the whole point of all this is that it's HIGHLY variable based on boarding vs at home, and for sure what area of the country you're in.

anna's girl
Aug. 2, 2012, 10:20 PM
I'm at 5300 for everything and I board
I had one emergency(choke) this year that was under 200. I have had only one other emergency (also choke) in the 6 years I've had her.

susanne
Aug. 3, 2012, 03:11 AM
Using what others have suggested, ballpark your own estimated monthly horsekeeping budget. Starting now, set aside that amount every month and put it in a fairly inaccessible savings account. Do not withdraw except for an absolute emergency. If and when you are comfortable living with that amount taken out of your income, you should feel safe committing to a horse, plus you'll have all your saved money as an emergency/vet fund.

Trevelyan96
Aug. 4, 2012, 11:02 PM
Always just to the max of what you're comfortable with, and significantly more than your SO thinks is reasonable!

LDavis104
Aug. 8, 2012, 02:24 PM
Consistent monthly expenses for my horse are...

$375-$390 per month for board (depending on time of year)
$130 every 5-6 weeks for shoes (4 shoes + front pads... more like $140-$150 for a few times in the winter while it's icey)

So, almost $550 per month. I'm in New England.

My monthly "allowance" from "our" money (me & hubby) is $550. I try my darndest to pay for anything above that out of my extra pet-sitting income (I have a full time job, and pet-sit for extra horse money). My husband would not begrudge me should I need extra $$ and petsitting is slow.

Then you have shots, teeth, insurance, vet, meds, blankets, blanket repairs, tack, saddle fittings, etc. etc. That is so variable I can't even give you an idea of what I spend. And I do like to do some horse shows or hunter paces, so that's in addition to those other things.

Before I got my horse, I didn't think I could afford it. But once I figured out that the regular monthly basics were going to be like $550 a month (in my location, with my horse's shoeing needs) and I knew if something did happen as an emergency we could swing it, I felt better. Sure other people keep their horses for less $$$, but I know a lot of people who keep their horses for a lot more, so I feel pretty good about the amount.

Do strongly consider getting medical insurance. The value of the horse makes no difference... my horse was "free" and yet now I can't imagine not giving him the vet care he needs because I can't swing $10,000 out of pocket if he needed surgery or something. Even if the horse has tons of pre-existing conditions, do consider insurance. I didn't have it for almost 4 years, and it took one boo boo on a horse at my barn that turned into a nasty case that needed surgery to prompt me to get it.

ladyfreckles
Aug. 8, 2012, 03:12 PM
I don't have my own but I care for others at my job. In the Seattle area horses are expensive. Board is usually $600+ for full care including feed. On a boarding model, this is roughly what it would cost.

Board, Feed, Facilities: $600-$1100/mo depending on the facilities, location, etc. Most barns are about $700-$800, but you can hunt to find $500-$600 if you're willing to drive further out.

Farrier: $100-$200 every 6-8 weeks pending the season and the horse.

Dental: $300/year

Vaccines: $150 every six months (this is the high end)

Lessons: $200+ per month. Usually $260-$300.

Insurance: $500/year

Average total per month including all the above: $1,150

It wouldn't actually be per month because some of those items are bi-monthly, bi-yearly or even yearly, but yeah. Expensive! However if you're willing to sacrifice facilities or you're lucky enough to live in neighborhoods with community stables (they do exist around here) you can save a ton on board alone. There are some places with bare bones full care board (little to no riding facilities) that are $300-$400/mo.

LookinSouth
Aug. 9, 2012, 03:08 PM
Why not lease? That eliminates all of the maybe and what-if expenses, you're locked into a fixed monthly cost. And you have an out, at the end of the lease.


This is what I always say to anyone who isn't sure they can afford to own a horse. Leasing is soooo much more affordable and if the horse does end up with some career ending injury OR needs 6 months of stall rest etc.. you are not obligated (in most cases) to continue the lease. I am speaking of course of "free leases" or 1/2 leases where you pay a percentage of a horses board/farrier per month for x number of rides per week. Leasing of show horses where a fee is paid can be quite expensive on the contrary.

I also cannot emphasize enough that no matter what you spend on a horse, even if someone PAYS YOU to take a horse it is foolish to not get major medical insurance unless you have lots of expendable income each month beyond the horses regular costs.

Something as simple as ulcer or lyme treatment or a in depth lameness exam can cost over 1k to treat, a few 1k vet bills here and there adds up mighty quick. You will be thankful you have it.
I have a 21 year old that isn't insured because I have owned him nearly 9 years and being a new horse owner at the time I got him I wasn't even aware of equine insurance. I found out about it after he was no longer eligible due to age, had I known about it I would have definitely insured him at the time.
If something major happens and I have to retire a 21 year old horse that has served me well, no big deal, I am prepared to do that and support him through his golden years. But, I would hate to own a 8 or 9 year old and think about that prospect of supporting a unrideable or chronically lame horse for 15-20 years simply because I can't afford the vet bills since I didn't get insurance. I learned my lesson the first time around and thankfully my horse has not had any major medical expenses over the years but I can assure you the next horse I own will be insured the minute it leaves the sellers property!

As for monthly costs: I spend roughly 550.00 per month between board, shoes and supplements. If I tack on incidentals like fly spray and grooming supplies etc.. its probably closer to 600.00. This of course does not include things like hock injections, vet, teeth, saddle fittings, lessons etc... I estimate I spend at least 2k a year just on those items in addition to the 550.00 per month.

wildlifer
Aug. 9, 2012, 04:34 PM
A bazillion dollars. Sometimes more. Lucky people have nice big farms and hayfields, but you still have to pay for those unless you inherited them. Price leaps up considerably if you want to compete. Then there are their multiple suicide attempts.

Make a batrillion dollars. I know I never see my paycheck!

showhorsegallery
Aug. 9, 2012, 05:48 PM
My board is (I think) a bit high considering it's pasture board but this is what mine runs me (she's low maintenance)

$375-$420 a month depending on the month
$45 or so (I'm not sure the exact amount because it gets added into my board bill) for trims every 6 weeks
$450 a year on routine vetting

I don't count money I spend on stuff and shows if I ever do show which I haven't in years.

so... I spend about $5600 a year. Also I did not know until just now that's how much I spend per year. I just write checks and don't think about it. Best not to know how much you're spending otherwise it gets depressing.

I have a $2000 emergency vet fund that I put together before I bought the horse that I thankfully have never had to touch. I'm willing to go up to a set amount in emergency vet bills if needed putting the rest on credits cards. Anything over $6000 I would have to seriously consider. The older my horse gets the lower the set amount goes unless I stumble across a serious increase in income.