I've seen some great advice on here so I'm hoping maybe someone has some ideas because I am sick of banging my head against the wall.
I would like to start by saying I am very grateful for all the things I have. But it is an enormous mental and physical strain worrying about how to afford it all.
I have a decent job, and get paid a fair wage. I live in a very expensive area of the country, and my family does not live around here so I live alone. I had roommates, they were absolutely horrid and I moved out.
The problem is I recently acquired a second horse. He's actually my first horse, I owned him 8 years and then sold him to a girl who took great care of him until she recently lost her job. He didn't have a home, and I agreed to take him back. He's 16 and chronically lame and I would never forgive myself if something bad happened to him (again- he was sold one other time and ended up being run through an auction and was severely neglected, long other story). Anyways my BO has been amazing about letting me work off some of his board, but it still isn't enough. I can't exactly lease him out, because who wants a lame horse? Primarily he has been diagnosed with navicular, he also has fused hocks behind and really crummy conformation (I was 11 when I bought him I didnt know any better!). I really doubt anyone would want him as a companion since there are hundreds of free sound companiong horses out there. I kind of feel stuck with this horse now that I can't afford- though I am fully aware this is my fault.
Anyone have any ideas on ways I can make this work? I am really at the emd of my rope.
Do you have a first horse? What part of the country are you in? Can you take in roomates or try again with different roommates? You don't give enough information to know if you can cut anywhere -- what's your entertainment budget? Can you cut your food bill? etc etc. You might increase your chances of placing your old horse as a companion if you offer to pay his feed, farrier and vet bills. You are paying them anyway, the feed will almost certainly be a fraction of your board now. Good luck!
To clarify my other horse is a tough one to lease/sell because even though she is amazing she was abused and has major trust issues. While she is perfect for me and has perfect ground manners it took 3 years to get to this point and she is very unpredictable with others and has flipped on her previous owners. I am not sure I want to take on that liability.
I live currently in a 1 BR. I looked extensively for roommates before finally settling on the cheapest 1 BR I could find...my last 2 roommates one was a psycho who i had to get a restraining order again the other ones threw so many parties and ruined about $1500 worth of my stuff. I am mostly locked in a lease, but still keeping an eye out for roommate possibilities.
I have already tried to cut out spending everywhere I can- but am certainly open to suggestions! I really don't go out any more, pack my lunch, etc.
I am open to the idea of retiring him somewhere but I'm not sure it would be any less expensive. He is already on field board (helps his arthritis too) at a very reasonable facility. Most of the retirement places I've seen cost as much or more than what I'm paying, since they are full care.
*Sigh* being a softie sucks...when they asked me to take him I couldnt say no
But usually the retirement board price includes basic routine vet care and farrier care, etc. Be sure and do all the math!
This has not been my experience. I have a horse at a retirement farm in VA. Trimming, worming, vaccinations, etc. are not included as part of the set rate. These things are added to my bill as they are done; however, the monthly board is significantly less than the 325 per month mentioned in another post.
Maybe somebody needs a companion horse that will be willing to let you keep him there for feed/shoeing/vet bills. It would be a win/win. Horse would have a companion and you would only have necessary bills.
If I had an old horse that needed a companion, I would do it for you. It wouldn't be any trouble to me to throw out feed/hay when I fed my own as long as you kept up your end of the bargain.
Ask around, put up a sign at the feed store. You just might get lucky.
What kind of skills do you have? Sometimes we work off board doing barn work and that time could be better spent working part time or doing some form of contract work. My friend does horse show photography which pays better than trading off barn work. Can you barter? Cut grass? Design a website? Baby sit? House/pet sit? Braid? Right now, the Census is hiring- a flexible job, and the pay is $15 an hour and up in some areas. It's the kind of thing you can do after work, on weekends.
It is kind of you to take your old horse back. Easier to worry about making ends meet than worry about the fate of an old friend.
Check retirement farms. There is a vast array of prices and services out there. Some don't include farrier, vet and supplements, because those prices vary so much, it would necessitate changing the board fee more often. Ask what their farrier is currently charging. You can research the supplement costs (if their are any) yourself, so you know what your basic costs will be.
Good luck. It is stressful to even think about putting a horse down because you can't afford to keep it, but its a whole lot kinder to do so, then some of the other options out there. Go to the KV vet site, and read what happened to a beloved horse of the head vet there. http://personalize.kvvet.com/ep/?eid=182 It can happen anywhere, to anyone, so research, recommendations, and frequent visits and finding a retirement farm that gives frequent photos and e-mail updates.
Hang in there, things will work out. Kudos to you for taking the horse back, and trying to do what is best for him.
-Door knocking. Emailing. Asking around. You may be able to find a less expensive pasture board situation for him.
-PT job. One that pays. I can clean stalls for 2 bucks a stall or ~ 10/hr, but I found a different job that pays 16/hr and I work 4 hours per week. I also tutor @ 30/hr and that does help with the horse fund. Think about what skills you have and try to find something you can do for a few hours per week.
I really commend you on taking your horse back...but the other thing to consider? Euth. If he's not sound w/o meds and has not much to look forward to and you're really really struggling, euthanasia is not a bad option really. I know it would be really tough. But it is a better option than letting him suffer or not being able to keep a roof over your head.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
There are PT jobs--I have four to make a full-time because there just isnt' full time. It's not bad if you don't mind working 50-60 hours a week.
For those who don't live here, unless the OP is way out in the western part of the state, and then MAYBE, or near the NH or Vermont state lines and can find something over there, you're talking about $400 for no-frills pasture at ROCK bottom prices. I know, I looked. Around Boston, "cheap" rent is $900/m for a one bed, no utilities, if you want a decent non-rat-infested building without drug dealers for neighbors. If you're out in in the nonfashionable 'burbs. It'll get lower the farther west you go, but the farther west you go the less work there is. Plus there is no escaping the gas, sales, excise (if you have a car) and income taxes, all of which except excise are about to go up again.
Honestly? If he is totally unrideable and you cannot find someone who wants a pasture puff, I would consider putting him down. And at least you're taking responsibility, which is more than a lot of people would do.
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the ideas and support. I know I did the right thing to take him and somehow we will find a way, but it just looks bleak some days.
danceronice hit the nail on the head- I am in SE Mass and pay $400/month for field board (but my horses do have a stall they occasionally use). I am going to talk to my BO again and see if there is anything we can work out in regards to more feeding, etc.
I am very lucky to have a supportive SO who helps when he can. When the dog needed stiches he paid the $700 bill without complaint (it is "our' dog at least). But I don't feel right asking him to pay for the horses, since its MY thing.
I have been looking for PT jobs but haven't found the right one to fit with my FT job schedule yet. But definitely keep the ideas coming!!
Alterblue...not sure if you'd be cool w/ this or not...but I have had good luck scanning craigslist for one time cash jobs. I throw this money into my horsey fund.
I have done things like: pick up sticks in an elderly man's yard, unload a moving truck, stain a deck, take a lady grocery shopping--her daughter normally did that but was on vacation, farm sitting, helping tear out old carpet, etc. Handy stuff that isn't difficult and usually is about a 4 hour time commitment on a weekend. Most of these type of things have paid about 25 bucks an hour cash. I don't do something every weekend, but I have found some decent ideas just to kind of pad the critter account.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.