I think it depends on where you live, what extras you consider necessary to your goals (training, chiro, etc.,) what kind of lifestyle you need to afford outside of horses, and maybe most of all on your personal tolerance for risk.
I have no debt or kids or anything else I care about spending money on, but I live in a very expensive area and have a low personal tolerance for risk.
My annualized horse costs are nearly $25,000 and this does not include showing or clinics or the new saddle I just got or any of my first-time-horse-owner initial purchases. Additionally, because of my low tolerance for risk, I would not be comfortable with access to less than $10,000 immediately for medical bills (in addition to having every type of insurance I could get and of course without touching my retirement savings) plus at least $1,000 extra a month for emergencies on top of the ability to save at least a few hundred a month, in case I ever need to replenish the aforementioned $10,000. Over time I'd like to at least double that $10,000 fund.
I am a new horse owner (coming up on 6 months) so maybe my conservative approach will change over time, although given my personality type I doubt it. If anything, I'm getting more neurotic about saving money because I've seen how everything seems to cost double what I thought it would, even with careful planning.
I live in Southern California and I haven't been able to figure out how to keep a horse for less than $1100 per month. That's not including major vet bills, equipment expenses, or showing. That does include board, shoes, minor vet costs, and one lesson per week...
So far, that's been way out of my risk tolerance, so I part-lease. I would love to get back into owning and showing much more regularly, but it just isn't realistic at this point.
Where in the United States does $60K combined allow you to own a house AND two horses??
Add OR to BuddyRoo's list. Together, Mr. Heinz and I don't clear more than that in a year right now. We own a house with enough land and stalls to keep our two horses and I show a handful of times a year. On my own, I had as many as four horses on the payroll and while I was squeaking by on the hairs of my chinny chin chin, I was making it work.
For comparison, twotrudoc, we live in a similar area of the country. If you wanted to "live it up" money-pit style, I'd budget 18-20k a year, or approximately $1500 a month not to include show costs.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson