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A financial nitty-gritty thread. I want to know about your lives!

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  • A financial nitty-gritty thread. I want to know about your lives!

    Sorry if this has been done before, I love reading the forums and seek the wisdom of your community.

    How do you people make it work when your income does not come from horses? I want to hear details, how much you are willing to spend per year under the constraints of your salary, and what realistic goals you set given your financial ability. Specifics are fantastic and might really help people understand what is reasonable to sacrifice for this insanely expensive hobby. Such as:

    -household income and what portion goes to horses
    -how you go about saving to buy a horse, set a budget, and determine how much you are willing to sacrifice your other savings
    -how you determine what you can realistically sacrifice for a purchase price

    I'm in-between horses and desperately wanting to buy one soon on an~80k salary and modest savings. I know that the posters here come from a wide variety of backgrounds and I'm so genuinely curious about how other normal people make it work out! Tackiness be damned, I want to see some real numbers!

  • #2
    Last edited by alternativename; Aug. 31, 2013, 06:29 PM.


    • #3
      Salary can be somewhat irrelevant as what really matters is the cost of living where you are located! As well as other life circumstances (single vs married, children, etc etc)- in my case I have a rather hefty student loan payment every month. I make this sport as cheap as I can for myself. Horse was purchased for $1500 OTTB. I tell people she is an "only horse" because I only have the time and money for one. At the most I do one lesson per week (unless there are unusual circumstances). My board bill is under $400. I pretty much only show at schooling shows (rarely over $100/day). I also am getting started in eventing and can only afford to do a limited number of 3 day events each year. BUT I am happy and my horse is happy. We do lots of trail riding and go horse camping several times per year. I am just damn happy to have a nice horse and be able to ride as much as I do!


      • #4
        I'm five years into a career with a government agency and I'm strongly considering leaving my job to go back school so I can make more money to spend on my horses. What I haven't figured out is how I'm going to pay for them while I do so. I'm fortunate to be able keep them on family property so my horse related expenses at this time are minimal (I'm also not showing at all right now because I just started riding again after a four year hiatus - I trained two projects up to being competive locally in the modifidies before letting them sit in the pasture for four years). I'm in my late twenties and single for the foreseeable future, so if I want to eventually own a nice home and be competitive on a regional level while still being responsible and saving for the future/emergancies... well, my 63k salary isn't going to cut it if I do it all alone. Which is sad, because it feels like it should be enough.

        ***Note: my job is a career ladder type position so when I started I made MUCH less money (about 38k). I am now at full performance level for my job (I was hired as a GS 7 and am now a GS 11).


        • #5
          My husband and I split our home expenses (yep! split down the middle) I read that a lot of couples have the biggest fights over money so we have completely cut that out. We have goals that we are working on and both put money towards that but as long as our expenses are covered, credit cards are paid off EACH month and we contribute a bit towards our goals (house, emergency fund), our money is our money. Now, I am confident he will not go out and buy something crazy without talking to me as I would never go buy a horse without talking to him. We are very realistic about money and NOT spending out of our means. Living pay check to pay check would make me really nervous. I would never put something i didnt NEED on a credit card. If its a "want" and not a "need" and we cant afford it, we cant afford it. Period. Credit cards are really for emergencies! It stinks sometimes. I really really really want a horse trailer but its not happening anytime soon.

          When figuring out how much you can afford to pay for a horse, Id make sure you have 4 or more months of emergency funds saved up to pay for everything you would need if you ever lost your job, etc to pay rent, groceries, horsey's expenses, etc. And, then go from there.

          I think you just have to be really smart with your money. There are financial planners who can help you. I do have a strong financial background so Im at an advantage. Some of my friends drive me crazy with their spending habbits.


          • #6
            Originally posted by k_lee85 View Post
            Sorry if this has been done before, I love reading the forums and seek the wisdom of your community.

            How do you people make it work when your income does not come from horses? I want to hear details, how much you are willing to spend per year under the constraints of your salary, and what realistic goals you set given your financial ability. Specifics are fantastic and might really help people understand what is reasonable to sacrifice for this insanely expensive hobby. Such as:

            -household income and what portion goes to horses
            -how you go about saving to buy a horse, set a budget, and determine how much you are willing to sacrifice your other savings
            -how you determine what you can realistically sacrifice for a purchase price

            I'm in-between horses and desperately wanting to buy one soon on an~80k salary and modest savings. I know that the posters here come from a wide variety of backgrounds and I'm so genuinely curious about how other normal people make it work out! Tackiness be damned, I want to see some real numbers!
            If you figure it out let me know. I make high 5 figures in a low cost area. My only two bills are my house and my horse and i struggle to make it work without sacrificing savings or retirement. Never thought I'd struggle to have a horse at this tax bracket.....
            "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"



            • #7
              My husband and I combine everything including expenses and income. We make a decent amount of money (175k more or less) but we also have some fairly substantial expenses that we are working on paying off. My monthly horse bill runs about 1500 but that's because I'm still building my war chest of horsey supplies and have my horse on supplements. There is no way we could afford for both of us to have this hobby. I was planning to do some substantial showing this year but I don't think I'm going to because of some health problems, but I'm still hoping to get in 10 to 12 Schooling shows between now and the end of the season.


              • #8
                Here is what you need to know about your own life to make it work.

                1.) Your after tax income.
                2.) Your rent/mortgage being no more than 1/4 of that.
                3.) Your additional expenses (groceries/gas/insurance/cable/internet) being no more than 1/4 of that.
                4.) The money you are putting into savings being AT LEAST 1/4 of that.
                5.) The money you are spending on "Fun" being no more than 1/4 of that.

                If for some reason your rent and expenses take up less than half your income, you have a little more money to spend on "fun."
                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                • #9
                  Cost of living where you're at, what you're willing to sacrifice and how you can make it work. I've got a family of 5 (2 teens and a pre-teen), grossing under 100k a year right now as my business gets going, and I'm supporting 4 horses. Keep in mind as you read this, I've been riding for over 25 years, so some of this may not be possible for you if you have less experience.

                  My horses are at home, and all but one are easy keepers (no grain) and live outside. 2 are barefoot, one shod only in front (but should probably be barefoot and will be as soon as we can get his feet "right").

                  Right now they are all also green (because of my equine budget), so I'm not doing a ton of showing. They will be showing this year, starting in the locals. I have one who will be doing the rated shows after she gets some experience at the local level. No need to pay for rated shows until they have the mileage to succeed.

                  My horses cost little - one was $1200, one $800 plus a "freebie" semi-retired mare, and the gelding I'm looking after because of his lameness issues. I find deals. The one standing in the pasture that's built beautifully but looks like crap for one reason or another. The one from a different discipline that just needs a little bit of reschooling. The one that's an "off" breed but moves right. Yes, it's more of a gamble, but my eye has been educated over the years, so I can find them.

                  I lesson here and there as I can with the best people I can find. I find that one lesson a month with a kick-a$$ trainer is worth so much more than 4 or more lessons a month with someone mediocre.

                  I find deals on...well...everything from clothing to saddlery (an adjustable tree saddle is da bomb). I don't have the nicest stuff in the world, but it's well taken care of (the good thing is, no one ever knows).

                  I make use of a lot of internet resources to help me learn and continue progressing. You'd be surprised at what is out there. I watch hours and hours of video when I can. I have the Jane Savoie Happy Horse Course to help me through stuck points. I have a coach for sports psychology that I found through the internet as well.

                  We also do a variety of things with the horses from foxhunting, to trail riding, to dressage. I've found that this diversification helps them as a hunter (if they can handle those things, typically 8 jumps on a set pattern is easy-peasy for them). Most of those things are cheaper or low cost but can put miles on a horse really well.

                  I guess I shouldn't give away all of my secrets....


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks for the responses everyone! Obviously so much depends on your local cost of living and there is no magic formula, I'm just curious about how all sorts of different people manage.


                    • #11
                      There are so many variables involved, but in general, making a budget and sticking to it is very important. We have a very nice small farm. We can afford it because we are middle aged with no children and well paying jobs.
                      However, we still have a budget and stick to it. We drive our cars forever, don't travel much, and very rarely eat out. I give my trainer free board in exchange for lessons and training rides.


                      • #12
                        Cost of living is HUGE. HUGE. Not only because of what it will do to your housing expenses, but what it will do to your horse expenses. I grew up in FL, and what I spend now on a one bedroom condo in Boston would get me a really nice house back home. What horses cost up here is at least 30% more of what it would cost me there for the equivalent (plus traffic time... oh, traffic).

                        I make a little bit more than you and in the next few years, I expect to be at least 10% or so higher than where I am now. I was half leasing a wonderful horse at a very nice barn and ended up spending around $1000/month on that, and the few shows we did were well over $2k/each. After about a year, I have decided to step back and save for my own horsey future. It was just more money than I could justify for the amount of riding I was doing.

                        I will spend the next few years saving, paying off my car (not a fancy car and will get driven til it dies, just like the last one, but I want the debt gone) and saving - both for a larger rainy day fund and hopefully a horse. I debated doing a lesson a week for the duration, but that ends up close to $5k/year and I think the money will be more enjoyable saved. No kids and keeping the housing budget under our means is a big, big savings. I am fortunate to not have any student loans or CC debt, so housing is my only major monthly expense.

                        As far as what I will buy - will likely import something on the younger side or a failed bigger jumper. I'm a realist and it will be for sale the moment I have it (not marketed, but definitely available if people inquire). I'd like to keep said horse for a year or so and if I can make some money on it, will do so, rinse and repeat. I'm going for an AA jumper so I have the chance to make some of my show fees back and I prefer the jumpers anyways.

                        Also, I will be going to a barn that has a more moderate price and show schedule. If horsey ends up being as rideable as I'd like, will definitely half lease out to save some money and try to maintain a non-horsey life.


                        • #13
                          Making it work....hmmmm.....I am a single person making a mediocre salary. Under $60,000 (to be general). I have a mortgage on my own, a car payment and then the horse. It has become very tight for me since getting the horse (he was unplanned). That being said, had I made smarter decisions from the beginning and trusted my judgement, I could have prevented some of the high and unexpected expenses. I also should have trusted my gut several times and could have saved myself alot of money. I recently moved my horse to a friends house in order to cut expenses. She allows me to provide my own feed and I selected a higher quality feed which is more expensive, however because of the quality, he is able to consume less than with other feeds. He also looks the best he has. I have excess tack that I was holding on to for sentimental reasons, and I have decided to sell it for less than it is worth to make things easier on me financially. I do not buy something unless I NEED it. I also have cut back on alot of unnecessary expenses. I don't have fancy cable, I don't have a smart phone with email or data, I don't go out to dinner or to clubs, I cut coupons. There are alot of ways to make it work but it is hard. At this point, my horse is #1 after my mandatory expenses like mortgage and car payment. I treat him as my child. If he needs, I go without.


                          • #14
                            Growing up and continuing to live in one of the most expensive States around could be tough; but it does allow a vast opportunity for financial success. Saying that, the success may take a lot of your time so having patience is something you must have. Sometimes we have to wait for our dream horse or opportunity to go to the bigger shows. But never give up on what you want to do.

                            Yes horses cost money and take a lot of time away from regular life commitments especially if you want to compete.

                            My husband and I built a construction company and we work very hard. Over the years with it's ups and downs, have just tried to be smart about spending and not getting into debt.

                            We did have a family and now that they are older I am getting to finally live my dream of the horse world. Of course my other dreams are my family and a beautiful home to be with them.

                            We try to enjoy our life. Keep positive people around us. Work hard, never give up and pray a lot because life can change in a heart beat so there is no reason to be un-happy and make sure to love the journey you are on.

                            I love this saying "Life is not about the destination, it is about the journey."

                            Edited to add - you wanted numbers:

                            $60,000 on the horses (3)

                            2013 will be more "cost" because I am going to shows. I didn't go to any shows but the 60,000 in 2012 included the purchase of a new horse (prospect) for $20,000

                            Just one show where I did a very limited amount of classes for two weeks was over $5,000.00

                            So estimate for horses for me in 2013:
                            10 shows this year = $23,000.00
                            Training and board = $24,600.00
                            Two retirees at home = $5,000.00
                            Tack, vet and misc = 7,000.00

                            TOTAL estimated expenses = 59,600.00

                            I don't know if that helps you but with 80,000 income, depending on your expenses and what you actually want to do with your new horse can be adjusted depending on how much you pay for him, where you keep him, and how many shows you go to etc.....
                            Last edited by doublesstable; Apr. 12, 2013, 11:18 PM.
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.


                            • #15
                              I'm living paycheck to paycheck, lol. So, a terrible example of what you should be doing. But, this summer I will not have rent to pay, so that *should* make a huge difference towards the amount I can save. I also got a raise, and another job...we shall see... somehow the money keeps disappearing. I'll blame eBay and ShoeDazzle.
                              "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."