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Spin off: Financial strain of horses

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    #21
    There’d be no debt. Retirement would be fully funded. House would get remodeling done. I’d be locked in a rubber room (not really a joke).

    I’m not sure there is good justification, esp when one of you isn’t a horse person. How do you - anyone - justify doing ANY thing that brings happiness? It all costs money and you can’t take it with you when you die.

    Actually I’ve always wanted a hot rod. So that is probably what I’d get in to.

    Comment


      #22
      I'm with goodhors. When I decided we were getting back into horses as an adult (for the kids as well as for me), we bought horse property instead of boarding, located on the trail system. Saved a jillion dollars there over 20 years and still had the land to sell when we left it. The house was only meh, but so what? We bought used tack, serviceable old trailer, feed in bulk, we showed on a low level and rode in Pony Club, all options that kept costs down. Kids still had plenty of fun, we went thru a lot of horses, we had ups, we had downs, then we packed it in.

      When I moved north I toyed with the idea of buying again, but I've been riding at a training barn instead and it's been just lovely. I can now lead the "other" life, where my responsibilities end when I take the tack off and put the horse in the stall. I'm enjoying it quite a lot. I don't have to show up 7 days a week, 3X a day to feed, muck, doctor, meet farriers, fix tack, sew torn blankets, arrange for hay deliveries. I do begrudge the 30 minute drive to get there and back, but that's just being silly.

      I am one of those people who couldn't write a big check for a made horse, even if I had the money. My hand just will not finish all those zeros. I bought a made hunter once (hoping to convert him to an eventer) and he managed to acquire a quite-deep puncture wound within 24 hours of arriving at my house by jumping into/onto an orange tree. I have no idea what that tree _said_ to deserve the attack. So, yeah, they do try to kill themselves.

      I've never been a big one for showing, though. I think that matters a lot. Showing in almost any discipline is expensive, so if you are going to compete, learn to write those zeros.

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        #23
        Depending on where you live board isn't terribly expensive and actually owing a horse is a fairly affordable hobby. If you have them at home it can be even cheaper. When I was single and had 2 horses in board it was a stretch on my salary but I did part time work at the barn to offset that.

        Showing, trainers, lessons etc and all the stuff that goes with it can really add up the cost and financial strain. You could eliminate that pretty easily and still have a horse to ride and money for other things. Then again, some don't care to ride if they aren't competing..............

        My horses are at home for the last 28+ years and we bale our own hay too, so my costs are a pittance and for that I am thankful. I don't have much to spend.

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          #24
          The old saying- you can't take it with you Yes it's expensive but horses are such a part of my life, I just work it out. I've been so many places, got to do so many amazing things and met so many great people- all because of horses. I definitely wouldn't trade it for anything. And honestly I don't spend much on anything else I do in life- we travel once a year, eat out once a week, I have no kids, have never gotten my hair cut in a salon, drive a budget car, my most expensive clothes are my riding tights lol. Fortunately I also have a very supportive husband who doesn't ever gripe about the horses and enjoys going on my endurance adventures (crazy man hikes our endurance ride loops with the dog).
          Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

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            #25
            I don't own a horse for this reason. I can enjoy taking lessons and riding with friends who have extra horses. I don't show. I don't have to worry about vet bills and other unexpected costs, and if I need to stop riding for a few months for medical or financial reasons, the bills go away. I also enjoy traveling, dining out, and have some other hobbies and sports, so I am able to spread my money around more this way and enjoy a variety of things other than just riding. I also put money in my 401K, savings account, and HSA from every paycheck.
            Flickr

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              #26
              I had a good paying job. As it became apparent I would have to board (at a real barn as opposed to renting pasture in town—now a thing of the past), I got down to one horse. I board at a partial care barn and do some of the work (pen cleaning and any turnout). Anyway, I was able to have my horse, do what I wanted to do AND save for retirement. Now I have retired. I retired a couple years early so have had to buy Cobra insurance ($$$$ ) and have opted to wait on SS so I have had to really keep an eye on things equine but 50 years after I got my first horse, I still enjoy training and spending time with my diva. I still have savings for veterinary needs and although I think of how I could use that money for MY old age, I will take care of the horse if needed. I am single so haven’t felt terribly bad spending my money on what I want to and haven’t ever felt it a strain.

              Susan

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                #27
                This has been such a helpful thread. I had to put down my beloved horse, and I've been horse-less now for the first time in about 40 years. I miss it terribly, but I am a widow, so I don't miss the huge vet, shoeing and unexpected expense bills that really added so much anxiety to something that has been my life and joy forever. I'm looking for another horse, but it has been nice to help my kids when they need it and continue to save. I do miss our farm, the activity of taking care of the horses, the ability to hear of a horse in need and say, "i'll take it' and just sitting out by the pasture and enjoying their company. Hopefully, I'll be back in that position in the future.

                Comment


                  #28
                  regarding Retiring and Horses, we worked with a financial planner with full disclosure regarding the horses so their needs were calculated into the our savings. We are both retired now, the horses are still here and have "their" monthly allotment to cover their expenses (their allotment is actually out of our social security money as we have not had to tap the 401ks other than me having to take the required minimum disbursement

                  We went on a written budget many years ago at the suggestion of our advisor setting many of the reoccurring obligations on auto pay. (pushing the credit scores through the roof)

                  We review our insurance coverage and policies often..... this year changed carriers for home and auto saving thousands of dollars (at least $4k)...and increased coverage

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                    #29
                    Just to say, there are other hobbies that take our hearts and finances. Having a sail boat is one. There is something you love, something that pulls you that gives you life. You work your life to spend way too much money on it. You get a lot from it. You get too old. Meh.

                    Comment


                      #30
                      I took a break for a couple years because I couldn’t justify the expense but after awhile I just wasn’t happy without horses in my life. So a few years ago I bought a young horse that I started myself because I couldn’t afford something “made up”... also I do enjoy starting babies. I’m single and don’t have kids so I don’t feel bad about spending money on my horse instead of my family. I don’t travel, I don’t buy nice stuff or nice clothes, and I do self care. Luckily I found a place with people I really like to do more of a share-care situation and it’s super close to where I live. If I had my horse at a full training barn that would probably triple my expenses so I make it work at a lower key barn and do a lot of the work myself... and that way I can make sure things are done my way lol.

                      Comment


                        #31
                        I'd still own land because ew neighbors, but... Geez no clue. Maybe bigger house, more vacations involving more flying (right now we drive for closer vacations, cheaper), moooore... um, chickens? a third dog? ring neck parrots?
                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                          #32
                          I have been horse crazy my entire life, LOL... it would be fair to say a lot of major life decisions were made with horses in mind, from where I decided to live to what kind of work I pursued. A few years ago we had the opportunity to purchase a farmette after looking, on and off, for nearly a decade. That gave me a lot more flexibility and allowed me to do more (have a second competition horse, provide my older guy with a cushy retirement) than I could when I was boarding. It wasn't *just* the money but also the time - these days I can get a quick ride in at lunch, since they're just out in the backyard, something I could not do when I had to drive back and forth to the place where I boarded.

                          That said I plugged away for many, many years at jobs that included big commutes and a fair amount of travel - which meant that for a very long time, I was one of the intrepid adult amateurs who would get home after work and go suit up to ride pretty late in the day. At one very memorable point early in my marriage, my darling DH would go with me to help me navigate the dark stretch of ground between the barn and the arena at night during the winter months. It was often kind of icy and then there were all the noises from wind and so on in the indoor that meant on any given ride there was a decent chance of ending up on the ground, LOL. I had a number of friends who thought I was nuts

                          Anyway, after all these years I have the kind of job that allows me to do what I want, horse-wise. I can work from anywhere with an internet connection, which means I have the flexibility to go to FL in the winter, for example. Would we be in better financial shape if I did not have horses? I suppose so. But as it is, we are not particularly leveraged. Despite my indulgence with horsey stuff, I am pretty conservative financially. In my early adulthood, I had to budget very carefully for my horse stuff and there were definitely times when it was a strain. I think that was OK - I was always very clear that the reason I worked was to afford the life I wanted, and that life included horses. I never wanted things that were important to some of my other friends - country club memberships, or designer clothes or what have you.
                          **********
                          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                          -PaulaEdwina

                          Comment


                            #33
                            I've never been without a horse and to this day hope I go before the horses (yes, I have arrangements made). That being said I have been the queen of economy, budgets, DIY, etc in order to pursue my dream along with a full-time job from the time I graduated. I'm now in my late 50s. I found it possible due to my dedication and willingness to work to support my hobby along with having horse property so that I could DIY. Though I gave up and sacrificed a lot of opportunities, I do not regret it. However, I have down-sized considerably over the last 5 years and am the first to admit that it's nice to have the lower expenses associated with having only 3 (one a retiree). It's also very nice to have to focus on only one in terms of training and showing. Since downsizing I've been able to afford a brand new car, renovate one of my properties and travel. If the horses go before me, I'm not sure what I would do to occupy my easily bored mind and my fear is without the physical stimulation/demands that having horses brings, my mind will go faster than my body.........Addiction? probably but it's one that despite its expense and physical toll has far fewer regrets associated with it than 'others' that come to mind.
                            Ranch of Last Resort

                            Comment


                              #34
                              We keep seeing threads like these but it’s always encouraging to see that many people do struggle / work very hard to afford their horses; it can be really frustrating sometimes when competing and stuff to see that no matter how hard you worked, someone with more money will go further every time.

                              I don’t want to derail the thread but I’m wondering how some of you all work out finances with your significant other. How do you split up the finances for horse stuff vs life stuff if you have a non-horsey SO?

                              Comment


                                #35
                                Originally posted by katherineyyyy View Post
                                We keep seeing threads like these but it’s always encouraging to see that many people do struggle / work very hard to afford their horses; it can be really frustrating sometimes when competing and stuff to see that no matter how hard you worked, someone with more money will go further every time.

                                I don’t want to derail the thread but I’m wondering how some of you all work out finances with your significant other. How do you split up the finances for horse stuff vs life stuff if you have a non-horsey SO?
                                we had a horse that we hauled ourselves, showed ourselves and beat the big-time money barns all the time... but she also showed against two Grand National horses, often placing second (we told her those were actually Canadian First Place ribbons, she was happy)

                                We were fortunate to have selected a top quality long yearling who may wanted later.

                                As for the spending, the money is all in one pot... as noted we work from a budget so there really isn't any squabble about where the funds go. We do long term planning, at least a year to two years in advance. We do have separate 401ks and "planning" includes an updated will

                                Comment


                                  #36
                                  Whenever someone tells me they want to buy a horse for their kid I tell them I’d be loaded if I didn’t own my horse. It’s true. I couldn’t imagine trying to fund horse ownership with a family. Knowing the people who tell me this I don’t think they realize what they would have to give up.

                                  I take on the financial burden because the enjoyment out weighs the cost.

                                  Comment


                                    #37
                                    I think in October before I went into the hospital DH had taken over all the horse related duties at home as my hours were catching up to me. Once I got out of the hospital I couldn't even leave the house on my own so even though he didn't complain he also had very little time to turn them out or groom them and they were starting to be neglected. I made the decision and found them new homes.

                                    A little later we purchased a lake front property, which had been his dream, with a garage for the boat until we add a boathouse, then if we build that will likely serve as the new footprint. It's got an RV pad and sleeping shed, it's a fine campsite. I still have balance and coordination problems but I can get around most of the time without a cane and be comfortable setting on the deck. I have to wait till we get steps put in to go to the lakeshore when I used to scramble up that sort of thing for fun all the time, it's hard to wrap my head around it sometimes. He prefers to be on the lake, I like it too, so now it's his turn.
                                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                    Incredible Invisible

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by katherineyyyy View Post
                                      We keep seeing threads like these but it’s always encouraging to see that many people do struggle / work very hard to afford their horses; it can be really frustrating sometimes when competing and stuff to see that no matter how hard you worked, someone with more money will go further every time.

                                      I don’t want to derail the thread but I’m wondering how some of you all work out finances with your significant other. How do you split up the finances for horse stuff vs life stuff if you have a non-horsey SO?
                                      I'm glad that I'm not really interested in competing with anyone but myself. I do hope to show locally for fun, and eventually pursue USDF bronze and silver, but "winning" doesn't really equate to success for me any more.

                                      As far as your other question, I make a fair bit more money than my husband, and the income difference happens to be in the neighborhood of what I spend on horses. We don't have kids, and just split household expenses equally. Some might argue that I should contribute more to shared expenses because I earn more, but that is because I gained a couple promotions, while he has made a conscious decision not to go after promotions that would have put him at the same earnings level.

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by katherineyyyy View Post
                                        We keep seeing threads like these but it’s always encouraging to see that many people do struggle / work very hard to afford their horses; it can be really frustrating sometimes when competing and stuff to see that no matter how hard you worked, someone with more money will go further every time.

                                        I don’t want to derail the thread but I’m wondering how some of you all work out finances with your significant other. How do you split up the finances for horse stuff vs life stuff if you have a non-horsey SO?
                                        My SO was non-horsey, but he was also the dad of the kids. Poor guy got tossed in the deep end when I graduated with my masters, we promptly moved, and I chose a horse property. He had no idea prior to that...

                                        But, I picked the right guy. He has never once questioned horse expenses. Partly because they were an endeavor for the kids and he could see the immediate benefit there, and partly because he knows I cannot write big checks. Partly, I'm sure, was the fact that we'd made a deal about money early on because he was pursuing a non-traditional (and only occasionally paying) career path and I was bringing home the steady bacon.

                                        We'd had about 4 years together before "look what I bought!" happened, so there was some established habit. Now he brings home the bacon and I spend too much time on the internet. Still, if I want to buy something, I buy it and he doesn't cavil. Because he knows I can't write big checks.

                                        Comment


                                          #40
                                          Probably pay off some debt faster but honestly I don’t spend heaps on the horses. We have 2 - one I ride and the other is a retiree who is on the low maintenance package. I sell the feed my horse eats to cover that cost. Feed round bales which puts hay cost at about $80-85 a month per horse. Less now that they’re on grass mostly. I do spend some on clinics and lessons each year but not huge amounts. I don’t have huge showing aspirations either and am pretty good about planning for those well in advance. Trailer we bought in cash. Truck was paid off this year. I have all the tack I need and I’ve become much more disciplined about accumulating more.

                                          Although our property was still expensive, we bought it under market value. We could’ve bought a very nice house in town for same price but we both enjoy living out of town and probably would even without horses. It has been a blessing during lockdown to have more space to ourselves. We did buy a fairly pricy tractor this year but once again, even without horses, we’d probably need it.

                                          As far as managing horse costs, my husband makes a lot more money than me (about 3x). Everything goes in and out of one bank account. I manage the money so I make sure everything gets paid and that we have enough left over to do ‘fun stuff’. He has his own hobbies so I budget accordingly for them. He has never complained about the cost or effort involved in horses and although he’d tell you that they are just hay burning money wasters, he actually loves them and loves telling people about our little farm. We are very open about communicating about money which is the key.

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