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How much to own a horse??

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  • How much to own a horse??

    Most of you know I am halfway through an Accounting degree and am employed in the area. I will graduate with lots of experience (as well as a boatload of supervisory experience from fiscal as well as customer service areas).

    I plan on buying a half Arab when I get settled after graduation. Then maybe a purebred, we'll see.

    So, I'm daydreaming about budgets that include horses I'm a fiscal conservative, I won't do the credit card lifestyle. What sort of salary supports a horse or two, boarded, most likely in at least part time training with lessons and an active show schedule? $50,000+? $60,000+?? More??? Right now I'm in the $40s and would not feel comfortable owning. Plus, school is expensive LOL!!


    ***I should add that I have owned before, I have plenty of experience with horses, and am looking for thoughts and insight on how people feel on certain salaries, not a how-to for newbies to the horse world.***

  • #2
    At a Saddlebred or Arabian breed show barn:

    Figure $12,000-15,000 a year for full board and training, vet and farrier, the basic cost of keeping a show horse.

    For horse shows:

    $800-$1000 for a weekend long local level show

    $1000-$2000 for a 4-6 day long regional level show

    $2500+ for a national level show depending on how long of a show it is and how fancy of a barn you are with.

    I am talking full service, all expenses included (bedding, entries, coaching, etc.) and shipping for the shows.


    • Original Poster

      See, you and I are coming up with about the same numbers

      I'm thinking I could "get away with" a salary in the low 50s but that would be a stretch and, I don't want to have to stretch. I will save money braiding my own horse though LOL!!


      • #4
        I just ran my rough numbers and added $$ for equipment, etc but it was approximately 9k last year for my two horses, including 2 class a shows, several schooling shows and 4 months pro training for the yearling.

        However I don't keep my horses in a show barn and my trainer was more hands on (everyone helps) to keep the overall costs down.

        My husband I combined make in the 60k range (I am still am a full time grad student so I make less) and we are fine and own a house, etc.

        But we don't do a lot of other extravagant things and own little fuel efficient cars (besides the truck which is just used for hauling).
        Semi Feral


        • Original Poster

          Hhhm..not bad and I own the most darling-est fuel efficient car ever-Ike the neon green Mexican-American Ford Fiesta (he's multicultural and international!).

          But! I don't want to have to scrimp. I know costs vary with vet bills, etc., but I like to have a firm budget


          • #6
            I agree with Renae. So much of this is variable, however. Certain locations, you are going to pay $600 a month just for stall board with a covered arena, while full training will be in the $900 to $1200 a month range. If you know where you will locate once school is over, do some research - full training, lessons, vet, farrier, etc. Big name barns cost more and don't always offer more. Be sure to get a fee schedule from any barn. It also depends on your discipline. You mention braiding. Will that be on a hunter pleasure horse or working hunter or dressage horse? Just curious, we own several half Arabs.


            • #7
              An answer to your question in the SIMPLEST of form is as follows.....

              How much money can you afford to "FLUSH" every year and not miss? That my dear, will be EXACTLY how much it will cost you to own.

              Not being sarcastic...Just being real!!!


              • #8
                You can help unexpected vet costs by insuring your horse.
                That is a small expense that can save you big and gives you peace of mind.


                • #9
                  i make at the high end of that salary scale you mentioned, pay about $500 in student loans, $300 car pmt, $200 ins (i live in the inner city, stupid ins :P), no rent (live with SO's family), ~$200 utilities/phone, and luckily recently found pasture board with stalls available in an emergency for $375. trims are $40. vet has been killer in the last year with my horse's ongoing issues, but previous years was not that bad. she's on cosequin and cool calories, both of which are a little pricey, but worth it. i'm still able to save $500+ each month. i wish i could save more bc we are trying to buy a farm in the next couple years, but it's impossible.

                  but yeah, $50-60k, no kids, no major debt? you should have no trouble supporting a horse.
                  My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE


                  • Original Poster


                    Hoofa I agree LOL!!

                    ACP, I do Hunters and Dressage, also I have a few eventers I braid for. I have recently gotten really involved in AHA, I'm doing a Power Point on how to braid that will be available through the Region 5 site. I will include running braids as the main ring folks don't like to pull


                    • #11
                      It depends what else you spend your money on. Sit down and figure out what you expect to pay in a mortgage (or rent), utilities, insurance, car payment, gas, groceries, health care, retirement savings, cable/internet, etc. - then double it to account for taxes and deductions. That would be the base salary you need before a horse. Then add $10 - $20 K (double what you think it will cost to keep your horse) and that is the salary you need for the lifestyle you are hoping for.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks come shine, but I'm looking for personal opinions, experiences, and insights . I know how to make a personal budget, forecast future expense, and account for taxes. It kinda comes with the territory LOL


                        • #13
                          Well, then, I guess it depends on your comfort level. My friend makes 6 figures and he would never take on the expense of owning a horse. I keep telling him he would be fine but he doesn't believe me.


                          • Original Poster

                            Hmmmm... Perhaps a wise friend LOL!


                            • #15
                              I'm surprised the salary estimates seem really low to me. I make just south of 6 figures, and while I can definitely afford my horse at a full care barn, adding half training would be a stretch, and another horse would be near impossible. As a single woman, my monthly budget typically looks like this: I clear about $6k/month. $1000 goes directly to rent. $400 for vehicle payments which include my truck (for towing ponykins around) and car, $1200 in student loans (I'm paying ahead, have about $50k in loans between undergrad and grad), $300 utilities and phone, average about $1800 in other monthly expenses for clothes/food/vacation/entertainment/gas/insurance/etc. $450 for full board for one horse, and average about $100/month for vet/farrier/supplements over the year. That leaves me with about $700 extra/month which covers all other things. I have been able to save a couple thousand each year, but it disappears way more quickly than I ever thought possible. Paying off my student loans will be the quickest way to up my monthly expendable income. So for me, I think I'd need to make at least $85k/year to keep comfortably affording my horse.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you!


                                • #17
                                  A lot
                                  Barn rat for life


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I've said it on here before so I'll say it again... I graduated with a degree in marketing and got an entry-level job at $27k. I afforded a car payment, a horse, and an apartment. I did not eat well, I didn't shop, etc. but I afforded what was important to me - a horse and my own place.

                                    ETA: This was total bare bones - no lessons, no training, and no showing. I had owned my mare for several years and was comfortable be-bopping around on my own.


                                    • #19
                                      Depends on where you live as well. Here in the bay area of CA you would be hard pressed to afford to live on your own (no roommates or spouse) and full care on a horse on a 60K (before taxes) a year budget. Rental housing alone starts at around $1700 a month for a modest apartment.

                                      When I was making $60k a year, my take home after taxes and health insurance costs was about $3,200 a month. Show barns in this area are $1,000 a month, add human rent - not much left over for shows, let alone commute / food general life costs.

                                      But I have a spouse to share housing expense, and keep my horse on very basic board, and do not show at all, which allows me to live here and own a horse at the same time
                                      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                      • #20
                                        It all depends on your situation. When my daughter was first out of school, she supported her 2 horses on her $35,000 per year salary. She paid $100 per month to rent the barn and pasture at the clinic where she worked. She lived at the clinic house, so paid no rent and had no commuting expenses. Her overall expenses were minimal since her 60 hour work week didn't allow much free time for competing.