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An honest question
#1
Hello everyone,

I've decided recently that I'm getting back to my roots and my western lifestyle, if you will. I'm getting back into horses except now that I'm an adult I want a horse of my own. So here is my question. In all honesty, what should one expect a monthly cost to be to keep a horse. Of course this is assuming the horse is healthy and requires nothing special. Just on average with feed, ferrier, etc., what would the "average cost" be. Mind you I know it all depends on prices, where you live, quality of food, but I'm just looking for a ballpark figure. Thanks in advance!
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#2
Wow, that's hard to say even for us folks who've had horses for years. Not all costs come every month and there's lots of variables to consider even for a ballpark figure. We get horse feed from the mill about every six weeks. Hay is delivered once a year. The vet usually visits once a year barring emergencies.

Then some horses require shoes and some don't. Some wear shoes year round and others just during the warmer times of the year. Some horses require supplements or specialized feed where others Just need hay and grain. You can cut your hay costs if your horse has availability to pasture. There's pasture upkeep too and the possibility of needing some kind of a tractor to keep the weeds down.

Most horses are wormed twice a year.

Will your horse be needing a stall or have access to a loafing shed? Most people buy stall bedding, which can add up in cost depending where you get it and what kind. Horses can do a number on stalls too. So there's the cost of keeping a stall (or a loafing shed) in good repair. Fencing and gates fall under this catagory too.

Do you intend to travel with your horse? If so, there's trailer upkeep. And you'll need a good truck of some sort to haul hay, grain, bedding, etc.

Then there's care for your tack if you want it to last for a long time. And expenses to go riding off your property or camping over night with your horse.

Showing will definitely take a big bite out of your pocket if you intend to go that route. And even of you don't show, there's the possibility of needing a trainer or you taking riding lessons.

Perish the thought, but if your horse just happens to escape and damage anything or anyone, you are liable for those damages including if anyone just happens to be around your horse or riding him and is injured.

There are so many variables to consider when it comes to a horse owner's financial resposibilities that even a ballpark figure would be hard to say. And it varies tremendously from one part of the country to another. Just be aware that prices have risen considerably in the past five or ten years. Keeping a horse isn't near as economical as it once was. What I'd do is make a list of the basic horse keeping requirements, go ask those who supply those requirements, and then start adding up the tab. Don't be shocked at the result. If I started adding up everything it costs me to keep my two horses, I'd probably keel over in a dead faint. All I know is we've been able to meet the bills and enjoy our horses. I just hope it stays that way for a long time to come.

Horse ownership is a huge responsibility and can be costly. And one more thing: Remember that a horse must be cared for every day. If you want to go on a trip or somewhere overnight, you'll have to find someone to babysit your horse while you're gone.

Still want to get a horse [Big Grin]? I hope so. Even with everything I've said, my horses are one of the greatest joys in my life. I'd be lost without them [Wink].
"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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#3
RH covered it well and I agree, it varys greatly from region to region and horse to horse. Usually the cheapest part of horse ownership is the cost of the horse!

Feed costs are rising as are hay prices. I think the last 50lb bag of 10% I bought was over $9 and I just feed that to the donkeys. The Essential K that I feed my horse is $26+/50lb and lasts right at a month. Many horses don't need grain at all though and some require more than what I feed mine.

Sort of a rule of thumb is to feed 2% of the horses weight in hay BUT there are a lot of variables to be factored in. Quality of hay is very important and you will pay more for good quality hay. I usually wind up paying $3.50-$4.00 per bale. A 1000lb horse should get 20lb of hay/day. Bale weight varies like everything else related to horses but I think if you use 50lb, you should be okay.

I have no idea how long the growing season is where you are but here in southern IN, grass is usually done for by late Oct-mid Nov.... DEPENDING on the weather! LOL... like I said..so so many variables. Grass greens up and begins to grow here in late March... depending on the weather. Wink

Farrier costs vary too. I pay $60 for trim & front shoes about every 8 weeks. Then there is dental care but I don't remember what I pay. Annual vaccines are another cost to factor in.

Halters, brushes, blankets, fly masks &/or spray or both, saddle pads, saddle, girth, breast collar, bridle, bit, reins, leads, feed tubs, water tubs, tub heaters to keep water from freezing in the winter, manure forks, wheelbarrow or other poop hauler...the list never ends!

Like RH, I do NOT want to know how much I spend on my addiction per year.
Karen ~ Trails  
  &
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

~~~~~~
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#4
Thanks RH & Paintgal
I definitely still want a horse but will go ahead and check local prices to verify (great idea). I live in SW Michigan so I will check around before I make any hasty decisions. I've found a place to board horses that will exchange board for choring duties, which as a hopeful owner isn't something that would bother me. I think if I were to have any addiction horses seem like the best option. Thanks again for the feedback, I'll let you know what I decide Smile
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#5
Welcome, SDB (how's that, PG [Wink])

We have 7 horses and I try to keep track of all our expenses.... I don't know why, it's just one of those a-rententive things I do. We keep our horses at home, so we don't have a boarding bill, but for the first few years we paid rent on a barn. Now we have our own, but I am not adding in the mortgage payment. Over the past 10 years, year-in, year-out, we have averaged about $3,000 - $3,500 per year per horse. This is for total feed, hay, equipment, tack, routine vet & health care, farrier, riding lessons, etc.

If you board, you would have to add in the cost of someone else's labor, which is not free like yours. Also, this does not include any possible major medical expense which may come up, which we have had a couple of. It also does not include the $50,000+ living quarters trailer we all dream of....

A lot of people would say it's too expensive and they would never think of wasting money like this... and then they go out and drop thousands on a new sports car, or motorcycle, 4-wheelers, snow mobiles, travel trailers, boats, etc.

To each his own....
"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A man’s soul can’t be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer


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#6
Ditto the other posters[Smile]

I've been paying for my own horses since I was 12, so that's 54 years. In my youth, I traded hard labor on my granddad's farm for feed and hay for my horses. He also had horses, so the reward of working with them at the end of a hard day made all that "child labor" a lot less painful - lol lol lol

I zinged thru horse life pretty cheap with my first set of Keeper horses.

With this group, who will be my last due to my age, I can't say the same.

Horsekeeping was "status quo" until 2007 when my heart horse was diagnosed with insulin issues. In 2010 a second horse was diagnosed with insulin issues and he was already eating "The Diet", so it was too much pasture grass that sent him over the edge and into being a Type II diabetic.

My other two horses are fine, in that regard.

Point being, expenses for this unexpected and life-long disease have mushroomed in ways I could never have imagined. It includes special diets, more frequent hoof care, and the vet has to see them more frequently (in-depth physicals that includes blood work).

In terms of the hard trail riding I used to do, they can be ridden on mild hacks but not anything resembling the cliffhangars we used to do because they wear out to easily.

There's a lady on another forum who is beyond 50 and also getting back into horses, after years of not owning them. She is wise enough to be taking an on-line Equine Health Course.

An on-line credited and credible health course might be a huge benefit to you, even if it costs to enroll. The money and heartache you might possibly save on vet bills would be well worth putting money in PayPal and taking a course[Smile]

Good luck to you[Smile]
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#7
Hi there and welcome to DE!
I think you just posed a really scarey question..none of us really wants to know the actual cost of keeping a horse!!

A good way to start to see if you are really committed is to half lease or lease....that way you aren't tied in forever.

Definetly cheaper to keep them at home. But, the chores for barnkeeping cost you in time, and I find I ride less partly due to that. Where you live will change feed and board costs too.

Depending on the feed, supplements (joint, hoof, viatmins), average out the farrier 6-8wk visit and vacs, dental, shavings, I would venture at least $250-$300/ per month over all per horse. I'm not adding tack, blankets, trailer, truck, etc...that can cosst you some $$ in start up but lasts a long time.

That estimate could be high or low depending on how you feed/shoe, etc.
I gave up a lot of stuff I don't reallly need to have my horses (nails, hair, nice clothes, vacation, etc) but no regrets.
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#8
Talk about timely! I just had this posted to my FB wall.

[Image: 488024_533873793318804_1131283943_n.jpg]

Sooo true!
Karen ~ Trails  
  &
Joe Paint Gelding
Paoli, IN

"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sun and neigh in the night."
[Image: th_horse-galloping.gif]  

~~~~~~
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#9
But don't get discouraged, SDB! There are always ways to make it work. We know; most of us here on the DE have been somehow keeping horses for years! Owning a horse DOES usually mean you have to scrimp in other areas, but it is well worth it.

EZ2SPOT
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#10
Just don't be this guy.

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/8238421/boarding
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