I would say anywhere from $500- $1000, and maybe more if anything more serious is involved. I say $1000 just because you never know if your horse needs to stay at the vet for intensive care, meaning daily board and care at the vets office, plus treatment.
I, too, think $1,000 at least should be set aside for vet & emergencies. Where I last lived PTS & cartage could run over $300, plus whatever vet bills led up to that. When you're already suffering w/grief,it's good not to add Credit Card debt to it.
I know my luck, and my horse isn't insured right now, so I have $5000. This is also for my 2 older dogs, one with cancer and the other with heart problems and a younger dog who (hopefully) will need no emergency treatment for years. A thousand sounds good, especially if the horse is insured.
I used to work at an emergency vet hospital as a tech so I know how much things cost in this area. Around here anything less than five hundred will only cover easy/less severe emergency's ( stitches, a few x rays and cast for small animal).
For any type of major emergency some vets around here have been known to charge a flat fee of up to five hundred cash just to show up. This is because they get so many calls where they come out and work but after the emergency the client won't pay up because it suddenly seems like too much money.
I hear all the time on here that vets wont refuse to come if it's a true emergency but that's not so. The vet I worked for would flat out refuse to come for any reason, he has been cheated too many times and he says they can just find someone else. Unfortunately a lot of vets in this area have gotten in that mindset and there are very few experienced in large animals. An offer of a large sum of cash up front may go a long way to get a vet out.
I have at least 2,000 usually set aside for all the animals. I needed it last year when one of the dogs ruptured a disk in her back and needed an mri and two weeks in the hospital. It used all of that plus several hundred more.
Since then I have upped the amount set aside for emergency's to close to five thousand.
I am aiming to have 1k aisde at all times, as a first time horse owner (ive been around horses and have worked at different stables, so I kind of feel like im not a first time horse woner - even though I will be). Im making a vet kit so I have some stuff ready to go too!
I have $10000 saved for general emergencies (vet/ lost job/ car repairs/ death in the family/ and any of the other things life can throw at you). I would hate to be worrying about money when I'm dealing with some horrible event, I also try to avoid owing money to anyone at all costs.
I've heard how much colic surgery and stuff costs ($$$$$...)