Originally Posted by kitten_Val
Painty, I agree with you up to the certain point.
Not everyone can trim, and it's a big expense. I did it for year myself, but then gave up, because my back just can't handle it. Also vet call, coggins, rabbies, and teeth are pretty expensive here. As well as GOOD hay (I do give little grain too). Sometime I read the prices here on forum on trim and vet and I'm just so jealous!
I agree that trimming is hard on the back. I'm 54 and have gone from trimming all 3 mares at the same time to doing one at a time, but I always think of our old English farrier who convinced/taught me...he was still trimming horses in his 70's. It's not difficult work, just hard work (and I have a lot of respect for farriers). BTW, a trim around here is going for $35 these days, and that would be a big expense.
Hay is indeed our biggest cost since we don't have a big place, and the price of that has doubled in the last 4 years.
And vet costs for routine services...don't get me started
Our vet will freely admit that what pays the bills are the routine services...e.g. $18/horse for rabies (which you can't do yourself in NC)...yikes! A vial of rabies vaccine costs $2. He'll also freely tell you that the Coggins testing is really just a tax on horses, makes $$s for the state lab and $$s for the vet ($25/horse), and he has never seen a Coggins+ horse in 30+ years.
As far as floating teeth, you can tell when a horse needs their teeth floated. I know some people feel that they have to be floated every year, and they will disagree with me, but many horses (our mares included) that live on grass/hay and spend all day chewing wear their teeth enough that floating is rarely required.
The bottom line, IMHO, is that owning a horse is often very expensive because people just spend much more than they need to. You can follow "KISS"...Keep It Simple, Stupid...and still have a strong, healthy horse willing to work everyday that lives to a ripe old age.