Cheap Horse Keeping? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Cheap Horse Keeping?

Hi there, I'm new here and have some questions. I've never owned a horse before (but I would like to someday), but I'm always doing research, and right now I'm trying to find out how cheap you can own a horse for. I'm into everything natural so I would like to keep things as natural as possible. So here are my questions.

1.Can a horse live out in the pasture most of the time, and just be grass fed?

2. Do horses need annual veterinary and farrier visits?

3. What minerals do horse need?

That's all I can think of right now. Anything would be helpful, thanks!
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 04:33 PM
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1.Can a horse live out in the pasture most of the time, and just be grass fed?

They can live out all the year providing that they have access to shelter from the wind and rain. They will need hay and hard feed during the winter. They will also need hard feed if you are working them hard.

2. Do horses need annual veterinary and farrier visits?

Yes, they need certain inoculations annually. The farrier needs to visit every 6 - 8 weeks even if your horse is barefoot.

3. What minerals do horse need?

Depends on the area you are in. Generally a mineral bucket designed for horses left with them 24/7 is fine.

The questions you are asking are very basic and if you have to ask thses then I would say that you are not experienced enough to care for a horse on your own.
There is no such thing as 'cheap' horse keeping. They are always going to cost you money and you should always have plenty in reserve for the unexpected vet bill.
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 04:42 PM
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First, welcome to the forum. There is nothing cheap about owning horses

1.Can a horse live out in the pasture most of the time, and just be grass fed?
Yes, they do much better on pasture but that alone may not sustain them. They need vitamins & minerals that they may not get from pasture alone. In the winter they will require quality hay to make up for the pasture they wouldn't be getting. Some horses are easier keepers, some harder keepers. They are all different and their needs can vary greatly. Mine are on pasture but also get fed a ration balancer and various supplements, depending on the horse. Some may also require hard feed.

2. Do horses need annual veterinary and farrier visits?
Yes, vet - annual teeth floating, shots, health certificate & coggins draw. Farrier - how often also depends on individual horse. Mine are on an every 5 week schedule.

3. What minerals do horse need? This is something best discussed with a vet or equine nutritionist as it can be a very tricky thing to get right.

Other basic care requirements
-De-worming program. Some owners rotate dewormers. I have fecals done every 3 months and then deworm (or not) based on the findings.
-Fly control

If you plan to have one on your own property, there is pasture management to consider, fencing, shelter, water source, equipment to maintain all of it.

Horses are also very prone to injury, common saying is you could put them in bubble wrap and they'd still find a way to get hurt. Having a savings for emergency vet calls is wise and almost a necessity in my opinion.

There is much more to horse ownership and costs but that's the basics I could think of off the top of my head.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #4 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 04:48 PM
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Well it totally depends on what you have available. We have 9 horses and it costs us less to keep them all then it costs some people to keep 1 as we have lots of land and do not board them... We do feed our horses round bales of Hay, they have access to grass and we keep them outside all year long, they need to have some shelter though. They are all barefoot and if you are looking at a horse make sure that is has great feet as this is a huge cost if you need to get them shoes every 6 weeks or so. Luckily my boyfriend is an experienced barefoot trimmer so there is no cost for me for that. Our horses are out at least every 2nd day and get ridden, so we do feed them grain (before and after each ride) grass and hay right now. We do worm our horses and just order the stuff for the worming online. So if you have some land and do some reasearch and get the right horse - I would say that horses are still an expensive hobby but you can keep your costs fairly low... and who are we kidding :0) It is worth it anyway! Good luck with the horse search!
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 05:10 PM
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Cheap horse keeping = oxymoron!

Seriously though, its good you are starting to think and look at what is involved in horse ownership. Read, read, read. When you think you can't read yet another thing about horses... read some more. Books, magazines, internet resources, whatever you can get your hands on.
If there is a stable or farm near you, go visit (if it is ok) and ask a lot of questions. Take pen and paper for notes.

Get on some tack/farm supply places and see how much halters, leads, and basic tack costs. Check out the prices of feed and do some averages on the feed based on a 1000lb horse. Hay too, even with pasture availability is a big one right now.

Now that is not to say there aren't any ways to save money, but until you have a full scope of everything that is actually needed, it can be hard to know where to pinch pennies to keep costs low.

Do some searches here as I remember a few threads in the last couple of months where people were comparing the costs for keeping their horses in various situations. It was a real eye opener.

Being natural as possible is a great way to go and I try to do that as much as I can here, but natural doesn't stitch up wounds or take care of major illnesses that horses seem prone to. Vets are not cheap and while I'm able to do more medical type things than the average horse owner, I still have a vet budget I set aside for those times when I can't.

Again though, glad to see you are looking before you leap into it!
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone who's replied so far!

Foxhunter: I understand what you mean about my questions, but I'm only doing research right now. It'll be a long, long, long time before I get a horse.

Lockwood: Thanks! I've been doing research on horses for years, and I will never stop. I've checked out pretty much every horse book from my library. And thanks again for the tips!
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 05:58 PM
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Here is the research I am doing for owning my yearling:

- Feed and board (pasture boarding will be cheaper, but you'll have to buy your own feed) - $500 per month, plus $500 deposit.
- Training/grooming essentials (tack not included) - $300
- Shipping (TX to CA) - anywhere from $500 - $2000
- Farrier trim - $25-35 per 6 weeks = $240 year
- Annual shots - $100-250 2x a year = $400 year
- Worming - $20 per 6 wks = $160 year
- Dental - $230 2x a year = $460 year
- Coggins and health cert. = $50 year

And that does not include show expenses, plus I have my own tack. With money set aside for emergency vet care, I'm looking at around $11,000 a year for good basic care, which is about $900 a month.

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post #8 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 06:16 PM
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What is this cheap horse keeping you speak of? I have never heard such a thing ;)
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 07:00 PM
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A lot of it depends on your location as well.

I know here, in Australia, I wouldn't have a horse on pasture alone as it does not have enough of the vitamins and minerals needed, so I supplement daily with hard feed. Some places are better than others, but I think there are few places where the grass would be of good enough quality. In a colder location you'll obviously have to supplement a lot more in winter time, as the grass will die off from the frost/snow. Even if you think you can survive on pasture make sure you can afford to pay feed if you have to - you never know what will happen. I've had fires go through where I keep my horse, and while you can get the horse out, there will be no feed. Depending on your horse, you may need to rug. Even if the horse can survive in the cold, they might lose too much condition maintaining their warmth.

Farrier definitely needs to come out every 6 - 8 weeks. Vet visits are not too pressing - the place I keep my horse does all its own vaccinations which works out cheaper. But you still need to have a fund in case you need the vet out. Additionally you shall need a dentist to come out annually, and you may need a chiropractor to address back problems. Should you have training problems you may require a trainer.

A hidden cost of horse ownership is transport. Just driving to and from the horse (if you do DIY care - cheapest option and standard in some places) can cost more than what you pay in feed or board. So be aware of the distance you will be traveling. If you rug, and in winter, it's likely you'll need to go to the horse twice day, so even 10km away turns into 40km a day, and 280km a week.
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-21-2012, 08:04 PM
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The cheapest way to keep a horse is to let someone else own it :)
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