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Cheap Horse Keeping?

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    04-21-2012, 09:56 PM
I'm sorry but if your concerned about money then horse ownership may not be for you. Look into leasing a horse in the area. You can then make sure after a few months that you are still interested in horses. And also you can ask the owner of the horse how much they spend. They can talk to you more in depth about what is all involved. That's what I did before I bought my first horse and I am very glad I did!
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    04-22-2012, 12:48 PM
Oh yes - LEASING is the best way to "test drive" horse ownership...

You learn a LOT and you get to see what it takes to keep a horse in good, healthy condition. Then if you find it's more than you can handle or can walk away.
    04-22-2012, 02:09 PM
I keep horses very cheaply, and I think well.

We own our own place, and are meticulous about maintaining it, so I have good quality pasture year round. Here in central VA, USA, you can maintain a horse on pasture with mineral supplementation very easily. My horses live out, 24/7 and have free access to a barn or shed for shelter.

So, I have two riding horses and a 10 hand pony, and these are my costs -

$500 - $550 per year for hay. That's 12 - 14 round bales, I feed hay from October to February or March. The rest of the time they're on pasture.

$30 - 40 per year for mineral blocks.

$20 for grain. I buy 2 - 3 bags per year, all I use it for is to put something in can to rattle to call the horses in.

$450. - $500. For yearly vet visit, vaccines and coggins. I do their fall boosters myself for another $50.

Farrier every 5 weeks - $75 - $215; depending on who's wearing shoes.

So I keep 3 animals year round for a total annual cost of around $3000.; farrier costs being by far the biggest expense. And they are fat, shiny and healthy. Two are currently wearing grazing muzzles, and the third probably needs to.

But here are the hidden or soft costs to my arrangement - I haven't included diesel fuel, maintenence or initial investment in my tractor. Without the tractor, I couldn't be so scrupulous about maintianing the quality of my pasture, and I couldn't feed round bales and would have to use a more expensive method.

I lime and or fertilize and seed my pastures every other year, or as needed. That can be another $1000. And while I don't muck or feed daily, or bring horses in and out, I spend a lot of time bushhogging, harrowing, putting hay out, etc.

As someone else said, choosing a horse that's an easy keeper and that has good feet is key to keeping costs low. Another key consideration is not having it be stall kept and not having to feed hay year round. A terrific option to full stall board at a commercial facility is to lease a pasture and do the care yourself, but you need enough experience to be comfortable doing the care, and a schedule that will allow you to do so.

I did this for years before we bought our place and it was the only way I could have kept horses; when I was no longer working with horses full time, boarding at a commercial facility just wasn't an option.

Good for you for doing you research ahead of time and really exploring your options.
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    04-23-2012, 05:31 PM
My question's about "cheap" horse keeping came from hearing about this horse that lived without ever seeing a vet (or farrier), he was born without anyone's help, and he lived the life of a wild horse, and he still lived to be 35 years old. How would things have to be done to not have vet visits and the farrier visits?
    04-23-2012, 06:50 PM
If you knew how to properly trim and upkeep hooves you could skip the farrier. Also I know a lot of people give spring shots themselves. Still its good to have the vet out atleast once a year. That horse may have just been very lucky. Horses do live in the wild just fine without our help. I guess it depends on the horse.
    04-23-2012, 06:57 PM
Originally Posted by Pink Cowgirl    
My question's about "cheap" horse keeping came from hearing about this horse that lived without ever seeing a vet (or farrier), he was born without anyone's help, and he lived the life of a wild horse, and he still lived to be 35 years old. How would things have to be done to not have vet visits and the farrier visits?
You buy a mustang and then set it free.

Seriously, I bet this horse wasn't in great condition. Horses are tough animals, but when they are in captivity and exposed to human demands, they need extra care. The pasture would have to be absolutely perfect - several acres with various kinds of minerals, never ending grass, water, and rocky bits. But even then, there are serious regional diseases that horses have to get vaccinated for or else they will die. And if you want to actually ride your horse you are going to have to feed it more and supplement it more, you're going to have to look after its feet, and you're going to have to look after its teeth. You rarely hear about horses like you've mentioned because they are rare cases...
    04-23-2012, 07:26 PM
I'm going to answer based on how I do my own horses, as I'm very much into cheap horsekeeping.

1.Can a horse live out in the pasture most of the time, and just be grass fed? Yes. My own horses are outside 24.7 rain, snow, heat, etc... and are mostly grass-fed. I grain only as a treat after rides (a small handful) or when I notice their weight dropping a little (usually in winter and only about three pounds daily until spring hits and grass starts growing again).

2. Do horses need annual veterinary and farrier visits? My opinion is that it depends. If you ride in places where there are lots of other horses, or if you board, then I would reccomend vaccinations yearly, but if you don't ride with groups of people a lot and only ride around your area, then I'd say no, there's no need for vaccinating. Case Point: my own horses are ridden with friends horses, and they haven't been vaccinated in years and have no problems. My boy Jax and my mare Gypsie have only had tetanus shots this year due to injuries, and my boy Dakota hasn't been vaccinated in several years. None of my horses have had their teeth done in several years and they are doing fine, etc...

As for shoeing and farrier visits. If you know how to trim, then you can do general upkeep yourself and just have the farrier come out a few times a year.That's what I do. I also only put front shoes on my mare when I know I will be riding a lot on her, such as during summer and fall. My other horses are barefoot and my mare goes barefoot during the winter months. A lot of that, though, depends on the horse.

3. What minerals do horse need? I only ever buy Trace Mineral Blocks and White Salt Licks. Maybe once every few years I'll have to buy some sort of weight supplement if one of my horses gets down too badly, but they generally do very well on regular salt blocks.
    04-23-2012, 08:08 PM
Costs depend so much on different things. If you own land, you don't pay board. If you make your own hay, you cut that cost.
Horses aren't cheap, but you can make them not extremely expensive.

That being said, every three months I spend $1500 just in dewormer and farrier.

If horses are new thing that you weren't raised around, I would also suggest going with the leasing option, as well as talking with a trainer in the area who can get you pointed in the right direction with the right type of horse for you.
    04-23-2012, 10:44 PM
1500 for wormers and farrier visits? Are your horses getting shoes made of gold? Lol
    04-23-2012, 10:48 PM
Originally Posted by bnayc    
1500 for wormers and farrier visits? Are your horses getting shoes made of gold? Lol
No. But there are 23 of them. LOL

health, horse keeping, natural, questions

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