Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Horses aren't that expensive to keep.
The highest costs (at least for me) are agistment/board, farrier and transport (for me).
Even so, as a currently unemployed student, I live below the "Australian Poverty Line" meaning my income is in the lowest 10% of the population. And I still afford a horse on my own.
I just make different choices to most people, even to horse owners. The board costs that people seem to pay are for stables, indoor arenas, people to feed your horses, people to watch your horses. They're paying for other people to take care of their horse so of course it's expensive, not only are they paying for facilities that are expensive to build and maintain but also for the time spent by the people who work there. When you think of it like that no wonder its so expensive.
It's far cheaper to have self-care paddocks. Provided you buy a horse that isn't so highly strung it practically needs to eat constantly, many horses can live of decent paddocks without much need for extra hay, they just need some basic vitamin thing. Depends on where you live though.
I don't think horses have ever been overly common in cities, and for those outside of cities they would keep their horses own their own farms eating grass mostly. May even learn how to do their hooves on their own. At least that is the way it seems in Australia.