This is mostly a rant-- I have no one to really discuss it with!
* I cannot afford it.* Not yet. Not until I have a minimum of 5k in the bank and have an emergency fund set up. I'm not even going to kid myself with 'oh, I can afford board and vet and farrier's only every 6-8 weeks!' Yeah, no. I need to be able to live and pay for my schooling first. I plan on being a vet tech/vet assistant of SOME kind. I figured that a horse will cost a max of 8k (AVG of 5.5k) a year, barring any catastrophes. So I think I need to be making 20k or so to live well enough, and since the average pay is 23-40k, I should be all set once I get a "real" job.
-Board is $250 a month, and is basically all I need. Stall when I want it, they grain for me, hay, pasture, lessons.
-My trainer thinks I'll need a lite-shod horse. For those who don't know, I ride Walkers. The farrier fee is $35 for a trim, $115 shoes.
-I'll be getting a youngster, weanling to 2 year old. I know, they don't make good 1st horses.. but my trainer will be working VERY, VERY, VERY closely with me. She will ride the horse for 30-60 minutes a day, weather permitting, depending on what I pay her. I am a wimp and never ride alone anyway. The youngster she got went on to be NSSHA National Champion or something and is now doing GREAT as a youth horse. So I am more than willing to work with her as much as possible. I want her to be able to set a good gait into my horse that hasn't got a lot of training to undo.
-Luckily for me, Saddleseat tack is easy to.. 'stock up' on. The thing that weirds me out is that the saddles almost NEVER have tree sizes. One size fits all! I was riding her lesson horses the other week and commented on the saddle I was riding in-- how comfy and nicely made it was. 'Oh that? You can get one new off National Bridle for $160. That's about 10 years old.' I've started buying regular halters(lime green and hot pink. Bright colors call to me), grooming kits.. basically everything you can accurately guess the sizing of.
It's so much! I can't believe that people jump into ownership! Call me a perfectionist and a worrywart, but I want to *KNOW* that I have the funds and a plan B. There will be +2k in my 'WTF' fund. Always. It'll cover vet emergencies(Colic and injury), tack failures(bridle snaps, billets explode, etc), farrier emergencies(thrown shoe, founder, etc), and things like 'focused training' when/if my horse starts up a nasty habit.
BUT, I am in no rush because I have only found a HANDFUL of decent walkers in the area. MOST gaited horses around here rack. AND my trainer is picky-- which is a good thing-- but we've found, like.. 2 horses we like. So at least that gives the whole money thing time to get situated!