I don't know about most but to keeping a horse for me is about $5000 per year. It costs the same to keep a good one as it does to keep a poor one. The cost of a horse is minor compared to the cost of keeping it.
Why bother with a poor one. If you are out looking for a prospect pick a good one, spend a little more but pick a good foundation.
I would not pick one with a serious physical issue.
It is great that people out there are willing to take in physical diabled horses but I won't work with one or keep one myself.
At a cost of $5000 times the years you hang onto them it is just not worth it.
Perhaps it's the difference in the geographical area, (and not that it really applies to the topic... sorry) but unless I have an unforseen vet expense my annual cost per horse (kept stabled @ home with daily turnout) is generally under $1,000. Believe me, I was in 4-H for 6 years, and we have to track every penny as part of our projects. If I learned a thing from 4-H it was book-keeping, lol.
I do understand from your other posts and threads that you do and have done a lot of work with horses and training for yourself and others, and that this probably takes up much of your time, but for me personally, I derive a lot of enjoyment from dealing with "issues," building/repairing foundations, and tweaking. So much of that can be aided and expedited through the correct
use of groundwork. Instead of riding through ten minutes of "bronc-y" attitude and bucking on a greenie, you can start the first ride on an attentive, calm (albeit likely confused, it is
the hypothetical first ride...) animal. Ideally, the yougster has been brought up with manners taught to it and lots of exposure to different stimuli, and the necessity for pre-ride groundwork is minimal. In my experience, which is all that I can comment on, five minutes of groundwork with a fresh or green horse can save tons of energy, pulling, kicking, and headache for all involved later in the ride.
Also, if horses do not understand the basic concept of reacting to "please," why does my horse move politely out of the way when I merely look at his hip/shoulder, move forward instantly to a gentle touch of my leg, and stop off the twitch of my pinkie on the rein/lead? Yes, please is a concept that must be taught to a horse, but every human must learn it as well. "Gimme" and "Lemme" are innate, "Please" and "Yes'm/Yessir" must me learned.
Just my 2 cents.
Kudos, Flitterbug, on all of your hard work with the horses and humans you've helped. Absolutely awesome!