Horse ownership on a budget: Is it possible? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Horse ownership on a budget: Is it possible?

I have a great opportunity to adopt a 22 year old Mustang mare with no bad habits, but she needs some time under the saddle (she works well on the ground). She loves and prefers the pasture so I wouldn't have to spring for a more expensive stall (of course there are still pasture fees). She is UTD on all vet care and had her teeth floated last year. However, there is no such thing as a "free" horse and I know I need to be entirely prepared for routine veterinary costs and regular worming and such, as well as any emergencies. I also have to be prepared not to like/ fit the tack she comes with, which is another potential (probable?) expense.

I live on a budget already, but am earning more money now (I was given more hours, but still work less than 20 hours a week so could spend gobs of time with a horse). With this "extra" money I thought, "Maybe it is finally time to get a horse." I want to emphasize, this horse is an "easy keeper", but I also need to emphasize that I am green and relatively low-income.

Am I out of my mind for even considering horse ownership? I need to brush up my skills and knowledge but I feel prepared to offer some light arena or trail riding to a couple people I trust for a little extra income. This horse is amazing and could even work with kids, and I am smitten.

I know I may read some responses I won't like, but I absolutely appreciate your honesty and advice. If there is ANY way to own a horse on a budget, please let me know how I can do that. I don't want this opportunity to slip away, and I have tons of time to work with this lovely girl.
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post #2 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 04:19 PM
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If you can afford a horses livery (board), feed, dental, vet and insurance/vet fees on your BASIC wage i.e. without overtime, then yes. As long as the horses care is not compromised.

You also do not want to ge yourself in debt by over-stretching so that in order to afford the luxary you have to go extra...are the xtra jobs stable? I.e. is there a chance there would be a need for them but there are none available?

ETA: there is no such thing as an 'easy keeper' as every horse has the potential to require expensive vet treatment if they becoem ill/injured. :)

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post #3 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 04:20 PM
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Can you afford
Barn-pasture rent if you have to pay for it.
Tack for when you decide to get your own
Oopsies save fund
Misc pretties that you may want to get on impulse.
Trainer if you need one.

If you are shakey on any of those I would be hesitant. Very. Very. Very. Very. Hesitant. If something goes AWWW WTFBBQ on your check will things hit the fan?
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post #4 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 05:04 PM
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I say if thats what you want go for it! Like you I don't have oogles of money (I do have a loving and gracious husband) just be prepared if it doesn't work out financially to either sell the horse or give it away to a good home. I don't think horse ownership is only for the wealthy and or people with endless amounts of free time. Give it a shot and enjoy it while you can afford it. As long as the horse is taken care of......
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post #5 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 05:14 PM
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It is very possible. You need to make sure that you still have money to set aside though. Just in case. I had my horse get hurt back in 2010 and I didn't have a ton of money saved up, so I am still paying off the $3,000 of medical debt. You need to still have enough money to have a life as well. Living on a shoe string budget sucks. You still want to be able to go out on occasion. You will resent the horse if you are so broke you can't do other things you want to do. Keep that in mind. I had a friend who was lucky to have $20 spending money each week because she just had to have this horse. To say the least, the horse was sold within a year because my friend couldn't deal with that kind of a budget. Be realistic about it. Sit down and write out all the expenses that you might have in the worst case scenario. If you can't afford that, don't get the horse. There are always share boarding or partial lease options out there that may work into your budget better.
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post #6 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 09:18 PM
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I would be hesitant because you are a green rider trying to train a horse more than anything. Because at some point in time you will most likely need someone's assistance in training this horse, and that is never cheap. Honestly, it doesn't matter how much time you have on your hands if you don't know what you are doing when it comes to breaking horses. Horse knowledge can't all be found by reading books and articles. I'm not trying to sound rude as I do believe it is do able for an experienced horse person to own a horse on a budget, but the way you are describing the situation you aren't that experienced rider.
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post #7 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 09:54 PM
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At 22 the horse is considered to have entered that stage in it's life whereby it may require more veterinary care than a younger horse. At 22, even if you do get it ridable, it will need to be restricted to mainly walking and trotting and paying attention if the horse is struggling with hills.
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post #8 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 10:33 PM
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It sounds like this horse is a long way from being an arena horse for someone else to ride...and pay for the ride. Then you need to consider insurance for liability.
Just consider all the issues before you take this on. Sometimes we want something so badly that it hurts. But it hurts worse to have it and lose it not to mention the hole in the wallet.
If you can handle it, fine. But don't plan on any sort of imcome until way down the road. You need a very well trained horse for that.
Good luck with your decision.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #9 of 27 Old 05-26-2013, 11:20 PM
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I don't think this is a good idea. If your income is already low, and your work hours are already unreliable, what happens if your hours are cut or if you lose your job? Do you have enough savings to pay the horse expenses until you find another job?

Do you have savings at all? What if the horse needs emergency vet care?

What do you mean that you would offer arena or trail riding to people? Are you talking about renting out your horse? Do you have any insurance to cover you in case something goes wrong for the rider? What does the horse have to offer that would inspire people to pay you to ride it? If this is a horse with issues, this is not an animal people would pay to ride, and if they're good enough riders, they could probably find someone to let them ride a better trained animal and for free.

How old are you? Are you living at home with your parents? What would happen to the horse if your living situation abruptly changed? How would you afford the horse then?

If this is a horse with issues, it's not going to be an easy sell. So you can't depend on just selling the horse if something comes up.

If you're green, you probably could use some riding/training lessons. Can you afford that? Do you already have the help of a trainer? Do you have a plan in case you buy the horse, take it someplace and suddenly behavior problems arise that you don't know how to handle?

All in all, I think it's a bad idea and you should wait until you are in a good financial position. I think most of us here are horse owners on a budget - I know I am. I don't have an infinite amount of money to throw at my horse and I daresay most posters on this board don't either. It's entirely possible to have a horse without wads of money but you do have to be careful and smart over it.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #10 of 27 Old 05-27-2013, 03:28 AM
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even if you could afford it, no way I would take on a 22 year old horse that has issues.
Generally people get a horse like that to learn on because they are so experienced and usually pretty tolerant of new riders. But if it "needs work" ? umm no thanks. Might as well get a 7yo that needed work and you can enjoy for another 15 years when the work is done.
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