Can we talk about.....cost of living? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-13-2011, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: North Grafton, MA
Posts: 63
• Horses: 0
Can we talk about.....cost of living?

Hi everyone...

Since I started riding 4 years ago, I have been lucky enough to use my friend's horses in exchange for daily barn help and contributions for the cost of care...

I've been taking lessons and my riding and horsemanship have gotten a lot better...and lately I've been feeling like I want my own horse project. I know at this point in my life with my current income (appx $16 per hour) I would probably struggle to keep up with the cost of living for a horse, but then again I've never owned my own horse so I'm not really sure....

I'm in the begginning stages of starting a business (I am the creator/founder of so I expect my income to go up within the next year...

And so I ask... are there any horse owners who are on a fixed income in the MA or surrounding area who keep track of the monthly expenses of XL horse ownership?

I am 5'10 and 250 pounds (trying to lose 30-50lbs for blood pressure and other health reasons) and I will most likely be interested in an athletic but large draft or draft cross type horse (draft/TB draft/sporthorse ShireX etc...) who will be able to do hunter paces, long trail rides, light jumping, maybe some fox hunting....that sort of thing.

I know XL horses cost more to feed than standard size horses...easy keepers are cheaper than hard keepers, etc.....but I'm just trying to get an idea of the monthly expenses to see if it's possible to save for some hay plus 6 months of expenses.

Can anyone help me??


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post #2 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: California
Posts: 9
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I track all of my expenses for my clyde/tb if you're interested. He's at a boarding barn (pasture) here in California, though, so I'm not sure how equivalent it would be. My basic rundown is this:

Board (monthly), $250/month
Trailer parking (monthly), $25/month
Hoof trims (monthly), $50/trim
Riding lessons (weekly), $39/lesson
Dewormer (bi monthly), $12/tube
Insurance (annually), $598/year
Vaccines/teeth floating (annually), $350/year
Safe Choice (bi weekly), $21/bag
SmartPak supplements (monthly), $66/month
Salt (monthly), $1/jar
Corn oil (bi monthly), $22/jug
Garlic powder (bi monthly), $6/jar

Total w/ Lessons per month, $704
Total w/o Lessons per month, $548

Of course I'm a tackholic and always seem to end up going a couple hundred over this for various incidentals like saddle pads and unexpected vet visits. And when I had a stall instead of pasture, the board was $355/month. I've heard it costs a lot more back east, though. Also my horse is barefoot; when I had one with front shoes it cost $110 every 8 weeks.
velessa is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 07:08 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
Posts: 4,712
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do you have land already ? That makes a huge difference in the cost of keeping a horse. No board fees, no gas running back and forth, pasture keeps hay costs down, etc etc. If you are gonna board you will have to figure that expense out. To be responsible you should have $1000 laying around to deal with emergency vet issues.
Seems like you may be counting your chickens before they hatch with your business. I didnt click on your plug and have no idea what it is, but just law of averages most startups fail or take a long time to start turning a profit.
Joe4d is offline  
post #4 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: North Grafton, MA
Posts: 63
• Horses: 0
You're 100% right Joe.....but I'm not counting any chickens yet. I'm just trying to figure out the costs hoping that I can make horse ownership a possibility for me in the forseeable future. I'd like to start saving some money that when I am ready to adopt a horse, I have some savings for my first hay purchase and a cushion for emergency care.

I do know what some things cost:

-farrier (barefoot= $40 x 6-8 weeks, more for shoes)
-hay ($4.50-9.50 per bale depending on availability)

My roomate (who owns the house I live in) has an extra stall and ample turnout that I am welcome to, but the property doesn't have a lot of grass so we feed out a lot of hay.

so I guess the main things I'm not sure of are: how much these bigger horses terms of how much hay and grain I will go through and how quickly in comparison to a smaller horse. Also things like deworming, vaccines, teeth floating, etc...since I've never had to pay for those things before

thanks for the info valessa!!!!!!!!!
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 10:59 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
Posts: 4,712
• Horses: 0
some small horses eat alot and stay skinny, some big horses eat a little and stay fat. Big thick QH that havent been overly diluted with TB blood tend to be really strong but easy keepers.
In winter they will need about a bale a day if there isnt alot of grass, Isee Mass in your profile so I am gonna guess a short growing season. Ever thought about looking around for a lease ? try it out for 6 months or so and see how th emath works out. I bet I could go over your budget and take out all kinds of things you dont need but think you do. How bad do you want the horse ? When was the last time you ate out ? you have cable / satelight tv ? what kinda phone service? whats the thermostat set on and are you wearing a sweatshirt ? See what I am getting at ? Where there is a will there is a way.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 13,224
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That's kind of difficult to judge, yes we start from the premise that bigger horses need more food, but it's not always so, just like people horses have their own challenges with their metabolism, for instance my little 14.3 Arab mare eats more than my 16.2 drafty type, The big mare is like her owner here, show her food and she puts on weight
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: California
Posts: 9
• Horses: 0
My 17hh TB had to eat waaaay more than my draft cross or stocky paints ever did to stay at a decent weight. For him I did buy extra hay on top of what was included with board. It really depends on the horse.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: OK
Posts: 10,555
• Horses: 12
I have a T-shirt that has a picture of a person feeding dollar bills into the horses mouth and the horse giving back.......well, what it gives back. I find it pretty accurate, threaten to quit buying hay and just feed them dollar bills all the time. LOL! But, you can do it on a shoe string, just keep in mind that horses are a total luxury and make sure you have a suitable luxury budget before you buy one.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 186
• Horses: 1
Well, see. I bought my TB when I was more financially stable - and even though money is tight now (with losing my job, and having to settle for a lower paying starter job, trying to put together a wedding, having rescued another TB from slaughter and just the general cost of living), I always find a way to wiggle things around to accomedate my horses.

It sure seems like a luxury, but once you have one - giving it up for ANY reason seems impossible. So, to me, it's a responsibility that I feel I have to honour. I bought the horse(s) - only say that because my 2nd guy was free - regardless, they're my responsibility and I'll fight tooth and nail to give them everything they need to the best of my ability.

They've given me the best of them, so I'm going to give them back the best of me.

... but yes, it is expensive. So expensive that I can't remember the last time I had a hair cut that didn't involve myself, pair of scissors, a sink, and horribly crooked bangs.
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A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-18-2011, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 168
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Randella I seem to be in the same boat as you but I have my friend do my hair for me...we go to sally's and buy dye (so much cheaper and better quality than the box dyes) and even though you don't dye your hair just wanted to put that out there :) I am dirt poor. And yes I do have my own land so its a big help in the expence.

I am not a firm believer that horses are for people that make a ton of money.... Cause when I saw what Lizzy was roughly making I myself was like omg I wish I made that much! I know accidents do happen but there are preventative measures you can take. I walk my pasture EVERY DAY. I check anything and everything for potential dangers. (And I did attempt to wrap him in bubble wrap once...lmao). My metal t posts have covers over them. I always double check to make sure my hay is not moldy or had twine in it. *knocks on wood* going the extra mile for me has so far been to my advantage. But anyways...
I am another person who freezes my ass off in my house in the winter (thermostat is set at 60) and I have not had cable/satelite for 5 years now so when someone asks me if I watch the 'x factor' I kinda look at them with a dumbfounded look.
I have also not bought anything new for myself. Good Will does it for me but I figure any way to save money for my boy is just gravy!
Everyone's situation is different but IMO I think lizzy could do it if she put her mind to it!
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