First Horse Ownership/Boarding Questions
Hello everyone, I have started this thread in hopes of some pointers and advice. Ill try and give you as much information about my situation as possible, but please bare with me. This could get a little lengthy. I told my girlfriend that I would help her provide for a horse if she went ahead and purchased one. She has been riding off an on for 10 years, and at one point helped take care of some horses at stable. Personally, I have only ridden a couple times. I am not a trainer so its hard to classify my girlfriends riding ability, but if I had to rate it I would say she's somewhere around an intermediate range. She knows a decent amount about the general care of a horse from the stable, but as I tell her, "their is always more to learn." I enjoy reading and learning in new subjects, that is why I offered to seek out some knowledge from horse lovers on this forum.
So here is my dilemma! Her mom has a friend who a couple of years ago offered to board a horse for relatively cheap. (don't remember exact price) I'm in the process of making sure we have enough money to adequately provide for a horses needs. I know there are many different services that a boarder can provide or not provide. I leave Aug 13 for the Air Force, so a horse is something that will help keep her occupied, and something she can share affection towards. (Please note this is not just a temporary horse until I come back, it will eventually have his or her own barn and lots of land) I know owning a horse is everything far from easy, and inexpensive, but I would like to care for this horse with the upmost efficient way possible. Both for the horses sake and my pocket book. Now onto my million questions! By the way I live in Northwest Indiana if that makes any difference for the questions, and we are looking for a trail horse that she can teach me how to ride on.
What are the best ways to save money?
What are the best things to look for when purchasing your own horse?
What makes a good trail horse?
What is an average price range for supplies to get started, and then yearly?
What services should I be looking for from boarding?
What should I be weary of?
If you can take the time to answer or branch off of any of these for advice, It is greatly appreciated. =)
First thank you and welcome to the forum - If I read this right You leave for the air force in Aug and you wont to help your friend get a horse ? I would find out how much your friend is charging to keep the horse there and time it by 12 mouths then you need shoeing and vet calls ( shots. wormingand shoe ect) ask your friend were you are stabling the horse what they do for the board them you will need equipment to ride this is just the start I hope this help i would share board a horse first that way you see first hand what is involved
Horses are expensive, I'll say right off. Just the yearly costs runs at LEAST a few hundred: Teeth floating (at least once per year), farrier(every 8 weeks), vaccines(every spring), wormer(every 3 months). It all varies by area but that'll run you a few hundred at least. If you have shoes, your farrier call will be more expensive.
*Minimum* supplies: Halter, lead rope, hoof pick, fly spray, curry comb, brush, mane comb, shampoos for washing, maybe a fly mask or fly sheet. If you're going to be riding, at at least a saddle (a good saddle will run you at least $400), bridle, bit, reins, saddle pad. These are just minimum supplies, keep in mind. You'll need a stock of money in case the horse needs a vet, which WILL happen eventually, as horses are walking disasters waiting to happen. There's tons of other supplies that she'll probably end up getting, because that's how horse people are (haha). If she'll be taking lessons or have a trainer, that too.
Boarding will run between 200 and 500 per month, depending on what you get. Most horses are find with pasture board, which is cheapest. Comes with pasture, hay, water. The basics they need - that's what my horse gets, and it's $215 for board per month.
When you're buying, you'll need to bring a vet out to do a prepurchase exam, so there's no hiddne health issues, and a Coggins. You want ot see a healthy, calm horse, and no ribs. There's a conformation guide floating around here - you don't want a conformational wreck of an animal. A solid trail horse will be more expensive, but they'll be calm, shouldn't hesitate when being lead, ride smoothly, be okay with being out by themselves.
Be wary of people giving out free horses. Be wary of someone who says you have to give warning before looking at the horse (call me 20 minutes before you get here) because you don't want them to drug a crazy horse to calm it down. Be wary of people who say their horse has NO problems.
And take your time. Don't rush into this. One thing to consider: If you guys break up, will she be able to afford the horse by herself? I know you think it will never happen, but then, don't we all?
I'm sure someone will be around with a detailed list of ALL the things that you can buy and how much. If you're trying to be minimal and just get the necessities you don't need things like sweat scrapers and polo wraps, but when you own horses these things just kind of accumulate in your possession. We like spoiling our ponies. :p
A good idea: Make a list of things you need, both services and products. Go to your local tack store and get a pricing, and then call the farrier and vet to get a pricing for services (and the price for a farm call). It'll make it easier to see how much you'll have to budget. Good luck :)
Thanks for the quick reply's! Any extra information helps me out a lot!
I've been pricing out some supplies, are their any brands that I should stay away from? Much like my dog, if we get a horse I'm sure it will end up just as spoiled.
Nothing I've heard horror stories about, I think, though others might have some input here. Saddles are a different story - they're complicated, but I'm sure you can dig up a few threads about saddle brands and quality and fit. Took me a long time to get straight. The main tip I can give is, like I mentioned, if it's a saddle package (with brastplate, bridle, all included etc) don't buy it. If it's new and under $400, don't buy it.
For products, I typically go with what's cheap. You get what you pay for. If you're worried about anything, just google it, you'll probably find some reviews.
ETA: You can spoil the horse all you want, but make sure that he respects you. A disrespectful, spoiled horse causes ALL SORTS of problems, and can turn your nice trail horse into a screaming monster who refuses to be saddled.
I would plan to budget a few thousand per year, at the very least. I'll give you a breakdown of costs in my area to give you a ballpark.
Hay: $4/50# bale, $2/day, $730/year
Grain: Depends on the horse, as some need grain and others don't. For quality grain (e.g. Nutrena SafeChoice), you're looking at $16/50# bag, ballpark of 5#/day puts us at $1.60/day and $584/year
Dewormers: You can have a fecal done regularl to only deworm as needed, feed a daily dewormer, or you can stick to an 8-week plan, rotating the primary ingredient, and spend $12/tube every 2 months, which puts us at $72/month.
If the horse has good hooves and does not need shoes, a good farrier will run between $30-45. Your horse may need to be trimmed every 5 weeks, or every 8 weeks--it depends on the individual and the environment. A shod horse will cost you more (~$80-100), but if we assume the horse is barefoot, this puts the cost at around $260/year.
Vaccines: these vary by the region, but expect to spend $50+ on spring shots, and make sure you factor in the vet's trip and service charges. This will probably be around $120/year.
The above are yearly expenses and are around $1766. This does not include board fees, which may or may not include feed and services. If you must buy your own feed, make sure you have a way to transport the hay.
On top of this, you have a lot of one-time purchases.
Saddle: 350+ for quality, and saddle fitting (~$150) is a must if you don't have experience in this area. Your best bet is to find a quality used saddle rather than a new saddle for the same price, as 99% of new saddles sold for less than $500 as junk and will hurt the horse.
Pad: You can pick up a few English pads for $15 a piece, or less if you can find them secondhand. Western pads may cost a bit more, and as with anything equine, the best are going to cost $$$. For $30, you can find a decent pad.
Bridle: I wold allot $50 for a quality new bridle, and less if you can find it used.
Girth: $30 can purchase a great girth. Look for Professionals Choice (English or Western), mohair cinches (Western), etc
Bit: Ask the owner what they use. This depends on the individual horse, but expect to spend another $35.
First Aid Kit: $100+
Don't forget miscellaneous things like fly spray, buckets, breakaway halters, lead ropes, leather cleaner, mineral blocks, troughs, etc.
As for the horse itself, be very cautious of freebies. Have the horse thoroughly examined by a vet (pre-purchase exam = $200+) and have your girlfriend ride him outside of the arena. If he's bought to be a trail horse, you need to know that he's confident out on trail.
Like others said it is extremely costly, plan to spend at least 4,000 a year. You need to figure boarding, farrier, vaccines, dewormer, feed, emergency vet calls etc. Then you must consider the initial cost of the horse and it's supplies like tack and grooming stuff. The important thing to remember is to have extra money laying around. In my opinion, if you can't afford an emergency vet call of about 300, you should not consider one it happens much to often
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Ok cool that gives me a good estimate. Hopefully 5 years from now I will have enough land to put up my own barn up instead of boarding, and cut the costs down a tad bit more. That will have to be a project for a different day though! From the sounds of it, takes a lot care. But I guess if your going to do it, its better to do it right. Thanks for help, if you think of any other little helpful tips, they will be welcomed with open arms! =)
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