Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
Noogie, welcome to the forum. This is a great place for advise and opinions.
The poster who suggested leasing first was the best suggestion for a first timer. It gives you the experience of having to care for a horse 24/7 but an easy out if it doesn't work.
I've owned and kept horses at home for ~30 years and I think I've got it down to a good formula. Personally, aside from a catastrophic event, I can keep a horse for not much more then a big dog.
I'm feeding 2 horses and a pony at this time. I use good quality hay in round bails that are kept inside my barn. I proportion out what I need 3x per day (I come home for lunch so it's easy), and I feed 2x per day. A 1,000# bail will last me ~3/4 weeks and cost $30. I can buy a very good quality feed for $25.00 per 100# and that lasts me a month (only one horse is used regularly so he gets more feed then the others - who only get a handful each feeding.
Farrier bills run $50 every 6 weeks for the horse I use (shoes in the front), $30.00 for the other one every 8 weeks (trim only), $25 for the pony every 8 weeks (trim only).
Wormer is $5/ per tube/per animal on average (I used different ones at different times of the year) - every 8 weeks.
Floating teeth every 2 years at $175.00.
Shots run ~$30 per year (I give my own). Yearly Coggins costs $25.00/per but I bring my horse to the vet rather then pay for a farm visit. I only pull on the riding horse since the other two never leave the farm.
My guys are kept in a paddock during the day and turned out to pasture at night. They have full access to the "common" area of the barn and to water at all times. I don't stall my horses unless there is a medical problem.
30+ years experience tells me when I need to get a vet out to my farm. The cost on that can be anything, depending on what is wrong. The last time I had a vet out was this spring when one of them got his eye poked by a branch. Two visits cost me $250 including the medication. I administered the meds 3 times per day for 2 weeks. The time before that, a new horse went through a wire fence and it cost me $300 for an emergency vet visit to administer to her and stitch her up.
Keeping a horse is a 24/7 job and you really have to love it. Weather plays no part of it - you have to be out there every day, at least 2x. Vacations, going out for the evening, an amusement park until late at night, overnight at a friend's, etc.? You need to prepare to have someone capable out to take your place.
All that in addition to the start up - tack, brushes, buckets, wheel barrel, hay fork, muck fork, bedding (if you stall them), fencing, run in shed, gates, halters, etc, etc. AND a companion since horses typically don't do well alone.
1 acre and a horse will turn that paddock into a dirt field within a month and you will have to contend with mud when it rains.
I'm not being discouraging, only realistic. good luck with your decision and thank you to your father for his service to our country.
I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.
Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
It's not always what you say but what they hear.
Last edited by iridehorses; 10-09-2010 at 08:45 AM.