Annual cost of owning a horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 02:08 PM
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Depending on the type of horse you get, the area you live in, your zoning, what you or your daughter plan on doing with the horse, etc. you may also have to factor in mortality and liability insurance for your horse. A few zoning locations in my area require liability insurance for all home kept horses, regardless if they ever leave the property or not, if the owner has people come ride the horse or not, or how much the horse is worth. I also purchase mortality/colic insurance for my horses because it DOES come in handy if your horse needs colic surgery or if your horse dies/is stolen/etc. I paid $1500 for my ISH gelding so that is what my insurance would have covered should he have died (he never did, thankfully) or have been stolen and never recovered but it depends on the type/value of your horse and what they are doing for a living. Insurance is not that expensive for most non-competition animals or "pasture pals" and I think I paid about $250 a year for the mortality insurance which included $2,000 in colic surgery coverage. Because I boarded him and my boarding barn already had liability insurance, I was not required to buy additional liability insurance so I don't know how much that would have added on but I think depending on the company it's around $30-$50 extra per year.

Again, this may only be relative to your particular area and what type of horse you get and what you plan on doing with it.

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post #12 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 02:51 PM
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How much does my horse cost me annually? I don't really even want to know. Two main costs add to around $2,400 per year and I just don't care to look at the rest. Discretionary spending? They get it all.

If I had known what the costs were upfront, I may have never had my own horse. But now that I do, the cost is almost irrelevant.
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post #13 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 03:20 PM
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In Nebraka with its arid climate I would guess an acre of land is not going to feed one horse the entire season. I live in NW IL and our local Ag extension suggests 2 or more acres per horse. We feed hay year round and a horse will eat about `1/2 of a 75lb of hay per day along with grain and supplements 2x per day. Our farrier for trim only is $40 and shots are about $125 per horse.

Horses are pricey habits.
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post #14 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by carshon View Post
In Nebraka with its arid climate I would guess an acre of land is not going to feed one horse the entire season. I live in NW IL and our local Ag extension suggests 2 or more acres per horse.
Southeast Nebraska is anything but arid. We're probably on par with NW Illinois. You're probably thinking of northwest Nebraska, which is an entirely different climate.

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post #15 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 04:24 PM
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Another thing to consider: Horses are herd animals. Most do not do very well mentally when they are alone. Thus far, you've talked about keeping ONE horse.

You should, at the very least, consider a companion animal for said horse or (better yet) a second horse.

Square bales are going to vary in size and weight. I think it would be quite minimal to figure 1/3 your "average" square bale a day. I would consider at least 1/2 square bale a day per horse, if not more. Yes it will vary on the weather (colder and they will need to eat more).

When they were boarded alone, my two quarter horses would eat a 900-pound round bale (smaller round bale) in 2 weeks. Granted, I live in North Dakota where it's typically cold.

2 acres of rotational grazing for the year, depending on your climate, may not even been enough for one horse for the summer.

Of course, it won't be a normal cost for a normal year but you must consider what you will do in years of drought. We are currently in a terrible drought. Square bales which normally sell for $3 a bale are selling for over $10 a bale. Pastures that are normally still used for grazing are long gone (I know many people who've been feeding hay for well over a month already). So consider that one of the "what if" things to deal with.

In my opinion, 8 weeks is getting kinda long in-between trimmings. Yes it will depend on the horse. Mine get done every 5 weeks on the nose, to combat issues they have. My farrier charges $40 for a barefoot trim (which I am not lucky enough to get to have, LOL). Red get corrective shoeing with wedges on his front feet, and regular shoes on the hinds. And Shotgun gets regular shoes with plain pads on the front and barefoot on the hinds. I usually tip my farrier for each visit b/c he takes care of me when I have a pulled or bent shoe. It ends up being about $200 every 5 weeks for my two horses. I sometimes use another farrier, and he also does quality work but is much more expensive.

As far as deworming, you'll also need to consider vacinations. If you daughter plans on showing, you may also need other tests like a Coggins. For deworming, the current recognized best method is to have your vet do a fecal test (at the right time of year) to determine what the horse needs. In general, deworming is done 3 times a year and rotating the deworming medication. I buy the dewormer from my vet and administer myself when needed. I have her do the vaccinations b/c I am there anyway for their spring checkups.

One thing you did not mention is TEETH. Your horse's teeth will need to be checked at least once per year to see if they need to be floated. Some horses need to be floated more than once a year. Expect to spend over $100 for that.

If you guy a gelding, it is also a good idea to clean the sheath. I prefer to let my vet do this when they are sedated anyway from getting their teeth done. My guys don't have much of a problem so they are fine to be cleaned once a year. Other horses need it much more frequently.

If your daughter wants to jump competitively, you are most likely going to want your own truck and trailer. Insurance and licensing is small potatoes compared to your purchase price of an adequate towing vehicle.

As far as unexpected vet bills for medical problems, I don't use the word *IF*. I use the word *WHEN*. Horses are experts at getting hurt. Have money set aside and expect to need it. On my horse Red alone just this year, I've spent thousands of dollars the vet for joint injections and joint treatment (Adequan). I am competitive with him (barrel racing) and he has problems that need maintaining. Jumping is also very hard on a horse and while there are a lucky few that won't need some sort of maintainance, that usually is not the norm.

I also routinely have my horses examined by a chiropractor. I've seen great benefits for their performance. Mine charges $60 per horse each time.

Depending on how much you spend on a horse, you may want to consider insurance for the horse. Most common is mortality which usually also has some stipend for emergency colic surgery. There is medical insurance for horses but usually not necessary unless you have a VERY expensive horse (6 figures) at a high level of competition. There are also loss-of-use insurance policies which are usually just too crazy expensive to even consider. Insurance on the horse is totally optional, but something to consider. Your premium will depend on how much you insure the horse for.

But all-in-all, I think maybe the biggest expense you are overlooking is having a companion animal or second horse, since horses typically do not like to be alone.
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post #16 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Another thing to consider: Horses are herd animals. Most do not do very well mentally when they are alone. Thus far, you've talked about keeping ONE horse.
I never said anything about getting only one horse. I'm nailing down the costs for a single horse. Two or three horses will be two or three times that cost. Also our neighbors have horses, so they've got somebody to talk with.

Quote:
Square bales are going to vary in size and weight. I think it would be quite minimal to figure 1/3 your "average" square bale a day. I would consider at least 1/2 square bale a day per horse, if not more. Yes it will vary on the weather (colder and they will need to eat more).
It's interesting that everybody in this thread is saying that my expectation was very low. Everything I've read said to expect 2% of their body weight, which, for a 1000-lb horse, would be about 1/3 of a 60-lb square bale. I can plan on more, of course. That's just not what I keep reading (even on this forum).

Quote:
If your daughter wants to jump competitively, you are most likely going to want your own truck and trailer. Insurance and licensing is small potatoes compared to your purchase price of an adequate towing vehicle.
If she decides to compete, then yes, we'll surely get our own trailer. We've already got a fine tow vehicle in our Chevy Tahoe. It's rated at about 8000 lbs, and I frequently pull a flatbed trailer loaded to 6000 lbs. The used horse trailer would be the only added expense there. And again, I'm only asking about the ongoing costs, not the up-front costs.

Quote:
I also routinely have my horses examined by a chiropractor. I've seen great benefits for their performance. Mine charges $60 per horse each time.
I've never heard of a chiropractor for horses. That's really a thing? ... Sure enough, it's listed as a service provided by our vet. Whadaya know.

Quote:
Depending on how much you spend on a horse, you may want to consider insurance for the horse.
We're only looking at spending a few thousand for the horse, so I suspect that insurance isn't worth it.

This thread has been very helpful in filling in some of the gaps that I hadn't considered. Thanks, everyone.
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post #17 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ObiWan View Post

Everything I've read said to expect 2% of their body weight, which, for a 1000-lb horse, would be about 1/3 of a 60-lb square bale. I can plan on more, of course.
Yes, all horses are individuals but that guideline usually doesn't account for colder temperatures in the winter when horses need to eat more calories to stay warm. Which yes, could be supplemented by grain. But some horses will get "hot" on certain grains, and so you may not want to feed that much if that's the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiWan View Post
If she decides to compete, then yes, we'll surely get our own trailer. We've already got a fine tow vehicle in our Chevy Tahoe. It's rated at about 8000 lbs, and I frequently pull a flatbed trailer loaded to 6000 lbs. The used horse trailer would be the only added expense there. And again, I'm only asking about the ongoing costs, not the up-front costs.
Insurance for my horse trailer for the year is minimal - about $100 a year rolled into our bundle policy.

Now if you do happen to get 3 horses (like some of your other posts suggest is a possibility), a Tahoe isn't going to cut it when you factor in the weight of 3 horses and a horse trailer big enough to carry them all, plus any tack you may have in the trailer. Now of course you might not end up with 3 horses, but something to consider for future expenses. And as you are already aware, towing "live cargo" is much different than towing a flatbed trailer.

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Last edited by beau159; 08-01-2017 at 06:18 PM.
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post #18 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 06:36 PM
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There is no law that says you can't administer your own vaccines, which you can buy in any feed store worthy of the name. You can also take a fecal sample to the vet, find out what parasites your horse has and deworm them yourself. After raising livestock for 10 years I was amazed at how people treat their horses like giant dogs and lean on a vet for every last thing. Get a vet, or any neighbor who doctors their own stock, to show you how to give IM and SQ shots, if you don't already know. Down the road, it'll be a skill you will use.

Lots of people learn how to trim their own horses' hooves, as well. Best to learn this from a good farrier and not from the internet.

An ordinary easy-keeper horse in mild work does not usually need a million kinds of expensive supplements, just a ration balancer and hay.

That said, most people love spending money on their horses and buy them all sorts of not exactly essential things. Unlike me. My horse absolutely needed a crocheted blue ear net with red trim and a new dressage bridle with rhinestones on the browband, and you can't tell me different. Even though we don't have that many flies and I will never compete in dressage.

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post #19 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Yes, all horses are individuals but that guideline usually doesn't account for colder temperatures in the winter when horses need to eat more calories to stay warm.
Yes. Eating hay to keep warm in the winter typically requires 2x the "normal" amount of hay.

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On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #20 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
My horse absolutely needed a crocheted blue ear net with red trim and a new dressage bridle with rhinestones on the browband, and you can't tell me different.
Haha. So true. I think it can become an act of demonstrating how much we care even though the horse may not really care one way or another. Only someone bonded with a horse can understand.

I had no idea in the beginning. And two horses? Is that really a need? I am now taking full care (at my expense) of four horses. And I NEED them ALL. If I ride Hondo and pack with Rimmey, Dragon will go berserk alone. And I'm training Dragon to pack so I need him. The only way I could get by with two is if I ponyed Dragon on every ride. And sometimes Hondo and I like to get some one on one time.

Somebody told me horses are like potato chips. Ya can't have just one.
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