Annual cost of owning a horse - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 28 Old 08-01-2017, 10:27 PM
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The annual cost of keeping a horse very much depends on the horse in question.

My mother's easy keeper costs her only a little more than the cost of board (mum is a farrier, so no trimming costs, this horse doesn't need anything but pasture, and deworming really isn't that expensive). Never needs the vet, doesn't compete, isn't in a hugely horsey area. We don't have many nasty diseases here (tetanus and strangles are the main two and strangles doesn't go around very often... the last time was about 7 years ago) so she doesn't get/need many shots and none of them have to be documented by a vet. Pulling coggins isn't needed here because we don't have the disease the test is for. A HUGE number of costs that American horse owners face simply aren't a factor in Australia.

On the other hand, my thoroughbred - who isn't even THAT bad - is $240/month board, $50/month feed, $50/month (ish) farrier, and CONSTANT vet costs. I'm not even joking, I pay a good amount for my area to keep her in a safe pasture and she's had three major injuries (requiring the vet) and countless minor ones.

My old horse was something else when it came to feed costs. I'm not even kidding, it cost me nearly $450/month to feed him. JUST FOR FEED. The only reason I could afford to own him was because I lived on acreage at the time and therefore didn't have board to pay.

You should know ahead of time what a vet call will cost you. I'm talking about just the callout alone, not any treatment costs. For example, for me, an out of clinic hours emergency call is $300 before my vet even touches my horse. $200 for inside clinic hours. He is an excellent vet and that's taking into account significant travel (and according fees), and so I willingly pay it. Bear in mind that this is JUST to come to the farm, get out of the car, and lay eyes on the horse. Then there's any treatment, dressings, medications... some vets charge for time. My mare degloved her hock last year and all in all that cost me nearly $2000. And would have been a lot more if my vet hadn't decided on the treatment plan he did (wrapped for two weeks, open thereafter... bandages are expensive).

Horse insurance can be very much worth it even if your horse isn't expensive, because vet costs can run into the tens of thousands.
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post #22 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 12:35 AM
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Have three horses; one easy keeper, one medium, one medium+. They are 14.1H, 14.3H and 15H, what I consider average size.

In winter, I give them 2 flakes of hay each morning and night. The rest of the year they get 2 flakes of hay at night only, none in the morning.

But this year, have had so much rain the pasture is in great shape and I haven't fed any hay since March

They are also fed a low starch feed, Safe Choice by Nutrena. The two older ones get the senior feed and the younger gets maintenance feed with 1/3 of the senior for flavor.

So the easy keeper gets 3 generous cups (measuring cups) of feed twice a day. The medium keeper gets 4 generous cups twice a day. The oldest horse, a medium+ keeper, gets 5 generous cups twice a day.

They are on 3-4 acres. Have had four horses here, and usually have to feed hay all year. The three of mine together I use about 1/2 bale per day. So I think 1/3 of a bale per horse per day is a fair estimate, depending of course on the size of the bale!

Had an appendix QH gelding with the digestion of a TB. He ate 1/2 bale per day, plus added alfalfa pellets, and honestly could have used more. He ate as much as my other three combined.

I avoid round bales as much as possible because I have one easy keeper, but used them last year when I had them off the property. I bought high quality bales and put them under a carport so they stayed dry. Still the horses ate that hay extremely fast.
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post #23 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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So here's another question about hay & grazing. Where we live, the winters are fairly cold (average afternoon high is around freezing in January), but we really don't get much snow compared to those in the Great Lakes region. It's been several years since I can remember the ground being snow-covered for more than two straight weeks.

From a nutritional standpoint, what's the difference between hay that was baled in the summer / fall versus alfalfa / grass that remains rooted in the ground all winter? Can a horse eat the dormant grass out in the pasture all winter? I expect that they'd surely need some sort of grain supplement during the winter, even if the lack of snow cover allows grazing.

When I was growing up, our horse was fed a couple scoops of grain morning & evening, but basically grazed year round. My family were not knowledgeable horse people back then, but the horse looked healthy and lived to be 36.

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post #24 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 12:36 PM
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Your grazing needs will vary widely horses to horse and year to year. Some horses do OK scratching out forage through the snow, some don't. When the snow is deep or has an ice crust, sensitive-skinned horses can tear their legs up pawing, so you'll need hay. When the temperature drops below 10 degrees, some horses need to eat nearly constantly to stay warm and keep weight on-- those horses can go through a bale a day or more during cold snaps. My horses have access to hay 24/7 at zero degrees or below windchill or actual temp.

We can usually depend on grazing to eliminate feed costs from mid-April through October except for a handful of grain or ration balancer once a day to get the horses to come in, but this year, we started feeding hay already in July because it hasn't rained in two months and the pastures are dried up. Hay prices are already going high as people used to getting multiple cuttings off pastures got one or none, and now face feeding hay daily until next spring.

When I had one horse (easy keeper) and we fed square bales, I estimated 2 bales (about 60 - 70 lbs each) of good grass hay per week year-round; that took into account that we had good pasture for half the year and could feed more in the winter and none most of the summer. Usually that was sufficient. Sometimes it wasn't. If you see a good price on quality hay and have room to store it, buy it.

Hay and vet bills are the source of most angst about costs for horse owners. Both usually cost more and are used more than you estimated for.
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post #25 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 12:58 PM
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Actual value of having a good horse.........priceless!
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post #26 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiWan View Post
So here's another question about hay & grazing. Where we live, the winters are fairly cold (average afternoon high is around freezing in January), but we really don't get much snow compared to those in the Great Lakes region. It's been several years since I can remember the ground being snow-covered for more than two straight weeks.

From a nutritional standpoint, what's the difference between hay that was baled in the summer / fall versus alfalfa / grass that remains rooted in the ground all winter? Can a horse eat the dormant grass out in the pasture all winter? I expect that they'd surely need some sort of grain supplement during the winter, even if the lack of snow cover allows grazing.

When I was growing up, our horse was fed a couple scoops of grain morning & evening, but basically grazed year round. My family were not knowledgeable horse people back then, but the horse looked healthy and lived to be 36.
Honestly it really varies so much. I would not think that would suffice for a horse to be grazing on winter graze and keep his weight and health accurate for the weather. There just is so little nutrition in the remaining winter grass, I would suggest feeding hay with it also.

I am in Ohio and I feed about double the amount of hay in the winter as I feed in the summer.

I would also like to add to a veterinary standpoint - even if you never plan to have your horse leave your property and don't want to get vaccines you should still get vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile or EEE, and also Potomac (from trematodes or flukes) if that recommended for your area.

I probably average around $2500-3000 (this is not including board) annually. I provide all of my own hay and grain. Add an extra $1500 to my cost for this year for major laceration repair and subsequent infections. As an owner of a very gross horse who destroys his stall on a daily basis, I am allotted some shavings within my boarding contract, but I also purchase about 2 bags a week ($10/week or so) additional in the winter when he is stalled more.
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post #27 of 28 Old 08-02-2017, 04:18 PM
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Weathering of the grasses that are out in the pasture strips most of the nutritional value. Haying protects the grass and slows the loss.
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post #28 of 28 Old 08-03-2017, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiWan View Post

From a nutritional standpoint, what's the difference between hay that was baled in the summer / fall versus alfalfa / grass that remains rooted in the ground all winter? Can a horse eat the dormant grass out in the pasture all winter? I expect that they'd surely need some sort of grain supplement during the winter, even if the lack of snow cover allows grazing.
For the minimal pasture you have, the grass needs time to recover. You most certainly will not be able to graze year-round with that amount.

As others have mentioned, the caloric requirements go UP when the temperature goes down. Yes, horses will choose to sometimes go pick at the grass through the snow but it is often harder for them to eat enough when doing that. Plus, if they are eating snow in the process, that cools their body temperature .... which kind of defeats the purpose of them eating more to stay warm.

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