Where you take lessons, can you talk to someone about how much it costs to board a horse there? I think it would be more useful if you had real life costs from your own location. I'm also in Canada, but in New Brunswick, so costs may vary greatly. I spend a lot of money on my two horses, but I'm much older than you and have a very good job to pay for everything. Think about where you would like to board your horse and ask how much it costs there. What does board include? Here, it usually includes hay and sometimes grain (but not all horses need grain, though you may want a ration balancer at least). Trims can go from 30$ every 6 weeks to 60$ a month, depending on whether the horse wears shoes or not (neither of mine do). Vaccinations also vary in cost, but they're a yearly expense you can save for. What would happen in the even that your horse would get a severe injury? Do you have a credit card so you can at least cover the expenses in the immediate and pay it off after? Would your parents be willing to step in if that happened?
It IS possible to buy used tack at a reduced price, but you have to get a horse first so you make sure you get the right size saddle. I bought two saddles from out west at a pretty good price, even with the shipping (200-400$ each). Then there are blankets, brushes, etc... but if you're really thrifty, you can find bargains.
So let's say you find a barn that is suitable and provides hay for, say 400$ a month (it's around 450$ here, but maybe there are more options there). You might be able to get by on 800$ a month, but you would have to be really, really thrifty with your money. And that wouldn't include lessons. A lot of people think once they have their own horse, they won't need lessons anymore (I was one of them). If there is ever a time you NEED lessons, is when you're getting to know your horse and need to figure out how to communicate with each other and work as a team. There is a big difference between riding a lesson horse and riding your own horse.
A lease is a good idea. Basically, you pay to ride the horse outside a lesson program. Some do a half lease so you get 2-3 rides a week on your own. Some are even more flexible and let you ride the horse when you want. The advantage is that they still own the horse and are responsible for vet bills, farrier, feed, etc.
Don't give up on your dream. Can you get another job? Does it have to be just working for your parents?
Thanks! I just emailed what seems like a popular equine vet clinic to see what they say about rates/costs, and also emailed a boarder.
The boarding facility that appealed to me the most was $125 summer and $200 other months. The others were about $200-290. They all provide hay and automatic water. Otherwise they are simple with outdoor arenas and/or trails which I do not mind.
A credit card is something that I have to get, and probably a good idea especially with a horse. I've just never had the need for it yet.
I like the idea of getting a lease horse but it just seems like a waste when compared to lessons. With lessons, I learn and enjoy at the same time for a much lower price. Lease just feels like paying for someones else's horse in order to have fun (I am not really interested in any kind of special riding, just want to ride as a hobby). Kind of like when you pay someone to go trail riding. It's not your horse, you're not learning anything...you're just paying a ton for the ride. Is that what it's like, or do I have the wrong idea?
I could try to work somewhere else, especially since I will be graduating soon...but I am a pretty shy and anxious person which makes it hard. That's why I like to work with my parents.