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post #41 of 60 Old 05-12-2020, 02:16 PM
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Great way to produce good, solid horses @Dreamcatcher Arabians , but I still don't see how it can be cheaper. Feeding, vetting and housing a horse even for just a year, then sending it out for 60 days training would cost me 3500$ at the very minimum. That's based on what I pay for 3 small horses on pasture during the summer and relatively cheap hay, no grain, not including any vet bills other than vaccines. And that's not counting the cost of board because I have my own barn (which I'm still paying for, but let's leave those costs out for now...). Not saying you can't do it, but it's different if you don't have the infrastructure already in place and cannot make your own hay, for example. For you to take an extra foal in with your herd may not be a major expense, but for someone just starting out with horses, the costs can still end up being quite high.

A friend of mine got a filly two years ago for about a thousand dollars, changed her mind and resold her as a two year old for double the price. But guess what, she had that horse two years, fed it, vetted it, had its feet done, and did some groundwork but never saddled her. That's going to cost far more than the thousand dollar "profit" she made re-selling. No matter how I crunch the numbers, it seems to me that buying a horse that has some basic training at a reasonable price (say around 2-3K USD), even if it's green or a little on the older side, will always be a better deal than buying a young horse, keeping it for a year or two until it's mature enough to ride, then paying for the training. Obviously if you have specific goals, then that might be good motivation to get a foal, but financially, I don't see how you can come out ahead if your goal is just to have a solid mount that doesn't necessarily have papers or special skills.
At this point, it isn't about the money for me. I enjoy the babies and youngsters, so breeding them (I own sire & dam(s)) and raising them, training them and then sending them out to finish being started, is all about love of the horse. Those youngsters I sold didn't really make me a dime but I didn't really try. Those 3 each had between 30-60 days training and were sold, so the price of 1-2 months training (down here $750) and they moved on. I don't really look at the costs of getting them to where they are up to the point of training, because I'd have had that expense regardless. So, for between $750 & $1500 I got them all on their way to a good career doing something and good homes to hopefully last them a lifetime.

Even if I went out looking for a new horse for me, if I decided not to breed it, I'd look at not older than a yearling and go from there. At least that way, they haven't been around long enough for some idiot to mess them up beyond repair, though they do try.

By the time we do all the ground work for a year, even if they've been taught bad manners or habits before they get here, they tend to work out of them. Then I send them to one trainer for starting, so 30-60 days there, then I bring them home for a few months to play, then send them to my dressage coach who then gets them going at a higher level. A few months there and I'm guaranteed not going to make a dime off any of them, but that's ok if they get a great person for their next owner.

Once she deems them "old lady" safe or I should probably say "Old Lady with PTSD" safe, then I'll get on and we see where we can go. If they're not suited for me, then they get sold on to someone who can deal with a more flighty or not real forgiving horse. I want a horse who is absolutely a rock and doesn't throw random fits (ahem Patti......), just lets me get on board and we go out and ride and do what we do. My mare Patti, who is the Diva and has emotional days, stays around because even when she's having a fit and melt down, she never does anything dangerous. If she hits one of my PTSD triggers and I melt down, she immediately turns into my ROCK, and gets over whatever she was throwing her fit about. We work well together, even if I'd like to kill her some days. Would I sell her to just anyone? Nope. She could be a real problem horse with the wrong person on her back.

Again, I'm not going to make any money off of a wash out, but at least I KNOW what that horse knows and where it can go because it's been with me since day 1. If it needs an advanced rider, then that's how we market it. Most fall into the not quite steady enough for what I want but still a whole lot better than what most people have found in the price range, suitable for an advanced beginner or medium level rider. If they're kid safe, that's even better. Husband safe, that's a score.

The IRS doesn't say I have to make a lot of money doing what I do, just that I show an "intent to profit" and that I can do, in spades. As long as I can continue to do that, I will continue to turn out nice horses for a decent price. And have a whole lot of fun doing it.

My latest project horse is a perfect example of not going to make money, if I ever sell her. It took me a year to finally get this mare here with me, so she was actually 2 when I got her. She'd been raised in a show barn and never allowed out with other horses. She's deaf. She'd been with one halter trainer who was really heavy handed and yanked on her lead line (never led without a chain) real hard and hurt her a lot. So when led, if you tapped the lead line, even without a chain, she'd get real light in the front end or rear. I kept her here for 2 months working with her to let her know that we are not going to hurt her and to work on a few bad habits she'd developed. At one point, she tried to use her teeth on me and we had to have a little chat about that, but after that one time she never tried it again. I paid less than $2000 for her when all was said and done.

Once we got her to calm down a little and be out on pasture with some other horses, I took her to the starting trainer to work with her on her halter stance and get her fitted for shows. I warned him, she doesn't speak horse, she is deaf so she doesn't speak English and since she's never really been out with other horses, she doesn't speak "sign" either. She was very inconsistent in her body language. Well, she's learning how to "sign" because she around other horses to learn from and she's becoming much more consistent in her body language and she's learning that it's actually FUN to work with humans, they pony you around and let you see all kinds of cool stuff and you get groomed and petted on and all kinds of good stuff.

Our original goal for her was to take her to Pinto World Championships and show her in a couple of halter classes, then bring her home to start under saddle. Since PWC has been postponed until November, we're moving ahead with the starting under saddle. By the time Nov. gets here, maybe we'll do something Walk/Trot at PWC and Color Breed Congress. Either way, she's coming along really well. She's going to be one that if I ever do sell her, even if I sold her for $25,000, I'd still be losing money on her because of all the training and showing. It's ok, we'll have fun losing all that money. If I choose to breed her (to a horse who will hopefully throw colored hair in those ears) I'm sure she'll throw a gorgeous foal. No matter what, she'll have a good resumee if we do sell. That's what it's all about for me.
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post #42 of 60 Old 05-12-2020, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
At this point, it isn't about the money for me.
Yes, exactly. I get that. But it IS about the money for the OP who has stated that she does not have the ability to train a horse anyway, thus my point that while it is possible to get an untrained horse cheaper, it doesn't end up cheaper in the long run.

But yeah, I totally get how training your own can give better results. I feel like my purchase of Rusty was a good compromise. Compared to Harley, my daughter's show horse, he is not polished and had almost no training. But he's sane, and forgiving, and belonged to a friend who let me keep him at my place for a 6-month trial so how could I say no? I got him at a very reasonable price (turns out he has papers too, they just never got sent in so he's not registered, but could be) and I can handle the fact that he has very little training. It isn't anything I can't fix with time and patience. On the other hand, raising a foal is not for the inexperienced like OP or myself for that matter.
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post #43 of 60 Old 05-12-2020, 04:47 PM
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We paid $3,000 for our first horse who turned out not to be well trained at all (despite her advertisment). After a series of trades ended up with my husband's Rocky who was not very well trained but a fast learner and has turned out to be a wonderful horse.

Bought another horse and when we went to look at her the owner said he would take $500 off the listed price ($2000) because she needed to go to a trainer. He was not wrong (rodeo bucked DH off 5 times in the first week we owned her) but after 15 days and $250 at the trainer she's been a great (and a little sassy) horse.

Needed a confidence builder after that so bought a 16 year old Arabian from a girl who bought him virtually unhandled out of a pasture the year before and trained him. He only liked to walk, rarely trot, never canter. You could put anyone and everyone on him and our whole extended family fell in love. He was $2,100. Funny story, if you get a horse like that in shape and start feeding him good stuff he starts to feel differently about trotting and cantering. Last year at 18 years old he won 3rd place Heavyweight Endurance for our state organization (50+ miles). If I could clone a horse he would be it, he can do a 50 mile endurance ride one weekend and be pulling my arms out 40 miles in and give pony rides to my niece and nephew the next week. I haven't had anyone else take him out on a trail ride in a year or so but I know he wont trot more than a few steps if he feels like his rider is unbalanced at all. I don't know that I'll ever find another horse like him and he was the best money I've ever spent.

I bought a basically feral 2 year old filly (the owner had to corner her into a pen to get a halter on her when we came) for $400 two and a half years ago. Sent her to the trainer for 30 days last summer ($500) and for $900 I have a pretty awesome little horse. She's got a great brain on her (I swear she rolls her eyes when other horses spook) and is a super quick learner.

Anyway, I'm now moving towards the camp of wanting an unbroke/very lightly ridden horse (doesn't necessarily have to be young though in my opinion) and sending it to our trainer rather than getting something listed as trained unless I were to know the seller/trainer and trust them.
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post #44 of 60 Old 05-12-2020, 06:14 PM
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@Jolien , I can understand that the prices mentioned here may be a bit baffling Coming from Switzerland, horse prices here in the US made me No idea if Belgium is similar, though...

Since I always wanted a Peruvian (Ok only for the last 30 years ), when I was finally in the position to get my first own horse, I was only looking into that specific breed... For instance there is a seller in Switzerland that will import a Peruvian from the US (well trained and ridden) and it will cost about the same as one raised in Europe (looking at lower 5 figures purchase price). When I specifically looked here (SE of US where they are def. cheaper), most (ridden) horses were in the $3-4k range... Anything lower often had a problem or was not completely sound...
I got my mare for cheap (papered, barely a year under saddle but well versed on trails), because she was a nut on the ground. Not dangerous, but didn't want anything to do with people. Once you caught and saddled her, she was all business and "let's go". But her behavior on the ground soured potential other buyers, as nobody wanted to deal with her (who wants to spend hours trying to catch the horse)... But still, in Switzerland I would have paid at least 10x more for the exactly same animal...
So location, supply and demand will make a huge difference. Mustangs are considered "exotic" in Europe and fetch exorbitant prices, while here you are hard pressed to even give them away...
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post #45 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 03:41 AM
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Some of the best horses and ponies I have come across have been either very cheap or freebies!

It is a matter of having a good reputation for training horses, being prepared to take a gamble and taking a risk with horses with problems.

An example was I would rode past a horse in an old orchard. He was on his own, had a rug on that slipped badly to one side and was rubbing him badly. It was also being fed and watered by a pensioner who had pity on him.

I finally found the owner, bought the horse with, in all honesty, having him put out of his misery. He was meant to be an ex show jumper of high grade.

Oh boy, did that horse earn his money time and time again. He was totally bomb proof, brilliant with teaching young horses and loved life. He did have a heart murmur which only showed in hot weather.

I paid less than £100 for him. He won more than that at shows, how he speeded up training young horses was priceless.

They are out there, some people want to find a rider who can give an older horse an easier life.
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post #46 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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@Foxhunter I know... I hope one will cross my path at the right time. I am really patient and understanding with animals so I am sure the right fit for me could be a horse that someone else wants to get rid of. ;) My mom used to tell me: 'please stop always adopting pets that nobody else wants, why can't you just buy a normal pet?' lol My parents also told me more than once: 'honey you were born in the wrong place, it would have been better for you if you were born in some tribe or somewhere in the jungle, you would thrive' :p


@SwissMiss I am not into a particular 'brand', I used to say 'mustang' because I want a sturdy horse that has low vet costs and mustangs are famous for that.


@QueenofFrance08 My friend her horse is in the pasture together with two ex racehorses... I know the owner is looking for people to ride those horses but I am not keen. One of the horses is totally antisocial (towards people and towards other horses, this is really a weird horse) and the other one is agressive but not that bad. He never charges me but he can be pushy. I sometimes wonder how that antisocial horse would be if someone worked with him to regain his confidence... He is supposed to be really good under saddle... But in the year I rode our horse there I never once saw someone ride him...


@Acadianartist Yes I don't have money, in case someone missed it. ;) Haha.


@Dreamcatcher Arabians I don't know what your job is, but I suppose you work with horses professionally. I work a fulltime job and I am alone. I also don't have money to buy a house where my horse could be with me so I would need to travel to see my horse. Add up inexperience to the mix and you get an owner with limited resources, time and knowledge. The situation is that it would be difficult for me to train a horse. That's also the reason why I will wait to buy for another 5-10 years. :) Also: why do people mess up horses that much?? It's frustrating... It's easy to win an animals trust in the beginning, but it is difficult to regain it after someone did it wrong...
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post #47 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Jolien View Post
@Dreamcatcher Arabians I don't know what your job is, but I suppose you work with horses professionally. I work a fulltime job and I am alone. I also don't have money to buy a house where my horse could be with me so I would need to travel to see my horse. Add up inexperience to the mix and you get an owner with limited resources, time and knowledge. The situation is that it would be difficult for me to train a horse. That's also the reason why I will wait to buy for another 5-10 years. :) Also: why do people mess up horses that much?? It's frustrating... It's easy to win an animals trust in the beginning, but it is difficult to regain it after someone did it wrong...
Jolien, my horses are my job, my hobby, my passion. They have been for my whole life. It used to be said, "If it will hold still long enough for her to get a leg over it, she can ride the hair right off of it.". When I was younger I would ride anything, problem horse or not. I'm now in my 60's and that's no longer an option, nor would it be smart of me to try. I got busted up plenty in my younger days and now, I need that mostly safe horse.

"Why do people mess up horses that much???" I think most of it comes from not knowing when to say, "I'm in over my head and I need help." or "I need to stop here and send this horse on to the next trainer.". They get this thing about being the trainer and can train anything but, in my experience, that's just not the case. We all have areas where we excel. We cannot be all things to all horses or all animals. I haven't a clue about training dogs. Don't particularly want to have a clue either. I want a trainer to teach them to sit, stay, come when called, walk on a leash and don't eat my furniture. One who'll work with me and the dog, so that I know the cues or buttons and will help me be consistent with my use of them. Not all trainers are good with people. In fact, the most brilliant with horses tend to be a little antisocial. The really brilliant ones have figured out how to deal with the people AND the horses.

My current project horse is a perfect example of that. The breeder sold her to someone who had 2 kids that wanted to move up to the next level of competition from showing a 20 something mare that had been a world champ several times, that could stand up and do the whole halter thing even if she didn't have a human out there with her to tell her what to do. But she's getting older, harder to fit for the shows and not much challenge for the kids. So they went looking for the next horse, who should be gorgeous, calm, friendly and easy for the kids to work with. Right off the bat, that rules out a yearling in my book, add that said yearling is deaf and somewhat inconsistent and unpredictable and you have a train wreck waiting to happen. Add that the mare is totally of the, "If you don't step up and lead me, then I'll take over and I'll be in charge." personality and you have 2 little kids who get intimidated and have no idea how to deal with this horse and she starts being a little bit of a bully. Then the trainer steps in and starts shanking the fire out of her, every other step and he's yanking the chain and causing her pain until she has no idea what she's doing wrong or even why it's wrong and you get a horse who is on her way to becoming a real problem child. Oh and add in that she's stalled probably 22 hrs out of 24, every. single. day. So she gets sold again (now on her 3rd owner not even 2 years old yet).

She gets here and comes FLYING out of the trailer, dragging the transporter down the driveway to my barn, snorting and blowing every step of the way. And again, getting shanked about every 3rd step for being excited and nervous about being in a new place. We get her in a stall and I blanket her and start adjusting straps. She's very nervous and antsy, it's both cold, cold and windy out, and she's in a brand new place where she doesn't know anyone, so that's understandable to me. The transporter is fussing at her to stand still and still bumping that shank to try and keep her still. She was getting more and more wound up and finally I told the transporter to just leave and let us do our thing. I took halter and lead off the horse and went back to fixing straps on the blanket. She danced in place a little, never offered to kick, but let me do what I needed to do. The next day she went into a quarantine turnout, where she could see other horses but not get close and she bucked and ran and played and grazed on the grass. She was loving it. That night, she was very strong on the lead, but much more manageable. We worked on her ground manners and after her quarantine let her out in pasture with a kind hearted broodmare who takes nothin' off of nobody but isn't mean about it, just very firm, and for the next 2 months that was her story. She got a WHOLE lot better about all the things that got her trouble and she learned that we were not going to hurt her. She still freaks out over some silly stuff like stepping on the lead rope (really? you folks had this mare for 2 years and not once let her have a grab rope on her halter so she could step on the lead and figure out it wasn't going to kill her?) but the difference is, she's freaking out in place, no bolt, buck, kick or rear, just "OMG that thing is trying to KILL ME!" and then she comes back down to earth, looks around and says, "Hmmm that wasn't SO bad." and relaxes. We don't use a chain on her at all and she's no longer rearing when corrected.

I don't think the trainer was intentionally turning her sour on humans, but the end result was that she was becoming that way very fast. He was over his head and his ego wouldn't let him ask for help from anyone. He didn't want to have these 2 kids get hurt on his watch but what he was doing was pretty much going to guarantee that at least one of them would and that would buy this little mare a 1 way ticket to Slaughterville. She's gorgeous, she's sweet, she hasn't got a mean bone in her body, and she (now) loves attention, praise and scritches. She's smart and wants to do right but we have to change our way of doing things so she can understand. Once she understands, she's got it for life. She's always going to be a challenge, but so far at least, the end result will be worth the extra time and effort it's taken to get through to her.
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post #48 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 07:45 AM
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@QueenofFrance08 My friend her horse is in the pasture together with two ex racehorses... I know the owner is looking for people to ride those horses but I am not keen. One of the horses is totally antisocial (towards people and towards other horses, this is really a weird horse) and the other one is agressive but not that bad. He never charges me but he can be pushy. I sometimes wonder how that antisocial horse would be if someone worked with him to regain his confidence... He is supposed to be really good under saddle... But in the year I rode our horse there I never once saw someone ride him...
Can you ask to spend time with these horses separately? I would start with the one who doesn't like people. Not necessarily with the goal of riding, but just to learn about working with horses on the ground. It can be extremely rewarding to "make friends" with a horse that has a reputation for not liking people. If you could have someone remove the aggressive horse for an hour or so, you could go in there and at first, just sit inside the fence (assuming this antisocial horse is NOT aggressive, but still, bring a whip with you in case). Bring a book and sit there for 20 minutes a day, several days a week. See if the horse will come investigate you. Let him sniff you if he wishes to, but continue to ignore him. Push him away if he gets pushy with you, but otherwise, no interactions. For the next two weeks, do this for 20 minutes, then get up and walk towards the horse slowly. When you get about 3 meters away, stop and wait for the horse to look at you. If he walks away, you leave. If he looks at you, walk up to it slowly until you are close enough to touch. Wait again for the horse to acknowledge you. If he turns away, you leave. When the horse acknowledges you, put your hand out (palm down, fingers curled) and let him sniff your hand, then walk away. Don't try to pet him. Do this for two weeks or so. Next step is to touch the shoulder, then scratch withers, then you can start grooming the horse. There are no treats involved in this approach, and it leads to liberty training.

These are the first steps of a program called Horsefulness training by Karine Vandendorre (from Belgium!). I did this with my spooky mare Kodak, and she want from being difficult to catch to being the first one to come in for scratches. She's a completely different horse on the ground now, and loves people. They told me she was "aloof" and would never be the type of horse who comes to the gate to see you. They were completely wrong about her. She's still spooky under saddle mind you, but on the ground, she is a doll.

This might not give you a horse to ride, but it would be a fun challenge to win over this horse, and who knows, maybe you'll eventually create enough of a bond that you'll be comfortable hopping on this horse! Karine's programs aren't free, but in my view, they are a worthwhile investment. She starts with the connection exercises, then liberty training, then groundwork, then riding, and even has a lot of special training modules for things like trailering and traffic training. I really like her methods and her philosophy because you can really feel the bond you're creating with the horse, and you learn to "speak" their language. No, this isn't "horse whispering", it's simply using your body language in a way that horses understand.
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post #49 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 08:17 AM
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I live in Central Texas. This is what I paid for my three horses:

1. Moonshine. Advertised as 10 years old but actually more like 14 or 15. Extremely calm, dare I say bombproof, excellent ground manners, no buck / rear / bolt. I bought her as a safe horse for my daughter. I paid $4k, which I thought later was too much, but she's just such a safe horse that now I think it was probably worth it.

2. Pony. Five-year-old green broke pony. $3k. Probably paid too much for him, but he's really athletic and responsive, friendly, curious, etc. I've probably put another $5k into training him in the two years I've owned him. I think it would have worked out to cost less if I had just paid more for a horse that was already well trained.

3. Teddy. "Free." In the 1.5 years I've had him, I've spent almost $4k on getting his terrible teeth fixed. I think it's finally done. Now it seems like he needs a major course of body work, which will be another $$$$. He's a sweetheart, though, and a overall a good riding horse, although he has really bad anxiety that has to be constantly managed.

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post #50 of 60 Old 05-13-2020, 09:24 AM
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I live in Alberta, Canada....and I honestly don't know how I can afford horses! But I have no life - don't travel, don't really shop for myself or anything; and have a pretty modest mortgage. I also basically just saved money from the time I started working at 14. So I have a bit of cash put away - which is mostly being used on big ticket horse-related items (saddles, trailers).

I keep my horses at home, so don't have to pay board. But depending on the hay year, I can spend anywhere from $1500-$3500 on hay. Maintaining the property can cost a lot - we built all the fencing and the horse shelters. I don't have a barn, but fencing alone was thousands of dollars. I also have to maintain my paddocks - seeding and spraying + harrowing. We are lucky we found an old harrow for free that we use. We try to do it all on a budget - so we really research prices and try to do what is most cost effective - we are definitely not rich people.

My main riding horse for the last 18 years cost me only $100. He was a Standardbred off the track and I bought him off the owner. He's been a great horse and quick to learn. I wouldn't hesitate to get another one when the time came (although I wouldn't get quite such a good deal nowadays).

My Canadian mare has been my most expensive horse and she was $1800 - as an unbroke 2 year old. I didn't send her for training, but have been doing lessons with her for the past 3-4 years. So when I factor in those costs it probably would have been cheaper to just buy a trained horse.

It also depends on what you want to do with your horses. I like to haul off property a lot - so a truck and trailer have been my biggest expenditures. I also switched disciplines, so new tack has been costing me a lot of money. The saddles I have currently - my Specialized is an older/used model (in good condition) and was $1500. My EZ Fit I bought brand new was around $1800.

I camp and trail ride with my horses a lot, and also do endurance/CTR events. To actually compete in these events is not much money; although showing would cost a lot. The one show I went to last year cost me more for one day than a whole weekend at an Endurance ride would have cost. If you are pleasure riding, then obviously that extra cost wouldn't be there.

I just switched farriers - this new guy seems to be doing a better job. He charges $40 a trim, and $120 for full set of shoes. Trims in my area range from $40-$60 and shoes $120-$180.

I haven't had to board a horse in many, many years. I believe where I take lessons she charge $350 for outside board and access to the arena. A friend of mine is charged $200 I think for pasture board. There is a barn on property, but no indoor arena or anything. We are not close to the bigger cities, so I would assume prices would inflate the closer to the city you get. Plus depending on if it is a show barn, etc. There are some very posh barns on the outskirts of Calgary that probably cost a fortune to board at.

There are ways to stay on budget when you have horses (buying used tack and really shopping around for items). I also found the other people I ride with are great resources and can sometimes point me in the right direction.
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