My own horse. MAYBE... I can do this.
I recently have been high on the horse back riding endorphines lately.. and although earlier this year I thought I was SO smart by writing off horse ownership/leasing and saving so much money just lessoning when I want.. the compulsion is back for horsey freedom. (having to schedule my time always and never hack? what was I thinking!)
Background: 2.5 years of mostly leasing, avg 3x week riding 90% of those rides are lessons with trainers. I scaled back from a horse lease early this year that was pricey. But I found that lessoning riding different horses while interesting also lead to never learning how to ride any one of them well according to their quirks (aka getting into a rhythm) Looser bonds w/ each horse etc.
Anyway, I was grumbling this weekend about not having any horsey time scheduled when I realized my whole thinking about horse ownership has been off. I live in in LA. Horse ownership here is ridiculous, and i'm in the heart of the city. But every time I have ever done a budget - I assumed $2k per month, minimum, which I confirmed with friends. I am close to being able to squeak this out - but not comfortably so - so I put it out of my head. I have ran # a bunch - but I am a very conservative person.
But after a few weeks of riding a privately owned horse, I realized that while there is always the unexpected - my costs could be as low as $1k a month - without training. That my $2k per month number is really with a crap load of training. (I think). And while I may decide to get that training - worst case if money were tight - my bare bones minimum was always a possibility if i needed to save cash.
So (and it would be great if anyone is from the LA area can confirm this)... here is my math!! (Broken down on a monthly basis)
* $594 pipe barn @ LAEC Board (incl: hay cubes 2xday, cleaning bedding, adding pine shavings as needed)
* $125 weekly turnout when I am not there
*$60/month Vet Fund (($720 per year budget for routine vet visits)
*$110/month shoe fund (if my horse has them,$150 every 6 weeks)
*$100/month supplemental hay/other supplements
BAREST of Bones/emergency budget: $989 per month
*$200/month emergency fund (sock away... this # is always a crap shoot, and should be more if i have a good month, i would start the fund off at $5k and build it with these contributions)
*$240 Lessons $60 each lesson, as needed. (min 1x a week)
From there I could take more lessons, or get my horse training rides if needed, and there's always the possibility of getting a leaser to take a day or two in exchange for offsetting the costs.
When i took a Full Training schedule out of the picture, it seemed much more obtainable. I could always spend $2k some months if needed/wanted.. but I'm at a level where i would feel comfortable hacking and just enjoying my horse too. We're not going to be grand prix riders - and i am confident enough in my riding to know at the very least, I'm not going to ruin my horse.. and might even teach her/him a thing or two. I've been in mostly full training for the past 2 1/2 years. I would definitely budget to get the "Right" horse and have a trainer help me find one that was forgiving and with a good temperament.
I'm even looking at rearranging my work schedule to come in early so I can get out almost every day to ride. Ideally I'd have a leaser to take a day or two. I have friends I trust who ride decently who would be happy for a free ride if I went away for a weekend... they would come keep him/her company. I'm sure one of them would be a good fit.
It's still quite an under taking, of course. and I have to have the upfront costs (purchase, vet exam, trainer commission, trailering, purchase bridal & girth (i have a saddle, but it's a jumper one and i want a dressage one), establishing emergency fund up front)... but I'm starting to think it's a doable under taking instead of just completely overwhelming...
am I crazy? (of course i am, we all are.. but i'm not asking what normal people think, I'm asking what horse people think!) I don't know, I've started hanging out with 'independent horse owners' as opposed to 'full training clients' and I'm learning not everyone is as uptight about a rigorous training schedule.. some people just enjoy and lesson as needed. it's a whole new concept to me. blowing my mind in fact.
Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!