Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
If you live in a mild climate and have unlimited good grazing, are an experienced rider, and know how to trim feet and give shots and deworm, a young and healthy horse which goes barefoot could cost very little in upkeep. A few hundred dollars maybe.
It goes up from there. There is no ceiling whatsover.
If you are starting from scratch with no tack or gear, and no skills, and no place of your own already built and fenced, count on it being quite a bit more than average for the first few years.
My horse was 'free' if you don't include the training, riding lessons, saddle, all tack (I had nothing, not even a hoofpick), the trailer, the truck to pull the trailer, the supplements, the serious accident requiring emergency vet care .... and in many ways I have had a best-case scenario, with a suitable sound horse and a good teacher and a cheap boarding situation both near at hand.
Just budget at least four grand a year upkeep, not including major purchases or unforeseen events, and you'll be fine.
Short horse lover