Hello! also - Canadians around? (got questions) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-05-2019, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Question Hello! also - Canadians around? (got questions)

Hello everyone!
I live in Israel, and I'm recently getting back to the whole equestrian world.
(feel free to ask me any questions, just try not to be too political)

A bit about my history with horses:
I have been with horses since I could remember, and was obsessed with them my whole life.
I took my first classes when I was 10 but never liked competing...
I bought my first horse in 2014, then I did a western instructor's course and was just riding for fun for a while.
Had to sell my horse before I was recruited to the army in 2016.
I was released in Feb this year and got to train a few filly's in my area.
Also started a Therapeutic instructor's course recently. (should note that sadly the course does not apply internationally)
Horses mean the world to me, and I know I need to follow this passion.

I'm hoping to move to Canada in the next few years, just need to apply the citizenship forms since my dad is a citizen.
And so I'd love to hear anything from Canadian equestrians.

What's it like there?
How affordable is it to keep horses?
Where would you say the equestrian communities flourish most?
How hard is it to manage with the horses during the winter?
What kind of job would you recommend me to pursue?
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-05-2019, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Hi, we’re in Ontario Canada. Tons of horses around here and the other horse rich province is Alberta. Unless you’re into oil which is diminishing, then jobs can be more difficult to find in Alberta. That’s only from hearsay though, so if there’s any albertans here chip in.

Cost of horse keeping is not cheap. If you’re boarding you’re looking at an average of $300-500/month, farms are expensive. Average where we are are around the 1-2 million range, if you’re looking for something nice. Some junky places you might find around 600k-700k.

Horses range from free to unlimited. Jsut depends what you’re after. 3-5k you can find a good riding horse that same and trained.

Farrier will cost you around $50/horse per trim. Shoes are more

Vet is where your big bills are. Mobile fees $60, shots can average $150/horse, teeth average 159-200/horse to float.

Hay on average is $5-6/small square bale.

Horses in the winter will all depend on your setup. Snow and cold makes everything harder. Water freezes, and horses sweat in their winter coat after a ride and need longer cookout periods. Some people clip their coats. We don’t.

That’s all I got for you right now 🙂
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-06-2019, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Originally Posted by Saigold View Post
Hi, weíre in Ontario Canada. Tons of horses around here and the other horse rich province is Alberta. Unless youíre into oil which is diminishing, then jobs can be more difficult to find in Alberta. Thatís only from hearsay though, so if thereís any albertans here chip in. 🙂
Thank you for taking your time and answering! Highly appreciated <3
It seems like other than the vet bills the overall expenses are actually lower then here.
Do you know how common therapeutic riding is around Ontario? Or even Vancouver?
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-06-2019, 05:14 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Northern Florida
Posts: 4,850
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I don't live in Canada so I can't be of help there. Welcome to the forum and have fun in pursuing your dreams.

There will be only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
Coffee is my spirit animal
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-06-2019, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,098
• Horses: 2
I'm in Eastern Canada - New Brunswick to be precise. The Maritimes have some advantages over other parts of the country - but also some disadvantages. The cost of buying land here is much lower. You can get a decent property for 2-3 horses at the 250K mark, but it won't be fancy. You can buy vacant land fairly cheaply and build, but that's a little more money. If you're looking to set up an entire facility, then of course you'll be paying more. But just the land is cheap.

Vet bills are higher and it can be hard to find an equine vet. There is only one in my general area, and he is 2 hours away from me, but will travel to me. Farrier and trimming are about the same.

You can get horses fairly cheaply, but if you're looking for highly bred horses, you often have to go to Ontario or Quebec. Off the track thoroughbreds coming from Ontario are popular with the hunter/jumper crowd.

Hay here is cheaper too. I pay between 3 and 4$ per square bale (I feed half a square bale a day to each horse, but I have smaller horses with the tallest one being around 15hh). There are provincial equestrian associations and many disciplines from reining to dressage with lots of hunter/jumpers. But you have to travel to go to shows since the Maritimes are largely rural and shows tend to be a bit spread out.

Taxes are high in Canada, and everything is taxed. On the other hand, this means your health care and education cost you nothing. Well, except post-secondary education - that is more expensive.

There is a huge need for immigrants here since our population is declining. There are many small business owners who are putting in overtime because they can't find people to work for them, especially outside of the larger centers. So if you want to work, there is work. But if you're looking for a more lucrative career, you'll need degrees, and it can be difficult to have credentials recognized here. Universities love international students (I am a professor at a university), but they also pay higher tuition fees (doesn't seem fair, but it's not my decision). There's a shortage of nurses, teachers, and other professionals, so there are good career options out there. A lot of immigrants have started businesses that have been very successful too (look up Peace by Chocolate, for example).

Having a career in the horse industry, however, is almost impossible. There just isn't enough of a market to make a decent living for most. Unless of course you become a vet. So most people have horses on the side, like myself.

Winter - oh winter! We deal with it. In the east, we get a lot of snow. I mean a LOT. There is 4-5 feet of snow in my pasture all winter. We just learn to cope and the horses are fine with it. Of course there are things to work around, like making sure your water doesn't freeze (I have heated water buckets). No one heats their barn here because it would be much too expensive (my heating bill in the winter, just for the house is around 500$ a month), however some heat their tack room. I have found ways to make it work without that. I also ride in the snow all winter long. Sometimes the texture is very similar to sand and it's actually really fun to ride in. Much better than riding in mud or even hard, frozen ground. A layer of snow makes for perfect riding conditions! Ice is something else of course.

Any other questions? I do hope you come to Canada! We have our issues, but we are generally pretty welcoming.
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-06-2019, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 381
• Horses: 1
Originally Posted by bluejay View Post
Hello everyone!
What's it like there?
How affordable is it to keep horses?
Where would you say the equestrian communities flourish most?
How hard is it to manage with the horses during the winter?
What kind of job would you recommend me to pursue?
What it's like around here depends where you want to live. If you live farther south, closer to the US boarder, then it's pretty warm and mild winters. But if you live farther North, then winter lasts longer and is much colder.

Affordability again also depends on where you live. Prices vary greatly how far north or south you live, along with if you choose to live in a small town or a city. Small towns tend to be cheaper, but if you ever want to sell a horse, much harder to do so and getting a hold of tack is also much harder. Big cities are more expensive, but there's plenty of options for tack stores.

Generally, small hay bales of 50 lbs are $4 to $12 per bale.
1,600 lbs bales are around $100 - $150

Board is $150 - $800

Farrier is $40 - $50 per horse
Shoeing costs more but I don't shoe so can't help you there.

Vet bills are cheaper if you can take your horse to them versus if they come to you.
Example, treating a choke and them coming to you will cost $600 - $800
Having Teeth floated $150 - $300

As for winters, it depends where you live how bad they'll get. I live more in northern BC so that's all I can really touch on.
A lot of horses are fine during the winter as long as they have some sort of shelter provided. If they're a bit more thin skinned, like a thoroughbred, then they might need to be blanketed during the night as summer transitions to winter since they don't always grow a winter coat fast enough. I have a TB and he would shiver pretty bad some days since he didn't have his winter coat yet and the weather likes to vary a lot. So I'd blanket him on the colder nights and now he has his natural winter coat fully grown in and won't need a winter blanket now.
We do get -40 C here and when it gets to that and colder, depending on the horse, usually need blankets for that.
And it does take a bit longer to cool them down after a ride since they'll get sick if you put them back sweaty after a ride. Also have to check that the water isn't frozen.

Hope this helps and that you have a smooth transition to living over here.
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-06-2019, 03:40 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,742
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Hi blue jay and welcome.

I live in Saskatchewan (southern part).

Weather ó Good spring, summer (excluding the bugs) and fall weather for riding. Not so good in the winter as it gets extremely cold with everything frozen and snow but generally not as much snow as acadianartist mentioned.

Property ó Usually lots of acreages and farms available. The closer to a larger center the more expensive they become. Cost wise it can be anywhere from $300k for a decent low end developed acreage to close to a million if you want to go posh. There are some places that board horses with indoor facilities and they tend to be clustered around the cities; there are also places that will board horses with an outdoor ring only and, as expected, they are lower in cost. Cost wise, itís like $250/month for a good outdoor facility and maybe twice that for a super good indoor facility.

Feed ó If the weather cooperates you, hay is fairly easy to get at a decent price. This year we had more drought like conditions in my area and quantity was down (I make my own hay and I only got in about 75% of what I normally get) so that means prices were up. A small square that perhaps cost $5 last year was $8 this year.

Horses ó There are a fair number of horses in the province given the human population (about a million). In order of volume itís quarter horses by a majority with thoroughbreds, Arabians, paints having decent numbers but you can also find representatives of most breeds if you look hard enough.

Job/career vocation ó First and foremost choose something that will you enjoy. Second, there are not many jobs in the horse industry here as such (excluding vet or vet tech positions) that will keep you financially ahead of the game although there are a few horse trainers/clinicians who manage to stay in business along with the occasional barn manager. Third, there is work to be had for any variety of skill sets if you want it with the trades and management levels being lucrative.

Last edited by Chevaux; 12-06-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-07-2019, 03:06 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1
• Horses: 0
Hey, I'm new here as well but..
I'm in Alberta. Personally I love it here despite the economy being a bit rough here. There's still jobs here you just have to be willing to work and not make 6 figures right away. Our economy will come back one day. But the views are amazing! I get to watch the sunset over the mountains every evening when I'm out riding.

Board runs from 250-900 a month depending on what all you want. If you want just the basics with an indoor arena (pretty much a must here if you ride every day like me). You'll range the 300-450 mark. The winds in parts of Alberta can be rough but it also brings warmer weather. We can get above freezing in the dead of winter since I'm near Calgary. Edmonton is doing better for jobs but it's colder there.

Farriers for bare feet are 40-60, I believe it's 160-200 for four feet shod.

vet is 150-300 for teeth but lots of barns here everyone gets together to get the vets out at least once a year and help split bills if you can't get out to them. If you use a vet use a close one but if you can get out to one try an outer town they are WAY cheaper.

Check for hay quality where ever you go. Most are pretty good but if your luck is like mine you'd find the one bad one.

I've seen a lot of live in help wanted around here lately if you're looking for horse industry work. There's plenty of cattle work here too. Our medical and tech industry is growing right now. Depends on what your MOS was sometimes you can apply some of that up here. Olds has a fantastic Ag university if you want to get into horse care and therapy. There is a lot of therapy programs up here. The board up there would be less because you're away from a big city.

Hope that helps! Let us know where you end up going.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-07-2019, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,227
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Welcome to the forum!!

i live in Alberta as well. I keep my horses on my own property, so I'm not really privvy to what board is, but I believe out where I live it is around $300 a month with access to an indoor. Of course, the closer you get to the city center you are, the more expensive.

Winters can be rough and there have been some winters that i hardly ride at all b/c of the snow, cold & ice.

Horses are a big deal here and there are lots of facilities and tons of riding. The trail riding is super expansive with lots of places to camp and ride with your horse.

The economy here is not good at the moment...not to mention the oil & gas industry which has been suffering big time, but professionals such as nurses and teachers are getting huge cuts as well.

You did mention Vancouver - i am not super familiar with horses out that way, but i do know Vancouver can be super expensive to live, so I can imagine that keeping horses near Vancouver would be pricey as well.
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-07-2019, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 78
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We’re between the Great Lakes, and there’s several therapeutic riding places not far from us. But like others mentioned. Mostly horses are a hobby with main job doing something else.

I would personally would love to move to Alberta in the foothills for the scenery and vast places to ride. But not very fond of snow possibility any time of the year and the chinooks that’s rio shingles of the roofs. Every place will have good and bad.

You mentioned you had family that lives here. So you’ll prob want to be close by to them. Canada is big. If you’re planning to drive across, in a days drive you can cross several provinces, and then you get to Ontario where you an drive for 3 days. Not to mentioned the Hwy 401 haha. There you’ll be stuck for ever and a day.
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