Sunday, November 20, 2011

Keeping horses on a budget.

Keeping horses on a tight budget is probably more like it.  The word budget is defined by perspective.  For what is expensive for one can be affordable for another, or affordable for one can be expensive for another.  So I will give you the bottom line about what it costs to keep a horse on a farm in the state of Indiana.  Now if talking about money makes you uncomfortable then don't continue reading because I am putting the honest truth about dollars we spend a year to keep horses. 

It is also a bit more complicated than just numbers because if you were to be completely thorough you would need to add into the equation the cost of fencing that was put up and stalls that were built.  First I will list the one time costs to make the property horse worthy. Thankfully a small barn(post to come soon about that small barn.  Far from fancy but functional) was already on the property so we did not have to build.

3 stalls; lumber, gates, and hardware  $200.  (though we need to spend about $100 more to finish them)

3 acres fenced in $3000.  My argument for this is that it is investing in the property.  May not be 100% true but I am going with it.

The cost over a year to keep 2 horses and 2 miniature horses.
Grain $1200
Hay $1000
farrier $450
Vet $600 (this is if just basics are covered and no issues, which thankfully is all we have had so far)
straw/sawdust $200 (kept outdoors 90% of the time)
dewormer $150


divide that by 12 months

I pay roughly $300 a month in keeping all 4 horses.

fuel to haul them $50 a month
paying for lessons/clinics $50 a month
competition fees(this year) $300 total
cost of tack/equipment about $2000 this year
 = $3500

Now we can get into the morgatge payment on the property $1,000 a month
and a truck to haul the horses $500 a month
but then we would just be spiting at least that is what I tell myself.

When it is all written down on one hand I feel I do the best I can to make owning horses affordable and on the other hand I see a lot of money not being put into savings.  I wanted to do this to help me put things into perspective and thought I would feel good about the outcome but now that I see it written down I think I need to excuse myself because I think I am about to get sick....bleeeech....

I do love these animals and think almost $7000 a year is worth having them in my life but man I need to get a job!!!


  1. Wow, $7000 per year for *four* horses! That sounds pretty good to me :) I keep meaning to do a budget post, and I'll get there one day, but I'm pretty sure I'll be approaching that for one horse alone.

    When I did my last add-up I spent a lot of time thinking about money and priorities. While I COULD give up horses and Grant could give up his hobbies and and we could focus exclusively on paying off the mortgage and saving, we decided it wasn't worth it.

    Money is nice, but (so long as we're financially on-track) USING it and LIVING life and learning and having fun are even better. I'd rather get to the end of my life and be comfortable but not particularly wealthy because I spent my life doing things, than die rich but with a half-lived life behind me.

  2. yeah, $7000 for four horses sounds good to me!

  3. Did you guys buy the property specicially for horse keeping? Think about paying board for 4 horses. . . . probably about $250 each for outdoor board (in my area anyway), so that's a savings already. Your mortgage is equivalent to board. If you have to pay for housing anyway, might as well wrap up horse housing into the cost as well!

    I love number crunching. Talking about money is super healthy - keeps you honest and on track.

  4. That's about right - I can tell you full board is more than $250 a month, even for field board, if you're not providing your own hay/grain. Partial care - where you supply your own feed/hay starts at $175 and goes up.

    Lowest full board I've found with-in 25 miles of my house/work is the hell hole I left @ $275. In my opinion you get what you pay for - and I wasn't paying for much! Average is $300 for a no frills type of place.

    Doing partial care at a place closer to home/work I'm "breaking even" on the cost compared to full board place I can afford that's a bit further out.

    My "expense" is board, hay, pellets, supplements, farrier, worming, vet at least once a year. All other "horse items" I save, barter, etc for.

    Hope that helps put somethings into perspective.

  5. My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday! I spend at least $15,000 annually (on the low end) for two horses. Board, farrier, and trailer payment alone are $970 a month. I also take a weekly lesson, show regularly, pay the vet, buy supplemental feeds, bedding, tack, shampoo, etc.

    I told my husband that I was going to track EVERY dollar I spend in 2012. he laughed and said I probably don't really want to know what the final cost is.

    I think $7,000 for four horses, regardless how big they are, is a bargain! :0)

  6. Yes it is perspective. I know that just owning Steady and boarding him alone would cost more than what I pay now. Honestly he is a majority of the cost now. "Did you guys buy the property specicially for horse keeping?" Yes and no we moved here to be able to raise our family in the country. I grew up in the country and wanted to do the same with my family. But into that equation was to have animals and horses were on that list of animals. It took us 5 years to get horses but those are all reasons we moved to the country on 15 acres.

    Writing it all down is a good reality check either way and I recommend it. I am one to kind of be in denial so I don't feel guilty. The guilt comes from the fact that though I contribute a great deal to our family I do not contribute monetarily much at all (about $150 a month) and with all the horse expenses our income does not allow for any other money to be allotted for my husband and any hobbies he would like to pursue. I know it does bother him because he has worked hard to get were he is and his income and he feels he does not get to enjoy it. Along those lines though this is just a temporary problem and I try to keep that in mind. Next year with all my kids in school I will be able to get a job and will be able to pay for all horse expenses and that will relieve so many issues for us.

    PS not sure why I forgot vet fees so I will add $500 into that.

  7. dang, I should move to Indiana...$7000/year for four horses is pretty good--pretty incredible.

  8. OMG, I really dont even want to put it down on paper. I would throw UP! I have decided to switch my online horse purchasing and vet bills, etc to a Credit card where I can get cash BACK, etc. Try to make my spending do a little something for me....other than that, it's just a VERY expensive hobby...........although cheaper than drugs/therapy right????

  9. I used to keep track of how much we spent a year - ok I did it the first year...too scary! You are doing great - tell your husband that :)

    We spend $400 a month, per horse, for full board - includes grain, hay, bedding (they are out about 8 -10 hrs a day and then stalled the rest), use of the arenas and property.

    Leaves us still to pay de-wormer, vet, farrier (you are getting a bargain on that alone!), equipment, and gas to drive back and forth to the barn. We live a 30 minute drive away - one way.

    You do get what you pay for. This is the 3rd barn we have boarded with and by far, the best. It is small, only 5 people board there, and the owner treats the horses like her own.

  10. You definitely do need to include the purchase and taxes on the pasture land, if you want to be really honest!

    However, I have learned....I never add it all up. It pains me deeply. Especially once you start competing. It goes from crazy to just ridiculous! But I tell myself most people throw money at their hobbies and if I didn't have the red boys, I'd probably be in a mental institution!

  11. $1000 a month is total morgagte payment, loan, escrow for taxes and farm insurance. I see the point that you have to add that up but also for that amount we have a 2700 sq foot house so maybe a percentage of the total morgatge payment??? I am trying to be completely honest with myself about it so I can really evaluate my thoughts on all of it.

    I too have one million justifications as to why all of it is reasonable and justifiable and they are all valid. Physical health, mental health, it is the kids sporting activities that we would otherwise be spending fees and fuel carting them to and fro, family activity, teach children valuable lessons about life and responsibility, keep the kids out of trouble(gives them a passion) all of these plus many more are all very valid reasons. I am just wanting to have it all down on paper for a reference and the more time I have had to mull it over the more I feel that it is a reasonable amount of money and I am feeling quite good about all of it.

  12. OH and Kelly my farrier is an Amish neighbor he not only does a fabulous job but is insanely cheap, $25 for trim on horses, $15 for minis and $35 for trim and front shoes on Steady.

  13. Amy--I <3 your farrier. I live in a relatively comparable area, price-wise, but Izzy's trim and front shoes run about $75 every six weeks.

    And... I probably spend about as much just taking care of her as you spend on your whole herd. Last time I added it up, she cost me around 6k a year (including my ridiculous extras, of course). That was before board jumped way up at our fancy new place.

    I realize that the relative cost is different depending on your income, but you are doing an amazing job keeping costs down. Enjoy your kids now! You'll be a lot busier with a job, but imho the money is worth it.

  14. $7000/year for four horses is EXCELLENT!

  15. Geeez, I obviously need to move to Indiana, it is cheap! Tennessee is like that too -- moving to North Carolina is one long endless experience of sticker shock, but I try to tell myself well, it's cheaper than Massachusetts?

  16. Wow...that is what I get for having a horse that needs therapeutic shoeing!

    You are so right about the girls having a passion - you can not put a price on that.

  17. Agreed that $7000 for four horses including lessons etc is EXCELLENT!

  18. Dying of jealousy... You pay that AND have a horse you can ride?? ;-) Boarding my delinquent guy, I pay $250-350, depending on weather and how much I can get to the barn to help out. I sometimes buy supplemental hay, but less than $100 a year worth.
    He's a pasture puff that in the first 2 years cost $15,000 in vet and hauling to vet fees. He gets about $100/month supplements to stay comfortable as a pasture puff. Oh, and we're starting Adequan.

    Teeth need to be floated every 6 months (he's missing a premolar and the opposing grows pretty fast), and we keep that separate from his vaccines (that at least shares a farm call). Farrier is $30 every 6 weeks. Total for the past 12 months is close to $6,000. I think you are pretty good =) Heck, you even went to a show!

  19. Really, horsemanship business is costly. Since so many people seem to conveniently ignore this fact until many horses are starving in their backyard.


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