#1  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:06 AM
Cardigan's Avatar
Cardigan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 3,796

Equestrian hobby expenses


Just had a conversation with someone who is a self-described 'equestrian enthusiast'. She made the statement that 'horses are more expensive than cars'. That sounds like an exaggeration to make a point, but let me ask what expenses would be involved with maintaining horses that would make it MORE expensive than cars? On top of the initial purchase price, cars can have expensive repairs (e.g. transmission repair), not to mention insurance and fuel. To be clear, she wasn't talking about racing million dollar thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby, just regular horses like you see on farms all over.

You don't need insurance for horses, and 'fuel' would include things like hay or alfalfa, grass, and oats. I've never purchased a horse, but I would imagine you could probably get one for a few (3-5) thousand dollars. Where are the big hidden expenses - vet bills?
  #2  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:15 AM
FloatyGimpy's Avatar
FloatyGimpy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,545
https://animals.mom.me/average-month...orse-5504.html

I've always wanted a horse but it's way too costly for me.
  #3  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:30 AM
campp is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 3,162
You have to house and exercise and care for the horse constantly. It can't just live in a spare bedroom. A trailer to haul the horse. Tack and all your clothing. It goes on and on.
  #4  
Old 08-13-2019, 10:39 AM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardigan View Post
... To be clear, she wasn't talking about racing million dollar thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby, just regular horses like you see on farms all over.
...
I can imagine a situation in which a "cheap" horse might cost less than an expensive car. (You can buy a cheap car for $3-5k as well.) Assuming you had the property and pastured it. I guess some "cost" could be allocated to simply having sufficient property to do so. And there is the cost of the time needed to care for the animal.

If you have a farm, you may be growing your own hay. And in rural areas, vet and farrier services might be less expensive than paid by "hobbyists" (hobbyist's hosres? )

But yeah, stabling and feed are the big constant costs for most horse owners. Unlike a car, which needs gas only when you drive it, the horse eats every day.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.

Last edited by Dinsdale; 08-13-2019 at 10:39 AM.
  #5  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:07 AM
Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: on your last raw nerve
Posts: 22,160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Unlike a car, which needs gas only when you drive it, the horse eats every day.
It also shits everyday.
  #6  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:31 AM
SmartAleq's Avatar
SmartAleq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PDXLNT
Posts: 5,289
It needs the farrier every six weeks or so to keep hooves in good condition and to replace shoes if the horse is shod--which, if you're going to be riding regularly, it should be. Regular vetting is necessary, including fairly regular dentistry because hay fed horses don't ingest as much grit as the ones living out on spare rations in the wild and their teeth can grow faster than they wear down and cause problems. Horses are accident magnets, they hurt themselves just standing around, I swear, and can founder themselves if they get into too much food because they'll eat until their stomachs explode.

Sure, we've all seen the poorly conditioned horses living amongst the piles of tires and wrecked cars while standing in six inches of mud and sure, they often survive for years that way but if you want a well kept horse that's useful in any way you're gonna need some deep pockets.
  #7  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:40 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 32,356
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatopescado View Post
It also shits everyday.
Try every hour.

The farrier is pretty expensive. Every 6-8 weeks he ($$)comes and ($)removes the old shoes, ($$)trims the hooves, ($$$)puts on new shoes.

The vet comes twice a year to vaccinate and examine. Last summer my gf didn't pick up fallen apples quickly enough and one of her horses colicked. It was a pretty minor colic, but the vet was called out as a precaution. She did a rectal exam, a physical, and gave some injections. Her visit was around $500, with each step requiring explanation/agreements/signatures.

The pasture gets mowed/reseeded twice a summer. No idea what she pays.

Hay has gone up in price. I remember $1 a bale hay. We now get $6 a bale hay that also has a delivery fee tacked on.

ETA: I forgot about fly spray. Think your dog/cat flea control is costly? Horse flyspray runs $40 a bottle and it gets used up fast.

Last edited by kayaker; 08-13-2019 at 11:41 AM.
  #8  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:49 AM
Hilarity N. Suze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 7,964
Pasture, stable, feed. There are ways to have a horse cheaply. (Maybe. It occors to me that the people who are really into it board other horses, or give lessons,and still need outside jobs.) I can't figure out how, without moving, because I live in a city. When I was a kid, I lived in a town, and people did have horses in their back yards. I had a horse that I kept in someone else's back yard for cheap. Even then, I realized it was cheap. I still had to feed my horses hay, lots of it in the winter, and a high-calorie feed mix to replace all the times the horse couldn't be grazing because I was riding her. (They eat pretty much all the time, and very slowly. You don't want them to eat fast.)

Now that I'm in a city, the people I know who have horses are either rich, or they live way, way out of the city. Usually both! Ten years ago I could walk my dog past several horses within 10 minutes*, and now we have to walk for at last half an hour to encounter a horse. A woman I knew, who gave lessons, just moved her outfit from the Denver suburbs to Evergreen. (She had a very expensive piece of real estate in a Denver suburb, and she's leasing it out to another couple of horses, but I think there was some tax thing about her dressage classes that made Evergreen a better alternative.)

The other big thing is the farrier/vet. Horses need a lot of foot care. When I was a kid, it was $10 a hoof to shoe the horse, but that's a lot more expensive in a city. Which makes sense; in my small town, the farrier was only a five-minute drive away and perfectly willing to come over and replace one shoe for $10, no trip charge. They don't do that in a city. but the farrier is probably at least 40 miles away now.

I also want to note that, if you only ride your horse once a week, it's not going to be the best horse. So there is the time thing. You spend half an hour grooming and tacking up, 20 minutes on groundwork (you can spend more time on this--really a lot of time), an hour to ride, another 30 minutes to clean the horse and the tack, and that's not even counting the drive. When I took polo classes, I spent about three hours driving/grooming/wrapping for every hour I spent playing. If it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, I figured at that rate it would take me 20 years, since I only had 4-hour blocks of time on the weekend, and other things to do on the weekend, as well. Of course part of the cost of this was that somebody else rode that horse every other day of the week to keep his skills sharp.

*But this place, which is only a couple of blocks away, is not a place I would consider keeping a horse. Less than an acre, no pasture to speak of, surrounded by junk, really close to a highway, and no place to ride unless you put the horse in a trailer and drove somewhere. You wouldn't have to drive that far, but you definitely couldn't ride there. And it may not even be legal. I think that horse that lived here was grandfathered in. And now it's gone.
  #9  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:33 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,184
We owned a horse for my daughter to ride. Before she got a license we spent a lot of time taking her to the barn. In addition to all the expenses people mentioned, if you show your horse or put it in competitions there are tons of expenses to do that. We bought a truck and were about to buy a trailer when she switched barns for one which trailered your horse to shows. If you are new at it you need a riding coach.

Let's just say that when she went to college and we donated the horse for a tax break, our expenses went down, though she was at a state school paying out of state tuition. Which we paid for her.

Regular maintenance on a car is a lot cheaper than regular maintenance on a horse.
  #10  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:46 PM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,502
In fact, it is so expensive, you might need to get a job as an employee of a small town to be able to afford it!
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #11  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:48 PM
Stana Claus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Way South of the N Pole
Posts: 408
Everyone has been talking about the routine expenses of feed, farriers, and veterinary care, but if you want to keep a horse on your own property, you'll need at least 5 acres of land for the 1st horse, plus anywhere from 1 - 5 acres for each additional horse. More out west where grass doesn't grow very well. That acreage will need to be fenced and you'll need a barn for the horse and to store your hay, feed, tack, etc. You'll need a trailer to be able to take the horse out for trail riding, to the vet, to horse shows, etc. depending on what your particular interests are. Then you'll need a truck to haul the trailer. How big a truck depends on how many horses you're taking at a time. That's just the stuff you'll need before you get the 1st horse. We've always said that it's the 1st horse that's the expensive one. The incremental cost for each additional horse is less once you have the necessary infrastructure in place.
__________________
"Can we take a direct flight back to reality or do we have to change places in Denver? "
  #12  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:55 PM
ZipperJJ's Avatar
ZipperJJ is offline
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 25,396
I just have 100# worth of DOG - healthy dogs - and I think they cost me more than my yearly expenses for my car. Cars only need fuel and get wear & tear when they are driven. Animals need food and care regardless of how much they do, and the costs go up as weight goes up.
  #13  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:08 PM
MikeF is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,580
The cost of the animal is (or can be) the least of your expenses. You can spend many thousands on some fancy horse or get a perfectly fine one for free (or damn near) from a rescue or someone who just doesn't want/can't afford the beast any longer. I have a small boat and a sailplane. Together, they are cheaper than owning a horse. My daughter was involved with riding for quite a while. Fortunately, we were able to get pretty cheap leases - basically helping owners defray their expenses on horses that would, otherwise, be just standing around.
  #14  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:16 PM
FloatyGimpy's Avatar
FloatyGimpy is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
The cost of the animal is (or can be) the least of your expenses.
This is very true. Even just for my budgies, none of whom I paid anything for. But the set up?? I paid around $1000 for their two large cages, all toys, perches, play gyms...

Food and treats is about $30 a month. That's just for little budgies who do nothing to earn their keep! And today, on my day off, I have to spend a good hour cleaning cages and vacuuming.
  #15  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:29 PM
Hilarity N. Suze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 7,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stana Claus View Post
Everyone has been talking about the routine expenses of feed, farriers, and veterinary care, but if you want to keep a horse on your own property, you'll need at least 5 acres of land for the 1st horse, plus anywhere from 1 - 5 acres for each additional horse. More out west where grass doesn't grow very well. That acreage will need to be fenced and you'll need a barn for the horse and to store your hay, feed, tack, etc. You'll need a trailer to be able to take the horse out for trail riding, to the vet, to horse shows, etc. depending on what your particular interests are. Then you'll need a truck to haul the trailer. How big a truck depends on how many horses you're taking at a time. That's just the stuff you'll need before you get the 1st horse. We've always said that it's the 1st horse that's the expensive one. The incremental cost for each additional horse is less once you have the necessary infrastructure in place.
With just a short walk, I am in a very affluent suburb. There are some big pastures in this suburb, there is a park with obstacles that horses can jump (I've only seen this once, but there are always fresh hoofprints so it is used, just when I'm not there). And there are also some properties where people are keeping two horses in a yard that's actually no bigger than my yard, which is a good deal smaller than even one acre. I can't even imagine what they do about the flies. I always heard one acre per horse.

Also, people take their horses to a vet? IME the vet comes to you. Hopefully, none too often. There are also people who specialize in transporting horses. Not cheap, but cheaper than buying a truck and a trailer for the times you'd need it. At one of the places I inquired about, when I was thinking about possibly getting another horse, part of the cost included two vet visits and four farrier visits per year, extra if you needed more. If you keep your horse shod, you will need more. Again, IME. If a horse loses one shoe, you need to replace it fast, or else take the three others off.

In my years of horse owning I never owned a trailer, although I rented one on a few occasions (taking my mare to the stud farm, moving my horse to my college town). I rented a trailer and towed it with my mother's Chevy Impala because m Corvair just wouldn't do it.

I was thinking of adopting a horse from a horse rescue, a few years back. Their requirements were pretty stiff, and you had to have everything in place, and if you were a first-time owner you had to take their course--which makes a lot of sense, because they don't want their adopted horses coming back. And once people realized how onerous it can be, or got tired of the slog, or if the horse stepped on them or chewed its way out of its stall--they would come back.

But it's true, you can find free horses pretty easily. In my youth I was good at training horses--well, after the first one, where I made a lot of mistakes. But if I were getting one today I would definitely want to spend enough money to assure I had one that had a good temperament, to begin with, and a certain amount of training because I am too old to start from scratch on a horse. Pretty much looks like it won't happen, but I can dream.
  #16  
Old 08-13-2019, 05:02 PM
StGermain is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Toon Town
Posts: 10,811
My horses cost me little - I no longer take lessons, I keep my horses at home, I don't trailer out. I figure my horse expenses are about $300/mo for food, hay, vet (routine vet, not injury/illness - horses love to try to kill themselves), and farrier. That's not including the cost of the horses or tack, just recurring expenses. I've been thinking of starting up lessons again, so that will add probably another $200/mo. I don't show. I actually almost never ride, since I moved away from the boarding barn where someone would notice if I pulled a Christopher Reeve in a field or on the trail.

I have a friend who recently retired her A-rated hunter from a training/show barn. She was paying $1000/mo for board, the cost for lessons, plus the cost for showing. At the amateur-owner level it's easy to drop a minimum of $500 (to $3000 or more) for a weekend show. And that doesn't include travel expenses and food. Some people show every other weekend or more. And all you get from it is a ribbon. If you're lucky.

StG

Last edited by StGermain; 08-13-2019 at 05:03 PM.
  #17  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:27 AM
GaryM's Avatar
GaryM is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO 50mi. West
Posts: 5,165
The definition of a horse: An animal with 4 legs that spends it's entire life looking for the most inconvenient and expensive place to die.
  #18  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:55 AM
saje is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 2,230
A lot of the expense can vary enormously by location and use. If you live in a large farming area that grows great hay, you own your own property (ie: no board fees), there are equine vets nearby, and you only trailride from your own property then yes, it's not too horribly expensive.

If you live in the south where they can't grow much variety of hay, you are paying $$$ for it. Here in SC a 50-60lb bale of good Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, or any combination of those is currently about $12-15 ea. A big horse not on pasture can eat up to a bale a day. Hard feed (bagged grain) is not required but most people feed it. A decent bag of horse feed costs about $20 for $50/lb, and one of my old horses would go through a bag a week.

A good farrier is generally not cheap either. Expect at least $100 every 6-8 weeks for a full set of shoes. Horses that can go barefoot are a little less, but not all horses can or should.

Where I live the nearest vet is an hour's drive. I generally go to them as it saves me a $100 farm call fee and gets my horse seen faster. I still do have to feed the truck its diesel though.

Boarding costs can be $300 or so a month (for a pasture and you to all your own care and provide your feed) to $1,200 or more a month for a full service place. That fee may or may not include training. If your horse needs training, or if you show regularly, you can tack on several hundred dollars a month, easily.

Good equipment is important for safety and the horse's comfort, and can be $$$ also.

So yeah, the actual purchase is the least of it. My most expensive horses to keep were the ones I got for free, or nearly free.
  #19  
Old 08-14-2019, 09:30 AM
Nawth Chucka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Whites elevated; UT
Posts: 5,726
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
In fact, it is so expensive, you might need to get a job as an employee of a small town to be able to afford it!
Wow.
At least it's not meth, but...damn.
  #20  
Old 08-14-2019, 10:54 AM
Inigo Montoya's Avatar
Inigo Montoya is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: On the level, if inclined
Posts: 15,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
With just a short walk, I am in a very affluent suburb. There are some big pastures in this suburb, there is a park with obstacles that horses can jump (I've only seen this once, but there are always fresh hoofprints so it is used, just when I'm not there).
My Missus grew up in Cherry Hills Village and practiced jumping at a local horsie park. Crazy spendy hobby.
  #21  
Old 08-14-2019, 12:00 PM
Bill Door is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,064
My mother raised a couple of standard bred horses for harness racing. My experience with horses was that one end kicks and shits and the other end eats, kicks, and bites. She always said if she ever hit the lottery for a big jackpot she'd just keep raising horses until it was gone.
  #22  
Old 08-14-2019, 02:23 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post

But it's true, you can find free horses pretty easily. In my youth I was good at training horses--well, after the first one, where I made a lot of mistakes. But if I were getting one today I would definitely want to spend enough money to assure I had one that had a good temperament, to begin with, and a certain amount of training because I am too old to start from scratch on a horse. Pretty much looks like it won't happen, but I can dream.
I don't know the situation now, but before the Great Recession you could sell a horse, at the beginning of it you could donate a horse, and as it wore on you couldn't even do that. We considered ourselves lucky to be able to donate the horse for a tax break. A lot of horse were put down because no one could afford them, even when they were free.

Last edited by Voyager; 08-14-2019 at 02:23 PM.
  #23  
Old 08-14-2019, 02:40 PM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
Wow.
At least it's not meth, but...damn.
Really good documentary about her called All the Queen's Horses.
IIRC, she was embezzling more than the town was spending on schools AND police!
Gotta respect that kinda chutzpa!
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017