Friday, June 27, 2014

Cost of the Horse Critters

Alright, Lauren, you've inspired me to suck it up and think about this and post my own.

Griffin and Q, telling & showing you how it is.

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The Basics
Board: $100/month/horse - this is 24/7 turnout on anywhere from 20 to 40 acres; stalls are available as is a small round pen and a paddock area. This cost includes winter hay, as well. ($200/month, $2400/year)
Hoof care: free - I do it myself
Vet care: $200/year for annual vaccines and check up etc. per horse. Now, factor in if something else happens - let's tack on an additional $400 just because (~$800 a year if nothing CRAZY happens)
Grain: ~$20/bag and I go through one every month and a half or so (~$40/three months, ~$160/year)
Training: I have no trainer. I take no lessons. Should I? Yes. But the travel that would be associated to GET to someone to gain a lesson from would be triple the lesson price - at a minimum. Training and time spent with my horses is all done by moi.
Basics Total for the Year: $3,360 (if non-crazy year with vet then $2,960)

The "Extras"
Tack: I'd estimate I drop ~$400 a year on basic things (boots, reins, etc.) Barring out purchasing a saddle or a new saddle pad, that's about all the more I'll spend. However, because I so recently purchased both a new saddle and pad, I'll add those costs $900 & $125. (typical year ~$400; big year ~$1425)
Supplements: a new edition to life. ~$30/month, $360/year
Treats: $7/2 months, $42/year
Insurance: Q is the only one insured currently because she's the only one in full work $350/year
Events: each endurance ride entry is ~$100 with the OD being $150. With only one horse in competition my costs are currently - for the event entry only - $450. Next year with two horses it will be more like $900. As is, Griffin may do up to two events this year. So for this year our total will be roughly $650
Gas: For events. For play. For traveling to and from the barn on a weekly basis. It's a huge factor when you sit and think about it. Weekly to and from the barn: ~$27 ($324/year). Add in the current events: ~$85/event ($340/year). Now add those other local-ish rides that cost me no entry but do cost gas: average ~$35/event if I stay in state ($140/year). And the couple out of state: ~$120/event ($240/year). Gas sum for year: $1044
"Extras" Total for Year: $3,871 (if not buying extra big ticket tack items $2,846)

Total cost spent on horses per year:  $7,231
(if there weren't big vet calls or tack purchases: $5,806)

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And THAT is doing it CHEAP. Roughly $7,250 a year right now for me to own and play pretty hard with two horses?! I'm only competing Q right now, but even with Griffin in competition next year my total yearly cost will be roughly $8,000. Seriously not bad all things considered. I am incredibly fortunate. 

Yes, eventually I will purchase a truck and trailer and costs will go up. And with harder play comes more risk for injury and vet costs - but that is why I insure my beasts. So if the unfortunate occurs, I don't have to worry so much about money to fix up my equine partner. I can do what is right without fretting about whether or not I'll have money to eat and live.

But money is only HALF of the equation in horse ownership. TIME is the other half.

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I have inquiring new horse owners ask me what I paid for my horses often. Q was $600. Griffin was free. I've then had numerous people say to me, "Oh. Great! I hope we can find a good horse that cheap and be as lucky as you were."
I did not "get lucky" with my horses. I "got dedicated" if you have to put a label on it. I spend money (above) and time (below) and lots of sweat to have good horses. I'm flattered people think they're so good, and I'm flattered folks think I "got lucky" with them. But the truth of the matter is that luck is FAR outweighed by dedication, diligence, time, and patience.

Based on items included above in the money estimates, here is a rough estimation of my TIME spent with horses/doing horse-related things:
Hoof care: I spend about 30 minutes/horse every 2 weeks. (26 hours/year)
Vet care: Because you're present when the vet is there, not to mention you need to catch the horses and then inevitably WAIT on said vet to arrive which is always so hard to predict when they're super busy. With the frequency that I have used the vet the past two years with two horses the total is  ~8 hours/year
Errands to pick up food etc.: 35 minutes/month (7 hours/year)
Training: I'm out at the barn a minimum of 4 days a week year round. Less in the winter, but sometimes more in the summer, so saying 4 days/week/year makes it even out pretty well. The length of visits varies, but an average per week I'd say is about 7 hours. (364 hours/year)
Research on tack, supplements, training, etc.: Because you should be knowledgeable! Probably about 45 hours/year. (Wow. Thinking about how much time I do that and calculating it is kind of astounding. I think it may be higher, but I'd rather under estimate at this point.)
Travel: 40 minutes round trip to see the horses. x4 days/week. (2h:40m/week, 138h:40m/year) Travel to events this year is going to be 35 hours/year. So average total for travel is 173 hours/year.
Events: I'm currently attending 4 endurance rides/year and about 6 other "fun" rides. Time spent at these events (both riding and non) is somewhere around 332 hours/year.
 Total time spent with my horses or horse-related activities per year: 947 hours! or about 39½ DAYS nonstop.

So, you know someone who wants a horse who has spent little to no time around them? Do you think they truly understand the costs related with a horse? My approach is one of the cheapest money-wise (if you're going to actually RIDE and take your horse to fun events) and probably about average time-wise.

HORSES ARE MORE THAN "JUST" A HOBBY. Few people spend nigh on 950 hours a year on a hobby. HORSES ARE A LIFESTYLE.

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 It closes on July 4th!

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