Horse ownership costs(10 Posts)
I'm thinking of getting a horse. I rode all my childhood, though didn't really have my own horse as my family didn't have the land or the money. I've just started back at lessons and have bought a house with 3 top class stables, outdoor arena and 4 acres. I would like to get something bombproof but fun to get me back into riding and to see how horse ownership works with my life. If everything goes as I think it will, in a few years I will look to do it more seriously.
What yearly costs do I need to consider assuming my horse doesn't have any major health issues? Just the normal stuff. I would plan to have it on grass other than during the worst of the winter weather. I'll need all the basic tack and equipment, feed, general healthcare of horse (shoeing, teeth?, are there yearly checks that should be done?)
Basically can someone give me a financial outline of a year in the life of owning an average horse?
There are several threads on here about the cost of a horse. It can be done relatively cheaply if the horse lives out 24/7 and is barefoot, more expensive if stabled and shod and so on. I spend on average about £3,000 a year on my two who live at home.
If you plan to keep a horse at home you will need a second horse as a companion. You may also need a third to keep the companion company when you ride as two horses kept alone can become over bonded quickly. There are also ongoing maintenance costs of a home yard - fencing, muck removal, paddock maintenance.
Livery costs are the big decider - I ised to do diy (had a stable , access to jumps and arena and hay, straw and grazing) for 120 pm in an expensive area (berkshire) now I have no idea how ouch that would cost. Renting a field is usually cheaper but like goldust. My nearest yard charges £1250 a month for livery which is pretty unbelievable but it seems to be somewhat normal nowadays. Where you live is a big factor. Shoeing was about 60-80 every 6 weeks, other costs were low like abit of feed and replacing bits and bobs. I recon back in the day I could have managed on 200 pm without major purchases, but it's been about 10 years since I did this
First of all, because you have your own land, you need to know about land maintenance. This can be very time consuming and as expensive as livery costs. I'd thoroughly rrecommend this book as it has pretty much everything you need to know about looking after your grass. Rolling, harrowing, spraying, poo picking, fence repairs etc. 4 acres is not a lot of land, so you probably won't get a farmer who will do it, but there are specialist field maintenance companies who come with quad bikes etc. You need good knowledge of poisonous plants, so that you know what needs removing. Remember, some "weeds" are good for them! You'll want to do spot spraying rather than blanket, so that you don't get rid of the beneficial ones.
One of the most important things in regard to pasture management is poo picking. Its best done every day. It makes a huge difference in terms of worm control. You will also need to have a means of getting rid of your muck heap!
Nowadays, blanket worming is not recommended as there is a huge amount of anthelmintec resistance. You will tend to do a worm egg count four times a year and worm according to the results.
I would also suggest doing the BHS Essential Horse Knowledge certificate as it runs through the basics of horse care for new owners.
Well there's feed, bedding, insurance, shoes, rug washing, rug patching, new rugs to replace the ones beyond patching. Get the saddle and back checked 2X a year. Teeth every 6-12 months. Lessons, competing, and oh just stuff. Just give all your spare income
and several credit cards to various equine related industries. I do love dhorse though.
If you have land you will need a companion for the horse, if not three so the companion doesn't get lonely while you are riding the other, they are herd animals and tend to get severe behavioural problems when kept alone.
Land management is expensive, maintaining a surface on a school is expensive, bedding, rugs, shoes at £60-100 a pop every 6 weeks, tack (inc checking it still fits), dentists, vets all routine and all very expensive. Are you ready to do it alone, hiring a freelance groom will be a tenner an hour... I don't think having them at home is much cheaper than DIY livery...
If it's your first horse I'd not go it alone and keep it at home to be honest...
My mum kept her first horse at home. Personally I'd make sure you've got good support before buying OP. Find a local instructor. They might even be interested in hiring your school from you for other clients, though check your insurance carefully first.
And do get the right horse (s). Older steady eddies that will help you out, not the flashier types that need experience.
I've never officially, fully, on my own property owned my own horse but I took loan horses for the summer (kept at neighbours but fully my responsibility) as a teen and did buy, break and sell on a pony when I was 12-14 with a friend (kept in her stables but I did most of the riding and training). I also rode almost every day my various neighbours and riding instructors horses from the age of 10-16. I've cross countried, hunted, showjumping and pony clubbed in my teen years so am not totally clueless about horses. I just don't have a great grasp of the real cost of things like insurance, shoeing, clipping, can't remember how much they need to be stabled in the year if at all etc. so wasn't sure about feed and bedding cost.
A few things I hadn't considered. A companion. I used to carriage drive too so have been thinking of something small to do that and maybe that could be the companion. Alternatively would a couple of mini shelties do as buddies?
The land management stuff and totally new to me. I used to pick up from the small paddock my loan horse used in the summer it don't recall doing it because of worms! I don't honk I need to root out some of my old horse books! Britnay thanks for the book recommendation.
I've been thinking the best might be to loan a horse next summer and see how it fits into my life with3 small kids before committing to something more permanent. I'm taking private lessons too to get my riding skills back up.
Having your own place is the ideal way to do it, if you know what you are doing. I once came within a whisker of having my own place, but then worried endlessly about all the pitfalls.
Money wise with your own place it could be relatively cheap with the right horses. Low maintenance, native types.
Time wise it will be massive. You have the horses and the land to care for. Fencing can be a pain to maintain if you have horses that trash it. Land maintenance. Yard maintenance. Waiting around for hay/straw deliveries etc.
Then you might have a ill horse that could need round the clock care. You might end up with a sweet itch sufferer or something prone to laminitis. Native ponies in particular could need a high level of weight maintenance.
I have 3 ponies on livery with my sister purely because I don't have time with a family to do everything that needs doing.
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