Friday, July 30, 2010

(Another) Rant on the Cost of Horses

Hmm.... where to start.

I think I need to change my title back to "horse crazed".... it seems that I might have jinxed myself by pretending that I might not be as completely and totally obsessed as I once was.

What the hell is it with horses anyways? Seriously. Why do I resist it? I want to be normal. I want to spend my money on traveling, my home, my wardrobe, shoes, luxurious dinners, trips to the spa... I really do have other passions. But horses! The bloody useless hairy beasts! It's always freakin' horses that pull me back in time and time again.

So... it's a maybe but a pretty good chance that by this time next month I might have bought a new horse. It's a safe bet. But I am hesitating. Why?



$ for ferrier

$ for board

$ for vet

$ for new boots, blankets, pads, supplements etc. etc. etc.

Get this, I havent paid a horse bill in 20 months. Not a single one. Well... maybe just a tiny itty bitty one. I bought a halter because it was pretty, a soft pale pink, and a good brand on sale for $10. I couldnt resist. I took a handful of lessons and paid $200 for a lease. So whoopty doo! I've spent less money on horses in the past year and half than I usually spent in a week. I want another horse but having been out of the game so long I fear those blinders that keep horse people from realizing the total cost of horses have fallen off and the dollars and cents of it all is slightly terrifying.

I think horse people desensitize themselves to the true cost of horse ownership. Boarding and feed are just the beginning. Getting a horse shod these days costs at minimum $180. So a few grand a year there. A bottle of fly spray here, a tube of ointment there. Shots, teeth floats, maybe a new saddle pad, a trip to the chiro.... Blankets, fly sheets, coolers, the list goes on an on and it all adds up. And that's just your keep. You still gotta use the bloody thing. So then you think about hauling, entry fees, gas to and from the barn, lessons. And then soundness issues. Oh! Oh! Oh! The soundness issues! And only the best kind will do.... I especially love those sneaky bastardly types that pop up like mushrooms and only magically disappear once you've spent a fortune trying to get it diagnosed.

*gasps for breath*

Ok ok... I'll stop.

I really do want a horse. Really.

I'm just sayin' is all.


  1. I'm having the same discussion with myself Chelsi! But at least I can do my own hoof care, most of our own vacc's, and any lameness rehab work ;)

    I don't *need* another horse... I don't *need* another horse.....!


    hmmmm... Maybe we need to start some sort of 12 step program? LOLOLOL

  2. Dude, all I can think is woooord too ALL of that. I HEAR ya! I've been tracking all of our expenses for the last year and a half, budgeting, etc. and let me tell you, it's EYE-OPENING to see it all in black and white. Yikes. Those blinders are dangling by a thread. I'm trying like hell to keep them on, I'm in too deep, there's no going back, and sometimes it's easier to just not know.

    We were down to 2 horses for a total of 7 months, which were glorious, but I just bought another one and we're debating adding one more. AND, top it off, Midori has been lame a couple times lately, but when I finally pony up to get the vet out, it's gone! Magic! So great.

    And yet, I have no plans to give it up. I'm am very much a crazy horse person. You know you'll love having a horse again and deal with all of the costs that come with it...somehow. They are just too addictive. Like crack. Or Twilight. ;) Can't wait to hear more about your potential, possible, but probable new pony!

  3. gotta love the blinders!!

    Buy the horse and put them back on! LOL!!!after all... you can't take the $$$ with you!

  4. I hear ya, its sometimes seems crazy all the money we spend on the ponies! But we always figure cheaper than a therapist:)

  5. Oh no!! The horsey blinders are most definitely off! But the barn smell, the horsey hugs, that bone deep feeling of contentment after a good ride... priceless!

    Look at it this way - a lot of the horse accessories are not necessary and if you've had horses before you should have a lot of the basics all ready in your supply. Don't put shoes on (my cutting trainer's 6 figure stallion is barefoot - and competing).

    There will always be wants and needs. I love to travel so maintain that but dropped the spa. Balance. lol

    But I do understand your rant - I frequently go through "Screw it" phases where I want to sell everything. lol

    Good luck!

  6. You harshed my mellow! Now I feel bad...had a saddle company come out today...brought about 6 models...all starting at a $3500. I was considering getting two. I am trading video work for saddles so they won't cost a thing out of pocket, but I wonder if I had to pay cash...would I have just written a check?...probably. You should have seen her move in the one...priceless:-).

  7. Mrs. Mom, I was going to suggest a 12-Step program, too. Oh yeah, but that would mean I'd have yo give it up. Not gonna.

  8. Every time Husband asks me to add up how much we're spending on things like vet, farrier, supplements, etc, I find an excuse why I can't do it right now. Letting him know the truth would be bad!

  9. Oh Yes, I try to stay in my little bubble when it comes to how much my 3 are costing and they are boarded. OH MY!! I don't want to keep track for fear I have an anxiety attack!

  10. I totally hear you. I have 3 horses, and there is a horse where I work, that if I could afford him, I would buy him in a heartbeat! I really can't afford 4 horses! But it is an addiction, a good addiction.
    It will be exciting to see what horse you end up with! Can't wait for that one!

  11. I think Mrs. Mom up there may be on to something with her 12 step program *laugh*. We have nine and a non-profit, so we are seriously horse poor (poverty stricken?) but I wouldn't have it any other way. Yes I get tired of being flat broke all the time, but there are horses in the yard (so who cares? :o)

  12. P.S. I think you should put your blog title back the way it was. If it ain't broke, don't fix it ;o)

  13. Hmm. I don''t like massages, shoes just need to fit and my idea of vacation is being on my horse.

    After not having horses for 30 years all I can think of now is how I wasted money on things I really didn't enjoy nearly as much in an attempt to be... normal.


    The costs are high. But the rewards are... priceless.

  14. lol, this was a great post! I purchased a horse the beginning of May and I definitely had the blinders on to all of the additional costs! Luckily where I board I know the owner so he gives me a discount at $80/mo if I teach 2 hrs of lessons a week. Score! I'm getting ready to move her though some place closer to home, the lady has 60 acres and a barn with a smaller indoor arena, FREE! Can't beat that! And luckily a set of shoes is only $80 here, not $180! Good luck with your decision, the horse crazed side of me says GO FOR IT!

  15. lol - good post!

    I agree with Stephanie - put the blinders back on and go buy a horse, girl! :-)

    It's in your blood, your being. Don't deny it...

    And try buying some second-hand tack if it makes you feel a bit better.

  16. Rehab is for quitters! LOL!!!

    I have had this rant with a good friend, more than once.

    I am freaking sick to death of the 'cost' of maintenance. $180 to shoe a horse? You have got to be freaking kidding me?

    I paid a $110 to have Frosty's teeth a vet...and he did a crap job. It's still pisses me off. I ended up having to pay $175 to have Spook's teeth done and while that dentist was EXCELLENT...It pissed me off to have to pay that much.

    I have no problem paying a fair price for fair work, but most of the people who provide the 'extra' work that horses need are killing off their customer base. Why is the horse market in the toilet? Who the hell can afford all the extras? It's no freaking wonder we are seeing the level of neglect these days that we are.

    Of course that hasn't stopped us from having an extra-ordinary # of horses. LOL...I sat down and wrote everyone's name of a piece of paper the other day. In an attempt to make it look like there was not soooo many, I broke them into little columns.

    Ugghhhh....It didn't work. We just have a butt-load of horses.

    So when exactly can I expect you and Mel to come help me ride?


  17. BEC...LOL!!!! You know I love your ponies!!!! If you ever want to reduce that herd of yours, you know Chelsi and I would be there in a heartbeat!!!

    Chelsi...Yeah, I have pretty much decided that horses are like kids... without!!!
    It's nothing to drop $200 here or $50 bucks there.... : )

    Oh, and I still like the dun gelding with the big head. He is definitely cute, in spite of it. Don't rule him out....

  18. IMO cost is variable depending on where you live. And its seems that the places w/higher general income tend to be costlier. For example I had friends that lived in the Calgary area and what they paid to shoe ONE horse is more than we paid for two.
    Case in point, your $180 shoeing figure. I just had front shoes put on 2 gelding plus a trim on one and it was $215, tip included (yes I tip my farrier, because he's RELIABLE!)

    Being able to do things on your own or w/limited "expert" assistance is a godsend. We do our own shots, wormer, etc. My vet will give me instructions on how to do something if its her opinion that I can handle it.

    And in closing... At work one of our cooks, Coleslaw, was going on and ON about how Pie & I MUST be rich. Because I have horses. This is in spite of the fact that as a small business owner Pie, his brother and his dad all make less than our cooks do because most of what should be their wage goes back into the business. I mentioned that. Apparently I'm still rich. *eyeroll*
    So we sat down and figured out what Coleslaw spends a month on cigarettes and beer. Whattaya know, its MORE than I spend on my horses most months.

  19. I need a companion for Casey. He's not happy and he's lonely. So, I'm horse shopping myself. Or maybe just goat shopping. I've got one on the back burner and I've been trying to decide if he'd be happy with just a goat.

    Today, I go look at an AQHA palomino mare named Bar None Molly.

    wv: mulogic- should be self explanatory here, mule logic!


  20. I was shocked for a moment, but like Laughing Orca, I'm sticking my head back in the sand - the equine dentist is coming this week.