Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Break Down...

So we ALL know that craigslist and dreamhorse are FLOODED with cheap/free horses. We all also know that it is due to people have no jobs... Or are cutting back on "hobbies." But is it unreasonable to think that horses can be affordable???? Let's play the breakdown game... These are AVERAGES for the PNW area... You own 1 horse. This is your cost.
  1. Board $250 x 12 = $3,000
  2. Hay $70 (a ton usually last 3-4 months) x 12 = $840
  3. Grain $30 (2 Bags) x 12 = $360
  4. Hoof trim $35 ( $60 for front shoes or $100 for 4) x 6 = $210
  5. Wormer $7 x 6 = $42
  6. Teeth Float $120
  7. Vaccinations $80 x 2 = $160

Your Grand Total is $4732 a year. It comes out to roughly $394 per month. All averaged out. NOW here is where it gets super fun!!!! A lot of people offer boarding for CHEAP!!! Pasture board for $100, so that cuts your boarding costs and HAY cost if the pasture is decent. If your horse is an easy keeper than you can get good, nice local hay for $3.50 a bale. You buy wormer in bulk it can be as low as $2.99 per tube. Split farm calls and vet costs. Buy Vaccines in bulk and split cost between barn. Don't feed grain. So let's try this again.

  1. Board $100 x 12 = 1200
  2. Hay $21 (local) x 12 $252 or $35(Alfalfa/timothy/orchard) x 12 = $420
  3. Wormer $2.99 x 6 = 17.94
  4. Vaccinations $35 x 2 = $70
  5. Trim $35 x 6 = $210
  6. Teeth float $100

Now you're at roughly $2017.94(with hay) or $168.16 per month or $1849.94(with local hay) or $154.16 per month.... I'm sure there are even MORE costs that can be carefully finagled so long as your horse is and REMAINS healthy. So... A measly $168.16. Huh... And we have all these abandoned, starving horses. I understand that people have bills and families and other responsibilities, but our animals are our responsibility too... Pretty sad.... Pretty Sad when you actually break it down...


Golden Girl said...

It is doable, if someone really wanted to keep their horse or pony enough, they'd find a way, as I have!

My hubby was laid off over a year ago, and we were on unemployment for a while. So we started our own company, and things are looking much better!

I got my 'herd' down to 9, then took on a rescue... I own my farm, so no boarding cost there. Most of my little tough ponies & minis stay out 24/7. I do have the 2 horses that come in during rain and bad weather, and 2 little ones from the 'herd' also because of lack of room in the one run-in shed, someone is always left out in the rain.

Anyway, I feed all these myself, in other words the cost doesn't come out of good ol' hubby's pocket. I give a weekly riding lesson, farm and pet sit occasionally to earn the money it takes to feed my crew :)
All my horse are barefoot too, and I trim them my self. I give all my Vac's also, saving yet again.

In the summer my feed bill is a lot less, but that is when the bulk hay purchases come in. I also buy my feed from the Co-op now to cut down the price of my feed bill, but now I supplement the younger growing horses.

So I think those with one or two horses to board could find a less expensive alternative if they wanted to, but then that person would really have to be a true 'horse person' and LOVE their animals unconditionally!

GoLightly said...

Ain't no such thing as a free horse, is there?

Good luck to them, good luck to y'all.

peaches1111_00 said...

Whenever someone finds out I had a horse, they always make the comment about how EXPENSIVE they are. I have to explain to them that it isn't as much as they think. It's expensive to start out (stalls/horse/tack) but upkeep really isn't bad. I've done the breakdown before. But I let people think what they want so we have less people that decide to get a horse on a whim and don't know how to properly care for them. If I know they are serious about it, I help them out.

As with anything, it's cheaper if you do the work yourself. You can pay for full board or do it yourself. You can pay more for an oil change or you can do it yourself. You can pay extra for whatever or you can do it yourself!!

MysteryTheMorab said...

Horse are expensive, no way around it. In my county (Marin, Ca) I can get pasture boarding which includes feed for $285.00...that is the cheapest I can find. That is a car payment.

I trim his hooves myself, administer my own shots, already have an aging truck and trailer, so just teeth floating and odds and ends add up.

Boarding for $100 a month? Maybe in 1981, but not now; not anywhere I would want to live....

Horses are expensive. One accident with a fence, colic, illness can wipe out your bank account. People need to realize the reality before rescueing as well as be responsible for the ones they have. Otherwise, a so called 'rescuer' becomes part of the problem.

ponykins said...

I figured out for a friend that she had $4200 into her horse just in hay and grain (no vet, farrier, gelding, and cost of registration figured into it) She just sold that horse for $250. Hard to run a business that way. And she has 20+ more just like him. Yikes!

An Image of Grace said...

Case of Busch Beer per day $15.00 x 30 = $450

2 packs of cigarettes a day $14.00 x 30 =$420

Look ma, I found some real cheap hay on Craigslist. If we feed it real slow it will last all winter long!

Amy said...

Depends on the horse, too. My easy-keeping mare costs probably less than $125/month for feed and farrier. My hard-keeping old guy? With grain and supplements, plus hay and farrier, is more like $250/month. Likewise, someone with a high-strung OTTB is going to pay more in upkeep than someone with a chubby pony.

OneCowgirl said...

Another reason for all those abandoned horses - and its not a pretty topic is that all of the slaughter houses in the US have closed so there is no place for those folks to get rid of their horses. Yes, they are shipping horses across the border to MX & CA but if you aren't close to the border then people aren't buying them. People around the world eat horse meat it actually has more protein than beef. And though I am not an advocate of it - too many folks think with their emotions - really last year the Federal Govt. paid 28 million to house 30,000 feral horses in captivity - I don't know about you but my taxes could be used for something better - why not feed the hungry children around the world?

Guess said...


And that LOCAL cheap hay in this area (Seattle), is cut right along with all the Tansy Ragwort. So if you want to kill your horse the slow way, feed the cheap local grass.

I guess it doesn't really matter since local grass is the equivalent to slowly starving your horse to death from lack of nutrition. It's just a matter of what (tansy and/or starvation) that catches up to them the fastest.

Equus said...

Out here (Alberta, Canada) we pay $150-$250 for board for each of our horses, depending on the facility ($800/month). On top of that, there is deworming (about $80/pop for our 4 horses, 4x per year), vaccinations ($250 this year), vet bills ($1000 so far this year), teeth ($180/horse, two this year), chiro ($80/horse - frequency depends upon the horse), farrier ($35/horse for a trim). We've been supplementing our 5yo TB, which amounts to about $50/month or more. Then there's tack, blankets, etc. We are probably paying $1,000/month in the upkeep of just our own horses.

We save everywhere we can (vaccinate ourselves, haul our horses IN for vet appointments, go barefoot, keep two of the four at lower-cost facilities with no indoor arena, etc etc), but being without a property at this time adds to the cost. On the other hand, we turned down living on a property this year with our horses because we can't find good horse hay cheaper than boarding.

Luckily both the So and I have good paying jobs and can afford our "family" - it would be a dark day in hell before we sold our horses, particularly the ones I have raised from foals (two of the four). However I can understand how others - particularly in this recession - might have to make the difficult choice of selling their beloved(s). Maybe they're not selling the sole horse they have, but are forced to downsize instead. It's a nice thought to be able to keep an animal for its lifetime, but reality dictates this not always to be possible. I was lucky enough that during tough times when I was younger, my parents still managed to keep back a few of our horses, but others are not so lucky. For them, it can be a struggle just to stay off the street.

When you break it down, the probably $200/month we spend on our cheapest horses (the ones we keep at the smaller facilities) is a car payment, an insurance payment, partial rent, gas... It's sad our horses are sometimes the ones who suffer the most in this recession, but unfortunately it is reality :(