Author Topic: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?  (Read 3376 times)

LawMustache

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Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« on: October 05, 2015, 03:16:33 PM »
Hello fellow Mustachians,

Although I am fairly new to the forum, I have been looking a lot into my household personal finances in the past year and have the following questions for the Mustachians community: Are there any horse owners out there, and if yes, how do you manage to keep the expenses related to your horse fairly low (FYI We live in Canada).

Both my SO and I are horse owners and we currently do not have the land/time to have our horses at home (working professionals far from FIRE for now). Thus, we are boarding our horses for an approximate 800$ a month...and the problem comes when you add up the vet, blacksmith and all the side stuff. I calculated our horse-related expenses to nearly 1000$ per month - 12k a year!!! (ouch...it hurts)

Our dream FIRE life will most likely cut this specific expense a lot as we will have the horses at home on a far far away (read "cheap") land, but until then (10-15 years), we are trying to find ways to reduce the horse-related costs.

I know, horseback riding must be one of the most fancypants sports out there (I also play golf and the comparison is stunning), and I will most likely sell my horse at some point in a near future, but my GF will not let got, and although she is into the idea of ER, she can't think of dropping her sport (and I understand that).

Any ideas?

SwordGuy

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 03:32:53 PM »
$12K a year for a hobby is a lot of money.  It's 1/5th the median family income in the USA.  You can buy a new car EVERY YEAR for about that much.   Actually, you could by a new car every year and sell the old car and come out ahead of your horse hobby.

So, I expect horse owners (except those who use them for business purposes) will be hard to find around here.


MicroRN

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 03:58:29 PM »
There are a few of us (I'm currently horseless, but will be reacquiring soon).  Horsepoor and J Mo are two of the others I can think of.  It's not exactly a Mustachian expense, but doesn't have to be horrifically expensive.  Personally, I find life with horses to be so dramatically better than life without horses that I'd rather spend the money on it than be FIRE.  The truth with horses though is you either pay in time or money.     

I used to keep 2 horses very inexpensively.  I had low-maintenance horses and did self-care board at a backyard barn with a lot of pasture.  My total board was $250/mo, and then the owners offered me board discounts for doing some of the barn work and watching the farm when they went on vacation.  Neither needed shoes, and I trimmed their hooves myself.  Until later, when we ran into health issues, they ate only grass in the summer, and only hay in the winter.  They lived outside with a shed, so no stall cleaning to do or shavings to buy.  I gave most of my vaccines myself, and most years only had one vet visit per horse.  I'd buy a round bale of hay at a time from a nearby farmer, then supplement it with better quality hay.  I took lessons when I could, but mostly opted for trail riding and inexpensive competitions like competitive trail, hunter paces, and local fun shows ($10 or less per class).  I traded for some of my lessons by doing barn work and grooming for shows.  I bought inexpensive trailers twice, fixed them, sold them for a profit, and was finally able to buy a nicer one.  I owned an older truck, but used a Neon as my daily driver.  I mixed my own feed and bought generic supplements when it came time for that.  I got a part-time weekend job at the vet practice that I used and got an employee discount.         

Of course not all of those work for every horse owner.  I was single, no kids, so part time jobs and daily barn trips were completely reasonable.  Right now we own land, and though we're moving soon we're looking for land again.  That's the most reasonable way for me to keep horses inexpensively now.

LawMustache

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 04:05:03 PM »
There are a few of us (I'm currently horseless, but will be reacquiring soon).  Horsepoor and J Mo are two of the others I can think of.  It's not exactly a Mustachian expense, but doesn't have to be horrifically expensive.  Personally, I find life with horses to be so dramatically better than life without horses that I'd rather spend the money on it than be FIRE.  The truth with horses though is you either pay in time or money.     

I used to keep 2 horses very inexpensively.  I had low-maintenance horses and did self-care board at a backyard barn with a lot of pasture.  My total board was $250/mo, and then the owners offered me board discounts for doing some of the barn work and watching the farm when they went on vacation.  Neither needed shoes, and I trimmed their hooves myself.  Until later, when we ran into health issues, they ate only grass in the summer, and only hay in the winter.  They lived outside with a shed, so no stall cleaning to do or shavings to buy.  I gave most of my vaccines myself, and most years only had one vet visit per horse.  I'd buy a round bale of hay at a time from a nearby farmer, then supplement it with better quality hay.  I took lessons when I could, but mostly opted for trail riding and inexpensive competitions like competitive trail, hunter paces, and local fun shows ($10 or less per class).  I traded for some of my lessons by doing barn work and grooming for shows.  I bought inexpensive trailers twice, fixed them, sold them for a profit, and was finally able to buy a nicer one.  I owned an older truck, but used a Neon as my daily driver.  I mixed my own feed and bought generic supplements when it came time for that.  I got a part-time weekend job at the vet practice that I used and got an employee discount.         

Of course not all of those work for every horse owner.  I was single, no kids, so part time jobs and daily barn trips were completely reasonable.  Right now we own land, and though we're moving soon we're looking for land again.  That's the most reasonable way for me to keep horses inexpensively now.

Wow thanks for the insight MicroRN. We will definitely try to implement some of these tips into our life and are looking forward into being able to buy our own land.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 04:32:54 PM »
Another horse girl here, and yep they're expensive. 

$12k for two horses is actually not all that bad.  So you're paying $400/month each for board? Are they boarded in a stall or is it just pasture 24/7?


Mountainbug

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 05:16:36 PM »
Does your barn do a partial self care option? Can you trade work for a discount or trade services maybe? MicroRN really hit all the big things I can think of right now.

One other possible option is doing a partial lease of your horse to someone. It could cover some or all of your boarding if that is something you're interested in.

Edited to add that if you are open to other people riding your horses you could possible see if your barn would use them as lesson horses for a discount as well. All depends on your horse and what you're willing to do.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 05:19:06 PM by Mountainbug »

K-ice

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 05:29:56 PM »
Can you look into a half lease option?

Years ago I was the "renter" of a horse owned by a very busy professional woman.  She didn't have time to care for the horse every day.

I rode him about 2-3 times a week. We split board and costs. I got to go to a few training shows.

Maybe you can find someting like that...

But overall horses are very unmustacian & part of the reason I am no longer involved today.


Kathryn K.

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2015, 06:02:53 PM »
The mention of horses has inspired me to delurk...

I don't have a horse now but showed competitively (Palomino circuit, all around) when I was growing up.  Now I have a four year old daughter and am contemplating if/when to get her started (she has expressed interest and loves to do the kiddie pony rides).  I enjoyed showing a lot and it was a great family activity (my sisters showed as well) but yes, horses get expensive fast (my family was not wealthy).

Stash padawan, do you have to have your own horse or can you get your horse fix in other ways? Do you trail ride/ride recreationally or do you show? If you do trail riding, there are a fair amount of pasture ornaments out there you might be able to work out a deal with the owner to ride.  If you are more into refining you riding skills or showing, would taking lessons on a lesson horse be satisfactory? If you like to show, consider a less competitive (and thus less expensive) circuit - which is how my family kept costs somewhat under control.  You'll also find that dog shows are heavily populated with former horse people looking for a more affordable animal hobby.

oldladystache

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2015, 06:18:02 PM »
Keeping a horse at home on a good bit of land isn't terribly expensive. I did that when I was a kid a million years ago.

Now my pony has the best stall and pen in the 200 horse facility. That's what you can do when you've been frugal for 60 years.

A half lease is a really good way to cut the expenses. I've never done it but several friends have.

goatmom

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2015, 07:06:42 PM »
I have always done horses on the cheap by having them on my own property.  Boarding is so expensive.  But, depends on what your salary/living expenses are and how much you are willing to cut in other areas to make it work. Sounds like you guys are not spending all that much money to be honest. My daughter is so interested but I am so conflicted in that I don't want to have her get into a hobby that will just suck her finances.  It is so hard to give up once you start!

Mountainbug

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2015, 07:44:03 PM »
Kathryn K and goatmom, I would encourage you to get your kids involved if you can manage it! Growing up my parents gave me lessons for all gift giving holidays starting at age seven and I loved it. By age ten I was mucking stalls, exercising horses, prepping horses for lessons and doing feeding in exchange for lessons and eventually a half lease. This instilled such a great work ethic in me, and it really made me appreciate money and the value of things at a very early age. Maybe riding will lead your kids down the same path 😊

Little Nell

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2015, 10:26:06 PM »
Haven't read all the replies, but let me say that it is thirty years of thrift that allow me to spend on my horse now.

I am in my mid-fifties, board, and it's not cheap, and I keep a spreadsheet of all expenses. I don't show, and don't spend a lot on my own riding attire.

I don't have  truck or trailer. Boarding, at a very nice place, shoes, vet care, everything, costs about $10,000 a year. I could find a cheaper place and cut this down, but this works. It is still, I maintain, cheaper than buying our own place in the country, with all that entails. I can do this because we have no debt besides mortgage (and that only because we refinanced to buy a rental) one car twenty-five years old and the other is over ten, and because DH and I have maxed out savings for years and years and years.

Would I recommend this to a college student? Or to someone with lots of student loans? NO NO NO.

Salim

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2015, 06:02:24 AM »
We have two horses at home. Ten - $12,000 per year is reasonable to expect to pay for two horses, so that has to be considered. We are semi-retired and can afford them now because of frugal living in most other areas, past hard work and savings, and by keeping horse expenses down, too. A few more tips for your list:

One place we save a lot is hoof care. We switched to a good barefoot trimmer and use hoof boots as needed for riding. We use a rasp and nippers for touchups between trimmer visits. My current favorite hoof boots are Easy Boot Gloves.

High quality synthetic saddles are much cheaper than most leather saddles and can be better for the horses' backs.

We live in an area with a lot of lyme disease, so we have the vet pull lyme titres twice a year to catch tick-bourn illness early.

Don't skimp on healthcare or training. Lack of either can bring much heartache and expense. As the other posters have said, if you need to, look for opportunities to trade services or work for discounts.

We do as much labor as possible ourselves. He does the heavy work I can't do, and I do the fussy work he hates. The chores help keep us fit; no gym required.

I'm not keen on leasing my horses because of concerns about health and safety, but I would take someone out for a trail ride in exchange for help with chores or a little cash. I've done that a lot. I also take friends out for free to help with exercising the horses. You can find people on bulletin boards who are looking for rides.

If you are so inclined, being out in nature and working with horses every day is pretty wonderful. It's healthy, spiritual, and fulfilling. It gets my vote over fancy clothes, vacations, and houses. Good luck with your decisions.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Any Mustachians horse owners out there?
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2015, 10:12:39 AM »
One mare, two rescue BLM burros.

No, never cheap, even on your own land. The "idea" had been to put in pasture, and had the well pre-tested to see if it would be ok....it was when I bought.

But not now, so still buying hay.

To me animals are a lifelong commitment. You know, the way people used to look at marriage: "til death do us part".

So I'll keep buying hay.

Agree with the people who say that doing your own hoof trimming helps...but it is not easy on the back.

As for cutting other expenses: splitting with friends is the way to go. I'm going to parade at the end of the month. I'll either haul and pick up two friends, or they'll haul and pick me and mine up: then we kick in for gas money. If you're doing shows/parades....that's going to be a big savings.

Buying/giving your own vacs is also a huge savings.

I know the vibe and the supposed expertise of a formal boarding facility. Are you sure it's worth it though? Because in my experience the owner is a horse person but the people working there and mucking out and caring for your horse daily are just underpaid and not always the kinds of people you want around your animals. If it's a big enough facility that they have indoor riding year round and direct riding access to trails....maybe.

If I ever had to board again I'd probably find someone with land who had a horse-crazy teen daughter and work something out: I'd look for something with a shelter and some panels and your horse and mine stay there, and you do one feeding a day and I do the other....it would bring your costs down to the equivalent of having them on your own land (minus commute, which you'd have if you were boarding anyway). And it would have the advantage of someone who truly loved horses taking care of yours when you weren't there.