The ‘Unseen’ costs of horse ownership

As a follow up to my post regarding the basic costs of horse ownership, I would like to highlight some of the more common overlooked costs, both monetary, physically and mentally of owning your own horse.
Where the horse lives:
Horses at home
While the idea of looking out of your window, and seeing your lovely equine friend grassing lazily in the summer sun in the perfect green pasture and the lovely, chew free fencing, this is not the reality of keeping a horse at home. It is more about rainy dark nights, chewed fencing and an ever growing muck heap.
But it is also about the routine of chores, the ability to ride when ever you have a spare moment, the chance to catch a quick hug with your friend to help sooth the day.
If you are thinking of keeping your horse at home, consider the potential impacts of:
  • A longer commute,which impacts both time and cost in both gas and car maintenance, as there are not many properties large enough for a horse in the city.
  • A higher property insurance cost. (Budget over $5000 a year)
  • Potentially bigger mortgage, or higher rent. A farm property with generally cost more than a “normal” house. OK, Vancouver may be slightly different, but generally the statement does apply!
  • Maintenance costs of a farm are much higher than a single family home, and then there is the need for additional vehicles… for example, a tractor!!
  • Do you have the time for daily chores and riding? Horse need some stimulation and human contact, otherwise they can become unruly and even dangerous to handle.
  • What about vacations, or even just being late home one day? Do you have someone that can cover for you?
  • What if you are sick and cannot do your chores?
Boarding your horse
The impacts of boarding a horse do differ depending on the type of board, but apart for the cost of the board, these are the main items that need to be considered:
  • The time and cost of going to and from the barn, the additional wear and tear on your vehicle, gas money and time it takes to travel, which may need to be multiple times a day.
  • Time required at the barn to ride and do your chores (if not on full board). How does this impact on other areas of your life?
  • If you have children, what are they doing while you are looking after you horse at the barn?
Additional costs and considerations also include:
  • Tack –  A saddle and bridle which need to be in good repair so that you are your horse are safe
  • Supplies –  Saddle soap, horse shampoo, hoof oils, fly spray, first aid sprays and creams… as a horse person, we like our lotions and potions!
  • Rugs –  They get destroyed, if not by your horse, then it could well be someone else’s horse, then you will also need to be some anti-chew spray and a rug repair kit…
  • Horse appointments –  Who will be there for your farrier or the vet?
  • You decide to show…. that is a whole post on it’s own!!
Owning a horse is a wonderful experience, but, before taking the plunge, please consider the effects it will have on your life and on the life of your family, as it will affect them too.

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