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For Equine lovers and people interested in horses

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1 year ago
Before buying your first horse, sit down and work out a realistic budget. Think of buying your first horse as starting a small business. You'll have start-up costs: the basic equipment, a pre-purchase veterinary exam and the actual cost of the horse. Next you'll have operating costs, including fencing, building a stable or paying regular stable fees. Finally, you should calculate your monthly expenses. These costs may vary, but you can determine an approximate range.
Do you plan to do anything extra like transporting your horse in a trailer or showing him occasionally? Take those costs into consideration, too.

Are your horsemanship skills up to par? If not, you'll need to budget for lessons or pay someone else to care for your horse.

Do you feel pretty confident that you can handle the day-to-day tasks of owing a horse? Do you feel prepared to handle an emergency on your own? Do you have access to a good horse vet nearby? Some of these factors may add to the costs of owning a horse.

Making the commitment to buy a horse is just the beginning of your responsibilities. You're now financially and morally responsible for his care and well-being. That means that you need to ensure he is receiving the proper nutrition, hoof care, veterinary care and exercise.

Horse Start-Up Costs
A horse can cost $1,000 or more. This is for a average horse. You can buy cheaper, but there is a reason why they are cheap!! To ensure that you get a healthy animal, a check-up from a veterinarian is essential and costs about $125, depending on where you live and what services are offered.

This is the basic equipment you'll need for your new horse, with approximate cost:

lead rope: $10
halter: $20
brushes: $30
hoof pick: $2
fly spray: $10
bridle (new): $40
saddle (used): $400
saddle pad: $20
bucket: $10
Total equipment start-up costs: $542
That's a minimum of $1,667 in start up costs alone.

Operating Costs of Owning a Horse
Costs can mount up quickly. Here are some regular expenses that you should include in the costs of owning a horse:

monthly board: $200 and up
food: Costs vary; contact your local feed store for some general numbers.
shoeing: $65 and up
training/lessons: Costs vary and the amount you need will depend on your situation. Assess your skills and then get quotes from local trainers.
veterinary care: Costs vary depending on the health and age of your horse. Discuss your situation with a local vet to get an idea of the costs you should expect.
vaccinations: Costs vary.
de-worming: Frequency and costs vary.
If you're providing care yourself, subtract the cost of monthly board and add:

hay: $8 to $20/Bale
bedding (shavings): $12/Bale
bedding (straw): $8/Bale
fencing and shelter: costs vary.

Many factors will affect your monthly horse ownership expenses and you'll have to do significant research to even make an estimate of these expenses. Keep in mind that this will only be an estimate and unexpected costs can arise at any time. Horse ownership is an expensive and significant commitment, so make sure you're ready! A horse can break you! Be prepaired to spend 5000 to 10000 a year on a horse!

It is my opinion that way to many horse owners don't know jack crap about owning a horse. They are in love with a dream or the bragging rights that they have a horse. There were 90,000 horses turned loose this year. People couldn't take care of them because of money. They couldn't sell them because the horses lacked proper breeding and skills. I'm not saying blood lines determine a horse. I have had lots of good horses with no papers. But they had skill!!

I'm tired of people who think they are a cowboy or cowgirl cause they have a horse. Owning a horse doesn't make you anything but that. A horse owner, unless you have skill , your horse has skill, and you use it on a daily basis.

I know nobody likes slaughter houses. And everybody looks at horses like pets. But when they closed down the slaughter houses in the USA, they killed the market on horses. Where do you think all the horses are going now?? Instead of being sold overseas and used, they are being dumped or picked up for free by people who can't take care of them in the first place. Then the cycle starts again...

I am all for saving horses, but there are not enough places to run them. It's like raising cattle, if we didn't use them for food consumption, and making consumer products, where would they all go?? On your front yard?

We would have to get rid of current cattle numbers. Then quit breeding and raising calves. Then the market would stabilize. The same has to be done with horses.

Quit letting every Tom, and Harry breed horses and keep them from selling them to every person who thinks they need a horse.

A horse locked in a pen or at a stable that gets ridden once a month or every other week when you get time is more inhumane than killing them. You either work with that horse everyday or let it run free on enough acres for him to feel free. How many of you can say you can do either of those?

For those of you who own a horse and treat them like a horse wants to be treated, my hat is off to you. For you have kept the meaning of what being a horse owner is all about. Horses and humans were born to be free. You can't pen either up.

Owning a horse is a privilege not a right!
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I have had my horse for 16 years now, her whole life. I plan to keep her until she drops dead or has to be put down. She is out with other horses just about 24/7 (she and the other horses get locked up in their stalls twice a day to have their grain for about 15-30 minutes depending on how slow they eat). The rest of the time she out in the pastures with grass and shelter to go into. I go clean the shelters and pastures every day as well as freshen the water and of course give out grain, hay and suppliments.  My horse is spoiled but well disciplined and comes when I whistle. I have tried very hard to make sure that she gets what she needs and that I do everything in my power as her guardian (she would substitute servant...because I think that is what she thinks my job is in her life)  :p

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the place where I board(ed) does that exact thing. The owners can participate or not, our choice. Its a great way to learn about horses and their care.
Its how my horses were taken care of while I was recuperating from a shattered ankle..worked out great for everyone.
Keep up the good work MC
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And I'm not talking about the dogs...
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it would be a great world if all of our beloved animals were given such a retirement HW.
At the ranch where i boarded, we had the luxury of several large turn out pastures, 2 in excess of 80 acres each. The old horses were out together where they would not be harmed by the more vigorious.Ample shelter, fresh water,salt licks,,scratching posts, good grazing.
This place is owned/run by one of the most generous knowledgeable kind hearted horseman ever. The policy is that the horses can be grazed/fed/turned out/retired until they do die naturally.(and at very reduced boarding fees.) About 10 have passed peacefully in to horse heaven, my mare included.
Here we are not allowed to bury the animals. They have to be removed and the tallow renderers will come and pick them up. It was $200 for my mare.
I wish all horses could have the same end of life experience that mine did.
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1 year ago
If he was my personal horse, I'd let him graze till he died natural, or I'd put him down myself if he was suffering and bury him on my farm.
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miss T...11 ? Thats a few. My daughter has grown up with our horses,,,registered Tennessee Walkers.

The terrain here is very steep until you get in to the back country, about 1o miles out. Its almost like being on an amusment park thrill ride racking along the cliff edges. My daughter took to riding bareback at a young age and is just amazing to watch.I think she was a native amercian horseman in a previous life.

Our horses are retired show horses,extremely well trained and a true joy. The drop in prices meant that I got them both for under $3000.......then spent easily that much in less than the first 6 months alone. I can only imagine what your monthly outlay is. Good thing its only money because you are right,,it cant compare to the smiles and wonderful memories.
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That is very interesting about the water hoses! Who would have thought.

The slaughter issue is a difficult one, but I do agree that it did and does have its place, even in the horse industry. It is so sad to see good horses that slide through the cracks, but I know this does happen.

I have also been to the slaughter houses, and seen the Kosher and Moslim ways of sacrificing animals for human consumption. At least with the religious people the animals are prayed over and given to God before the killing. I think many of the members here would be shocked to know what happens to the animals that they are eating daily goes through, once it leaves the farmers hands. It is not the farmers who are doing this, it is the market where the animals end up to be slaughtered. I came from a background of people who have lived off the land for many generations. They killed and butchered their own animals to survive. It was how everyone lived less than 100 years ago. They never wasted anything from the animal. In fact, my grandfather used to skin the horses that died so that they would have those "horse blankets" to keep them warm in the winter when they drove their horses to church or to town. He had them hanging in his garage long after those days were over and remembered the names and story of each horse.

As to hay. In most areas the land has been farmed so much that the original nutrients are gone. With the use of pesticides and fertilizers nothing is the same with any of the products grown on the land anymore. This includes the food that both humans and animals are eating. Performance horses in high level competitions are very valuable. Vets do hair analysis and blood tests to determine what is missing in their diets and what to add with supplements. These horses would not do well on hay alone. They need more fuel in their systems to be able to perform their jobs.

What is happening to the land, and the crops that are grown on it, is a scary situation, and the reason many people are switching to organics. However, most farmers (including many of my kin back in small town Minnesota) could never afford to do organic farming. The costs and extra work simply do not work for them.

As for me, I seldom eat meat anymore. This change began soon after I saw the slaughter houses...

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I agree,.. there definately is, an overabundance of horses out there, just like dogs and cats...
But, we do have more control, of the situation with horses... I have been a breeder of Arabian horses for 27 years, and while we've bred client mares, we have not had a baby, here, in 7 years, ... People will ask me, Why having all your stallions, would you leave your mares open ? I'd say, don't you think 30 horses is enough ? The market is gone, good help is always hard to find, then they seem to go on to better paying jobs, and I'm tired of rehiring, babies require better caliber help, and even more of your time, that is, if you are going to do them justice. So financially, it's a bad idea, NOW, it wasn't THEN... While watching the birth of your foal, and guiding it through it's life, has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I've known, to see the final chapter, end like my Firestorm, begs caution, to everyone cosidering breeding. Don't breed, unless you will guarantee his health & well-being, for the rest of his life, for doing any less, is a crime, with the overpopulation. Hopefully, intelligent breeders, will breed only, their very best mares, which will in time, balance the situation, for the better... : )
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Randy My Sweet, you are such a gentle soul!!!, that's what I love most about you!!!, MUAH!!!, Ur KARI
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I have been paying anywhere from 9 to 11 dollars a bale for good alfalfa. I feed 11 horses twice a day and it can be quite costly, let me tell you. That doesn't include training, tack, vet bills, the farrier, stable hand, arena upkeep, transportation, or registration fees on new foals. I had no idea, but I love them and I am so glad that my kids aren't glued to the TV or some video game 24/7. They are out riding and competing and learning the responsibilities of owning a horse. It is wonderful and I am very fortunate to be able to give my children these kind of opportunities. The horses and their care are costly, yes. But the smile on the face of a little girl that just won her first buckle running priceless. I am very grateful for being able to provide such a lifestyle.
Great blog, thanks.
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you are so right in everything you have to say. But im moving to where you live..its CHEAP compared to here in northern California. ADD at least 50 % to all of your costs.

The only way to get hay anywhere near those prices you have to buy the lots in tons.

As to the horse overpopulation problem....slaughter WAS the humane way to decrease the over abundance of horses. The law results in unimaginable cruelty ,abandonment, starvation and even horrid things such as using dumped horses to train fighting pitbulls to kill...all of which I have witnessed.

Many people do not known that some female human hormone replacements are manufactured from the urine of pregnant mares. The resulting babies were breed with no thought to their lives, their conformation, their health,,because they were orginally sold as foals to the foreign meat market,,just like Veal calves.

I love horses and animals deeply,,but you have to be realistic as to what IS possible/practical and what is not.A horse is not a pet you can keep in a small yard and feed scraps..they produce huge amounts of waste daily, are somewhat delicate health wise and need companionship.

Just like cats and dogs,,gorgeous registered purebred horses can and DO end up in terrible circumstances.There are just too many horses.

We need to work to change the no kill laws, find a way to allow the renewed slaughter of excess animals to take place in a humane manner. In the end,,it really IS much kinder than the fate many of the excess numbers suffer now. Those of us who understand the truth of excess horses know the laws need changing.
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Has anyone ever noticed the WARNINGS ON WATERHOSES ???
SERIOUSLY, 99% of them are outlawed in California ...
So, it's not a wonder, there is so much Cancer, out there now... The only one, out of 15 varieties, in Indpls... that was drinking water safe, it was a skinny RV hose. WHITE with BLUE STRIPE... They don't last, they leak, buy plumber's tape, when ya buy him, But... it won't kill you, or your horse !
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Yeh... You don't have to feed them grain. But it puts a nice bloom on them... My hay, a lot of people would eat for a salad, it's so green, intact leaves, probably 60/40 mostly alfalfa, but haven't had colic problems.. this hay farmer does it right, or he's darn lucky.. But for $4.50 a bale, it should be !
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1 year ago
Actually if you feed good quality hay , you don't need to feed grain at all. Unless you are running a horse hard. A grass/hay mix is the best. Straight alfalfa can be a little hot for horses. You really don't want to feed dairy hay to horses. Also, don't throw grass clippings from mowing the lawn over the fence to horses. Horses are actually built to graze all day, not just be feed twice or once a day.

There is a hay feeder available on the market that is spring loaded with a grate on the top. You load a full bale in and put the top on. The horse then pulls the hay sticking through the grates with it's teeth. The spring keeps the bale pressed against the top grate for consent feed. Horses graze with their teeth by biting the grass. Cows graze by pulling the grass with their tongue.

If you happen to be a horse, colic is probably an unfortunate fact of life. Annual colic incidences of approximately 10% are quite common. Listed below are some of the management factors which are thought to reduce colic incidence. Horses which fall into high-risk categories, such as stabled horses in intense training and fit horses recently injured, should be monitored particularly closely Here are some tips for preventing colic.
allow as much turnout as possible
maintain a regular feeding schedule
ensure constant access to clean water
provide at least 60% of digestible energy from forage
do not feed excessive digestible energy
do not feed moldy hay or grain
feed hay and water before grain
provide access to forage for as much of the day as possible
do not over graze pastures
do not feed or water horses before they have cooled out
maintain a consistent exercise regime
make all changes in diet, exercise level and management slowly
control intestinal parasites and assess efficiency periodically.
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Well, I'm glad you posted this blog... People need to be aware, those out there that are boarding... Watch the quality of hay, your barn is feeding, that's a place people like to cut corners to make a profit; and the cheaper hay, often isn't put up right, or got rained on... and that's why it's cheap... That hay, often has some mold, which can colic, and kill your horse. Colic is the #1 cause of death in horses, and I personally think, bad hay, is usually the cause... If the bale is real heavy, or bleached out yellow, or has a packed freeze-dried, stuck together look... Go to the next...Good hay, expands when that string tying it is broken. And it's fluffy, and pulls apart easily, and still has some green color to it. Very pretty green hay can have mold too... Watch for that mold dust...Too much moisture, a heavy dew, can ruin a beautiful field... Never buy a field, before it's cut..Weather is too unpredictable, and will determine the outcome... Don't let those hay dealers, tell you it's dust from the field either... If it has a peppery scent, or a mildew scent, at all... Do not feed.
Average hay may not smell like anything, but good hay, smells sweet, and makes me, want a salad ! Make sure they stack the bales in your barn, on end, and not flat... No matter how dry they say it is.. and it's just out of the field, it must have lots of ventilation too.. New hay is the major cause of barn fires... It will go through a curing process, within 30 days, feeding this hay before it completes this cure, can kill your horse... Ask the farmer how long, since it's been cut.. If you feed quality hay, you won't have to feed as much grain, so it's worth the extra expense...
Good Luck, I think many boarding operations will be closng, so you will be more on your own, than ever before... Should you have a question, feel free to ask, I'd love to help if I can... : )
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hey Randy.. Can I just have the tack room instead? *LOL*

L2Banter.. now that is priceless
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1 year ago
I've seen the video, it's no different than cattle slaughter houses. A hamburger or hot dog comes from the same process. Kosher kill is the worst I think by far.

So whats the difference between a cow or steer and a horse? What do you eat when you grill? Humans are at the top of the food chain. Some like to eat what you consider a pet. Does that make them bad? Does it make another person bad cause they eat beef or ham? No, I don't think so. Slaughter houses are a necessary evil. I'd rather have a slaughter house in the USA, then having people move them across the border.I do think animals should be slaughtered or put down in the most humane way possible and not the one that makes the most money.

I've had to shoot horses and cattle. I've had to bury some of my favorite animals. It's a part of life. The word is not perfect.

You obviously spend money on your horses. You are in a business. I'm talking about the ones that don't have money to pay their regular bills and get a horse. The uninformed and stupid.
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Horse Whisperer...
I know the point Queen is making, and I agree with you, too.. Total freedom ... OR, a nice airy 12X15 stall, Dutch doors, opening out to a lush green meadow, opened all day, so they could go in or out, as they the Ideal... But, the sun does nasty things to a black or dark bay horse's coat, not to mention, their 2-3 ft. long manes, or scratching their tied up tails, that drag the ground .. Soooo.. Oh, did I forget that lovely, bloated grass belly, from that lush, green grass ...I had two borders, taking their Quarter horses to Congress, 2nd in prestige, to the World Show, and made me PROMISE, that my guys, would not leave them out for more than 1 hour. At that level of competition, every little detail matters...Separate turn-out of course, can't have hair missing, from playful bites & kicks.. The problem with group turn-out is the additions to the herd. If it's the same members, they will establish a pecking order, and be relatively non-aggressive with each other, but add that new border horse to the mix, and POW... WORLD WAR III !, until they establish a new order, which is sometimes painful, unfair & mean to watch... and guess what, a few weeks later, another new border ? Do you follow me ... So, what we do is rotate... We often pair up buddies, whose partners never change, and that seems to work... But, Very time consuming... Our large indoor arena, is our Stallion's favorite playpen, strangly much happier there often times, than outside? Of course the arena, overlooks 4 stalls, often filled with mares...How they are raised, is all the difference, but we have a Mustang, captured from Wyoming, that somebody was buying, and wanted training, so we brought him in for a week, to help him settle in, and he loved it !But there's 35 horses in there...Maybe thought it was a herd ? But, our stalls are big, and the only bars, are on the door. So they can get that Bay window feel, bright green $4.48 a bale of Alfalfa/Orchard grass hay, water 24hrs. 12% Sweet feed, around $10.00 a bag. Sometimes bagged shavings, if the semi's late, and always is.. $4.24 a bag, and supplements, vitamins, joint care, wormer, add it all up, a Thoroughbred could cost me, over $300.00, and that's my cost... multiply that , by 30, and that's what I pay each month plus the labor... At this point, I can hear you thinking, Why so many... Way back when, it used to be profitable. We sold yearlings (one year olds ) for 30-35,000. Shipped semen all over the World.. then the market dropped, with all our Auction Scams, prices dropped to $10,000 in the early 90's...for Black Arabians. Now, you're doing good, if you get 5,000-10,000 dollars. I've heard it's even worse in the Quarter horses... Even the Hunter/Jumpers, have been affected. A lot of training, usually warrants the big prices, but there are always those great individuals, that defy the odds, just don't count on breeding them, or luck into buying one...
Tomorrow, the semi, bringing shavings is coming, $1300.00, they are beautiful, the kind they bag, but try paying that every 3 months, and see how
pretty they look to ya, not to mention, then... paying to have them, hauled away ? I paid $1000.00 for that... There are only, so many places, you can put that stuff, if .. you want an attractive facility... I've even started turning away borders now, even if their horse doesn't eat much, add labor and the responsibility, it's not worth it. Nobody will pay $600.00 for long... So, why not sell them ? there are many, in their late teens, & early 20's, and they look and act like 12 year olds, & have been with me, their whole, entire life... But, they would sell, to the killer buyers...more than likely... That will NEVER.. I, REPEAT, NEVER, HAPPEN AGAIN !!! Watch the HORSE SLAUGHTER TAPE, on YOUTUBE, as they try and dodge the bolt gun, slipping in the blood, afraid to raise their head again, NO, I'd rather be in a dirty stall, or in a pasture, with little to eat, than be a victim of that massacre ! The Jews would understand.. Forcing the horses in the crowded double decker transports, or single, stallions with stallions, and mares, foals too, pregnant mares too...slipping, getting trampled... No, I'd rather be stuck in a stall forever, but... one of mine, wasn't that lucky... I sold him, thinking this girl, supposed trainer, could break him, and he'd have a better life, with someone devoting their time to, just him.. The sweetest stallion, I've known... He obviously wasn't happy, there with her, 6 months later, rather than bringing him back, she takes him to the auction. A friend of mine couldn't believe her eyes, but too late, he'd been sold, for $112.00. She said, Honey, I knew it was him, that pretty liver chestnut, you had in the front aisle, and that crazy long, red mane. I said, HOW COULD SHE !!! Feeling the heat building in my body ! Maybe... She stopped me, that was last week, Honey he's gone..He takes them straight there. I raised him from a foal...delivered him into this world. We named him Firestorm, because of his dramatic markings. His mother had sold for $100,000.00 in a yearling sale, both grandfathers were National Champions... He was destined for Greatness, but he slipped through the cracks, the Black stallions, got all the attention from the breeders, yet he didn't care, he would greet everybody as they walked in, and played with the 20 year old stud beside him.. They were friends...True friends... One night they took half the partition down between them, and were scatching each other, the next day, when we came in... My guys said, I'll fix that, and I said , No, leave it.. Look, they're buddies... So we left it that way...Almost sold him to show barns, several times, but trainers had client horses, they needed to push... but more importantly, he didn't deserve that fate... He had the look of Eagles, I'm sure he didn't go easily, he would have rather been Anywhere and Alive... A killer buyer once told me, after rescueing two horses out of the kill pen, I once owned, when I heard they sold at this auction, just wasn't in time for FIRE... She said, I HATE IT !, I cry everytime, I take a load there, it's strange she said, THEY KNOW...she said tears welling up, in her eyes... They smell death... and see the horses in front of them...The screams... Watch the video, then decide... The slaughter is not over, they are just hauling them to Mexico, and Canada .. Longer rides, no water, more brutality... Think about this... Watch the video, before you take anything, to an auction... : (

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1 year ago
Thank you! I have always wondered about the cost and responsibility of owning a horse. They are such beautiful animals.

Save a horse, ride a cowboy! ; )