Thursday, April 2, 2015

How I Afford Horse Ownership - The Real Deal

I think we can all agree that horse ownership is very, very expensive. There is a reason why horse racing is called 'The Sport of Kings' -- because only the very wealthy can afford it.

Depending on your circumstances, horse ownership can look very different.
Here is how, given my particular set of circumstances, I make it work.
First, it is important to note where I live:
In my little corner of the world, aka The Northeast, the cost of living is among the highest in the country. This means, with or without a horse, simple day-to-day life costs more. Which leads me to point numero uno.
#1) I am Married. Hubby and I both work full time jobs.
Sadly, if I were still single, even with a full time job I would not be able to afford horse ownership. Having a partner to help share the bills means part of my salary is freed up to put towards owning a horse.
#2) No Children.
 It should come as no suprise that the two biggest resources in life are Time and Money.
I know there are some people out there that can balance a job, a marriage, kids and horses, but dang if I know how they do it. My hat is off to them. For me, personally, it would have to be one or the other. And I choose horses.
#3) Condo, not house.
Hubs and I live in a condo, not a single family home. Our condo is perfect for the two of us, and is roughly half the cost of the starting price for a decent single family home in this area.
#4) Reliable, single-previous-owner vehicles.
Reliable, dependable, mid-2000's, one-previous-owner vehicles.
Low maintenance, no car payments. I will NEVER drive something brand new off the lot.
Unless I win the lottery.
#5 Frozen Lunchies.
Before horse ownership, I used to buy my lunch everyday. Then I discovered frozen lunchies. $2.50 for lunch versus $10?  I'll take it! I bring all my food for work from home. Breakfast, snacks, and lunches.
 #6 No Novelty Coffee.
If you live in the Northeast, or even if you just come to visit, you will quickly notice that there is a Dunkin Donuts every 1.5 miles. Their donuts suck. But what doesn't suck is their coffee. I'm not sure it is even good, but it is ubiquitous. Everyone walks around with a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Everyone except me.  I brew my coffee at home. $2.75 for a medium ice coffee? If you have one every day, that is 2 lessons a month. And God knows, I need lessons more than I need coffee!!!
#7 Rough Board / Co-op Board
In my area of New England, board is not cheap. Full board without an indoor is $550-$700/mo. Say goodbye to at least 2 months of regular riding, unless we have a mild winter. Full board with an indoor is $750 - $1200+. My solution? Rough board / Co-op board.
Rough board is $250-$300/mo. I supply my own hay, shavings and grain. I pay someone to clean Boca's stall Monday-Friday. In exchange, I clean that person's stall, plus my own, on Saturdays & Sundays. My new barn is a co-op barn, which means I have 1 turn-in shift per week. I bring in and feed 10 horses on Sunday nights. For use of the awesome facilities? Totally worth it!
So that, my friends, is how this floppy ammy makes it work.
What are some of your life hacks for horse ownership?


  1. This is a really good post. I don't buy excessively expensive clothes or do much girly stuff like get my hair done frequently and I never get my nails done. All of our vehicles are older too.

  2. Great post, I've to keep a tight check on my expenses in the coming months as i move into my own place which I own and am wholly responsible for - talk about Yikes! !!

  3. My life hacks aren't as good as yours. Honestly, I should pick up more of these tips myself. I mainly to try to buy only needs, and we make sacrifices for vacation and such.

  4. I do have the new car, but I made my highschool car last 8 years. My horse doesn't live at a show barn, I take lessons when I can afford them, and despite how it appears, I rarely have the newest/latest/greatest stuff. I do enjoy stuff, so I've gotten really good at buying used and finding deals.

    Oh, and I don't drink coffee, rarely consume alcohol, don't get my hair done, have never had my nails done, cultivate cheap friends, and my idea of vacation is staying with friends or relatives to watch horse shows...

    Great post! There are definitely choices that we have to make.

  5. love this post - it seems like you've managed to strike an excellent balance in making horses work without really actually sacrificing much - just making smart choices and sticking to the plan. i like it!

  6. Our climate (NW) is rainy and icky in the winter, but mostly do-able for outdoor riding so I save $ by boarding 'rough' and not having an indoor or any extra amenities available on site.

  7. Great post, and it sounds like you've got a really great thing going. I should take a page from you in some areas!

  8. I'm rocking a 13 year old truck, but I refuse to give up my dunkin donuts coffee :) Although I don't go daily.

  9. Wow, I am quite similar! I do have the odd novelty coffee though.

  10. "If you live in the Northeast, or even if you just come to visit, you will quickly notice that there is a Dunkin Donuts every 1.5 miles. Their donuts suck."


    Other than that, I totally agree with you. :)