If you are considering the option of a horse joining your family, you will not regret the companionship. Aside from all the fun opportunities that can come from owning and training a horse, there are other benefits you may not have considered previously.
For example, many people have found horses useful for therapy, which can often be cheaper than weekly therapy sessions. The social aspect is a big plus, too, as it can provide time for you or your family to socialize with the animal and other horse owners to create long-lasting friendships.
For children and teens, owning a horse can improve relationships, teach accountability and enhance responsibility.
Physical benefits can come from horseback riding as well, as it provides much-needed exercise that many individuals lack, which can further your physical well-being.
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Whatever your reason for getting a horse, it should be a reason that is important enough to you that will make the investment worth it. Remember, owning a horse requires large sums of time and money to take care of them.
According to a recent study performed by Maine University, the average yearly cost of owning a horse is $3,876, which includes only the basic necessities. This number does not include the initial cost of buying a horse, nor the fees associated with paperwork and other possible expenses you may incur.
For this reason, it’s important to do your research before spending your hard-earned cash on an investment that may be more than you can currently handle.
Not only do you want to provide the right environment for your new companion, but you should also ensure that buying a horse will not place you in a negative financial situation, hurting yourself or your loved ones.
To be financially prepared, first, break down the many aspects of horse ownership and the expenses that will accumulate.
Here is a brief summary of the basic expenses you may encounter (expenses will vary depending on your horse, your boarding requirements and your area):
1. Initial price – $100-10K+
2. Boarding – $200-$800/month
3. Food – $1K+/year
4. Basic Farrier Fees – $350/year
5. Basic Vet Fees – $500/year
Then, examine any additional charges, fees and maintenance that could pop-up throughout the year. These prices may vary based on your own research and preferences:
● Land for foraging and grazing
● Travel expenses, including trailer and competition fees if applicable
● Riding lessons
● Horse tack and equipment
● End-of-life expenses
Finally, expect to invest your time. Time with your horse may mean time away from your job, which will mean less income, and therefore, a decrease in your budget.
Planning ahead to know what expenses (including time) you’ll be incurring is pivotal to horse ownership; remember, preparation is key. Here are some tips to consider so you can be as financially prepared as possible before buying:
1. Create a Budget in Advance
First contemplate your monthly income and expenses, laying them out and forming your budget.
If you have more money leaving your bank account than coming in, it may be a good idea to reassess buying a horse and adding those extra expenses to your current situation.
However, if you feel that you could afford those monthly and yearly expenses, as well as the upfront costs of buying a horse, you may be in the green!
When creating your budget, make it simple enough that you can track your expenses as they come in, especially in the initial staging of owning your first horse. Setting up a good system to track your income will make all the difference down the road.
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2. Save, Save, Save
At this point, many people may realize that they don’t have enough saved in their account to afford the upfront costs of a horse. If this is you, take some time to save money so you don’t have to take out a loan or go into debt. There are many good ways to save using modern-day technology.
One option that can help you save is switching banks. Many traditional banks charge fees for holding an account and make it complicated to save money. On the flip side, many newer banks eliminate those extra fees while offering improved services. For example, a bank with an automatic savings account can help you easily collect extra change and place it in a safe-from-you account.
Another option is to download a budgeting app that will remind you to track and update your expenses. Keeping your budget on your phone could guide you in your endeavors to cut back on spending. Many apps offer incentives and tools to hold yourself accountable for the money that comes and goes from your account.
3. Have a DIY Mentality
Finally, ponder the options of DIY and being a thrifty shopper. DIY projects, such as building your own barn to house your horse, could save you loads of money in the future.
Doing so could cut down on the heavy monthly expenses of boarding your horse elsewhere, eliminate travel expenses to the boarding location, and offer the possibility to look after your horse in your own, personal way.
Shopping thrifty saves plenty of money because it allows you to buy second hand at a lower cost.
Though it may be exciting to buy brand new gear, oftentimes it can be quite expensive; buying second-hand items (such as a horse tack) could be much cheaper and function similarly to brand new items that are double the price.
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Bringing in Your New Friend
If you can provide a safe and healthy environment for a horse while maintaining healthy finances, you’ll find that owning a horse is very rewarding.
On top of the wonderful benefits already mentioned, there are feelings of gratitude and joy when inviting a horse to be a new part of your family that you rarely find elsewhere. So, prepare yourself and have fun.
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