Horse Cost Case Study: December 2019


All I wanted for Christmas was to get back on budget! In November, I spent nearly double my goal for horse-related costs. It was brutal.

Heading into the holidays, I worried that my horse budget would stay in the red at the same time my gift purchases were in full swing.

Luckily, I was able to rein in my December costs, pay for larger ticket items via trade, and lower educational expenses due to several cancelled holiday lessons.

I’m providing a quick summary below for Savvy Horseman readers who want to continue following my budgeting journey.

You can read my full December 2019 horse expense report here

(If you haven’t seen my earlier Savvy Horsewoman article about this process, How Much Does it Cost to Own a Horse?, hop over there for additional context.)

How I Did This Month

My goal is to always keep monthly horse expenses under $1,000 after adjustments (e.g. trades). This month, I steered clear of any elective health expenses, with the exception of Equiwinner electrolyte patches (paid via barter).

In December, my horse expense was $1,752.09 BEFORE adjustments.

The chart below shows monthly expenses from January – December 2019. These numbers represent the total dollar VALUE of my equestrian expenses. 

It does not factor in any trades for products or services. In other words, if I didn’t trade for anything, this is how much money I’d be paying each month.

The next chart adjusts monthly expenses to account for the situations when I’m able to trade for products and services.

These adjusted numbers are what I actually PAID OUT to support my horse habit each month.

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  Horse Cost Case Study: March 2020

In December, my horse expense was $563.09 AFTER adjustments.

The chart below shows my monthly expenses (value) by spending category. You can see the uptick in gear from a new safety stirrup purchase, but a significant decrease in health-related costs.

See the average horse cost by state to get a sense of typical expenses in your area. 

See all the details in my full December 2019 horse expense report.

How I Did This Year

Looking back on all of 2019, I’m pleased to report I came in under budget nine out of twelve months. Not too shabby!

The bigger win, however, was getting into a solid budgeting routine. I have a much better understanding of where my money goes every month, and I know which levers I can pull when I need to save funds or invest in a larger purchase. 

  • For 2019, my grand total was $21,780.17 BEFORE adjustments.
  • For 2019, my grand total was $10,679.68 AFTER adjustments.

That’s right, I was able to lower my annual out-of-pocket horse cost by 49% through strategic trades and bartering!

Get 7 Ways to Barter for Horse Expenses when you sign up for Horse Rookie’s email list

See all of my 2019 horse expense reports.

Horse Rookie

After 25+ years in the saddle, I bought my first horse at 33. I love practicing dressage, eventing, stadium jumping, reining, trail riding, and cow work with my Quarter Horse in Montana, USA.

I started HorseRookie.com, an educational website, to help equestrians of all levels (especially rookies) answer common questions, make informed decisions, and have more fun with their horses.

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