Horse Cost Case Study: January 2020


After a very expensive November, my budget recovered nicely in December. That’s why I dared to dream of an on-budget kickoff to the new year.  

Spoiler alert: nope. 

Part of the reason is that I wasn’t able to barter for as many lessons as usual, as our clinic season isn’t over until March or April. The main culprit, though, was a cracked truck windshield. 

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

You can read my full January 2020 horse expense report here

(If you haven’t seen my earlier Savvy Horsewoman article about this process, hop over there for additional context.)

January Recap

My goal is to always keep monthly horse expenses under $1,000 after adjustments (e.g. trades). This month, I would have been really close if a rock hadn’t cracked my windshield.

(Insert heavy sigh and eye roll.)

In January, my horse expense was $1,778.89 BEFORE adjustments.

The chart below represents the total dollar VALUE of my equestrian expenses for 2020. 

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 per month. 

In January, my horse expense was $1,283.89.09 AFTER adjustments.

The chart below shows my monthly expenses (value) by spending category. The travel category, which includes my truck and trailer expenses, was more than double typical monthly numbers. 

More From Savvy Horsewoman:  12 Tips for Building Your Perfect Horse Barn

My education costs were also steeper due to fewer bartered lessons and a jump clinic.

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

See all the details in my full January 2020 horse expense report.

Horse Cost Case Study January 2020 Savvy Horsewoman-Horse Rookie

How I Did This Month

For the most part, I’m happy about where January numbers landed. Had I not needed to replace my truck windshield, I would’ve been really close to staying on budget. 

But rocks happen. Part of going into horse ownership with eyes wide open is being honest about all the tangential expenses that may come with it. 

You need to be able to cover unexpected costs without depleting your bank account or sacrificing “must have” items like proper feed and healthcare. 

I was hoping that, as was the case in 2019, February would end up being my least expensive month of 2020. Sadly, I’ve already had to spend more money on my truck…so I’ll be lucky to stay on budget at all next month. Stay tuned!

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See all of my monthly 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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Horse Cost Case Study January 2020 Savvy Horsewoman-Horse Rookie


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