Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Costs of pony-keeping

Inspired by SprinklerBandit's recent post about how much our horses initially cost..

Confetti was given to me.  I had two years of leasing and during that time I acquired most of the 'stuff' I needed for day-to-day riding - saddle, bridle, pads, grooming supplies.  Buying tack during a lease isn't really something I'd recommend, but I knew by year #2 that I was somehow going to keep the horse.  Initial cost, then: minimal, and mostly just 'how to set up tack room' stuff.

I'm at an entirely self-care barn in California.  Paddocks, no turnout, no pasture (but lovely trail access).  I pay for someone to feed in the mornings, and to clean and feed the few nights a week I can't reliably make it out to the barn.  Monthly cost: around $250.
I also pay for my own hay and grain and shavings.  Luckily for me, she's a fairly easy-keeper pony.  Monthly cost: around $150.
Add in the Cosequin and aloe vera juice that I add to her grain.. maybe $55 monthly?  I'm not entirely convinced either is doing an awful lot of good, but they're not hurting and it makes me feel better.  Confetti's been on the Cosequin for a year now and aloe vera for about six months.  This is the extent of preventative care that she "needs" at this point.  Joint care is not something to skimp on.  Someday in the future, this will likely turn into 'injections' or 'Previcox' or 'whatever else is deemed necessary' to keep the pony happy, healthy, and sound.

Back at the end of March - great example of our local trails!
The farrier visits every 6-8 weeks or so.  Fetti's barefoot.  Inexpensive, especially compared to shoes/pads all around!
Vet visits twice yearly.  I have a local vet who is inexpensive, straightforward, and communicative.  There are several other vets in the area I would be comfortable calling in an emergency or if something bizarre/complicated came up.  For the level of care we're at now (primarily shots, occasional other emailed questions), I'm happy with my choice.
Dentist visit once or twice a year, $200.  He does hand floats with no sedatives or power tools.

I don't take regular lessons.  I have two trainers I call as-needed for problems or when my 'things to work on' list gets short.

Tack or supplies gets purchased used whenever possible.  I've made a few exceptions, but I have to really like something to purchase it new - unless it's impossible to find used.  Adhuntr, ebay, and Facebook tack sale groups have all been my best friends on multiple occasions.

Endurance is a (relatively) inexpensive sport and we only attend 2-3 rides a year.  It's also a relatively inclusive sport.  Lessons help, but aren't absolutely necessary.  Fancy tack helps, but isn't necessary - if what you have fits and is comfortable, it'll do.

How do the rest of you keep this affordable?  I'm always happy to get suggestions on what others are doing!

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