Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The cost of boarding a horse

By far the biggest expense of having a horse is boarding it. This doesn't mean it's cheap or free to keep a horse if you own horse property, as some people assume — you usually pay more for acreage, for one thing (either more for the property, or more spent in gas commuting from the country), and you have to take into account the cost of buying hay, which is usually included in board. But it's still a much better deal if you can keep a horse on your own land.

This has been on my mind lately, because Michael and I have been (once again) tossing around the idea of buying horse property. We probably won't be able to act on it until the economy recovers a bit, since we'll need to sell one house in order to buy another; but we've been scouting out neighborhoods with horse property and thinking about where we'd prefer to live.

Window shopping for horse property and comparing prices made me think of how much boarding costs, so I added up everything I've spent on board since Panama came to Denver. In just under a year and a half, I've spent $6,000 on board — and that's boarding at the most affordable full-care places I can find!

So you've got to figure that, depending on the value of real estate where you live, full-care boarding can cost you anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 a year. (Show barns can cost even more, but we'll ignore the extreme highs and lows for the moment — I'm talking about average people here.) If you own a horse for even ten years — roughly a third of a horse's life — you'll pay $40,000 to $80,000 in board, and that's not taking into account increases over time!

When I think about it this way, paying more for horse property — especially when I have a young horse like Panama, whom I plan to keep his entire life — suddenly doesn't sound that unreasonable, even with the price of hay. And technically, instead of putting that $4,000 or more each year into board, we'd be putting it into our property, earning equity and tax breaks.

So while owning horses may not be free when you have horse property, it's still the cost of boarding a horse that is the worst!

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2 Comments:

At January 21, 2009 at 6:59 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

It costs me about $250 mo + or -, to keep my 3 horses at home. That is without vet or farrier bills, just hay and grain. Not to mention when we bought the place we built a barn and replaced the 30 year old barbed wire with horse safe fenceing. Then you need water troughs and an area to ride or a sacrafice area we call it where it stays mud in the winter and dirt in the summer. But I love having them at home!

 
At January 24, 2009 at 4:43 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I'll bet hay is cheaper where you are. It's notoriously expensive in the Denver area, because it typically has to be trucked in — our arrid climate isn't very good for growing hay.

Anyway, I've been figuring it would be about $100 per month for hay and grain for my one horse. The real estate makes it more expensive, because horse property costs more, as I explained in my blog post. However, it would definitely be worth it to be able to walk out my back door and see Panama!

 

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