How to create a horse budget!
Think of owning a horse like a construction project – it’s going to take twice as long and cost twice as much. The easiest place to start is with a chart to download (YEAH CHARTS!!) and start filling things in. I have a sample attached if you want to nab it and go from there. And please, for the love of all things good, know that these numbers are FICTIONAL and can vary widely depending on where you live.
*** I put TONS of expenses in this budget so you can cover all of the bases. I also overlapped some things – so if you have colic surgery insurance, enter a zero or your deductible on the separate line item for colic surgery. Don’t just scroll to the bottom and get horrified, there’s a ton of duplicate stuff. ***
And I know you are going to scroll right to the bottom.
Charts and graphs!
Create a cushion in your horse’s budget
- Don’t look at boarding prices and use the inexpensive ones to budget. You might find that the inexpensive barn isn’t the place for you – and you need to move to a barn with higher boarding fees.
- Also, know what’s included and not included in the board in your area. Some barns charge for extras, some do not. Common “extras” that might be additional fees: Blanketing, holding for farrier and vet, giving meds, trailer storage, etc.
- If your horse gets has a trim or gets shoes about every six weeks, budget for every five.
- Find out what your vet charges for routine care throughout the year. Vaccinations, dental floats, hoof x-rays, fecal egg counts, metabolic bloodwork. Add farm calls and exam fees to these.
- Also, find out from your vet the cost for emergency colic surgery in your area, and the average cost to treat laminitis. Your horse might not need these things, but your wallet better have the bucks in case it happens. The one spot you NEVER want to be in is euthanizing your horse because you can’t afford treatment.
- Create an end-of-life plan just in case. Not only will this save you heartache, but you will also know all of the financial options up front.
Save all of your dollars for your horse!
Fill in the numbers for your horse budget.
- Start with fixed costs – these are recurrent monthly and won’t be a surprise. Things like board, medications, basic veterinary care.
- Add variable costs – many of these are also recurrent, and many are not truly necessary for you to own a horse. For example, your saddle pad and polo wrap habit.
- And add an emergency fund – Colic surgery, laminitis treatment, and euthanasia and aftercare are gigantic expenses that can take you by surprise. These decisions will blindside you AND empty your wallet in the middle of a ton of grief and worry.
I’ve attached a handy and basic spreadsheet that will download to fill out with numbers that work for you. Add things, take things away, change the 10% buffer to 5% if you like. This will get you started!