Jump to content

Menu

How do people afford horses?


Recommended Posts

I was looking into getting a couple of ponies for our homestead. How do ppl afford it? I mean, you need to actually buy the animals (which we could afford), but then there's:

 

Hay/Grain in the winter to feed them.

Straw for bedding (which regularly needs to be mucked out and replaced). The Vet

The Ferrier

Tack

All kinds of various grooming brushes and hoof picks

 

I'm sure there's plenty that I'm missing, but just for the basics, that get's expensive year after year and I just wanted a couple of ponies. Which, btw, I had found and thus let to researching more about what's needed. No way could we afford it plus feed our kids and have a roof over our heads.

 

I'm not trying to start anything. I was just really bummed to find out that it truly costs plenty to do right. I've wanted a horse forever and it's just NOT going to happen while we have kids.

 

I'm just curious to see what ppl say about being able to afford these beautiful animals. I guess that I'll just have to take lessons sometime next summer after the baby is born and is a little older. Sigh...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son's in-laws have a horse, but it's not really thiers. It belongs to a lady they know who has no land and in exchange for keeping the horse and taking care of it, she pays all the bills and provides all the supplies.

 

My dh worked for a lady who owned a horse. That's what she spent her money on. She didn't travel, she drove a clunker and she wasn't dressed to the nines every day at work. In other words, her priority was owning a horse. She put her money there and no where else.

 

Other than that, I think you just have to be stinkin' rich.:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am currently looking for a home for my beautiful American Paint Mare because I can't afford to keep her anymore. She is free to a good home.

 

The ferrier is $30.00 every ten weeks. She just had her teeth floated (domesticated pastures don't have enough roughage and tough stuff that the horse must eat to survive so their teeth overgrow and have to be filed down). That was $80.00.

 

The grooming brushes and hoof picks were relatively cheap. Hoof picks aren't expensive, I use a brush from the dollar store on her mane, and so I only had to purchase two other kinds of grooming brushes and managed to get those on sale cheap at an online tack shop.

 

Her tack has come from a used tack shop and ebay. I've got $50.00 in the size 15 saddle for the little boys, and $125.00 in mine. I picked up reins and a running martingale at a garage sale for $5.00 each. I made saddle covers. Her bit was kind of expensive, $32.00 and her bridle cost me $25.00 at the used tack shop.

 

We don't invest in riding clothes since the boys don't show.

 

But, I pay $100.00 per month plus grain and hay costs for boarding and in order to get that low rate (normally, farms charge $200.00 plus grain and hay), I work ten mornings per month doing chores (which involves checking over a flock of 30 sheep and filling their water troughs), feeding the horses and turning them out to pasture, plus mucking out their stalls (not just my own horse's), feeding and watering a flock of chickens, the barn cats, and two ducks, plus checking over the pack of six llamas and watering them as well.

 

I'd say that I pay $50.00 a month in hay and grain and I'm lucky it's only that because hay has been very, very reasonably priced around here. Of course, for part of the year, she eats so much at pasture that she only gets a flake of hay and a little grain when put in at night. So for some months, it's not too bad. Oh, and deworming every quarter.

 

At any rate, the price is going up after the first of the year ($175.00 a month plus grain and hay and I still have to work the ten days a month plus be on call for the holidays) and she needs some equine massage therapy because she injured her back a little and is sore. That's $100.00 per visit and I'm at the end of my rope. We were paying, during good weather, $15.00 per half hour riding lesson for the younger two boys (on the farmer's kid horse because my paint isn't fully trained yet) plus $30.00 for an hour of work with Lady in the hopes that she'd be ready for children in the spring. That was the goal. I've ridden her a couple of times, before she got overly rambunctious and tried to jump the fence into the sheep pasture - apparently the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence so she thinks - and pulled some muscles. She will make a fine horse for someone if they can afford to invest in her. I just can't.

 

If you have your own barns and enough land to grow all of the hay and grain, then having horses isn't too bad financially. It's when you have to board them that they get expensive or when you have just enough land to keep them but not enough to grow their winter food and grains. Lady's feed is $16.00 per bag and I am not generous with it so I don't have to buy more than one 100 bag every two months. Many people grain their horses more than that....she gains weight easily so I can be stingy with grain and not hurt her. Hay is going up in price for winter, the summer crop was not bumper, so that's going to hurt and of course, with no pasture, she needs a lot of it. The other expense is training if the animal still needs work.

 

I am VERY sad to be getting rid of her and my worst fear is that I won't find a family for her before dh's deadline and that I will have to sell her to the slaughterhouse for dog food. You have know idea how much the idea of that hurts. But, the Michigan economy is so bad I am not currently getting any leads on a new home for her and the roof on the house has suddenly decided that it's not going to last for another year. Dh is patching it to get through the winter but this spring it has to be replaced and we need to take the money we spend on her every month and put it away for the roof.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you already know this, but I think it is well worth it to pay a little more, and get a kid-safe pony with a great temperament. Miss Bossy's pony is so stable and easy going, but ponies can be MEAN!

 

My friend got a good deal on a pony for her daughter that four years later, no one can catch the stupid thing. Her daughter is attached to the pony she was not once been able to ride.

 

I would spend most of my money on getting a good animal to start with. We borrowed a saddle until we found one we liked second hand. Our pony just eats a flake of hay morning and night. He would get fat on grain. Our riding teacher trims his feet for $30 whenever he needs it. Our pony lives outside, so no mucking needed.

 

I think he is one of the least expensive animals on the place. My cow is the money pit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there are a couple of ways to save.

 

We do not feed grain to our horses. They don't need it. They get good quality grass hay 24/7 and are fat as pigs. Especially ponies don't need grain. It is actually bad for them unless they are hard training althetes. You can research this with Equus magazing. There are many articles supporting it.

 

We do not stall our horses. They are outside all the time. One pasture has a run-in, but the other only has trees for shelter. They are fine and love it. No straw or bedding changes unless a horse is laid up for some reason.

 

We give our own shots and worming that we purchase at the tractor supply. It's about $26/ year for the shots. Worming usually only $5 every three months except when I decide to use Quest (for tape worms). There are a few shots you can't buy at the Tractor Supply: West Nile, strangles etc. IF I decide to give these (I don't every year) then I still pick them up from the vet and give them myself. It saves me the farm call charge. Giving shots to a horse is easy. You can ask the vet how, or just find directions online. Everyone I know (100s of horse people), give their own shots.

 

Hoof trimming here is $15/ horse every 8 weeks. However, if you only have ponies, you can just rasp their feet weekly and you would rarely need to have them trimmed. It's easy. A pony shouldn't need shoes. We make sure there is gravel all around (30' radius) the water trough to toughen their hooves.

 

Horse tack and grooming tools can be purchased used. Look on ebay, craigslist and at local auctions. There is a monthly horse auction nearly everywhere. Tack is usally sold first; don't stay for the horse sale or you'll be heartbroken. :( Be sure to take someone with you that knows something about a decent saddle. We bought a nice leather Abetta saddle for $150 last year. For our trail riding purposes, it's perfect. Abetta and Wintec are lower end tack manufacturers, but I know several people who own them and they have worked out just fine. One of my 4-Hers has a Wintec Equi-suade saddle brand new for $195 and has had it 4 years and loves it. You may find them for less used.

 

Horses/ ponies are a wonderful hobby and IMO, well worth the money and effort. Maybe some of these hints can help you with your dream!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You board other horses for people who have more money but less land than you.

 

:iagree:I've got 9 of my own and 3 boarders. Looking for a couple more. We charge $150/ month which includes use of all our facilities and trails and 24/7 pasture or hay but not grain. (There are 12 horses on this place and not a single one gets grain - pasture or grass hay only, 24/7 and they are fat as pigs.)

Edited by katemary63
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son's in-laws have a horse, but it's not really thiers. It belongs to a lady they know who has no land and in exchange for keeping the horse and taking care of it, she pays all the bills and provides all the supplies.

 

My dh worked for a lady who owned a horse. That's what she spent her money on. She didn't travel, she drove a clunker and she wasn't dressed to the nines every day at work. In other words, her priority was owning a horse. She put her money there and no where else.

 

Other than that, I think you just have to be stinkin' rich.:D

Yeah, I guess that I don't love horses enough to sacrifice as much as that lady did:D. Some ppl REALLY love horses;).

 

I am currently looking for a home for my beautiful American Paint Mare because I can't afford to keep her anymore. She is free to a good home.

 

The ferrier is $30.00 every ten weeks. She just had her teeth floated (domesticated pastures don't have enough roughage and tough stuff that the horse must eat to survive so their teeth overgrow and have to be filed down). That was $80.00.

 

The grooming brushes and hoof picks were relatively cheap. Hoof picks aren't expensive, I use a brush from the dollar store on her mane, and so I only had to purchase two other kinds of grooming brushes and managed to get those on sale cheap at an online tack shop.

 

Her tack has come from a used tack shop and ebay. I've got $50.00 in the size 15 saddle for the little boys, and $125.00 in mine. I picked up reins and a running martingale at a garage sale for $5.00 each. I made saddle covers. Her bit was kind of expensive, $32.00 and her bridle cost me $25.00 at the used tack shop.

 

We don't invest in riding clothes since the boys don't show.

 

But, I pay $100.00 per month plus grain and hay costs for boarding and in order to get that low rate (normally, farms charge $200.00 plus grain and hay), I work ten mornings per month doing chores (which involves checking over a flock of 30 sheep and filling their water troughs), feeding the horses and turning them out to pasture, plus mucking out their stalls (not just my own horse's), feeding and watering a flock of chickens, the barn cats, and two ducks, plus checking over the pack of six llamas and watering them as well.

 

I'd say that I pay $50.00 a month in hay and grain and I'm lucky it's only that because hay has been very, very reasonably priced around here. Of course, for part of the year, she eats so much at pasture that she only gets a flake of hay and a little grain when put in at night. So for some months, it's not too bad. Oh, and deworming every quarter.

 

At any rate, the price is going up after the first of the year ($175.00 a month plus grain and hay and I still have to work the ten days a month plus be on call for the holidays) and she needs some equine massage therapy because she injured her back a little and is sore. That's $100.00 per visit and I'm at the end of my rope. We were paying, during good weather, $15.00 per half hour riding lesson for the younger two boys (on the farmer's kid horse because my paint isn't fully trained yet) plus $30.00 for an hour of work with Lady in the hopes that she'd be ready for children in the spring. That was the goal. I've ridden her a couple of times, before she got overly rambunctious and tried to jump the fence into the sheep pasture - apparently the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence so she thinks - and pulled some muscles. She will make a fine horse for someone if they can afford to invest in her. I just can't.

 

If you have your own barns and enough land to grow all of the hay and grain, then having horses isn't too bad financially. It's when you have to board them that they get expensive or when you have just enough land to keep them but not enough to grow their winter food and grains. Lady's feed is $16.00 per bag and I am not generous with it so I don't have to buy more than one 100 bag every two months. Many people grain their horses more than that....she gains weight easily so I can be stingy with grain and not hurt her. Hay is going up in price for winter, the summer crop was not bumper, so that's going to hurt and of course, with no pasture, she needs a lot of it. The other expense is training if the animal still needs work.

 

I am VERY sad to be getting rid of her and my worst fear is that I won't find a family for her before dh's deadline and that I will have to sell her to the slaughterhouse for dog food. You have know idea how much the idea of that hurts. But, the Michigan economy is so bad I am not currently getting any leads on a new home for her and the roof on the house has suddenly decided that it's not going to last for another year. Dh is patching it to get through the winter but this spring it has to be replaced and we need to take the money we spend on her every month and put it away for the roof.

 

Faith

I'm so sorry for what you're up against. I can tell from your words that this is really hurting you:grouphug:.

 

I'm sure you already know this, but I think it is well worth it to pay a little more, and get a kid-safe pony with a great temperament. Miss Bossy's pony is so stable and easy going, but ponies can be MEAN!

 

My friend got a good deal on a pony for her daughter that four years later, no one can catch the stupid thing. Her daughter is attached to the pony she was not once been able to ride.

 

I would spend most of my money on getting a good animal to start with. We borrowed a saddle until we found one we liked second hand. Our pony just eats a flake of hay morning and night. He would get fat on grain. Our riding teacher trims his feet for $30 whenever he needs it. Our pony lives outside, so no mucking needed.

 

I think he is one of the least expensive animals on the place. My cow is the money pit.

LOL...Yes, cows CAN be expensive buggers lol.

 

Well, there are a couple of ways to save.

 

We do not feed grain to our horses. They don't need it. They get good quality grass hay 24/7 and are fat as pigs. Especially ponies don't need grain. It is actually bad for them unless they are hard training althetes. You can research this with Equus magazing. There are many articles supporting it.

 

We do not stall our horses. They are outside all the time. One pasture has a run-in, but the other only has trees for shelter. They are fine and love it. No straw or bedding changes unless a horse is laid up for some reason.

 

We give our own shots and worming that we purchase at the tractor supply. It's about $26/ year for the shots. Worming usually only $5 every three months except when I decide to use Quest (for tape worms). There are a few shots you can't buy at the Tractor Supply: West Nile, strangles etc. IF I decide to give these (I don't every year) then I still pick them up from the vet and give them myself. It saves me the farm call charge. Giving shots to a horse is easy. You can ask the vet how, or just find directions online. Everyone I know (100s of horse people), give their own shots.

 

Hoof trimming here is $15/ horse every 8 weeks. However, if you only have ponies, you can just rasp their feet weekly and you would rarely need to have them trimmed. It's easy. A pony shouldn't need shoes. We make sure there is gravel all around (30' radius) the water trough to toughen their hooves.

 

Horse tack and grooming tools can be purchased used. Look on ebay, craigslist and at local auctions. There is a monthly horse auction nearly everywhere. Tack is usally sold first; don't stay for the horse sale or you'll be heartbroken. :( Be sure to take someone with you that knows something about a decent saddle. We bought a nice leather Abetta saddle for $150 last year. For our trail riding purposes, it's perfect. Abetta and Wintec are lower end tack manufacturers, but I know several people who own them and they have worked out just fine. One of my 4-Hers has a Wintec Equi-suade saddle brand new for $195 and has had it 4 years and loves it. You may find them for less used.

 

Horses/ ponies are a wonderful hobby and IMO, well worth the money and effort. Maybe some of these hints can help you with your dream!

Thank you for all the good info! As far as having them outside all winter, that wouldn't work. We have NO shelter in the pasture. All we have is the big barn and I'm afraid they'd freeze here in MN outside without shelter. It gets darn cold. Hmmm..I had no idea that ponies aren't supposed to get grain. Thanks for the heads up!

 

I was looking at two ponies from the same place. One is a pregnant Shetland, who's had a baby before and the other is a 6 month old sorrel who is lead trained. She said both are very gentle and the shetland is broke for kids to ride her. I was figureing that when all of the ponies were full grown, it would probably cost roughtly $270 (that's conservative at $3/small square bale) per winter for hay. Not to mention the steady supply of straw for bedding them in the barn. That alone would be fairly expensive for us.

 

I could possibly board another horse or two. I'm not sure how many our pasture could handle. We have a total of 6.5 acres of land, which probably 3 acres is pasture. How many horses/ponies could that safely handle?

 

Thanks for helping me out here!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as having them outside all winter, that wouldn't work. We have NO shelter in the pasture. All we have is the big barn and I'm afraid they'd freeze here in MN outside without shelter. It gets darn cold. Hmmm..I had no idea that ponies aren't supposed to get grain. Thanks for the heads up!

 

You are right, in your kind of weather, shelter would be needed for winter. However, they could be outside a lot and only put in at night or when it is really cold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You don't have enough land to board others. If only three acres is good pasture, that would really only be enough for your ponies. You have to consider not only how much grass they will eat and how much your land will produce but also the space. Horses need space to move run, graze away from each other, etc.

 

Your pregnant mare will also have higher caloric needs during pregnancy and right after foaling.

 

One thing you can do to reduce costs is find a local tree service and purchase sawdust for bedding instead of straw. It is sooooo much more absorbant and easier to muck out. We put the horses in here at night because of two reasons, one - the Friesien spooks easily at night and might get herself in trouble, and two - the winters are just too bitter cold to be standing in the wind. Horses left out at night need A LOT more hay because they need the higher caloric count in order to stay warm. I'd even consider the possibility of a little grain for them under those circumstances. Minnesota winters are even worse than Michigan and when the temp is below zero and the windchills at minus ten, I can tell you that my horse isn't going to be standing out in that year after year. Maybe if we had a serious wind break from woods, but our boarding place does not.

 

I didn't know that graveling the area around the water troughs would help with the hooves. That's good to know. Of course, I don't own the farm so that would be up to owner but it makes sense. Good tip.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the winters are just too bitter cold to be standing in the wind. Horses left out at night need A LOT more hay because they need the higher caloric count in order to stay warm. I'd even consider the possibility of a little grain for them under those circumstances. Minnesota winters are even worse than Michigan and when the temp is below zero and the windchills at minus ten, I can tell you that my horse isn't going to be standing out in that year after year. Maybe if we had a serious wind break from woods, but our boarding place does not.

 

:iagree: Agreed. Horses in bitter cold should have shelter and may need grain. I'm in AR. We don't have that here! :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, there are a couple of ways to save.

 

We do not feed grain to our horses. They don't need it. They get good quality grass hay 24/7 and are fat as pigs. Especially ponies don't need grain. It is actually bad for them unless they are hard training althetes. You can research this with Equus magazing. There are many articles supporting it.

 

We do not stall our horses. They are outside all the time. One pasture has a run-in, but the other only has trees for shelter. They are fine and love it. No straw or bedding changes unless a horse is laid up for some reason.

 

We give our own shots and worming that we purchase at the tractor supply. It's about $26/ year for the shots. Worming usually only $5 every three months except when I decide to use Quest (for tape worms). There are a few shots you can't buy at the Tractor Supply: West Nile, strangles etc. IF I decide to give these (I don't every year) then I still pick them up from the vet and give them myself. It saves me the farm call charge. Giving shots to a horse is easy. You can ask the vet how, or just find directions online. Everyone I know (100s of horse people), give their own shots.

 

Hoof trimming here is $15/ horse every 8 weeks. However, if you only have ponies, you can just rasp their feet weekly and you would rarely need to have them trimmed. It's easy. A pony shouldn't need shoes. We make sure there is gravel all around (30' radius) the water trough to toughen their hooves.

 

Horse tack and grooming tools can be purchased used. Look on ebay, craigslist and at local auctions. There is a monthly horse auction nearly everywhere. Tack is usally sold first; don't stay for the horse sale or you'll be heartbroken. :( Be sure to take someone with you that knows something about a decent saddle. We bought a nice leather Abetta saddle for $150 last year. For our trail riding purposes, it's perfect. Abetta and Wintec are lower end tack manufacturers, but I know several people who own them and they have worked out just fine. One of my 4-Hers has a Wintec Equi-suade saddle brand new for $195 and has had it 4 years and loves it. You may find them for less used.

 

Horses/ ponies are a wonderful hobby and IMO, well worth the money and effort. Maybe some of these hints can help you with your dream!

 

 

this is how we have done it in the past. plus we cut hay for cows, so there's our hay.

Our ground is very hard and rocky so hoof maintenance isn't an issue.

have you thought about getting a donkey? little bit less maintenance there. Ours is SO sweet.

Edited by fairfarmhand
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can tell you that it really can work. I'm a single mom on a limited budget and my daughter has a horse who we are currently boarding. I believe from the bottom of my heart that everything involved with us having this beautiful animal has been a gift from God and a labor of great prayer. He has provided every single thing we have ever needed for this horse (for everything actually). Yes, they are very, very expensive but there are ways to cut down on costs. Grain would not be one way especially since you live in a cold climate and I would never, ever, EVER buy a pony! They are horrible little creatures...at least all of the ones I've known have been. Horses are the better way to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in the country where many people have plenty of land, some have old sheds or barns and fencing already on their property when they buy it. BUT, once the shine wears off owning the horses, they end up with expensive lawn ornaments. And if you enjoy that kind of pet, that's fine, and if you let the neighbor kids come ride them, that's even better.

 

The reason I'm posting, is that one way to save money, is to look around a good bit for a free horse. Petfinders and places like that are full of them....and many owners would give to a good home, quite readily. My best friend got a very well trained, highly pedigreed (is that the right word?) horse, and from another place, a gorgeous old mare, half blind, who just needed a place to live out her golden years. (Horses need company.)

 

Also, my neighbors across the road, safehouse abused animals of all kinds and have a very vocal little donkey right now, so please, please call and take her as a companion to your new horse or pony!!!!

 

LBS

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How much horse experience do you have? It sounds like you might be a newbie... if so, PLEASE do NOT buy a pregnant mare and young foal...

 

I've had ponies/horses most of my life and have spent the last 14 years raising ponies mostly for the English show ring... but I would NEVER sell a pregnant mare nor youngster to a family without prior knowledge. Quite honestly, it's an easy way for your kids to get hurt. They could get seriously hurt.

 

Ponies (and horses) are a herd animal and the herd boss is the one that uses their hooves and teeth most effectively. Older, been there/done that ponies (and horses) make great animals to get started with as they know their place in the pecking order (that would be below humans) and don't bite or kick if they've been brought up properly. (If they do bite or kick or threaten to do so, you don't want them at any price, including free.)

 

Young ponies (and horses) know their place - for a while - but then will challenge to rise up in the herd. That challenge will often come suddenly and without warning. If you don't know what you're doing to watch for that challenge and put down the rebellion (with force), the pony will then assume they are the leader of the herd and from then on, you better do things their way or YOU will be the one hurt. That's just the equine nature. It's the same with horses and ponies, just more newbies will buy ponies than horses...

 

Kids are often the ones they will challenge first as that's where they first figure out pecking order in their herd (among the young). Kids can and do get hurt if they don't know what they are doing. My kids KNOW what they are doing and still sometimes get a kick or nip with the youngsters. That kick or nip must be immediately dealt with or you end up with the "mean" ponies referenced above. I can't emphasize enough the potential for danger.

 

Then let's talk about the pregnant mare... Mother ponies can be sweet and sane, or, more commonly, they are VERY protective especially the first day or two after birth (sometimes longer). I have ponies that are super sweet and beginner safe right up until they foal - then even we adults have to watch out and act safely. It's just their nature. Once the hormones wear off, they'll be back to their sweet self again, but someone could get hurt in the process if they don't know what they are doing. Right at birth you need to check the foal out and put iodine on the umbilical stump as well as worm the mare. Are you going to be able to do this if mama pony doesn't want you to at that moment? Are you prepared to work to gentle the foal if mama doesn't want you to? If that mama gets on "top" of the pecking order during this time, she'll remember she's on top and again, watch out thereafter. If she gets the idea that she wants to do something and you disagree, she might just challenge you on it.

 

My honest suggestion is to look for ponies in their teens, preferably geldings, but either gender works (NO stallions!), that have been there, done that and are super sweet. This will give you the best chance to get to know ponies, ride ponies, and enjoy ponies. The more $$ you pay will probably easily be less than doctor bills and "issues" of raising a youngster or two unless you have a knowledgeable horse person to help you out - as in close by - not just online or whatever. You'll save money in that grown ponies NEVER need grain (unless an athlete) and do well EVEN IN cold MN winters without having to be indoors or blanketed (but they should have access to wind breaks and an overhead shelter). My ponies often stay out in the coldest of weather and enjoy themselves (they can come in if they want). While we are in PA now, I grew up on the Canadian border of NY and my ponies did fine there too with just a run in shelter they could access as they wanted. They actually prefer to be in during the summer, not the winter. The heat bugs them in the summer (and the bugs).

 

And beware of anything free. Free almost always has issues when we're talking about ponies. Issues means more $$ than buying would have in the first place.

 

Do NOT let the ponies free feed on 6 acres of pasture in the spring or summer. They'll get too much grass too quickly and will likely founder. Fence them in to a small section around your barn and let them out on pasture for a few hours each day - less if they get fat, more if they get thin. Start with 30 minutes a day when the grass starts growing and add half an hour every two days as you switch from hay to grass.

 

Buy grooming equipment and tack cheap second hand. Learn to give your own shots.

 

It's not that expensive and ponies are really enjoyable - IF you get the right ponies.

 

You could also consider waiting on the ponies and buying riding lessons - just to be sure the kids like ponies... but if you mainly want pets with an occasional ride, just get nice older ones to start. Ponies can easily live into their 30's, so buying a teenager will not mean imminent death due to age.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Creekland says!!!! I second the nomination for a gelding if you are inexperienced.

 

Mares are trickier. Every herd has a head mare and she rules the roost with an iron hoof. If you do not have the knowledge and training to teach her that you are "her head mare", you won't get anywhere with her. She'll challenge your authority. My mare has a lovely, people pleasing disposition, but I still have to handle her far differently than the gelding. The gelding, if he does something I don't abide by, I can hold his halter and say sharply, "Quit it!" and he gets the message, the ears come forward, and he acquieces. My mare, she could care less if I say "quit it". Oh, I still do...but then I show her whose boss by making her stand there and wait...wait for grooming while on the grooming ties, wait to lunge, wait for her grain, wait to be let out of her stall...turn her around and march her back to her stall instead of going for a walk...whatever it is. She and I play that little game until she softens up and hangs her head in submission which then gets her a sweet pat, an ear rub, and a "good girl Lady" from me.

 

A very wise trainer told me, "You can not make a mare do anything. But, you can develop a relationship with her in which she will do whatever you ask because she wants to please you." That is absolutely true. I could never "make" Lady do one dad gum thing but she sure will do what I ask once we established that I am her head mare and that I love to reward her for pleasing me. That said, she's five so she's still frisky enough to be a bit impulsive and occasionally get in trouble with me.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How much horse experience do you have? It sounds like you might be a newbie... if so, PLEASE do NOT buy a pregnant mare and young foal...

 

I've had ponies/horses most of my life and have spent the last 14 years raising ponies mostly for the English show ring... but I would NEVER sell a pregnant mare nor youngster to a family without prior knowledge. Quite honestly, it's an easy way for your kids to get hurt. They could get seriously hurt.

 

Ponies (and horses) are a herd animal and the herd boss is the one that uses their hooves and teeth most effectively. Older, been there/done that ponies (and horses) make great animals to get started with as they know their place in the pecking order (that would be below humans) and don't bite or kick if they've been brought up properly. (If they do bite or kick or threaten to do so, you don't want them at any price, including free.)

 

Young ponies (and horses) know their place - for a while - but then will challenge to rise up in the herd. That challenge will often come suddenly and without warning. If you don't know what you're doing to watch for that challenge and put down the rebellion (with force), the pony will then assume they are the leader of the herd and from then on, you better do things their way or YOU will be the one hurt. That's just the equine nature. It's the same with horses and ponies, just more newbies will buy ponies than horses...

 

Kids are often the ones they will challenge first as that's where they first figure out pecking order in their herd (among the young). Kids can and do get hurt if they don't know what they are doing. My kids KNOW what they are doing and still sometimes get a kick or nip with the youngsters. That kick or nip must be immediately dealt with or you end up with the "mean" ponies referenced above. I can't emphasize enough the potential for danger.

 

Then let's talk about the pregnant mare... Mother ponies can be sweet and sane, or, more commonly, they are VERY protective especially the first day or two after birth (sometimes longer). I have ponies that are super sweet and beginner safe right up until they foal - then even we adults have to watch out and act safely. It's just their nature. Once the hormones wear off, they'll be back to their sweet self again, but someone could get hurt in the process if they don't know what they are doing. Right at birth you need to check the foal out and put iodine on the umbilical stump as well as worm the mare. Are you going to be able to do this if mama pony doesn't want you to at that moment? Are you prepared to work to gentle the foal if mama doesn't want you to? If that mama gets on "top" of the pecking order during this time, she'll remember she's on top and again, watch out thereafter. If she gets the idea that she wants to do something and you disagree, she might just challenge you on it.

 

My honest suggestion is to look for ponies in their teens, preferably geldings, but either gender works (NO stallions!), that have been there, done that and are super sweet. This will give you the best chance to get to know ponies, ride ponies, and enjoy ponies. The more $$ you pay will probably easily be less than doctor bills and "issues" of raising a youngster or two unless you have a knowledgeable horse person to help you out - as in close by - not just online or whatever. You'll save money in that grown ponies NEVER need grain (unless an athlete) and do well EVEN IN cold MN winters without having to be indoors or blanketed (but they should have access to wind breaks and an overhead shelter). My ponies often stay out in the coldest of weather and enjoy themselves (they can come in if they want). While we are in PA now, I grew up on the Canadian border of NY and my ponies did fine there too with just a run in shelter they could access as they wanted. They actually prefer to be in during the summer, not the winter. The heat bugs them in the summer (and the bugs).

 

And beware of anything free. Free almost always has issues when we're talking about ponies. Issues means more $$ than buying would have in the first place.

 

Do NOT let the ponies free feed on 6 acres of pasture in the spring or summer. They'll get too much grass too quickly and will likely founder. Fence them in to a small section around your barn and let them out on pasture for a few hours each day - less if they get fat, more if they get thin. Start with 30 minutes a day when the grass starts growing and add half an hour every two days as you switch from hay to grass.

 

Buy grooming equipment and tack cheap second hand. Learn to give your own shots.

 

It's not that expensive and ponies are really enjoyable - IF you get the right ponies.

 

You could also consider waiting on the ponies and buying riding lessons - just to be sure the kids like ponies... but if you mainly want pets with an occasional ride, just get nice older ones to start. Ponies can easily live into their 30's, so buying a teenager will not mean imminent death due to age.

 

You are very informative. Thank you! I'm glad that I decided against the pregnant shetland and 6 month old. Sometime in the future maybe, but not right now. I do appreciate your frank honesty. It's what I needed to hear. I will defintely wait until well after the baby is born and *then* start riding lessons.

 

Thanks, you're a love!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are very informative. Thank you! I'm glad that I decided against the pregnant shetland and 6 month old. Sometime in the future maybe, but not right now. I do appreciate your frank honesty. It's what I needed to hear. I will defintely wait until well after the baby is born and *then* start riding lessons.

 

Thanks, you're a love!

 

Honestly that sounds like a really good idea. And please don't think I was trying to be mean or a "know it all." I've just seen the aftermath both for the ponies and the kids when young ponies/horses and "new" kids are put together. It seldom works out well for either. The common saying in the horse world is:

 

green + green (meaning new rider to young critter) = black and blue (meaning bruises or worse)

 

When my sister and I were 9 and 8 years old respectively my dad bought us two pony geldings. They were both middle aged and had been to pony rides and all sorts of things. We had a blast with those ponies riding all over our property and through the woods around us - even in parades and fun days showing. Later I went on to learn to show, train, and raise ponies. Good ponies can provide a lot of fun and great memories. Inappropriate ponies can send kids to the hospital (I've seen the aftermath).

 

Get good ones when you do it. Take your time. Check around. Even check with a 4H leader or someone with experience to assist. Your kids will thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a note on donkeys and horses. It's not good to put them together. Donkey's are some kind of disease carrier that if a horse got could kill them.

 

???? Reference please? I've never heard this and know many,many people with donkeys and horses together, including me.

 

edited to add: I searched the net and found nothing. This must just be misinformation. if you think about it, mules are donkeys bred to horses. It's done the world over.

Edited by katemary63
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my sister and I were 9 and 8 years old respectively my dad bought us two pony geldings. They were both middle aged and had been to pony rides and all sorts of things. We had a blast with those ponies riding all over our property and through the woods around us - even in parades and fun days showing. Later I went on to learn to show, train, and raise ponies. Good ponies can provide a lot of fun and great memories. Inappropriate ponies can send kids to the hospital (I've seen the aftermath).

 

Get good ones when you do it. Take your time.

 

:iagree:

My daughter's pony is her best friend! Don't discount good ponies. They are worth thier weight in gold! This is Cindy (13.2 hands) and ClaireAnna. Buddies for life!

 

 

 

IMG_1190.JPG

 

 

Copy%2Bof%2BIMG_1888.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

(Yes, I know, she's the most beautiful pony in the world! :D)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have gotten some wonderful advice so far. I just have a few more thoughts from someone that wasn't raised with horses and has only had them for 4 years.

 

Start now lookng for a 4H group for your kids so that they (and you) can learn more about horses, get some experience, etc. Some groups have horse-less projects where the kids can do a lot with horses without having their own. In other areas, you can lease (rent) a horse for the 4H season and gain a lot of experience. Some 4H leaders even have horses for the kids to use for free.

 

As to costs, we are in West Michigan and I plan about $125/month per critter. Some months it is much less, others more but over the year it about averages out. If you live in an area with a lot of hay, your costs will be lower than if they have to truck it in for you. Most horses don't need much, if any, grain unless they are being worked hard, pregnant, very young, or senior horses with very poor/missing teeth.

 

I too strongly advise against a pregnant mare or a young horse. For beginners, I would look for the been there, done that older horse (likely a gelding) in the teens to even 20s. We just got a 27 year old gelding for my 15 year old daughter with special needs. He can't ride heavily but she loves him to death and he can take her down the trails, road, ride in the arena, haul to lessons, etc. but nothing phases him. He does need extra senior feed but it is worth the cost for us.

 

Check out Craig's list for places for riding lessons---4H leaders often give riding lessons as well. Visit the local feed stores and ask for suggestions as well. Then watch for tack sales which are HUGE horse garage sales. You can buy just about anything you need used. I would suggest though waiting on saddles until you get the horse as some are sold with their saddles and you want to make sure the saddle fits the horse very well and the rider. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to saddles and a poorly fitting saddle can cause pain and behavioral issues with a horse.

 

As to shelter, is your barn set up where you can open up part of the back they can just use that as a run in shelter. That is all most horses need, even in the winter. They can handle cold quite well but do need a wind break and a way to stay dry--esp. in freezing rain/sleet,etc. I go through about 1 bag of bedding a month for 3 horses and that runs me about $5. Mine come in to eat twice a day and then back out they go.

 

I would certainly take someone very experienced with you to look at any horses you are considering. Sad to say, some people see newbies coming and take advantage of you, others will drug a horse to make them appear very kids safe/calm, etc. and/or to mask any lameness or pain issues. Free horses might be OK but many of them require a more experienced horse person as they have health and/or behavioral issues. In our area, a GOOD, kid safe horse is still worth $1000 or more. Very often you do get what you pay for.

 

We paid $1500 for my daughter's 20 year old POA mare 1 1/2 years ago but she has been WONDERFUL and taken my daughter from just being led around to galloping bareback, riding the roads and trails, placing high in 4H shows, etc. all without lameness or health issues or the need for special shoes, etc.

 

This got long, but horses are WONDERFUL to have if you get the right ones and have someone very experienced to go along side you to help you out.

 

For fencing, get a catalog from http://www.horsefencesthatwork.com as you will learn a great deal about good (and bad) fencing types for horses and your situation. I find their stuff super easy to put up, adjust, move, etc.

 

Horses are expensive but my sister is paying almost $125/month for piano lessons or guitar lessons or swimming lessons for just 1 child and that is only 1-2 times a week. Horses are there 7 days a week. That said, horses are there 7 days a week and if you want to go on vacation you need someone to feed and water them twice a day. You can't just pick up and leave without someone to help you out.

 

Lessons are a VERY VERY good thing and I would highly suggest them both before and after you get the horse. Our riding instructor will even come here and work with us on everything from getting the tack adjusted to setting up new fencing for a new horse, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree:

My daughter's pony is her best friend! Don't discount good ponies. They are worth thier weight in gold! This is Cindy (13.2 hands) and ClaireAnna. Buddies for life!

 

 

 

IMG_1190.JPG

 

 

Copy%2Bof%2BIMG_1888.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

(Yes, I know, she's the most beautiful pony in the world! :D)

 

 

 

 

That's a good pony! I loved my childhood with our ponies - such great memories!

 

Good ponies are worth their weight in gold. Bad ones aren't worth a dime. And... aside from showing, it has nothing to do with looks, etc, it's all in the natural temperament and training/upbringing. I can sell ten child safe ponies that are ugly for every one that is gorgeous, but has special "issues." Even with breeding, my first concern is temperament. Second comes looks and movement (since we raise for the show ring). I don't even consider registration papers (for ponies) - nor do the majority of knowledgeable buyers unless they are doing breed shows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just LOVE the tri-color. I just had to put mine down a few weeks ago.

 

A great pony is worth a lot of $$$ and unless it is word of mouth, etc. you aren't going to find one of these for free or cheap. Good ponies hold their value---hence me paying $1500 for a 20 year old pony last year.

 

Just be VERY VERY careful with WHO you buy from as some are dealers/traders/flippers that drug ponies, just get them from the auction and don't know their history, etc. Word of mouth, esp. through 4H, etc. is a great way to find a good pony/horse for a child.

 

Older ones tend to have more needs--extra feed, etc. but that been there, done that, super calm pony is so worth it for beginner kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand that Dragon Academy. But the $200.00 is only room, not board. The owner must still pay for hay and any feed given. Most boarding facilities mark the hay up 100% so if a bale is selling for $3.00 the boarder will be charged $6.00. I think it still comes to close to $300.00.

 

I work ten days per month taking care of her entire farm (nearly 100 animals) in order to only pay $100.00 per month plus feed. She also has me on call at all times. It's taking a real toll on our family. I worked 14 days in September, she calls whenever she wants and announces that I must drop what I am doing and come to the farm, it's getting harder and harder to juggle my responsibilities and her farm. She's excellent to Lady and a wonderful horsewoman but the newest thing is she is going overseas for one month and she expects me to do chores everyday for 30 days and still pay her the $100.00 plus feed and if I don't like it, move Lady now. Well, I don't have anywhere to put Lady and so I will have to work the 30 straight days including Christmas and I'm not just taking care of my horse or the other two horses she keeps. I'm taking care of nearly 50 sheep, many of whom are pregnant ewes and must be checked regularly for complications of pregnancy, six llamas, a huge flock of chickens, ducks, farm dogs, farm cats, and apparently, there are some more animals arriving and I'll be taking care of them too. She knows I can't afford to move her to a more expensive boarding facility so I've become her personal servant. Something has to change.

 

I can't afford to keep Lady anymore and I can't give her the time she needs. But, I do definitely realize that boarding is much more expensive elsewhere. However, I don't think the owners of the boarded animals work 40 hours -80 hours per month at those boarding facilities for only a reduction in boarding fees.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't thank you all enough for your information. The more I learn, the more thankful I am that I didn't buy those ponies. Who knows, it may have worked out, but it just as easily may NOT have and we would have had MORE troubles.

 

I think I'm going to do what a poster suggested and just start going to tack sales/looking on CL now for used tack, read up on horses, take lessons in the summer/fall and go from there.

 

Faith, again, I am so sorry for what you're going through with the woman who owns the farm you work at. I would love to work on a farm, but NOT under those conditions/circumstances! (((Hugs))) to you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand that Dragon Academy. But the $200.00 is only room, not board. The owner must still pay for hay and any feed given. Most boarding facilities mark the hay up 100% so if a bale is selling for $3.00 the boarder will be charged $6.00. I think it still comes to close to $300.00.

 

 

 

I totally understand. When our finances became tight and DH said the horse had to go I offered to work at our barn for a fee reduction. I cleaned the bathroom and the lounge - 8 hours a week/ 4 weeks a month - for a $50 reduction. Not nearly the amount of work you do but definitely not equal compensation for the amount of work.

 

The barn owner's reasoning was it's a business and they are in it to make money. If they let everyone work to reduce expenses the barn would be clean but broke.

 

Sounds like your lady is taking advantage of you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...