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Cheaper to travel by car or by horse??

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posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 06:57 AM
I'm sure this thread will see some comedy but it's meant to be serious.

At what point does it become more feasible to travel by horse, again, rather then by car?

Shall we put the price of the average new car at $20,000? That's assuming you are trying to save money but don't want to get killed in what an SUV driver would call a fender bender (for him). On five years, that about $333 a month.

You have the insurance. I pay around $100 a month for that. Roughly.

Gas is pretty much $3.00US per gallon and it's not going down. 16 gallon tank and you fill up roughly once a week. If your lucky. Very lucky. Let's call it $200 a month for gas.

Then we will say $100 a month to maintain it, spent in occasional clumps but adding up to about $1200 a year.

That's about $733 or more per month to own a car.

Anybody have a clue what the price of a horse is, the price to feed it, and keep it healthy? I have no idea.

Just kicking it around for fun.

mod edit: spelling in title

[edit on 11/14/2007 by Gools]

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 07:02 AM
i dont know what kind of horse, but a friend of mine has 2 that were $6,000 each..i know race horses can get real expensive..but i dunno would save money with the horse, but i think it would be worth the extra cash to get to the destination like 6 days earlier ya kno what im sayin? lol

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 12:04 PM
agree with uneq.

if you truly want to do this, you have to assign a monetary value to your time. What is your time worth? If it took you 9 hours to travel to the grocery store and 9 hours to return home, did it really cost you $100 for food? It cost you then entire day. I think that is far more than what you would save if you drove the 30 minutes each way. Time value of money is a very important issue in deciding your answer. I am sure everyone would value their time different. An individual person, reitred with thier house paid and plenty of saving might enjoy the long ride. A single mother of 3, can't waste an entire day to shop for groceries, worrying about saving money by riding on a horse.

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 12:51 PM
The feed and grooming is what kills you as a horse owner.

You need straw for bedding, which must be changed when they poop it up. Cheap straw might run 30 to 50 a month. You need a lot of roughage, some good quality hay, and then some oats to finish them off if they are doing any work at all. You can pasture them on weeds, but don't expect any work from them. I'd estimate maybe 200 - 500 on feed and nutrients a month.

Then you need a stall and some running water. Curry combs, soap, soft brushes, harder brushes, saddle, blankets and tack. A decent saddle will cost you at least 500 bucks.

Like another poster said, there's the time. The horses need to be fed and walked every day, whether you ride them or not. You need to grind the grain for them if it's too tough to chew. Their bedding must be changed.

Then there's shoeing. IF a shoe nail is placed wrong, it can lame the horse forever. A good Ferrier (horseshoe blacksmith) makes excellent money and sets his own hours. Unless you go to school, you have no business even trying to do this yourself. They will need shoes if they walk at all on paved or gravel roads.

On the other hand, horses make more horses, and often make a good investment, as well as good friends. If you have enough land to grow your own hay, then you can plow it and tend it with the horse, and save a lot of the feed problems above.

Maybe you should consider donkeys.

Donkeys are slow; a bit slower than a man walks. On the other hand, they can carry 60 - 90 lb a piece all day long. And the weight of a man for a short distance. They don't need grain or hay, and are happy with weeds. They are actually friendly and loving animals, maybe moreso than horses, unless you are an idiot with them. They can be used as guard animals for sheep or goats or children, and are a lot smarter than most dogs, but with similar scent abilities. They also can hear a car coming up the road before you can, as well as smelling strangers and predator animals at night. They are light sleepers (!)

One of the fastest growing vacations in the american west is called donkey trekking. You hike on foot, but bring donkeys as pack animals to carry food and the creature comforts. Some friends of mine have totally given up hiking in favor of donkey trekking, and are considering the donkey business. . . .

If you want numbers on cost for various animals, I would suggest "The guide to self sufficiency," a dated but excellent book on subistence farming and animal husbandry. Also, call your local feedstore or co-op. They'll be happy to begin selling you stuff, and can tell you everything you need.

My family and are gradually making the transition to subsistence farming as a survivalist / green strategy. But some of you could guess that from reading my posts on the survival boards.

I suspect that what one of my bosses says about boats also applies to horses:

The two happiest days of a man's life are the day he buys a boat. And then the day he sells the boat.

all the baste.


[edit on 14-11-2007 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 01:08 PM
Like was mentioned above it would not only consume your time for care but also horses only run everywhere in Hollywood they aren't meant to run 20 MPH or KMH everywhere particularly with a human on their back..

Saddles and Tack are expensive then you have the huge assortment of bits to choose from and you don't just pick one and say this will work different bits produce different results and the results differ for every horse..

Shoeing was mentioned above

Then there is always the chance you will get a barn sour horse or worse a cribbing wind sucking should be turned to glue kind of horse..

and last but not least you risk life and limb if you have never ridden or have only ridden a few times and then there is the chaffing of your ARSE if you have a misfit saddle (oh crap that hurts) (yes there are different sizes)

If you can get past all of this you have it made and you'll have a better lookin butt for it as well as shapely legs it is a lot to take on but if it were feasible for me I'd do it in a second I hate driving...


posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 01:16 PM
Well the absolute cheapest route would be buying a used car with a desiel engine such as a Mercedes or VW. I checked an online car place and found lots of good looking cars for under 3000$ and they had average MPG of 40-60mpg. You can run any type of oil through a desiel engine if you know how, so free fuel from any fast food place is an added plus. If the car was never invented, horses would be ideal though.

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 01:27 PM
Its not just about which is cheaper, its also about how much time your going to spend looking after them. A horse has emotions feeling and needs, getting a horse is a big lifetime decision, which comes with big commitment. A car is just an object, theres no need to bond with it, give it food etc.

So basically its hard to compare these two because they are both totally different things. So in the end its really up to what you really want.

Anyway maybe its cheaper to get a car, for example say you go without using a car for 2 weeks for some reason, no money gets taken away. But with a horse even if you don't ride him/her you still have to pay for its food and to clean etc. But I cant imagine it being that much? So I cant come to a conclusion, I don't really know much about how expensive they can be.

[edit on 14-11-2007 by _Phoenix_]

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 12:09 PM
Not to mention that in most urban areas, there is absolutely no infrastructure or support mechanism in place to facilitate horse-riding.

It's just not practical. If I tried to ride a horse even just a few miles to work, school, shopping - I'd be risking the life of myself and everyone around me (including the horse) just trotting down the street.

And what about the crap? Who's going to be responsible for all the 'road apples'? The rider? That won't work. Hire, train, and equip a fleet of 'pony pooper scoopers'? Who'll pay for that?

Then what about "parking" your horse at work, the store? Now add in a million other horses all trying to occupy the same area.

The problem is not just cost, you see. The horse is a living, breathing animal - with all sorts of body functions and behavioral issues to consider. It 'interacts' with the environment - even when you're not sitting on top of it.

With a car - you turn the key one way and you go. You turn the key the other way and you can walk away knowing it will be right where you left it, in the same condition as you left it, and did not run off, bite anyone, leave a pile of steaming goo on the ground, or die while you flew a desk for 8 hours.

Of course, a car can get stolen (but so can a horse), may not start when you get back (same as a horse), spews steaming goo into the atmosphere (up rather than down), and may decide to die on the way home (at which time you call a tow-truck instead of the glue factory).

Now if I lived in the country... nah - I'd still ride a jeep... (and a horse just for fun).

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 01:12 PM
I was near Fort Campbell, Kentucky ( home of the 101st airborne) right before the invasion of Afghanistan.

They had a massive stable complex and riding program. A lot of special forces types were trained to use horses and donkeys for combat operations in Afghanistan. Not the guerilla suppression it is now, but the pitched battles at the start. A soldier from there described battles with hundreds of American special forces on horseback, shocking the locals who expected to withdraw where american vehicles couldn't follow.

The one thing about horses is, for all of their limitations. They can cover terrain a wheeled vehicle simply cannot. In the American plains, after about more than 3 inches of rain, the dirt roads are impassible even to 4 wheel drive vehicles. Plowed land is worse because it is so spongy that the mud has the consistency of dough.

Horses can also pass through dense timber and wooded hillsides, where a jeep cannot turn tightly enough, or cannot pick its way over downed logs. I have certainly never tried it, but horses can swim across rivers, with the rider floating alongside and hanging onto the pommel.

Horses still have limited uses in extreme, unimproved terrain. But the whole point of a city is that we have domesticated the landscape so it isn't extreme. Then we've designed specialized machines and special road surfaces for maximum efficiency. . . .

Another problem in the city is pavement. Horses' hooves are basically just specialized toenail. Walking on cement or asphalt quickly wears out the hooves, which is the reason for horseshoes. The problem is that asphalt is quite slick with metal shoes on. Mounted police use special shoes so their horses don't slip all the time, especially on wet pavement. [edit:] but if you watch videos of riot police, you can see that their horses still skitter and slide all over the place, even with the special shoes on.

I think the whole point of horses is to use them on a farm, where they produce their own food, and can crap anywhere and be improving the soil. They are as useless in a city as a taxicab is, sitting in the middle of a plowed field with an empty gas tank.


edit to add:

Looking at the poster above me, I think a bicycle would be a better choice, and still fulfill many of the uses of a car, without the feed, waste, and security issues.

Yep, think about bikes.

[edit on 15-11-2007 by dr_strangecraft]

[edit on 15-11-2007 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

I have to disagree with your cost quotations and I'm interested to know where you got your figures. I have 2 horses and don't pay anything near what you're saying.

The grooming you do yourself. You can buy everything you need for grooming for $20 - $25.
It's not that much work to do your own grooming. You brush them every other day, which takes about 10 minutes tops. You have to clean their feet everyday or every other day, that's about 15 min. tops and you have to feed them 2 times a day, that's another 10 min. total. And if you have a large enough pasture, you don't need to walk them everyday, they will get exercise running around in the pasture if you have an acre or two.

If you get shoes, they need to be replaced about every 2 months, depending on how much you ride. That's $40 to $60 per horse, depending on who you get to do the shoeing. The food is cheap - we go thru about 6 bags per month (with 2 horses) and each bag is about $10 per bag, at most and that's for really, really good horse feed. Then there's hay which is about $10 a month for 2 horses. Worming every 3 to 4 months is $15 per horse per treatment, so taht's about $120 per year at most. If you have enough land, they can just eat grass, supplemented with feed.
I bought a good used leather saddle last month for $70. If you buy used, it's not nearly so expensive or if you go to a horse auction, you can get a good new leather saddle for about $80 to $150. We have a vet come out once a year to give our horses a Coggins test (necessary if you take the horse off your land, at least in Tennessee). That's about $90.

I bought my one horse for $1,200 which was a little expensive in these parts, but he's a wonderful horse, smart, cooperative and no trouble. The other horse was $400 and he's well-trained and a good, health young horse.
So if you add all of this up, for both my horses, it's about (at most) $113 per month total. If you don't put shoes on your horses, that saves about $60 per month (horses hooves can get toughened if you ride them on pavement and do it the right way). You would save an extra $30 per month (again 2 horses) if you have grass and don't need to buy hay. So, for 2 horses for a year, it comes to $113 per month, IF you shoe and buy hay. That's only $56.50 per month for one horse plus maybe $500 - $700 for a good horse, tops. It's best to have 2 horses, since they are herd animals and get depressed if left alone.
You can't beat the cost of horses over cars, horses are far cheaper. And they live to generally about 30 to 35 years and can produce other horses so you can sell them and make up the cost of keeping your horses.

Of course, if you live in Los Angeles, or some other big city, forget it unless you're a millionaire, it's way too expensive to keep a horse at a stable, pay for grooming, feed, etc. But in the country, it's a great way to get around. Plus, there's the wondrous bond that you can form with your horses, which is really something quite special. They're extremely smart and you can teach them to do all kinds of things.
If we ever run out of peak oil, I'm all set to ride my horses wherever I need to go.

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 01:39 PM
I defer to your knowledge, which is certainly more extensive than mine. I've never owned a horse. I've worked where horses were used for working cattle, but it was not my job to maintain the horses other than put out hay and break up ice in the tanks during the winter.

In fact, where I worked, the horses were turned out on pasture for the duration of the summer, and basically ignored, other than to insure that their windmill was still pumping. Of course, they were never shoed, since they only worked a few days a month, and never on improved land.

We put out hay for them, the big round bales we made when crops were downed by hail, etc. And some vitamin blocks I think.

I was looking at a couple of animal husbandry books I have (which may be worthless! ) but are about using horses for heavy farm labor like ploughing and hauling, not just riding.

Again, I assume you know far more about horses and have more experience than I, so I defer to your posts as far as costs, feed amounts, labor, etc.

thanks for adding and correcting.

edit to add:

Re-reading your post made me think of a critical point: It depends on how you use your horse, as to what the animal needs, and what it costs. Trained "cutting horses" (used for sorting out cattle in the corrall) are in a different price range from a horse that you just plan to ride to check fence with. Ditto when it comes to buying a large draft horse, verses one used for riding, especially for pleasure.

I had posted all that stuff earlier, thinking about people's prized roping horses, and kids with horses in wealthy suburbs, where parents complain about being broken by the cost of a child's hobby. But that's probably because they hire grooms, rented stables, etc., instead of doing the work for themselves.

Thanks again for posting your real-world experience.

[edit on 15-11-2007 by dr_strangecraft]

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 02:01 PM
Thanks Dr. S. As a side note, where I live, there are still folks who use a plough horse for ploughing. Horses can do double duty and are useful for a number of things.
Interesting about using horses in Afghanistan, I didn't think the military used them any more, but it makes sense in a place like Afghanistan. Thanks for the info.

posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 02:43 PM

Originally posted by forestlady
. . .Where I live, there are still folks who use a plough horse for ploughing. Horses can do double duty and are useful for a number of things.

I'm interested in that. My experience was on large ranches in texas; 500-1000 cattle, etc. The only time I worked with the horses was after spring rains, snowstorm, etc., or when rounding up steers at the end of winter for auction.

But my family and I are becoming more and more interested in subsistence (as oppposed to being survivalists, which is similar). Wife and I have actually talked about chucking the careers and buying a small family farm.

I'd be very interested in any input you have about farming with horses (as opposed to ranching). Plowing, hauling grain and timber, etc.; stuff I've only done with a tractor. It probably belongs in another thread, but I'd be very interested in what your neighbors do.


posted on Nov, 15 2007 @ 10:14 PM

This topic really took off! I wasn't sure what to expect. I am not considering it (on a serious level) but for some reason, bikes slipped my mind.

How quickly we forget; much of my years from about 6-16 were spent "riding around."

However, I would love to see the look on my boss's face while I tied up the horse for the work day. That alone would be priceless to the point that it's almost worth the trouble.

(I swear, I couldn't get fired if I poured gasoline on myself and lit a match. But that's another story...)

I know a guy that knows a guy that is making an alternative fuel for his truck. I don't know much about it but I keep waiting to hear that the guy committed suicide by shooting himself at point blank range three times with a sawed off shotgun.

But seriously, thanks for all the great feed back!

posted on Nov, 18 2007 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

I've never used a plough horse myself, so don't know all that much about it. I do know that it's best if you use a draft horse. Around here, it's mostly Percherons and and a few Clydesdales. Percherons are great horses, very gentle and you can easily ride one bareback because their backs are so wide. And an added beneit, is that you can use their poop for manure, which is an excellent manure. It's very strenous work, though, to plough with a horse, but you'll be in good shape.
I have a Tennessee Walker and they're just absolutely the best all-around horse. The Tennessee Walker was developed right here in the mountains of Tennessee over 150 years ago, and they have been bred to be intelligent, gentle and really great horses in all respects. Don't know if he can pull a plough, but he can do everything else, including pull a wagon or buggy.

posted on Nov, 18 2007 @ 10:41 PM
Not to be an ass (no pun intended) but there is a reason why we went away from horses to cars and motorized vehicles and such. Not because they were cheaper-that has never even been a thought, but because they were faster, more efficiant, more humane and would last longer, but yes more expensive.

Horses are great animals dont get me wrong..they are beautiful creatures but there is a reason why we drive cars and im sure the vast majority of horses are grateful that we do.

posted on Nov, 19 2007 @ 08:48 AM

Originally posted by princeofpeace
Not to be an ass (no pun intended) but there is a reason why we went away from horses to cars and motorized vehicles and such. Not because they were cheaper-that has never even been a thought, but because they were faster, more efficiant, more humane and would last longer, but yes more expensive.

Horses are great animals dont get me wrong..they are beautiful creatures but there is a reason why we drive cars and im sure the vast majority of horses are grateful that we do.

Well statistically that is incorrect most people keep cars for an average of 2-4 years most horse owners kept their horses for 6-10 years

as far as selfish yes that is true most people don't want to care about anything

humanity really has nothing to do with our change to cars as it would be far more humane for horses humans and every other living creature if we weren't polluting the atmosphere day in and day out

as far as cheaper is concerned I don't know if most people realize or not but there are places in this country where cars didn't come along until the late 30's or early 40's cities an towns in Montana Wyoming and such not saying they didn't pass through but there weren't many that did..

The number one reason humans switched to cars is Convenience
same reason we switched to bic lighters same reason we switched to electric stoves and heat convenience maybe even some laziness..


[edit on 11/19/2007 by geocom]

posted on Nov, 19 2007 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by forestlady
Thanks Dr. S. As a side note, where I live, there are still folks who use a plough horse for ploughing. Horses can do double duty and are useful for a number of things.
Interesting about using horses in Afghanistan, I didn't think the military used them any more, but it makes sense in a place like Afghanistan. Thanks for the info.

I thought I would show a picture of some of our special forces on horseback in Afghanistan. Notice how they also grew out their beards.

posted on Nov, 19 2007 @ 04:10 PM
Hi OY6: I'd love to see the picture and thanks for posting it. However, I clicked on it and nothing happened.

posted on Nov, 19 2007 @ 04:13 PM
reply to post by princeofpeace

About it being inhumane to horses: Horses who are bonded with their humans, love to carry them on horseback. Horses also need the exercise. My horse, the one that I ride, misses it and me when we don't ride together. It's his way of being close to me andbecause he's so very intelligent, he needs something to keep his brain occupied, for him that is being ridden.
Now people who don't care for their horse adequately and view it only as transportation, different story, but most people who have horses really love them.

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