Happy to answer the questions...
Q: When the horse dies, do you eat him?
A: Oddly enough, it's something I've still got to find out about (what exactly to do when a horse dies on the ranch). My assumption is you call the
equine vet and they use a service (for a hefty fee no doubt), but it's something I've really got to find out about and on my list of important things
to learn. I have no plans for eating an animal that was like a friend though.
Q: Where can you ride?
A: Really, just about anywhere though roads and highways are mostly going to be ruled out by states' traffic laws. Besides, there are different
concerns regarding footing and concrete vs. normal places you'd ride. Some common places are established trails, of course at your own ranch or
others' properties, etc. These are the places we ride most, at least.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Can really vary, depending on what you need/want. Grumpy is just a pleasure riding horse, so isn't too much to purchase (around $1000 and up). I
got him for just under $1000. Usually, you can expect to pay around $1000-$3000 for a decent pleasure riding horse (any more than that, and you're
paying for too much horse for that purpose). Grumpy belonged to an elderly woman who is simply reducing her horse population and upkeep. She was very
particular, and she was evaluating us as purchasers as much (if not more) as we evaluated the horse. (She even stated that if for any reason he isn't
a good fit, doesn't get along with the other horses, etc., to bring him back and she'll happily give us the money back, just to be sure he gets the
right home). I love buying from someone like this who loves and cares for her animals.
Racing horses, competition horses (like for jumping or rodeo events), etc. can go for up to tens of thousands to purchase, especially if you're going
to stud them (use them to breed other champions). We're not looking to do any of that, just pleasure riding.
The REAL cost of owning a horse is the upkeep. Along with the initial cost of the horse, there's the largely one-time tack cost (saddle, blanket, bit,
bridle, etc.), but then more as you wear it out (worse for kids, as they'll grow, and need different saddles as they grow). Add another $1000 for all
of that (for us though, we have a tack shop, so we have that, and can get it wholesale).
Usually, there's feed, hay, boarding (which can be around $200-600 a month depending on self-care or full-care), the ferrier (one who shoes the horses
every 6 weeks, around $60 a visit) and vet costs. For us, since we have our own stables and of course, board our own, our maintenance fee is less (no
boarding fee for us). We already have one self-boarder (he cleans his stall, and provides his horse's feed, hay, and other bills, we just give him a
place to keep her), but we're looking to add more (we can stable up to 11 total horses).
As you can see, OWNING the horse is the real expense. BUYING it is really academic. Since we're already caring for a couple of horses already (my
wife's and we do some for our boarder), it's not too much additional cost and imposition to add another. Cleaning a horse stall is actually easier
than cleaning up after my dogs, believe it or not.
I did try a horse once, and woah, I will never go up on a horse again, unfortunately.
Why not? (exactly). If it was uncomfortable, you probably had the wrong size saddle (or horse) or a horse that wasn't good for a beginner rider. There
are a lot of things that could have contributed to a bad experience, and those factors can easily be changed. Personally, I enjoy it. I have had a few
times though, where I got a bad saddle, or too big a horse, etc. and it was uncomfortable.
edit on 27-3-2012 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)