Most things in this sport are for the rich. I hear that over and over. And I think it’s a load of crap.
Not saying I am poor or have any desire to struggle—however, the richest people in life I have met just know how to budget well and work hard.
Maybe this is what you’re doing wrong then with your horse ownership mind-set in 2020.
For riders of any level, there are a plethora of free horses to find, free leases, and inexpensive horses out there that need love. I want to share some information if you’re interested in how to save and give back to a horse that needs it.
Find a trainer you trust in the area and talk to them about cost.
Explain to them your budget and team up with them for the first few months. They may have a great opportunity at their barn for you to ‘free lease’ or take lessons on for an affordable price. Local trainers also can help you find a horse and often for a minimal fee.
Sometimes farms have lesson horses, or several horses that are not getting work and they can work out a half lease with you. A half lease is great because you can schedule the days you ride, and be super organized, and still get to have some more control of riding situation. I found a really great Warmblood sport horse by half leasing him first.
If you are a novice level or beginner please seek help with training a fixer upper type horse. No reason to get hurt just to save a buck. In the long term your medical costs you’ve paid due to an injury far outweighs what you could have paid upfront.
Check on Facebook OTTB Groups. OTTB stands for Off the Track Thoroughbred. Some of these horses have never even raced. When you check the ads look for never raced or quiet listings.
Sometimes, war horses are even available. These are horses that have more races under their belt. There is a common misconception about these horses. They are often sturdier than some because they have survived this long in s tough sport (racing). And their temperaments are usually professional and loyal. I have found many great horses that had 45+ starts. Many say that these horses have weaknesses and prior injuries. Like any horse that’s yours, please get them properly vetted before you buy. Unless of course they are less than $1k or free.
I have had success sometimes creating my own ad on Facebook or online groups to find what you’re looking for. Many horses out there just need rehoming and you will be helping an animal find a loving home after a working life as a sport horse, if you get hooked up with an OTTB.
I really like the Central Florida OTTB Group. I found my current mount there and love his heart and disposition with my children.
If you search in any of these groups you can find free leases, which essentially is the horse’s cost of Board and medical expenses monthly. Also farrier fees are often your responsibility. So essentially this is a free horse but you have to take care of the bills.
Monthly horse board can be cut down without the barn being a total dump if you shop around. There are often lower cost barns that put the horses out overnight or more time and charge less money if you take care of your own stall and feed. Watch this because often the feed and hay bill can surpass the monthly bill of all inclusive care.
I chose the all inclusive route because I compete my horse and he gets more feed than normal. My board, feed and other care for the horse is $385 a month. He gets his feet trimmed every 5 weeks at $35. Insurance is through a local horse carrier and is $185 every 3 months. This covers all medical and colic surgery up to $20k with a $450 deductible.
Local schooling shows in the eventing discipline are around $200-300 a weekend at the Florida Horse Park. These shows are called Partners of the Park or POP shows. You can do a combined training and ride dressage and jumping or do a traditional three day event and ride all three, cross-country, show jumping and dressage. Just cross-country schooling and jumping schooling also available. I really enjoy taking the young OTTB’s here for training.
Another idea for owning horses affordably is to keep them on your own property. This is only if you already have this. As horse property in Florida these days is incredibly expensive and pretty hard to find.
Things to think about when buying for the first time or leasing is a pre-purchase exam by the vet? Is this really necessary? It is depending on the cost of the horse. Anything over $1000 I usually get a basic PPE done on the horse. They run around $300-400. No X-rays needed unless you are buying something $5k and up.
Another initial cost is trailer fees to get the horse to your barn the first time. Also teeth floating and initial feet care may need to happen. Having $500 saved up is a must for the initial month to make sure you have all the supplies you need and medical care horse.
Inexpensive supplies can be found online now anywhere. Our store alone has products you can purchase for more than 50% off normal price. With the retail apocalypse happening in full force, Google your product that you need and shop around. We will beat any pricing that you find from anywhere. Especially Dover.
Thanks for listening and good luck finding your perfect mount!