HomeBabysittingOwning a horse; would this be a good plan?
Posted in Babysitting on 25th October 2010

Owning a horse; would this be a good plan?
Okay so first of all I know how to ride (english and western), tack, and groom a horse. I used to do it a lot when I was younger including feeding and mucking stalls too. But I’ll be the first to admit I’m out of practice. Not with riding but actually feeding, tacking, and grooming I’m a little shaky on. I’m sure you’re thinking “How do you not know how to feed??” but I mean like how much and how many times a day (which I know varies by owner). I do know how to groom but cleaning the hooves I used to have a hard time getting the horse to pick their foot up. And I remember how to tack but I’d want someone there the first time.

My friend is selling their horse, but maybe only temporarily. Like for the summer. Which would work out well for me because I’m an out of state student.

We’re considering this; she will lend me tack, grooming tools, and her horse for the summer. She wants to move out and cannot keep her horse if she does. Well she doesn’t want to lose her horse if it turns out living on her own won’t work.

So we came up with me maybe “baby-sitting” her horse. Since I couldn’t keep her on my property I would need to board. That’s not a big deal because you can board them a 5 minute walk away. It’s a completely self care facility. They offer barn stables for 119/month or a corral for less a month (but with a CA summer I think barn would be best right?). I would also need to pay for hay- how much would that be about?

Anyway at the end of the summer I need to go back to school so I couldn’t be a permanent owner. At 20 years old with a high school education moving out often doesn’t work out- so if it didn’t I would give her her horse back (after the summer is over). And if it does she will find a permanent buyer, with this horse it wouldn’t be hard.

She would tell me her feeding, like what she does so I would fallow her schedule.

Does this seem like a good plan or a bad plan- and why?

Thanks!
What exactly is leasing?

-This is a horse that I’ve ridden in the past so I know how she is, also my friend would still be living in the same town. She knows that no matter what this won’t be a permanent arrangement

-I’ll consider the cost- I knew that cost of food wasn’t included but I didn’t think of the veterinary costs since it would only be a few months.

Best answer(s):

Answer by britjayhawk0405
This could be a good plan, and a good way to get experience, but you do have to think about a few things.

The first is, how do you plan to pay for the horse?
Board may be $ 119, but often self-care board does not include feed, hay, or bedding (if the horse is stalled). Depending on prices in your area and how your friend advises you to feed the horse, you could also end up spending $ 60-$ 120 a month on grain and $ 50-$ 100 on hay (a stalled horse will need more hay than one that is turned out, unless the corrals are barren). If the horse is stalled, it is likely a self-care plan will require you to buy bedding as well- I’d estimate this cost at about $ 75 a month.
Additionally, you will have to provide for veterinary and farrier care for the horse. Probably it will not require any shots during the summer (usually shots are in the spring and fall), but you need to have at least $ 500 (preferably much more) set aside for veterinary emergencies. If you had the horse for 3 months, it would have to see the farrier once or twice (hooves need trimmed and shoes replaced every 6-8 weeks), which will probably cost $ 50+ for a visit if the horse just needs a trim, and around $ 150+ for shoes.
You will also have to worm the horse once or twice during the time your friend is gone- this cost is usually small (around $ 5-$ 10 for a tube of wormer), but the important thing is that it is done, and that the active ingredients in the wormer are not the same both time.
The horse may also require supplements, particularly if the area you live in is sandy- this is to prevent them from getting sand colic. These supplements could cost anywhere from $ 12.50 a month to over $ 100 a month, depending on what the horse needs and how much of it.

If you can cover all those financial costs, here is another think to think about: what if your friend decides that living on her own is alright and she won’t be taking the horse back? Do you have a plan (and the finances) to keep the horse then? You could also run into legal trouble in this area, so make sure to get all the details of your arrangement in writing so that down the road there are no “misunderstandings.”

I’d also want to be sure that you are familiar with and comfortable with the routine before she leaves and you are left in full care of the horse. Maybe for two weeks or a month before she moves out, you can assume responsibility for the horse under her supervision? This way, she can be sure to tel you what you are doing right and wrong, and you can get to learn more about the horse and what is and isn’t normal for him before it is all up to you to decide.

Another thing to think about is if your friend’s horse is really right for you. He may be convenient, but is he safe for someone with a lower level of horse experience, or does he require a very knowledgeable handler/rider? Does he have a lot of medical problems you will have to manage? Does he know how to do all the things you expect him to know (or want to be able to do) while riding him? Does he have a lot of bad habits? Or is he a calm and kindly old schoolmaster who will be patient with you while you figure things out.
If he is not a horse you are totally comfortable with handling and riding on your own, I cannot stress this enough- DO NOT get into the “baby-sitting” arrangement with your friend. You may gain experience, but they may not be experiences you like. It would be far safer in this occasion to find someone who will lease you a more patient, older horse- after all, the arrangement you are describing with your friend is basically a free lease.

Those are just some things to think about.

As far as the boarding situation, provided the corrals have good access to shade and water, it is in most cases far better to have a horse turned out all day than kept in the barn all day. With enough water (and maybe a UV fly sheet to deflect the sun’s rays), and some fly spray, they will be more than happy to be outside where they can move around.

ADD: Leasing is one of two things: half-leases means you share the horse with someone else. You pay for approximately half of the total monthly expenses or for certain portions of the care (such as vet and board, etc.). In return, you get to ride the horse a certain number of days/hours per week (which will vary depending on the agreement with the horse’s owner). The other days typically the owner or another leasee will ride. In a full lease you are responsible for all the horses’ care and expenses in addition to a monthly/yearly lease fee, but can ride whenever you like. It is a way of taking care of and keeping a horse, but you do not actually own it and major medical/training decisions will still be in the hands of the owner. You can make teh lease period anywhere from a month to a year or more, so it is a great way to get a feel for horse ownership without making the commitment of purchasing a horse. Basically, the “baby-sitting” arrangement with your friend is a free full lease (you’re paying the horse’s expenses but not an additional leasing fee).

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