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vaccination schedule should be discussed with your veterinarian for annual core vaccines and others which will depend on your horse’s individual needs and infection control measures recommended for your area. Your horse may require medication or supplements.

Unexpected Costs As a horse owner, you must expect unexpected costs. Your horse does not know when the next pay day is, or whether you’re planning your next vacation. The horse may need immediate veterinarian care, board might increase or the price of hay may suddenly skyrocket. The average horse owner should have a plan to deal with unexpected costs. Common health problems, such as colic, can leave you with thousands of dollars in vet bills. Even relatively minor health problems can become costly. The price of vet visits, medical supplies and care quickly add up. It is important to always have a plan to deal with unforeseen costs. You might consider creating a horse specific savings account, or purchasing equine insurance.

issue 2-2014 | www.horsecountry.ca

Human Costs

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While it is entirely possible to pay only horse-related expenses; if you intend to ride or drive your horse, there will be costs to the human, too. Appropriate clothing is a must to stay safe around the barn. You will need a helmet, gloves, breeches or jeans and a boot or shoe with a low wedge heel. While you don’t need to buy expensive items, safety is a must. You will likely require lessons to learn how to properly ride and/or drive and handle your horse. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 dollars a lesson. If you are planning on showing your horse, be prepared to get out your cheque book. At the introductory levels, a schooling show will cost about $200 when you add up trailer, coaching, office and class fees. Show fees increase as one moves up through the levels.

More than Money Horses take a toll on more than just your wallet; you will need to invest emotional and physical resources, as well as your time. Driving to the barn, grooming and working your horse can require upwards of two hours each time.

For most horse owners this is a three to six day a week commitment. Are you capable of staying up all night with a sick horse, or are you willing to pay somebody else to take on that responsibility? If you get injured by your horse, can you afford to take time off work to heal? Could you handle choosing between an expensive surgery or euthanasia if the situation arises? Horse owners often have to make tough decisions that impact more than their bank account.

The Bottom Line As you can see, the cost of horse ownership has a number of variables. Remember that while you don’t need to buy the trendiest, most expensive products or services, you do have a responsibility to provide your horse with a safe and healthy environment. What works for one horse and owner may not work for another, and the rules of horse ownership are not set in stone. Working with horses can be very rewarding building athleticism, co-ordination, dedication, and many life skills - but before deciding your level of involvement, it is important to plan a realistic long-term budget for time and finances. c To learn more about the cost of horse ownership, please take a look at Equine Guelph’s ‘Cost of Horse Ownership’ chart, which will outline necessary purchases and their average cost. You can also view their ‘The Real Cost of Horse Ownership” video, where real horse owners’ talk about their experiences. Sign up for their free e-newsletter at EquineGuelph.ca which will deliver monthly welfare tips throughout 2014 and announce tools to aid all horse owners in carrying out their ‘Full-Circle-Responsibility’ to our beloved horses. Visit Equine Guelph’s Welfare Education page for more information www.equineguelph.ca/education/welfare.php

Profile for Linda Hazelwood

Horse country 2 2014 digital  

The collector's copy. The last issue of Horse Country published by Linda Hazelwood - the magazine will still continue but under a new owner....

Horse country 2 2014 digital  

The collector's copy. The last issue of Horse Country published by Linda Hazelwood - the magazine will still continue but under a new owner....

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