Well, after the last three days of trying out this cute draft cross that turned out to be lame, I have been thinking good and hard about a horse for me.
I’ve said multiple times over the course of the last 5-6 months of horse shopping that I was going to hold off on getting a horse – mostly driven by the fact that I had barely any money and couldn’t find a good horse that I could afford and use for what I wanted to use.
I’m still in that same boat and after returning this gelding last night I really took a good long look at things and really looked hard at horse ads for my immediate area. The VAST majority of horses in my area sell between $12,000 and all the way up to $75,000… with many many many priced around $30,000… and these are average horses for around here.
“Average” around here means a solid, well bred warmblood or exceptional thoroughbred and “average” for showing means the A circuit. B circuit horses usually fetch around $10- $15,000 for a good one.
And here I am still thinking on my “pennsylvania budget” terms of $2000.
In that price around here, truly, all you can find are either total greenies, unbroke 2 year olds or young racehorses or broke down lame trail horses. I *could* buy a slighly older (like 7-10ish) horse in that price range that is sound – but whenever I run across those kinds of ads- the horse has never been ridden. I have no intentions of purchasing an untrained, unridden 10 year old horse – even if it is sound and in my price range.
From the start, my trainer, fellow riders, and other horse people I know said that my criteria – a sound gelding that is at least broke on the flat is a $5,000 base price. I’ve been adamantely resistant to that, and do not have that kind of money. I have spent the last half a year trying to find a horse for less than $2,000 that’s reasonably well trained and quiet and sound enough to ride consistently in an arena and jump. I’ve failed repeatedly, and I think this final straw has put me over the edge.
I’ve wasted my time, my money, my trainer’s time, my husband’s time, and a lot of gas, too driving back and forth between Illinois & Wisconsin on a horse that I thought was going to work. By god! I thought I found a $500 gem that just needed a refresher. No, what he needs is a trail home.
Now I’m out $370 on a horse I didn’t even buy – that’s right $370… between board for 3 days, a training ride from my instructor, a veterinary pre-purchase, gasoline, and a farrier bill – because I was so confident the horse would work I had his over grown feet trimmed. All lost on a horse that was lame and I did not buy.
So now I feel I am back to square one – back to the same boat I knew I was in back in Feb/Mar when this began…
If my trainer finds me a horse, that’s a 30% finders fee… so…. say I magically come up with $5,000… that will NOT buy me a $5,000 horse.. nope.. that will buy me a $3,000 horse, which is also impossible to find to meet my criteria.
See… $3,000 for the horse + $900 finders fee= $3900 for a horse + $150 to $200 vet exam + boarding fees during trial period + training ride + lesson + first month’s board if I keep the horse = about $4800 invested inside of 7 days on a horse that cost $3000 to buy.
Do that math with a $5000 horse and I need $6,200 to purchase the horse. I currenlty have about 1/4 that amount of money. After nearly a year of saving. I first started putting money away back in December. So, 8 months of saving and I have no where near half of what I would need to buy a good horse.
So I need to keep saving. and saving and saving… but that leaves me in the other boat, doesn’t it? If I take lessons every week, I lose $200 a month in savings that could go towards another horse I don’t buy. So do I not ride AT ALL in order to save for the next 2-3 years to get up $6000…? Or do I ride once a week on a school horse and have it take me about 4-5 years to save up $6000.
I’m not exaggerating either on how long it will take to save that kind of money. Short of winning the lottery, writing the great American novel, or getting some inheritence from a rich uncle I didn’t even know I had, it will take me about 3 years without any lessons at all to save up to $6,000.
By 2013 when I have the money to buy a basic horse – the prices will probably have doubled.
What to do what to do what to do….
One thing I know for absolute certainty is that as of right now my horse searching is DONE. FINITO. ENDED. OVER. CEASED. NADA. ZIP. ZERO. ZILCH.
I’m just now sure about my riding lessons, is all.. I really want to ride, but I also very much want to save my money to get a horse someday again.
choices, choices, choices….