I hope this helps you to figure things out
its a horse expense calculator.
You will need to look at your riding skill, IF you want a horse for children and DH to ride, as well as one for yourself.
You need to look at what you want to do with a horse, and what decision you will make IF that horse turns out to NOT be what you are looking for.
Or if your plans fall through... what if you end up with an expensive pasture pet?
You need to locate a source of hay that is guaranteed, you may need to pay up front, for ALL of it. If you don't have space to store it, you may need to pay
Also you need to be educated on what hay has the best Daily Nutritional Value, if you purchase 1st crop, not alfalfa, how long will it retain 100% of its daily nutritional value?
In CA, where I got my hands on education, alfalfa was the best as it maintained the highest at 70% by the next year. Orchard/volunteer grass was the worst with 40-50% left by the next year, when they start to cut again.
Does your area have a high West Nile Virus rate? Or other prevalent diseases like Potomac Horse fever, alot of things are carried by insect, bird or airborne.
You need to look if you CAN simply feed pasture a good portion of the year. A client of mine fenced of two sections of an old hay/corn field, there is very little for the horses to eat out there.
If you don't walk the pasture, you can't see the large sparse grassy areas, and sandy loam. IF you simply stare at it, you see a fairly green field.
Can you afford to cross fence, to rotate your pastures, to seed and fertilize your fields.
Do you understand about sugars in the grass in pastures in the spring and fall and the risk of founder in horses. (just published in horse magazines this last year but folks are aware of it)
Are you aware of weeds, plants, trees that are introduced or are native and that can seriously harm horses?
Can you see the warning signs of founder or laminitis in a horse?
These things take time to learn, and having a mentor IN your area, close to you. I have been lucky enough to have a few and I am still learning.
I am 41 and am learning thing daily.
My same client had weeds growing and some grass growing in his pastures and he couldn't understand why his horses were not eating the grass and the weeds...
The weeds needed to be mowed down, and horses will generally NOT eat where they poop and pee.
I have told him he needs to drag the pasture to break up the poop piles and to mow the grassy areas where they poop and pee.
A simple way of dragging, a bit of chain link fence, with bricks on it, burned out mattress springs with weights or bricks on them...
He got an arena drag... it just doesn't do the trick.
Little things, that can add up.
Don't rely existing fencing, or electric only, try to replace barb wire, put GOOD t-post caps on your t-posts. My client cheaped out and got little sleeves for the tops of his t-posts. The horses LOVE to pull them off.
Be aware of prevailing winds if you get snow/ice... another rookie mistake, creating a run in shed that gets snow in it ALOT due to facing into prevailing winds.
1- research feeds, hay, pasture rotation and other pasture management
2- find the best hay you can afford, and have a guaranteed source, many people are now looking because the farmer neighbor ran out, over sold, or had too little to put up FOR sale, or had to hold out for his own animals.
3- get a local mentor
4- try to go with a free lease situation or a rescue (reputable one), so that if something happens and it doesn't work out, you aren't out a lot of money, you know the horse will go back to a safe and caring home ( a good rescue maintains ownership of their horses and you may have to submit a health report by a vet every year).
5- don't assume, you were young when you fed/worked/rode horses when you were in college. Times change and lots of little things you didn't know about can become major things when owning a horse the first time. (Another client didn't know how to worm her horses- she could worm goats, pigs and cows, because those are mostly feed through wormers).
6- set a budget for horse, tack , feed, vet, farrier, if you can't maintain that money set aside for so many months (a set amount of time), if you have to borrow from it to pay for something.. you aren't ready for horses.
I hope this helps.
*Owned by DH 's horse, unbroke mare, my mare, and 2 ponies- doing self care of them all with limited space for hay, and they are NOT at home...