Today I will tackle the last topic on my list of “Top Five” things you need to be a backyard horse owner. The first four were knowledge, skills, facilities and equipment. The last is income.
Let me state the obvious. Horses are expensive. Interesting though, almost half of horse owners in the US are not what most would consider to be rich. According to the American Horse Publications 2018 Equine Industry Survey, 43 percent of the 9,000 survey participant horse-owners (backyard and otherwise) from across the country reported a before tax income of less than $75,000. I live in the income region that reported the highest concentration of owners with an income under $50,000.
My own household income hovers in the lower middle-class to typical middle-class income range for the Midwest region. It has been very difficult to sustain my horse life in that income range over almost two decades. All I can say is that if you have a similar income level and you want to keep horses at home, you will need to make sacrifices in other areas of your life. Family support or at least tolerance of your horse lifestyle will be part of this. Keeping horses in your backyard will impact anyone who you live with as you will be spending household money and tons of time on your horses.
If income is an issue for you, I highly recommend having a strong financial plan including a monthly budget and an emergency fund. Being organized and thinking ahead regarding income and expenses is required. Below I have listed links to charts that show potential horse expense categories for horse owners (not necessarily backyard owners though). Keep in mind that prices vary A LOT by region (and country- the third chart lists Canadian price examples from 2013). Use the links below to give you an idea of the expenses you may need to account for depending upon your horse keeping set up and activities. I found these links while doing a quick internet search on the subject, but I wouldn’t mind finding more. If you have a favorite budget chart that you’d like to share, please list it in the comments section.
Due to my budget constraints, how long I can sustain this lifestyle is always at the back of my mind. In a future post, I will explore having a plan for your horses’ future in the event you can no longer care for them, including an after-your-death plan. It is not the cheeriest of topics, but as I mention in my blog intro page, horse-keeping isn’t all butterflies and sunshine. Remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Appreciate and enjoy the horses in your life today!