The Cost of A Free Horse
Your friend offered you a horse, for free. You are very excited. What could be better?
But what is this really going to set you back? Just feed right?
Before you accept that free horse, or go looking for one that's almost free, you should do a little research. The resources above will give you average horse keeping costs including feed as well as stalling, hoof care, vaccinations and tack. Depending on your choices along the way, that free horse could end up costing you $10,000 a year.
What about buying a trained, healthy, horse with an easy temperament? It could save your life by avoiding a wreck and it will cost the same to keep as that free horse. Your purchase price often doesn't fully cover the cost to get the horse ready for you. From the breeding fees, foaling preparations, feed along the way and training for several years, it adds up pretty fast. And then, there are sometimes injuries with vet fees and certainly annually vaccinations and hoof care every six weeks.
A trained horse brings you many advantages - the ability to grow with you as you improve your skills, breeding geared toward a specific 'job' or set of skills and a managed health history. But the main consideration should be your safety. Choose a horse that is suited for your level of riding and one that is used to the facility you will use. Horses can continue to learn new things, but if you start where they are already comfortable, you will have more success and fewer injuries.