Cost of keeping a horse (or donkey):
Hay is mixed meadow grass and costs $2.50 - $4.00 per small bale, generally 20-30 pounds. Round bales are going for $30-40 per bale. I've been paying $3.50/bale for the past few years. This year was a great year for making hay in this area so I could have bought hay out of the field for $2.50/bale. However, since I had surgery this summer and could not handle hay, I ended up paying $4/bale, but it was delivered and and stacked, which was quite a novelty for me.
I know this may sound cheap for a lot of areas, but this is a deeply depressed economic area and these figures are a substantial increase from just a few years ago. The cost of owning horses in this area is rising at an alarming rate given how poor the rest of the local economy is.
Boarding: I don't have much current experience with this, but would say prices range from $150 - $500 per month depending on facilities.
I do my own farrier work and work on a few other horses. The cost of local farrier care is generally around $30 for a trim and $50-80 for a pair of shoes. This varies a lot depending on who is doing the work and on who is paying the bill. There are a lot of re.
Property: This has been all over the place and prices still vary a great deal. There was a huge land rush a few years back when everyone thought that hydraulic fracking for natural gas was going to happen here. Land prices shot way up, then the bottom fell out. Prices are back down, but have not really stabilized yet.
Lessons: I have no idea. I would guess $30-70/hour depending on the facility/discipline.
Feed: Donkeys and FAT horses don't get grain, much to their dismay. I do feed small amounts of hay pellets with their vitamins and a bag of timothy pellets is about $17.
Vet bills have skyrocketed in recent years. It is also hard to get vets to come to this area. They all travel at least an hour to get here and are often unavailable. I do most of my own vet care, but I always have someone come out at least once a year to retain my client status with them as they won't come out at all if you're not a client. Since I can't rely on any one of them, I alternate between the vets who are willing to come here.
The weather sucks.
OK, OK, I will try to be objective about this and I will state, for the record, that my current opinion may be influenced by WEEKS of dark, dismal, grey bleakness that is steadily progressing into a cold, snowy, harsh winter and it is only December.
So yeah, the weather sucks.
The weather is the thing I find the most difficult to deal with. The summers are hot, humid and buggy. The winters are harsh and particularly brutal here on Hellwind Hill, because - HELLWIND + lots of snow + more wind + arctic cold + even more wind. Need I say more?
We generally get a couple of glorious weeks in the Spring and early Fall.
It is mainly trail riding in the immediate area and there are a lot of great trails as long as you don't mind rough terrain and doing some bushwhacking. Drive 1.5 - 2 hours in any direction and you will find whatever riding endeavor you want.
Tack shops are few and far between. Online shopping is the best bet.
Donkeys are rather few and far between. We make things up as we go.