Thursday, December 15, 2016


I read about a location bloghop over at a Journey With a Dancing Horse and since I am having so much trouble writing anything these days, I thought I would join in because the only cure for not writing is to write anything.  Right?

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.

Farrier care:
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.

Riding Demographics:

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.


  1. Interesting how similar we are. I'm thinking that you need to move to a more temperate zone though. We always need med techs in Canada. ( if I remember accurately what you do).

  2. Costs vary greatly when you consider the feed, place of residence, and all of those other factors. No grain for my crew unless they are a hard keeper. I do have one of those so her upkeep is adjusted for that.
    My biggest concern is the fencing upkeep for a large wooded area. Riding is done locally or we can trailer to state parks.
    Good post.

  3. Having horses, I cannot tell you how many people have uttered "I want to get a horse for my kid" to me. And, to this date, I don't think any one of those people who said that actually got a horse after talking to me. The standard line is "my so and so has some land" and they want to put a horse out on it.

    So I start by talking about fencing, shelter, hay and feed. Because they all think the domesticated horse can only live by grazing. Then I go into talking about a truck and trailer. Because we all know that you might have to load up at 10 PM and ride one around in the trailer hoping to poop out it's tummy ache. Or heaven forbid drive 1 hour to the Equine Clinic because your horse kicked thru the back side of something and nearly cut her stupid foot off.

    And when I talk about said horse who then had to have 3 operations and not only was the cost of the horse about the cost of a small car. Now we have vet bills that could have bought a new luxury vehicle involved.

    My trainer is $750 a month if they are at his place. Or $40 an hour. We feed $12 a day in crimped oats and crimped oats with molasses a day.

    We have our own hay field and cut another hay field that we had round baled. So actually have 3 tractors, a hay cutter, a fluffer, a square baler. And my husband trades out work to the neighbors to round bale that other field.

    And everytime my Farrier pulls into our drive way which is every six weeks we hand him $285.

    Yup, you can say...........owning horses is not for the faint of heart or those folks thinking it's a cheap hobby(habit).

    Merry Christmas.
    Ramona from Mississippi

  4. I will agree to send you a couple weeks of our bright December sunshine, if you will agree to send me a couple weeks of your gorgeous Spring of Fall weather----preferably send in August-------don't we wish.

  5. The weather here does NOT SUCK. We have a great spring, usually only a couple of weeks of very hot and humid weather in the summer, sometimes even less, and fall is also great. Winter is not that bad either. We don't usually get a super huge amount of snow, and we usually only have a short period of way below zero. Anyway, Maremmas LOVE snow! We don't have much in the way of earthquakes, tornados, wild fires, hurricanes, and the countryside is beautiful. Land is pretty reasonable too, probably averaging $1,000.00 an acre or less.