I live in a moderately priced area of the state so compared to the coast, board is relatively cheap. The flip side of that particular coin is that I pay a higher board bill than most other local riders as my arrangement is a bit of a boutique barn. My total cost for board, feed, and bedding for my two ponies ran $6,150 for 2012.
Most farriers in California charge a similar rate. Rural farriers probably charge less while farriers in the largest metropolitan areas can charge more. There's also the issue of quality; the brand new guys and the flaky guys charge less while farriers like my own, AFA Certified, can charge a bit more. I keep shoes all the way around both my boys and like them done every five to six weeks; their healthy growth warrants the quick turn around. My horses were shod nine times during 2012 which cost me $1,980.
My horse trailer will be completely paid for in three months; I can't wait. The horse trailer payment warrants it's own blog post which I'll write as a celebratory post once I make the final payment. For 2012, I made 12 payments of $350 each and paid for several repairs. The total was $4,430.94.
I took a lot of lessons, at least 55, during 2012. Most were with my trainer, but a few were with clinicians. I think this is one spending area where the benefit seems worth far more than the actual cost. The total I spent on lessons was $1,935.
I went to eleven shows in 2012, three of which were two-day shows which sport a pretty steep price tag. I also took my boys to two ride-a-test events which are similar to schooling shows. I also paid for my memberships to USEF and CDS/USDF. I spent $2,166 on show fees and memberships this year.
Like everyone else, I love to buy new tack or other barn stuff. I try to keep it to a minimum, but I still spent quite a lot this year on fly sprays, breeches, and other items. Thank goodness I don't have a tack store anywhere within a hundred miles. As it is, I spent $1,051.56 on a variety of tack and gear items.
Thankfully, my truck has been all mine for many years, which means no payments. I only use the truck to pull my trailer or to pick up heavy loads like cubes or bedding pellets. Half of what I spent on the truck was for new tires, registration, smog certification, and oil changes. The other half was for gas to and from shows. The total spent on my truck in 2012 was $2,209.79.
My vet bills were much lower this year than in 2011. Speedy had a nasty bug last year that cost more than $900 alone. My whole bill for 2012 was only $1,177.13 which included dental work, vaccinations, dewormers, four eggs per gram tests, a chiropractic visit for each horse, some Banamine, and a little Fluphenazine. Not too bad for two horses!
I suspected that my annual expenditures would be close to $25,000. I am glad I was wrong. Keeping such meticulous track of my spending helped me spend less.
Reporting it so publicly also helped me spend less. It's really hard to justify spending more than $20,000 on a hobby when some families are struggling to survive on less than that. As I would think about buying this or that, I would think to myself, I am going to have to report that, and I've already spent such and such amount. How greedy do I need to be?
I won't be repeating this series next year. I think it has been a valuable exercise and the information I gathered will certainly help guide me in making smart choices this year. These last few months especially have shown me that I can show restraint; I don't have to buy myself every little (or big) thing that crosses my path.
Here's to a year of self-control, continued moderation, and gratefulness for the life I get to lead. And ponies, keep your shoes on, and please stay healthy!