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Posted: 1/29/2006 7:17:48 PM EDT
I have been riding for a couple of months and have a few friends with horses and was thinking about getting one of my own. I have an attraction to the Belgian draft horses. Can anyone tell me what I'd be getting myself into? Any personal experience with that breed? Am I crazy?

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:23:24 PM EDT
Can you afford the Vet bill for a sick horse, if you can't then don't get one.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:25:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:31:47 PM EDT
Get a mule. Smarter and tougher.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:32:10 PM EDT
There was a guy in Oregon who died cause of a horse.
Remember, always ride the horse, never let the horse ride you.

Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:33:02 PM EDT
hay burner
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:41:41 PM EDT
Horses are far more expensive than BRD unless you are talking NFA. How much pasture do you have?

SRM
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:43:33 PM EDT
I've been wanting to ride for 5 years prior so its not something that has gone away. If I get one I am planning to have it stabled at one of the places in the area. I haven't investigated the idea too much thought I know there are alot of options.

Mjohn3006 doesn't want a dog in the apartment. But I don't think he'll mind a horse kept somewhere else.

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 7:51:39 PM EDT
You are getting a Belgian for riding?
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:03:33 PM EDT
Buy a well-bred, fully trained horse, 5-7 years old. This will cost quite a bit, $5-10K at least in my neighborhood, can be much more, but compared to the costs of feed, stable, vet, ferrier, tack, and the time you'll be investing, it's NOTHING.

A nag that's good for nothing costs just as much in the long run.

I've fixed problem horses, horses that lacked training, or that had foundered, or had footrot or bad habits or temperments, it can be done, you can save some money, but it doesn't amount to much because the costs of ownership leave the purchase price far behind really fast. Free horses and really cheap horses are a gamble at best, and it takes a practiced eye to tell rough from worthless.

There's no point investing time and money in a horse that isn't put together right to begin with, is old, etc. And that's 80% of the species.

Find somebody you can trust who knows horseflesh, who doesn't know the sellers, to evaluate any potential mount. Hang out at horsey events, get to know the people, best bets are horses owned by young girls who've done the shows, dressage, 4H, etc. and are now going off to college.

Working horses that are worth anything rarely come up for sale.

Sometimes you can find ex-racehorses cheap, that're still in good shape, just too old to race (which isn't too old for anything else) and not perfect enough to breed, or gelded. They will need retraining but can be worth it.

Don't recommend a draft horse unless you've got work for it to do, I know a guy who logs with a team, and they're great, but only if they're earning their keep.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:22:45 PM EDT
a 1000 rounds blown off every week for a year is cheaper and you won't get bit or kicked...
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:41:31 PM EDT
My mother and I grew up with Belgins. Grandpa would get them from the coal mine as they got older. Not good enough to pull rail cars but plenty good to use around a farm. Grandpa didnt' buy his first tractor untill well into the sixties. As a work horse they are great, but as a rider you can find a better one. Yes we rode them, but finding tack for them was impossible except for work gear. We would get them close to a fence or tree, or whatever was handy to climb on. No saddle, no bridle, just climb on and grab a hand full of mane and go. They had become very tame so this was possible. Some were not so tame, infact they became mean as hell. You can find a much better horse, a morgan quarter mix is a much better rider. A draft horse is like a football lineman, no glory, not flashy, not fast, but when time comes for heavy stuff there is no equal. As it has been stated here before, make sure you can afford to take care of a horse. It is like a boat, A hole in the middle of water that you shovel money into.
Link Posted: 1/29/2006 8:55:28 PM EDT
It's probably better if you just hang out with someone who has a horse.....unless you enjoy tossing your money into obvivion.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 3:40:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Redcap:
Get a mule. Smarter and tougher.



And a big ol' hat like Festus!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 4:14:01 AM EDT
If you plan on keeping the horse at your place, which apparently you do not, a rough estimate of yearly cost is about 2k, excluding any major vet bills.

I love Belgians, and they generally are great riders, but I would not advise getting one for your first and/or only horse.

Belgians or any warm blood or hot blood such as a Thoroughbreed, will eat roughly twice as much as your standard Quarter Horse/ Appy/ Paint etc.

Belgians require a draft horse farrier, as most farriers prefer not to work on drafts.

Belgians, as mentioned earlier, can be difficult to find "off the shelf" tack for.

Depending on your location, you will find "full board" costs ranging from $250 to $500 or $600 and up, per month, excluding of course vet and farrier work.

You'd want to plan another $300 to $500 for typical vet work per year, unless you have really crappy luck and are hit with injuries or other medical problems, then the skies the limit.

Farrier work for a draft, assuming you shoe it, will roughly run you $100 to $150 every 6 to 8 weeks.

For your first horse, I would recommend a Quarter Horse/App/Paint, even an Arab, anywhere from 8 to 20 years old, well broke, safe, sound, and most of all SANE.

You should be able to pick up a decent mount for $800 to $2000. At this point you don't need a well trained horse in a particular discipline, just a good solid trail mount. If you desire to get into a specific discipline you can later upgrade to a more well trained horse.

I would HIGHLY recommend a horse if you have the resources and interest.

There are endless avenues you can take with horses from simple trail riding to western events such as roping/penning/cutting/reigning/gymkhana etc., or english stuff like jumping/eventing/dressage etc.

Go for it.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 4:17:45 AM EDT
I was offered 2 free horses yesterday, no thanks.

Did you know 3 horses will eat over 7 tons of hay in 3 months? No grass in winter, ya gotta hay those nags.

Are you equipped to buy, transport, store and feed 14,000 lbs of hay every 3 months during the winter?

And you will need tack, a trailer, a truck to pull the trailer, a bigger trailer, a bigger truck..............
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 4:36:43 AM EDT
Buy a 4-wheeler.
Having said that, I AGREE with the previous poster who said take your time and get someone you can trust to help you.90% of the horse for sale are for sale for a reason,and ain't fit to own.
Wife bought our first 20 years ago,from a going-out-of business riding lesson/threapeutic riding outfit.Rock solid Arabian mare.No ball of fire,but absolutely steady,under all circumstances.Rides Western,English,anything.Totally bombproof.Even started our kids on her.She finally up and died a year ago.We've fooled with quite a few others since,a few out of that old mare.Some decent,some crazy.Best to spend the $$$ upfront,than try to fix a problem horse yourself.We've got a 10 month old paint colt that we've been working with for the last few months,and it's a HUGE investment of time and energy.He had never been handled when we got him.Literally,never touched until loaded on the trailer.
Just fill your need by hitting a rental outfit whenver you need to ride.Way cheaper in the long run.Lots of expenses.If the wife and kids weren't so into them.......
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 5:06:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 5:09:26 AM EDT by AZ_newguy]
A horse will eat one to two percent of body weight every day. It will also process that food and poop it out, every day. It will require shoeing or trimming every 6-9 weeks, depending on the type of terrain you ride. You should size the horse to you. I know plenty of folks who buy a big horse and can't mount up without a block or boost. Not good if you drop something on the trail and need to pick it up.

Count on a vet bill of $100 -$300 per year for preventive care. Learn about equine nutrition, medical care, herd dynamics, and GOOD SAFETY HABITS. The easiest way is to hookup with experienced people.

Bottom line: If you have the time and money, having a horse can be very rewarding.

Here's a pic of me, JD, and Pedro the burro. Pedro is in training for pack duty. That picture was taken this week at the Salt River in Arizona.


Yee Ha,
Mike

on edit: they are enjoying their time off in my avatar.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 5:19:29 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 5:31:23 AM EDT by Cixelsyd]
My wife has a horse business(English Lessons and horse training). We have 13 of our own and board another 5 here on the farm. One is off on a Lease.

On our farm, besides the cost of the horse itself you'll have other stuff to take care of. Unless it's covered in your boarding agreement (Full board) you'll be responsible for hay or grain. Farrier, vet, and training/lessons are extra. Tack is all up to you.

They can be quite expensive. A good thing about them is that when my wife ever looks at the money I spend on guns, I can always point out to the barn. That usually takes care of it REAL fast.

CHRIS

ETA: Belgians, we boarded 4 of them a few years ago. Their owners came out maybe twice a month to see them. The only activity they were getting was the daily turn-out that we were responsible for. They started getting unruly and dangerous to work with. Had to finally evict them as the owners didn't seem to care. Those guys needed to do more than just stand around in the pasture all day.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:54:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 80FL:
If you plan on keeping the horse at your place, which apparently you do not, a rough estimate of yearly cost is about 2k, excluding any major vet bills.
.



In my experience you have left out a zero.

$20k a year is a more reasonable estimate.

rj
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 6:56:39 AM EDT
Here is my horse. I am actually taking her to horse auction this weekend for sale. I do like her and would like to keep her but she does cost a lot to keep.

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:02:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Foxxz:
I have been riding for a couple of months and have a few friends with horses and was thinking about getting one of my own. I have an attraction to the Belgian draft horses. Can anyone tell me what I'd be getting myself into? Any personal experience with that breed? Am I crazy?

-Foxxz



Better yet - Go dig a hole in your back yard, about once a week go tear up throw $100 bill into the hole and bury it. Same results when buying a horse BUT this way you don;'t have to get up early to go feed the hole!

Horses - Good way to waste your money and a great way to piss off any and all your kids!

good luck,
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:17:19 AM EDT
Had horses 32 yrs of my life and I can say that they are a pleasure to own. I have raised them, trained them for show purposes, trained for others, and been all over the place showing them. I have never had Belgians, so I have no experience with them. I have mostly worked with Quarters and Paints. I did work with a thoroughbred and Arabian before, and those were different from the others. I echo what others have said about the trouble and expenses. If it is not something I did alot, then I would just rent or find friends with them.

ETA: Horses do colic, so prepare for big vet bills and long nights of staying up and walking them. Otherwise they can die.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:30:57 AM EDT
I ride my friends Quarter horse "Shorty" and enjoy it alot.
I thought hard about buying a horse but I just couldn't justify the expense of another "hobby".

If it were my only hobby I could and probably would find a way to cover the expenses, I know my friend spends ALOT on his horses, vet bills, hay, alfalfa, diet supplements, horse shoes, and the list seems to go on.....

Me and "Shorty":
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:49:46 AM EDT
My wife has two and they're a constant source of strain on our relationship.

Don't do it unless you're well off enough to have thousands of dollars to simply piss away...

Did I mention it's a LOT of work, for a hobby?

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:13:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 8:32:35 AM EDT by bigsapper]
Nothing "particular" about a Belgian Draft. Anything you need to know about that breed, you can garner by knowing about horses in general (although they may eat abit more). My wife says that the cheapest part of owning a horse is buying it. She would know.
Here's a pic of my daughter on our horse (a Tennessee Walker)...

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:39:02 AM EDT
Horses are time consuming and eeeexpeee-heensiiiveee. If you don't have the commitment and just want to ride once in a while I think you're better of riding at a school or something.

http://pagansmurfen.ath.cx/temp/hejhopp.jpg
Me on Alice, riding her was like wrestling with a grizzly bear
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:11:26 AM EDT
Don't get me wrong, horses can be a blast. But the "blast" parts are quite rare.

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:18:31 AM EDT
You should try leasing a horse first to determine if you really want to spend all the time and money on it. My wife has a horse and I think she spends more time with it than me. Oh well it has a good side, every dollar she spends on the horse means another dollar in my gun fund!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:48:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Usafwolfe:
You should try leasing a horse first to determine if you really want to spend all the time and money on it. My wife has a horse and I think she spends more time with it than me. Oh well it has a good side, every dollar she spends on the horse means another dollar in my gun fund!



Mine wants to make the kitchen door a dutch door and keep our horse in the back yard.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:56:44 AM EDT
All you guys whose womenfolk are/ have been into horses, ever notice how they always "dismount" to the left?

Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:04:37 PM EDT
A horse costs more to keep than an airplane.

Sometimes they just up and die; so unless you butcher it, what the hell do you do with a horse carcass? Can't exactly throw Ol' Sugarfoot into the car trunk or back of a pickup to haul off. (Actually I know, and unless it's on your own farm, all the options are expensive.)
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:07:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bigsapper:

Originally Posted By Usafwolfe:
You should try leasing a horse first to determine if you really want to spend all the time and money on it. My wife has a horse and I think she spends more time with it than me. Oh well it has a good side, every dollar she spends on the horse means another dollar in my gun fund!



Mine wants to make the kitchen door a dutch door and keep our horse in the back yard.



Believe me I feel your pain. Damn that horse is exspensive.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:07:36 PM EDT
Awesome thread, about the best information on horses I have ever read.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:07:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By K2QB3:
All you guys whose womenfolk are/ have been into horses, ever notice how they always "dismount" to the left?



I get it! Umm, got it.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:32:34 PM EDT
You are will find that horses are expensive. After buying a horse you have to have some place to stable it. Depending on where you are, boarding might be anywhere between $300-$1000 a month. Feed isn't so expensive, but supplements will suck your bank account dry if your horse is on more than a couple. $100+ for a bucket of supplements that will last a month or 2. Look into how much farriers charge in your area, and then be prepared to pay to have one come out every six weeks or so. Your horse will need shots and bloodwork to test for Coggins once a year or so. Vet bills are expensive, especially when the vet comes to treat the horse for colic at 10 at night($210 last time my mom's horse coliced). This is important if you ever want to take your horse across a state line. Tack is expensive.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:31:01 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:32:13 PM EDT
Ok, I own 4 of them. When I got my first one, I boarded at a place that let me take care of it. It was cheap. I think I paid 50 bucks a month for a stall. The feed was about 6 bucks a bag, and she went through a couple of bags a week, depending on the time of year. Farriers will cost you 40 bucks to trim and 80 to shoe. If you don't ride them on rocks or pavement, you can get by without the shoes. I got lucky, my vet told me he wouldn't come out and vaccinate. He said he would sell me the vaccine, teach me how to do it, but then it was up to me. This saved me a bunch of money over the years. Every time I have taken a horse to the vet it has cost me at least 100 bucks. After a couple of years of putting up with boarders, I got my own place. In my opinion, this is the only way to have a horse.

Down here in southeast Texas you can get by without a barn. The weather is mild enough all year long to just leave them out. The more time your horse is out in the open, eating grass, the healthier it will be. You can learn to vaccinate your horse. You can learn to trim your horses feet. This will cut down on your expenses drastically. Buy used equipment in the beginning. Don't trust anyone. If they are in the horse business, they will fuck you. It's part of the tradition.

If you are going to try out a horse, make sure you ride it. Don't just ride it for 10 minutes, ride it for about 45 minutes. Really work it up into a lather. Come back the next day and look at it again. If it can hardly walk. Leave. Call the people up and make an appointment to ride it. Then cancel. Then just show up about 30 minutes earlier than planned. The reason for this is some horses are a little cold natured, and can show you what it is like being on the rodeo circuit the first time you get on them. If you are going to sink some real money into a horse, get a vet to look at it. If the seller won't let you, don't buy it. There is something wrong with it.

Maybe you should buy a yearling, and both of you could kinda learn together. There are seminars out there where they teach you to train your horse. I did 2 of mine that way. They both turned out fine.

One last thing. I worked at a place that cared for abused/neglected horses. It was one of the best learning experiences I ever had. I would recommend that you see if there is a place around you that does the same thing. There is a lot more to owning a horse than just throwing a saddle on it. They could probably teach you a thing or 2.

John
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:36:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bigsapper:

Originally Posted By Usafwolfe:
You should try leasing a horse first to determine if you really want to spend all the time and money on it. My wife has a horse and I think she spends more time with it than me. Oh well it has a good side, every dollar she spends on the horse means another dollar in my gun fund!



Mine wants to make the kitchen door a dutch door and keep our horse in the back yard.



My sis' horse walks up to the back porch and eats the husk from the corn.. as it is being husked. kinda cool.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 1:46:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:
Can you afford the Vet bill for a sick horse, if you can't then don't get one.



No kidding, I work to the Texas A&M clinical microbiology lab and horse vet bills are easily 2K-10K.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:18:28 PM EDT
Yea I keep hearing about dishonestly in horse owners. Not just here but everywhere. Kinda sad. I'm sure I could afford one. I am starting to have second thoughts now with all this information. Still though, the idea intrigues me.

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 2:29:14 PM EDT
We have four Quarterhorses that we keep at a private stable. The horses are put in stalls in the evening and in the pasture for excercise every day. They are fed grain and hay twice daily. The stable manager takes care of scheduling all farrier and vet care, but we are responsible for the cost of these services. The stable fee for each horse is $160 monthly, which is very reasonable, I know people who pay more than twice that for lesser service. All told, our horse expenses for last year were $7920 for boarding, $2080 for farrier services, and $1640 for vet bills for a yearly total of $11640 or a per horse average of $2910. I probably spent another $1200 dollars on tack and misc. supplies. Three of our horses were purchased at 12 years of age and had excellent training in western pleasure and team penning. They cost from $3500 to $4500 each. I also have a three year old that was started on penning/healing with nice bloodlines that cost $2500. The three year old would not be a beginners horse, but he is a ton of fun.

If you have the financial rescources, nothing is more satisfying than horse ownership. The relationship between horse and rider has to be felt to be understood. That said though, nothing is more frustrating than a bad horse ownership experience. The number one mistake people make is not buying enough horse. The less experience you have, the more the horse MUST have. Buy a well trained, mature horse. One that has been on the show circuit or in the roping arena is ideal. Don't even look at horses that are less than 7 or 8 years old for your first horse. Make sure you see the horse through the ENTIRE riding process before buying. Make sure he is easy to tack and un-tack, that he stands well for mounting and dismounting. Make sure he is easy to get into all of his gates and that his whoa is perfect. I also like a horse that neckreins for a beginner. Every one will warn you off of horse traders because of there well deserved reputations, but if you can find one that is reputable they are a good rescource. You can often find very good experienced trade-ins that people have given up to upgrade to some super horse. Just remember BUYER BEWARE!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 3:35:49 PM EDT
Big Belgian horse = big poop
Small yorkie dog = small poop

get the yorkie....
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 3:42:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TRW:
Big Belgian horse = big poop
Small yorkie dog = small poop

get the yorkie....



I hate little shits

-Foxxz
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 11:00:23 AM EDT
I just got my first horse at Christmas so I am truely a newbie with owning one but IMHO

boarding my horse with friends ( includes all feed) $50.00 a month
first vet visit including meds $130.00
cost of tack so far $68.00
estimated cost of building small barn at home $3000 - $5000
following a dream I've had all my life PRICELESS

good luck on making your decision.....
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