I'm keeping the "husband horse card" in my back pocket until I find the cutest, sanest little blue roan Quarter Horse mare to pack me into the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Western Montana and see the Chinese Wall in person! She'll be maintenance free but completely broke in the backcountry, gorgeous, young, and less than $10,000! *If you have this horse, call me! I'll tell everyone that she's my "husband's horse", but he''ll rider her 2 times a year during which she'll be a perfect angel. She needs to be this nice, because the cost to feed an extra horse these days is immense. In this article, I'll do some horse-girl math on what it costs to keep that husband horse and make the argument that acquiring one is a bad idea.
My husband could barely wait for the first snow to fly in our hometown of Missoula, MT, much less wait until Christmas, to present me with new skiis that he bought on sale in April. Skiing is his passion, not mine, and he's well aware that I'm one bad experience away from giving it up entirely. I swear that if I EVER have to get rescued off a chair lift, I will never ever ski again. Every day that I click into my bindings, I pray that I don't blow out a knee and ruin my horse show season! In order to counter my irrational fears of skiing, my husband buys me nice ski equipment to improve my experience! I understand that ONE of his motivations is a good ski experience, but let's be real, buying me skiis ALSO scratches an itch to just buy more skiis! This is not unlike our crazy horse girl desire to buy our partners a "husband horse"- a phenomenon I've always silently chuckled at. Does it really make sense to buy a horse for your husband that may be ridden a couple times a year? Let's be real, that husband horse is really an excuse to scratch our horse shopping itch and have another heartbeat to love.
Here's how I counter my husband horse itch until this unicorn described above materializes. Turns out that buying the horse is always the cheapest part. Luckily, my husband figured that out AFTER we were married. I buy each horse four tons of hay per year that I have to handle twice- once off the field and once into my barn. At $300 per ton, that's $1,200 per year and 16,000 lbs of hay moved by hand. If that horse eats 1.5 lb of ration balancer each day at $39 per bag, that's $427 per year in supplements. If we add a couple dewormers, 4 shoeings at $100 each, a vet visit (because we're being realistic), and some tack, were probably at an additional $1,400 dollars easy in the first year. That means we've added $3,027 per year in basic maintenance after the purchase price. It only takes 4 years of owning this husband horse to drop $20k on her.
In addition to purchase and maintenance costs, she would take a spot in my herd that I couldn't fill with a young eventing prospect which is the sport that I really want to do. She'll be the "outlier" easy keeper who needs to be managed differently than all my young, high metabolism eventers. That means she'll increase my day to day horse chore labor too. If that wasn't enough, she'll further degrade my grass pastures that are already overstocked and stressed. So, the cheap $7,500 horse is actually a $20,000 horse that would greatly increase my barn chore time and destroy my beloved pastures. This is why I don't have a husband horse...yet.