Here's my opinion regarding multiple ownership (please don't take this as venting, I'm simply sharing my opinion, and hopefully educating):
It doesn't really work...a split ownership implies that everyone splits all the bills, and then you figure out how to share riding time. In theory, it sounds brilliant...in practicality, it just doesn't work so well. Anyone interested in a similar options ought to consider leasing a horse, which is where someone else owns the horse, but you're paying for the right to borrow the horse and ride as you want. Sometimes leases require you stay at that barn and the horse is not allowed to leave the premises...sometimes leases are for specific days...they range in cost depending on the person involved, but it's cheaper than owning because at the end of the day...you can walk away and that horse ceases to be your problem.
You would need the "point" person to oversee vet visits, farrier visits, worming schedules, etc, decide which barn would be best...if all parties involved are newby horse people, then clearly they're better off at a barn where the manager would help oversee lots of that stuff...because most of us that are die-hard riders (for lack of a better term) prefer to own our own horses for a variety of reasons. It's hard to train a horse for a specific task when other people are riding him and possibly undoing what you've been working on. Example - picking on Hilary and Eryn...it's the reason that even though Eryn is very capable of riding Scally...at Marco Polo, Hilary jumped on to school him to ensure Scally didn't unlearn what he knows (generally speaking).
In my mind, what would be better, if there was the committment from the non-horse owning people would be for the existing owners, who have room for an additional horse to assist other people, like Maria sorta did. She has several horses, people came over and helped care for them, helped feed them, and in return got to ride them. Honestly, I think I'm being conservative when I say that if you want to have partial stake in a horse, then expect to spend $300-500 a month, and then be shocked if it's anything less. Budget that, and then hope it's less...
Just for the benefit of those who may be curious about the daily expenditures of horses, I'll break down my bills for Dandy, 1 horse, a VERY easy keeper...with NO board because I have property, but what would be board is now a bigger mortgage instead...and the details of what's included with board vary highly. (easy keeper = doesn't eat much, tends not to do stupid things and hurt himself, doesn't dig holes to China that you then have to refill, doesn't waste grain or hay, unless it's a round bale, in which case the furry bum likes to nest in it!!! ok, sorry...tangent. We don't buy round bales any more over here...I got tired of shoveling $30 in hay into the trailer because he wouldn't eat it because it had been contaminated, by himself! Sheesh!!)
Grain - $40/month (that's 2 50-lbs bags of what I feed, $17 per bag + tx)
Hay - $100/month for coastal (because I only have 2 acres, I don't have enough pasture to not feed him hay, so I have to figure that in, the less pasture, the more hay...also depends on quality of pasture), does not account for any other higher protein hay.
Farrier - $22/month ($30 per trim, every 6 weeks, divided out over the year; assuming no shoes...if you need shoes, front shoes with my farrier are $75 every time, 4 shoes is $100, and he's at the cheaper end of the scale from what I hear)
Vet - $20/month (annual vaccinations divided out over the year, assuming $200; this also assumes that absolutely nothing goes wrong during the year, health or injury wise) and does NOT include the dentist, massage therapist, chiropractor, etc...depending on the level of activity of your critter. When my retired TB gelding impales himself last year, my choice was: 1) have him euthanized or 2) fix him. I chose to let him live, and it cost me $2500 for 3 months of medications, treatment, 2 weeks of living at the vet...plus my time for having to treat this wound 2-3 times a day for 3 months. When I made the choice to have Bandy euthanized several years ago, the cost for that alone was $650 + the ER charge + the after hour charge (they never get sick during the day) + the ultrasound (to see how bad it was)...total bill to have my horse humanely euthanized: $1200.
Supplements - $30 ($20/mo. for sand clear; $10 misc for grass balancer and other supplements...this can easily go waaaay higher). This does not account for the higher end supplements like glucosamine, which add up quite quickly. At one point for Charla, John was spending around $100/mo. just in joint supplements...that didn't include the 8-10 lbs of grain a day that boy ate (compared to Dandy's modest 3-4 lbs per day).
We're at $212 just to cover bare minimum basic expenses...without the land, barn, water, etc. assuming there is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, no special supplements needed, no fancy hay...no injuries, no colic, etc.
Average board in Tampa Bay is somewhere between $350-500/mo. (barring top show barns). A friend just had to raise her prices to $450-500/mo. so that she's only making somewhere like $50/horse in profit...the rest is taken with hay and grain costs, her hired help to get everything done, and only covers part of the facility maintenance. One of the first things people forget when pricing out boarding at home or at someone's house is that cost to use the land...horses make sand pits...there goes that grass...if you let them overgraze...you'll get a sand pit...you have to fence, repair fence, maintain water, constantly cleaning and replenish water supplies, then there are the barn supplies...you break those stupid manure forks constantly ,and it's $30-40 to replace that darn things. That does not include all the other maintenance, tractor work, barn maintenance, ring maintenance, the trailer... oh, and that vet bill? Assumes you have a trailer to take the horse to the vet, otherwise there's a farm charge, $50 last I checked for my vet.
If someone told me that they are very serious in riding, and would like to lease a horse...I would either 1) help them find a good barn to lease a horse from, encourage them to take lessons there (this is my ideal choice), or 2) I *might* consider providing another horse here for them...BUT that would potentially put me in a bind because I would need a committment for the agreed upon lease fee, a few hundred a month...every month. What happens when finances get tight? Horse people generally will live off ramon noodles before letting their horses go hungry...we choose to make that sacrifice...not all are that responsible (take my neighbors for instance with that skinny gelding). And it's far easier for people to say "oops, sorry, I can't afford the horse this month" and then the horse is left hanging.
Ok, seriously, I'm stopping now. I did not mean to get on a soapbox or anything if that's how this came out...I just want every person out there who does not and has never owned a horse to realize what it takes to own one...what every one of us goes through to own our horses, what it costs us...the sacrifices we willingly choose to keep these wonderful critters in our lives. It sounds so easy to just split the bills...but there's always the 1 person left with the bill...and if they didn't plan on that, then the horse is in trouble, and the horse didn't ask for that, didn't get a choice in the matter.
Magnus :) I do hope you actually got an answer to your question in there. If you would be interested in taking lessons and learning how to ride, same goes for any and all out there who have the interest but lack the skill set or the critter, give a holler and we can help you find a barn. Unfortunately, speaking for myself, dandy would be great to give lessons on...the missing link is I have very little to no spare time. Learn to be a comfortable rider 1st, then make arrangements before hand at events or practices, and we usually have horses we're willing to lend out. I know Trish by special arrangement has let people ride Kay, Dandy is suitable, Kami has offered up some of hers before...but we won't solicit the extra work :) If you want something, you have to ask us, and we'd be more than happy to help.
Finally, before I take up all our yahoo group space with this 1 flippin' email...perhaps we should start a database to list "good" barns for lessons for those interested?
Dentist bills! Equine dentist comes out once a year for my guys... $150+ each depending on what needs to be done, how much anesthesia, plus the barn call.
Back to the vet... wanna take your horse to events, or Gulf Wars? Coggins every year $30, eventing passports or health certificates ($50) to travel out of state. Plus their event fees... I think Gulf Wars last year was $75 per horse (I brought 2) plus shavings and hay (to supplement what hay I did bring for my babies -- I also brought 2 bags of grain and their supplements). I think I sent in a check for $220 to the wrangler for that week. I've also paid $25 a night for an outside pen outside Camp Ocala a year ago and I had to provide my own water buckets (which I do anyways). I'm thinking it's $18 per horse for Oldenfeld Yule this year for a stall for 2 nights.
Trailer maintenance... bearings repacking, brakes and tires checked every year. Got a wood floor in your trailer? Better put money aside because it'll need to be replaced eventually. Insurance and registration on your trailer. And the ever famous... I get 9 miles to the gallon with my 3/4 ton truck pulling my horse trailer to events. I also belong to US Riders, which is like the AAA for horse owners. I think it's $125 or $135 a year.
Fly spray, brushes, treats, cute t-shirts with horse sayings, water buckets, muck buckets, wheel barrows, more treats, hoof picks (I know I've bought at least a 100 of them over the years), whiter white shampoos or shampoos that promise to restore the black coat of your horse, mane and tail detanglers, biotin supplements or hoof dressings, magazines with horse articles or books on riding, etc. and tail extensions (I know, I know, but it's for Jet and he looks so good with a longer tail... LOL!) even special rubber bands so you can braid your horse's mane and tail.
Don't forget riding clinics, clothes, waterproof mucking boots, the latest gadgets, and a good first aid kit you're going to want to build and keep around. Saddle blankets for your saddle collection (I think at last count I'm up to 7 saddles -- only 3 of them western with about 20 saddle blankets... gotta be able to accessorize whatever outfit I'm wearing and the main reason... each saddle fits different horses differently).
Have a good tool kit available because your horse is going to figure out how to get out of his stall or pasture, and into the feed room or your neighbor's prize flower or veggie garden and you're probably going to have to either repair or replace the horse-proof latch you've got now.. and more than once. Electric fence supplies and chargers anyone?
And once you get your horse... he might get lonely (actually they do, horses are herd animals) so before too long you'll be keeping your eyes open for a companion for your riding buddy. Besides having an extra horse means you can take friends riding with you. Haven't you heard, "horses are like potato chips, you can't have just one?" I am the Stable Technician and Treat Provider to our 4 horses.
When we were looking for our farm up in Tennessee last year, I told the real estate people, I'm looking for horse property. I want a decent horse barn. The barn's got to be able to hold all of my tack and enough feed to store for the winter. It's got to have enough stalls for my 4 horses and extras for any friends visiting with their horses, in case it gets cold outside. The barn's got to have electricity, lights and water. It also has to be secure. The property has to have green pastures for my horses to graze on, and plenty of trees for my horses to nap under. It's also got to have a level place to park my horse trailer. Preferably with an electrical hookup. Oh yeah, and there should be a house on the property too, I don't care what size, I'll be spending most of my time out in the barn with my horses anyways.
This was fun! Thanks, Jennifer!
All that being said, would I do anything different? Nope.
Winston Church has been quoted as saying, "There's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." And he's so right... there is something truly magical about our relationships with horses. Is it limited to their intelligence, their beauty or their speed? Or is it more of an intuitive or subconscious feeling? When you're out with your horse and you're into the moment... whether you're galloping across an open field or competing or whatever... you actually feel like you're defying earth's gravity and flying. Oh my God, what a rush.
And I will part with a favorite quote of mine from Ralph Walso Emerson, "Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion." Is it any wonder equestrians are passionate people? Especially about our horses.