The Challenge: A 3 Year Plan

My husband is an engineer.  My mother is an engineer.  My uncle + misc. family are in engineering.  Huge shock that I ended up working for an engineering company, eh?

But regardless, I usually speak their language.  Which essentially means, I can follow a lot of processes, and not be offended when they triple check things.  Twice.

With that in mind, I was challenged by my husband to come up with a 3 year equestrian plan.  Yup.  I did just put “plan” and “equestrian” into the same sentence, which is a rookie move for sure.  But as mentioned above, he is most comfortable seeing an outline of what I’m looking for, what makes me happy, and approximate timelines.  Bonus points if I manage to put some numbers together too.


I know that anything can happen with horses, but I also know that if he took the time to ask, he will take the time to understand.  So I need to come up with something.

So question today.

What would you include in a three year plan?

So far on my list I have:

  1. Local lease prices for what I would be more interested in
  2. Local (ish) pricetags for what I would be interested in
  3. Short list of what I would be interested in, so we are on the same page
  4. Basic PPE prices
  5. Annual “have to” vet costs (known)
  6. Insurance options for horse 2
  7. General cost for boarding
  8. General cost for training rides, lightly scheduled during our busy seasons
  9. Half lease options for months I tend to travel a lot (this one is pretty far out there, but you never know)
  10. Backup plans for horse if it breaks itself and needs to be a field ornament

I’m sure I’m missing millions of considerations, as with all living money eating equines, but this is my jumping off spot.  What do you think I should add?  

photo 3 (27)

28 thoughts on “The Challenge: A 3 Year Plan

  1. Farrier bills, horse show expenses, supplements if needed. If pony lives out, what if it needs to move in? Be sure your routine vet includes teeth floating.

  2. I don’t think I’m reading the 3 year plan the same way as you are. For me I see it more as a “Where do you see yourself in 3 years time career wise (aka riding) and how do you expect to get there.” The budget information is good for supplementation documents. Aka are you going to be competing? How much? How many lessons a week will you need to support that dream? How much time will need to be carved out of your days, weeks and months? Do you want to go get a horse that’s already going so you can get more enjoyment out of it in a shorter amount of time with less work? What other considerations need to come into play? Going to have another kid? Sooner rather than later?

    You know your husband tho and I do not so your answer is probably the right one lol.

  3. Ditto the farrier, horse tack and clothing, showing. You might add any attire for yourself that you don’t already have for showing. I would add a budget item for at least one out of the blue vet bill. Granted I have 4 horses (and a hole in my head and bank account) but every year I have anywhere from $500 to $5000 in extra vet bills for things I didn’t plan on going wrong. It provides peace of mind to budget for that and know what you can afford BEFORE you are in a life/death situation. You also might consider one of the gastric supplements that offers a colic “insurance” program in case you are faced with colic surgery. $70/month on a supplement is totally worth having a $7,000 colic surgery covered. Additional vet considerations are chiropractor, acupuncture or other therapies should you buy a horse that requires some kind of maintenance.

  4. If you’re planning on travelling to shows/clinics, cost of shipping (mine is per mile and then I use my show schedule to estimate how far we’ll be driving in a given month).
    Re: gear, I include a line for professional blanket cleaning because I live in a series of dinky apartments with dinky tiny washers.
    If you anticipate clipping, I’d put that in there unless you do it yourself. That one sneaks up on me in an unfriendly way every winter.
    In the pricetag, I included a decent amount for a PPE and a commission for the pro helping me through the process- worth every penny but definitely a significant line item.
    I’ll keep thinking!

  5. I like your plan.
    My three year plan normally runs in quarterly expenses and goals. I keep a budget and a spreadsheet style book of all expenses. Any income from the business should cover my horses expenses. But that will never cover everything!
    My three year plan is focused around goals rather than money. I set quarterly and then yearly goals and in December each year i sit down and look and see if I achieved those goals. Then i look at the budget and think, how could this be better without sacrificing the level of care i want for my boys.
    I love that you are running the numbers. It’s extraordinary what you can spend!
    Mel x

  6. What do you want to do? Hunters, jumpers, eq, trails, etc. I mean that specifically. Figure out if you want to compete, how high, which discpline. Because a 3 foot hunter vs a 3 foot eventer is gonna change your budget.(and I know you do hj, but if you don’t want to be super competitive, an eventer could be great all round, just as example) Or hell ‘i just want to have fun’ and you may end up with a pony 😉

    • This is a very good point too. I am going with the “fun all around” type, so I can play in whatever ring sounds good and hope to do some trails and maybe baby level stuff in other disciplines. I don’t care if it’s a eventer, Hunter, or pony type! I’m open as long as it’s got a good brain.

  7. I think everything people have covered is really comprehensive! The only other thing I can think of would be if you’ll see yourself buying a truck/trailer down the road, what additional mileage on your car looks like (eg. it’s 45 mins to/from the barn each way for me, the gas money adds up to my budget). Clinics? I like to budget for at least one a year. Can you figure at least one blanket or sheet will need replacing a year (I swear a fly sheet does not last 6 months for me)?

  8. Great comments already. As a working mom, all i can add is a break down of time demand. How many hours/ week for the whole endeavor (i can end up spending more time in traffic more than at barn at wrong time of day)? So for me, its around 3 hrs with the drive, grooming, lesson, socializing, etc. Can i get hubby to bring kids and take photos/video? What does this cost our family in terms of time away from home?

  9. I feel like with babies + horses I’m happy if my plans for the next 12 hours happen! LOL! I think everyone’s got ya covered here. I add in fashion/clothes for me. I am so grateful to be in the saddle right now so I try to keep expenses to a minimum but shopping still happens (new helmet – necessary, new Goode rider shirts – not necessary). The half lease situation is my 3 year plan – it’s stable/very predictable as far as expenses & time go which is the only reason I’m getting to still ride these days. In 5 years once the boys are in school I hope to full lease or own again 😊

    • Haha, lucky for me I think he wants a general overview of how I see things happening. If I want to take additional lessons during certain seasons, will I lease, will I buy, thoughts on travel needs etc. He’s familiar with horses enough that he won’t hold it to the letter. At least I hope not!

  10. I love the conversation generated in the comments from this! I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said, but it’s definitely a thought-provoking idea.

  11. I wonder if it would be helpful to review past bank account and credit card statements to try to calculate out real expenses for keeping O. That might help figure out what your past horse keeping costs were, since they may be similar to future costs. Good luck!

  12. Pingback: Big Things to Consider | A Gift Horse

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