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Horses Off Grid: Riding Lessons and Other Issues

The following post is a sequel to my older post:

Horses - Off grid care and maintenance for Equines

In the previous post I covered such topics as:

  • Cost of buying a horse (about $2000).
  • Vet bills ($11,000+ per year on average).
  • Horse shoes and farrier costs.
  • Feeding your horse.

Basically expect to be spending $15,000 annually on your horse, and that is assuming it doesn't get sick, eat a poisonous mushroom, or get seriously injured and end up with a vet bill of $50,000+.

Basically all you need to know is that horses are super expensive and they get sick/injured regularly.

But there are other issues to consider too.


Do you even know how to ride???

If you don't even know how to ride you have no business buying a horse and trying to use it for transportation when living on your off grid ranch, farm, homestead, cabin in the woods, etc.

You really should learn how to ride first.

And you cannot just read a book, subscribe to a magazine like Horse Sport Magazine or whatever in order to learn how to ride. It doesn't work that way. You need to physically get horse riding lessons or else you shouldn't be even attempting to ride a horse.

So here's one location in Ontario to consider, but if you live in other parts of Canada then you need to research what else is near you.

Claireville Ranch located in Brampton (clairevilleranch.com) offers weekday ($35) and weekend ($40) trail rides, and breakfast rides ($85) which are more suitable for people who just want to try riding a horse and are not ready to commit to lessons. They also teach Western horse riding lessons. 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $440 to $520 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 30 minutes long.

Note - Their prices might fluctuate from time to time. Last I checked trail rides at Claireville are now $50 each. I suspect the price went up due to the pandemic.

I am going to ask my friend/blogger colleague Rob Campbell if he wants to go riding there sometime. Should be good for some photography and a few blog posts.


So let's pretend you have taken the horse riding lessons, etc. You have the money to buy a horse, pay the vet bills/etc for 25 years (the average lifespan of a horse is 25 to 30 years)...

And you own land, you build a stables suitable for housing a horse (you don't want the stables to burn down either, like Sunnybrook Stables burnt down a few years ago).

Oh and insurance. You will want insurance on the stables.

And you will need a truck and a horse trailer for transporting your horse to the vet.

You have to make the lifelong commitment to being a "horse person". You can't go halfway with this. It is a lifestyle. People don't just go "I am going to buy horses!" one day and then change their mind a few months later. You have to truly commit.

It is a bit like getting married. Or getting a full body tattoo. Or amputating your arm because you didn't like it anymore. You do this and there should be no going back. (Especially if you amputate your arm. That definitely is not growing back...)

When you talk to people who are "horse people" you quickly realize that their horses are a bit like their babies. It is similar to someone who is a cat owner or a dog owner, but more than that. Most cat and dog owners don't spend $11,000 per year just on vet bills. They don't build a huge stables / house just for their cats and dogs. Cat and dog owners don't spend an hour every day mucking out the stables and cleaning their pet's feet. A horse owner has gone over the edge and is in love with their horses so they're willing to muck out the stables every day, even when they're sick or injured, and to clean their horse shoes every day. (This is why a lot of horse owners keep their horses at a stables that rents out space and services. They aren't living off grid with their horses.)

It is a truly serious commitment. You don't just buy horses because "I am going to use them for riding around off grid on my homestead in the woods." You need to be truly and utterly committed to the task of owning and caring for an animal that depends on you to live.

What if you get sick or injured and you forget to go feed your horse because you live alone in a cabin in the woods? Or if you forget to give your horse water. If your horse goes 48 hours without water it will get colic and possibly die. Five days without water and your horse will die of dehydration.

If you're not serious about being a horse owner then you shouldn't bother being one.

Go get a four-wheeler instead if you want something that is low maintenance that can get you around on your off grid property. Leave the horses to the horse people who are seriously in love with these majestic animals.

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