Pony Finances

Let’s talk expenses! Not specifics, because that’s fairly private and incredibly region-dependent, but let’s talk about how we handle them. Mostly because I just made a big change in my approach to horse expenses, and I want to know if all y’all already do this and are like “dude obviously,” or if you’re going to tell me that this is super weird and definitely awful.

Let’s get into it.

There are a few very predictable expenses for Frankie every month:

  • Board
  • Lessons
  • Training rides (if I opt for them that month)
  • Farrier (this isn’t quiiiiite every month, he’s on a 4-6 week cycle depending on time of year and how good/bad his feet are at the time. Still rather predictable tho.)
Unlimited snugs are included for free in our monthly package

And then there are some that pop up regularly but not as consistently:

  • Vet care- both routine vaccinations/checkups, and more intense things like injections. Also who knows when everything could go sideways and he needs emergency vet care (knocking on wood SO INTENSELY HERE PLEASE STAY ROBUSTLY HEALTHY)
  • Frankie’s insurance- I pay in 3 lump payments throughout the year, but they’re not all the same
  • Shows- different venues have different fees, shipping costs more/less depending on how far the venue is, I compete more often in the summer, etc.
  • Gear- blankets break, saddles need re-fitting, my spurs need replacing, etc. This is the hardest to predict.
Thank the good Lord above that I don’t have to pay for a 2-week horse show every month. PC- Tracy

So what these means is that in any given month, I only really have a solid handle on the “no less than” number in advance. It’ll be at least X amount, and likely much higher. I have historical data (yes, obviously Frankie has his own spreadsheet, duh) to plug in for shows/vet/insurance so I’m not totally in the dark, but it still makes consistent budgeting hard when expenses fluctuate so much.

Now that my Human Mate and I are combining forces, I decided it was time for a full audit of my spending habits to figure out what makes the most sense as I move from doing-everything-solo-all-the-time to sharing-a-home-and-a-life-with-a-person. Which brings me to my big change:

Frankie got his own debit card.

“It’s about time I got paid”

He won’t get to use it himself (honestly his dexterity with small objects extends exclusively to eating them), but I now have a separate account exclusively for horse expenses. I’ve taken my total horse expenses over a full year, divided by 12, and added a cushion, and that amount will automatically be going into his account every month.

Some months I will need more than that average, some months I will need less, but over time it should even out to have a constant buffer.

This simplified my budget like you wouldn’t believe. It took my line items from this:


To this:


Literally cut the number in half.

This makes my monthly budget A MILLION TIMES more predictable. Obviously if something totally unexpected happens I’ll need to pull from my main account, but I purposefully made Frankie’s monthly budget higher than I usually need (except in months where we compete) to try and build up some “savings” specifically for him.

So talk to me, folks. Is this a total no-brainer thing that you did years ago? Or do you think giving Francis his own bank account is overkill?

32 thoughts on “Pony Finances

    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:35 pm

      Let me know if you do, I’ll be curious to see how it works for other people!


  1. CobJockey 03/14/2018 / 8:05 am

    Good idea! Personal finance is soooooo personal, kinda like exercise. You have to find what works for you and then it’s easier to stick to. I know of people who have a specific debit card/account for fixed expenses, house stuff, etc. Personally I just track the horse stuff in Mint.com and set limits for myself in there, but in the end it’s just splitting money out similar to what you do.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:35 pm

      Too true, even like-minded people can have such totally different systems of managing it!


  2. Holly 03/14/2018 / 8:08 am

    So smart. We’ve always had a ‘horse account’ at home, but it had more to do with tax stuff on my parents’ end. Having a separate account would probably be overkill for me right now, but down the road I can definitely see it being a good setup for me.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:35 pm

      It’s heavy on the spreadsheets, of course you’d love it 😉


  3. Liz 03/14/2018 / 8:51 am

    Smart! I have had an anal-retentive spreadsheet since 2011 for my finances. Horses have always been lumped into one category like the above on mine.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:36 pm

      “Anal-retentive” and “spreadsheet” are my middle names! I’ve had one since I graduated, so slowly adjusting and making functional updates (…two years after I bought the horse haha)


  4. Tara Tibbetts 03/14/2018 / 9:06 am

    I should budget better for my horse stuff, but I don’t. But I do generally keep a separate account that is for all things horsey. I (stupidly) have four horses so there is more go-between with the main account when stuff comes up (hello 2 vet visits, a 3″ puncture wound, cellulitis and injections in the last 7 days).


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:37 pm

      Holy moly I can’t even imagine the spring vet bill for 4 horses, I had a hard enough time swallowing the bill for my one!


  5. Nicole 03/14/2018 / 9:39 am

    This is a really smart idea. Unfortunately, I have been really lax about tracking my horse expenses for the past couple of years, because I really don’t want to know how much I’m spending lol. But now that I have two horses I’ve been forced to be more conscious of my spending and actually create a budget *gasp* and track my spending. It hurts a little bit to see my breakdown and realize that I spend something like 45% of my monthly income on horses. Yikes. Luckily one of the ponies is leased, so his expenses will not be with me forever. Love the idea of putting a cushion in to have your own Frankie savings for emergencies and things, super smart in the long run.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:37 pm

      No judgement on the 45%, I’m at or above that most months hahaha. Anything for the ponies!!


  6. Centered in the Saddle 03/14/2018 / 9:55 am

    Very smart! I have a separate horse savings account as well, but in the past I’ve used it mostly just to save up for show season. Moving forward (aka as I get mawwied and have to, like, justify horse expenses to another person) I will probably up the amount I put in there and use it for all horse-related expenses instead. Keeps things clearer and easier to track for sure!


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:38 pm

      I’m alllll about predictability, and this makes it a consistent simple number every month for Fiance. We might have to tweak, but so far he’s a fan of the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. the_everything_pony 03/14/2018 / 11:00 am

    Nah I think this is smart. I have actually been considering this myself but I’ve been doing a lot of budget refiguring recently. I think it’s a good idea for you guys!


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:39 pm

      I’m excited to see how it works out! We’re headed into the expensive show-heavy months so there may be some growing pains, but long term I think it’ll work out well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tracy 03/14/2018 / 12:01 pm

    I have a spreadsheet (cause I’m old school) that helps me track and budget. For my family, having a separate account didn’t quite make sense, but I think it will really help you stick to your numbers!


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:40 pm

      YES SPREADSHEETS FOREVER. I literally update my budget tracker daily haha.


  9. Genny - A Gift Horse Blog 03/14/2018 / 1:58 pm

    I love this technique! We definitely had something similar a few years ago, and I think we’ll look into it again when I am aback in the saddle. Nothing is worse than feeling unprepared, and I think this soothed my budgeting demons 🙂


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:41 pm

      Yes, a million times yes to the feeling unprepared. I am a compulsive planner, especially when it comes to budgeting. Happy to hear that you did something similar and that it worked well!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. roamingridersite 03/14/2018 / 2:17 pm

    Oh man am I low key ignoring life compared to you 😳 I have only a vague sense of what I spend and as long as my bank account is positive I’m happy. We do pull money out and put in savings every month but beyond that it’s a free for all. In my defense I’m sure he Hubby knows all this but I despise money with my very soul so I leave it to him and pretend it doesn’t exist.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:42 pm

      Hahaha I wish I could do that, but Frankie brings me close enough to the poverty line every month that I have to track and allocate every penny or risk my card getting declined at the gas pump (not that that’s happened or anything…..)


  11. Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership 03/14/2018 / 2:44 pm

    That’s a really cool idea. I think I like putting expenses on my credit card and getting the cash back rewards too much to do a debit card, but I think a horse expenses specific credit card might work for me.


    • hellomylivia 03/14/2018 / 3:43 pm

      Oooh that’s an excellent call- all the benefits of the separate account, plus the rewards.


      • Nicole Sharpe 03/14/2018 / 7:07 pm

        This isn’t exactly what I do, but it’s pretty close. I buy so very little for myself and the horse that I don’t really need a separate way of tracking expenses just yet. I probably will in the future, but since I can predict my monthly expenses with great accuracy, I am okay with what I have.

        It’s also clutch with wedding stuff when you’re like “Of course you can have $6,000 to feed one hundred of my closest friends and family”, and then know you’re going to get $120 back later in rewards. Soothes the burn a little.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hellomylivia 03/16/2018 / 8:01 am

        Oh lawd the wedding thing is a whole other bundle of budget hahaha


  12. Stacie Seidman 03/14/2018 / 10:19 pm

    That’s not a bad idea at all! I don’t do this mostly because the horses pretty much take all of my money anyway. It’s like bills, dogs, ALL THE REST FOR PONIES, oh right groceries… ramen noodles it is!


    • hellomylivia 03/16/2018 / 8:01 am

      Hahaha same!! Peanut butter sandwiches make great lunches 😉


  13. carey 03/22/2018 / 3:13 pm

    I do the exact same thing. Once I got married, I created a “riding” account and move a set amount each month. Then I pull all Cosmo expenses from that account. Of course, I budgeted too low and I don’t have the cushion for shows that I had hoped for.


    • hellomylivia 03/23/2018 / 7:35 am

      Right now while I’m getting set up, I budgeted much higher since I’m heading into show season, but I’m hoping I can cut back a bit through the fall/winter to build up a cushion. At least, that’s the plan- we’ll see what actually happens!


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