Sunday, January 12, 2014

The $100,000 Question

I was folding laundry at the laundromat a few nights ago and feeling slightly grumpy at the state of finances in my world and so I made up a little game and have enjoyed refining it since.

Imagine someone gave you $100,000 free and clear. Assume taxes are already taken care of and you can spend the whole amount. The catch: you have to spend the whole amount on horse-related things. What do you buy?

Here's my list.

1.) Down Payment for Farm: $55,000

I'm not saying buy the farm right away. I would set the money aside in something slightly more lucrative than a savings account, but not as risky as a stock portfolio. There it would sit until one of two things happened: the right property/opportunity came up, or Tristan was ready to retire.

What's the right property? 20-30 acres of good land: relatively flat, well-drained, somewhat improved. A 3+ bedroom house on the property. Some setup that could be turned to horses easily; it doesn't have to have a barn already (though that would be nice), but it should have the house situated in such a way that adding more outbuildings would be easy, and it shouldn't be entirely forested. It would also be relatively close to my job.

2) 2 Horse Gooseneck Trailer: $18,000

Leftover money would go into a general trailer maintenance + gas fund. For specifics, I don't need an XL or XXL; just standard size. No mangers! A reasonably sized tack room area, and the ability to put a mattress up in the gooseneck. Lots of ventilation from the roof and the sides. Doors on both sides. Possibly a roof rack on top for hay & shavings.

3) 3/4 Ton Pickup Truck (Used): $25,000

I don't need brand-new, but I want a late-model GMC or Chevy truck, less than 50k miles. Never plowed. King cab, but not necessarily a full back seat with extra doors. I would love the extended bed but it's not an absolute necessity. Rigged for hauling. Four wheel drive. Snow tires!

4) Custom Dehner Tall Boots: $1,000

I have coveted these for years. I keep changing my mind about precisely what I want. Something black, but do I want dressage or field boots? Spanish top? Toe cap? I don't know! So many possibilities.

5) Shopping Spree: $1,000

Let's call this the miscellaneous category. I need an assortment of small things that could easily fill up $1,000. A stable blanket for Tristan; a breastplate; a few new saddle pads; a couple of training books; new gloves; new breeches; a new winter riding coat. I could gladly go on a bit of a shopping spree and replace some things in my equipment that have seen better days.

Well - what about you? If someone handed you $100,000 that you had to spend on horses, what would you buy?


  1. Replies
    1. It may seem counter-intuitive that thinking about all the ways I'd spend money helps me to keep my personal finances on track...but it does help! And it's a lot of fun. :)

  2. Replies
    1. It felt like enough money to really get some fun things - but not so much that I could buy anything I wanted. The "if I won the lottery" game is fun too but ultimately I find it more frustrating...

  3. Very fun exercise! I have a feeling most of us will have very similar answers but I still want to play!

    1. Ha, I think you're right. We all want rigs and a savings account! You never know, though - my priority is not to buy a young prospect but I bet some people would want to spend that money on them. And I am happy with both of my saddles but I bet many people will opt for custom ones.

  4. Step 1: give $55,000 to you for farm downpayment in exchange for promise of retirement home for the Tuckmeister...! (Less than half-kidding here; my first priority would be to set up Tucker for life no matter what. Currently his retirement plan depends on my continued employment and/or untimely demise.)

    Beyond that, I think I'd mostly shore up my finances for the future. $10,000 in a pony-specific emergency savings account. I know right now what decision I'd make if I had a horse with a surgical colic or other emergency and a good prognosis giand I would really like to have a reasonable approximation of the full amount and then some sitting there so that decision could be anxiety- and debt-free. And then I like to think I’d put $5,000 in savings elsewhere towards the purchase and vetting of future!baby horse a couple of years down the road.

    Which would leave me, if my math is right, with $30,000 for A Rig Of My Own. Not a new rig front-to-back, obviously, but I figure that should cover a decent used three-quarter ton with a second row of seats and a known maintenance record, and a straight-load two-horse gooseneck. Slap a high-tie on that sucker and off we go.

    I am terrible about frittering away small amounts frivolously, but I actually do okay with large windfalls, so I swear this is less pipe-dream-y than it sounds -- aside from the obvious pipe-dream premise, anyway!

    1. Yes my life insurance policy is labeled "Tristan," basically. And I'd be happy to have Tucker retire to my someday-future-dream farm! My hope/plan would be to have 5-6 stalls so that I could have a retiree or rescue horse or two. It would feel like paying it back to take care of some older guys.

      My own emergency fund has always been really a Tristan emergency fund. I can eat Ramen and live on basically nothing; he gets whatever he needs/wants. Full stop.


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