Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses?

I was walking around the neighbourhood the other day, with Mrs CF, Miss CF and our dog. When we came across a place where they keep horses. Most of these were taken care of my women (there were no men insight). Men on the other end tend to focus on not just one horse, but as many as possible. Say 300 of them. This begs the question. Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses?

Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses?

Ok, so I’m about to dive into the question, what hobby is more expensive, that of a man or that of a woman? (yes, I love to generalize on occasion 😉 ) When I started writing this post, I honestly had no clue which was more expensive! I know cars are expensive, but I know animals can be very expensive too! Especially big ones. Now I have very little knowledge about those 4 legged friends. So I needed to get the information for the horse’s mouth ;-).

Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: 300 horses!
Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: 300 horses!

Couple rules for this (completely pointless) comparison:

  • The horse or car cannot be “new”. With this I mean I assume you will buy a purebread horse when it’s a fully grown (~5 years). Same with the car, you don’t buy new but up to say 5 years old and/or less than 50.000km.
  • Both are considered “hobbies” (so no “daily” use). This also means that you want to buy “quality”! So no lowballing here either. The horse needs to be a purebred with a decent history. You should also be able to enter into competitions if you desire so. The car needs to be in a good shape and well taken care of.
  • No entering into competitions!
  • “Operating” timeframe is 20 years (horses become 25-30 years; hobby cars should last at least as long @10.000km/year). No inflation included!
  • Total expenses will include purchase, yearly costs, incidental costs and lost opportunity costs (based on 6% per year). Both the horse and the car are assumed to have no residual value.
  • Try not to take this too seriously 😉

Should you buy 1 horse

Now here begins the problem, I don’t have any friends or family that own horses. So I had to do a little digging around the interweb to find some numbers. This is what I found. These ladies give a pretty decent insight into the costs of owning a horse. I’m going with the expenses from Annemiek for one horse in this case.

What is costs to buy one? That’s a whole other ballgame. Prices are all over the place, but considering the rules above, you won’t buy the limp farm horse. Based on some digging around, I’m going to assume you need €8.000 to buy a decent purebred horse. It won’t be a winner, but good enough for a hobby.

Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: the horse
Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: the horse

Should you buy 300 horses

A quick search on +300 BHP cars available in the Netherlands got me to this and this post (both in Dutch). Next I tried to find out which of these cars are actually available used and at what price range. Turns out that I found a 2015 Volkswagen Golf R (with 300 hp) for about €28.000, on marktplaats (local “ebay”/”Kijiji”/Etc.). See here for the add (for future references if the add disappears):

Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: the 300 horses
Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: the 300 horses

The comparison

Adding up all the numbers I found around the interweb, and from online quotes (i.e. for insurance, etc), I came up with the following:

Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: ballpark total costs
Should you buy 1 horse or 300 horses: ballpark total costs

First reaction: whole crap, that’s a lot of money for a hobby! It’s pretty clear that on a cash-flow basis the one horse beats having 300 horses! It’s the purchase costs and the lost opportunity cost that is making the car the overall winner in terms of expenses for this period. Now there are a lot of assumptions here, so it could still go either way in reality. That being said, both are very expensive hobbies to say the least.

So what would you rather have, one horse, 300 horses or a beach house in Thailand?

P.s. another Dutch blogger took this overview and calculated what his 98 horses cost him over a 20 year period. See here for the post (in Dutch)

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9 Comments

  1. From an emotional/bonding perspective the horse wins.. But the amount of work that’s required to keep a horse is just too much for me.. Same for a car.. As they always say in Dutch ‘bezit geeft zorg’ en ‘het bezit van de zaak is het einde van het vermaak’ I will skip both…

    A holiday home in Spain sounds better.. 😉

  2. I knew owning a horse is expensive but had no idea it was THAT expensive. But owning car is also pretty damn expensive as well. What about just not owning any horse and use public transportation?

  3. Interesting comparison, Cheesy!
    But it proves once more: these hobbies seriously stand in the way of reaching FIRE.
    What a ridiculoos costs… holy cow. Better take a hobby like walking

  4. You’re forgetting one very important thing: in 20 years the car still exist the horse won’t…..
    And if you choose your car wisely i.e. the cars on little boys bedroom walls 20 years ago >> in 20 years car buying midlife crisis men). The value will have increased.
    On the other hand. Having a horse will reduce holiday cost (you can’t go anymore) and -some will argue-psychologist costs reduction, because of the joy they bring.
    A tough one this is indeed

    1. Albeit I did note that the car was written off after 20 years, you might have a point for the midlife crisis 😉
      P.s. you can use to car to go on holiday too!

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