Liz has detailed her true cost in time and money of horse ownership. I, too, received my horse for free. However, in as close to detail as I can remember, here is what I have spent on my "free" horse.
Hotel for travel to see him and to retrieve him: $260
Gas for two trips to Texas: $420
Board for 8 months at Christensens: $3500
Board for 19 months at TMR: $11,500
Colic Intervention: $700
To date, my free horse has cost 83k.
Yearly costs going forward:
TC Omega Max: $104
Yearly costs: $9k
And that's if I don't purchase any tack.
Estimated: @ 1700 hours
Since then I spend five days a week at the barn consistently. Weeknights are about 3 hours. Weekends can be anywhere from 3 to 7 hours. Riding and spending time with him consistently is some thing I treat like a second job. If I'm not working and riding him he will not get better.
Estimated: @ 20 hours a week/52 wks year = 1040 hours
That's on top of a full time job.
It's no wonder I only sleep about six hours a night and our credit card bills are not paid off.
But how could anyone say no to this face?