New car or new horse?

I have recently been gifted some money to put towards either a new car or a horse of my own. I have been riding for 7yrs in many of the major disciplines and am currently riding hunter jumper with a trainer. I have leased 2 horses prior so experience is not the issue for me but rather cost. I’ve found a nice green broke APHA colt (will be gelded soon) who will suit my needs for a hunter jumper/trail horse and is well within my price range with some room for training costs if need be. Boarding however is rather ridiculous in my area for a well maintained, English facility (my trainer does not board atm), with most being 450-800+. I currently work part time at Starbucks as I’m a student and while my parents will help cover some of the costs I worry about being able to afford the horse, especially in the event of an accident. I have savings + I know they would pitch in but I do not want my horse to become their finical responsibility. On the other hand, I currently own a nice, base model Altima and would love to purchase a new or slightly used Full loaded mustang to zip around in (Cars are my other passion in addition to horses). The car market sucks but if I save for the rest of the year I should be able to afford a very nice car with low mileage on a small monthly payment, less than or equivalent to 1/2 of boarding costs in my area. While the car is more expensive upfront, I can do most of the repairs myself & my parents pay for my insurance. With the car I’ll be able to continue riding & showing but if I buy the horse I would likely be unable to further my car hobby. I would absolutely love to own a horse, it’s been my dream for ages, but is it the best choice over a new car? I don’t want to miss out on either of the things I love and certainly do not want to regret my decision/be financially stressed.

Thank you in advance!

You’re not going to like this advice, but especially since you’re still a student, I’d continue to lease and lesson, put part of the money towards that, save the rest, and not buy a new used car until you really need one. College isn’t the best time to buy a horse, when your potential income and future is an open question, as well as where you will live.

In my area, $800 for stall board is at the low end.:disappointed:


Given what you’ve written here, do not buy the horse. Don’t buy a horse until you can comfortably afford it, and that means after you have an emergency fund and are saving for your retirement.

Don’t buy the sports car either, unless you can pay cash and still have an emergency fund remaining. Keep driving your perfectly good used car and finish school, and put that money aside for when you really need it.

You are way ahead of the game by thinking about this in advance and asking for advice. Some people would buy the horse AND finance the car without thinking twice. Book recommendations if you are so inclined: The Richest Man in Babylon. The Wealthy Gardener. Dave Ramsey’s stuff.


Thirding, do neither!

Save your money! Take that money and invest it (in a mutual fund account?). Over time that money ($30,000?) will increase tremendously and you’ll be able to afford both horses and cars.


(take some of that money to pay for your own auto insurance)


Agree with the advice posted. You are in no position financially to buy either.

You have a chance to start your life after graduation with a cash cushion that you didn’t have to squeeze out of your paychecks over the course of months or years. Put it into some investment that is easy to cash out with little penalty in case of dire need (as in, critically injured & lost job). LEAVE IT THERE.

Your suggestions for yourself in the first post shows that you are of a living paycheck-to-paycheck mindset. You need to learn a new way of thinking immediately.

Money spent is gone forever. It doesn’t come back. Make it earn for you instead.

From what you describe you need to focus on the goal of being a college graduate with the best-paying job you can manage for a number of years to come. Not a horse owner.

I am sorry but this is the sacrifice for long-term, financially secure, future horse ownership. I went that route as did many others. It pays off in the end.


I worked at a couple car dealerships years ago… never buy a new car. Let someone else take that depreciation hit. Also agree with the other posters, I would buy neither horse nor car while working part time.


@OverandOnward , that is some fantastic advice. OP- heed it!

I second a lot that has already been said here. Having a safety cushion as you transition into careerhood and financial independence is so huge, you sleep better at night knowing you can take care of yourself should anything happen (lost job, totaled car, health crisis, etc.).

I would also recommend not picking up something that is going to require long term payment commitment (horse or car) while you are still working part time and not in a career just yet. A lot can change between now and then. Stay patient, both horses and cars will still be around when that time comes!


I am much further along in my career and am having a similar debate. I have some money put aside that I just have to decide how to use: horse, car, or both. Right now, my answer is neither - for a lot of the same logic in other posts in this thread!

For background: My mare was PTS a few months ago and I have been part-boarding a schoolie. Some days I want to rush out and buy a new horse; other days I’m sure I’ll be happy part-boarding forever.
I also have an older vehicle (10 years old, 235,000KM) that may need to be replaced at some point. I love my vehicle and don’t want to get anything else - I want it to last forever. But if I were to get something else I would definitely be looking at something higher end than what I drive today.

Since I am not completely sold on either option, I am doing neither and instead am letting the money earn some interest and be part of my emergency fund. In your shoes I would definitely hold on to the money until I had a few years of a career under my belt with a healthy savings cushion in place to cover any unexpected expenses.


Congrats on the windfall! Treat yourself to some fancy new brushes (check out the Haas thread somewhere here on COTH!) and/or other nice riding equipment but don’t get the horse. It’s going to be a financial pressure always, and will limit your freedom as far as travelling or moving to another country to pursue a job or career (that last one is rather specific, I realize, but I can only imagine what possibilities I passed up on after graduating because I couldn’t bear to leave my gelding behind).

Also a :-1: on the new car (sorry). For all the reasons posted above. I just purchased a 2020 SUV as my 2012 Mazda5 (bless it’s heart) couldn’t tow the horse trailer. Six weeks later, some dingbat takes my bumper off with his Uhaul truck! Over $5k in damage. It’s covered by insurance, but that claim will now appear on my vehicle’s Carfax report and reduce it’s value even further whenever the time comes to sell it.

It’s definitely taken some of the joy out of my new (to me) vehicle particularly as, two months later, it’s still not fixed due to parts availability - but had it been brand spanking new, I’d have been so heartbroken.

Run that Altima into the ground, baby!



I’m also with buy neither. You are a student. Keep costs low until you graduate and have a job. Stay away from anything with a monthly payment.


Never take out a loan for a car. This is called a bad debt.

A good debt is real estate and that is still a gamble.


Plus never mind a horse is even a worse gamble financially.

Now is the time is best to keep learning on many different horses, is what makes a great rider and trainer, not putting all that time, financial resources and energy on mostly one horse only, unless someone has unlimited resources, which the OP doesn’t seem to have.

The OP’s situation is a good one, those options to consider an opportunity to decide what makes more sense, what is smart and if that will matter in her life more than satisfy immediate wishes with the financial windfall.

I am with all here, put the energy and time to figure how to use that money to have on hand for any real need, which she will sure come across.
Think if it makes sense to use it to spend more than she has and struggle then to keep up financially a lifestyle chasing what is truly luxuries, new fancy cars and horses.

Time to adult, learn to consider what is more important and then live with the decisions you will make and yes, some may indeed be immediate pleasures, as a car or horse would be.

Just putting all this in perspective will help you, whatever you decide.


For now I would save the money. Maybe take out some smaller portion of it to spend on fun, but put the majority of it away. You don’t say whether you’re a high school or college student, but if you’re in or will be going to college or another form of continuing education, the smartest financial move you can make with that money is to pay for education up front and minimize any loans. You will save a TON just by not dealing with interest. Having a horse going into/during/just after college can also be extremely difficult on both time and finances. Right now is also a terrible time to buy a car, even a used one, unless you absolutely need it, and it sounds like you have a serviceable vehicle. Get through school and established in a career, and by then hopefully the current financial turmoil will have subsided and you’ll be in a better position to afford the fun things that you want.



1 Like


Thank you for all the advice, you all make great points! I definitely agree that after much consideration the horse is not the smart route and perhaps the car isn’t either. I hesitate to say this but I suppose I should clarify that I do not pay for my college or living expenses so any money I bring in is for me to do what I wish with, otherwise I would not be considering a car or horse, period. If you are going to judge me for my finial situation, I would kindly ask you say nothing at all & move on to a different forum. I have decided to put the money in savings for now and continue to add to it while watching the car market. If the right car comes up for the right price I’ll go from there with the help of my family & car friends. Thanks again!


you are in a fortunate position but I would echo others

focus on your college and getting out into a steady career. The money buffer will be useful for a potential relocation for a job, setting up a better living situation etc.

if you are finding 450 - 800 choke worthy as far a boarding cost, you are not ready for horse ownership.

Personally , at your age, I would put that money into a growth situation for a possible down payment for a started home or condo


Even if you’re not paying for college, your life is very much in flux. What if you end up getting a job in a very high cost of living (COL) area for horsekeeping? You might also find that a young horse that’s fun to ride as a kid doesn’t work with the busy schedule of a working adult.

The car market is very overheated, and also, if you’re considering buying a horse at some point in the future, it’s better to put the money away than sink it into a “fun” car. There’s a reason sports cars are called midlife crisis cars–people buy them when they have money to waste to flatter their egos. Even then, it seems like fancy cars are less popular than they have been in the past, and there’s no guarantee a luxury item will hold its value in the future.


You are very lucky to have your costs covered by your parents at this stage. We aren’t being judgemental at all. We’ve all been around the block on this one, ourselves. Many of us stopped riding in college for reasons of time, energy and cash. Many of us as professional working adults still need to budget.

It’s fantastic that you are supported through college. However college is 4 short years. It doesn’t feel short at your age and while you are immersed in it. But in a couple of years you will be graduated, and either on the job market in what you trained for or continuing on for grad or professional school. At this point depending on your parents wealth and inclination you may find expectations that you assume more financial responsibility for yourself, maybe even become self supporting.

A financial cushion for this transition is a huge bonus. It will let you travel for job interviews, relocate for a job, pay damage deposit on your first apartment, put a down payment on a starter home, buy a sofa and bed and sheets and towels for that new home, buy some work clothes, etc. The college to job transition has a lot of expenses especially if you move cities, and many of those expenses are necessary before you see your first pay cheque.

Then once you have a good job and some financial stability you can find out what keeping horses means in the city where you end up.

I’d also say that horses and really fancy cars pull in two different directions. If you get your own horse, what you’ll really want as a second vehicle is a good big F250 and a bumper haul horse trailer. So much fun!