|this is not what you want your Fjord to look like|
I will preface all this with a little background. From the age of 6, I was raised with horses. My parents owned a boarding stable and there were a variety of horses under our care. We had many, many free horses come through the farm. When I used the term "free" I also include those cheap horses as well. Can I start by saying, for the most part, the free horses are some of the most expenses horses people have ever had?
What you get with a free horse.
You are getting someone else's problems. Period. Very rarely, will a good horse be given away. Almost never out on the open market, but maybe between dear friends or loved ones. The free horse will need to be retrained. Board and train together cost between $600-$1000 month in the Seattle area. Less in other parts of the country, more in others. I know of a facility in our own town that charges $1600 month. And no, one month won't take care of these issues. You are looking at a minimum of 3 months and really, to do everyone good, 6 months is a more realistic approach.
You will also have farrier and vet bills. All horses need these, but typically, free horses have been neglected in these areas. Many horses need shoes (Fjords, by the way, are one of those few horses that rarely will need shoes). These are used to protect the hoof walls and keep the most important part of your horse safe and sound. "No hoof, no horse" as the old cowboys used to say. Shoes will run you $110-150 every 6-7 weeks. Vet bills ... well, with a typical farm call around $70 you know your bill will be well over $100 for the most basic of calls. Free horses will typically need vaccines, de-wormings, teeth floated and more.These are all things that need to be done regularly, but the free horses, typically need them NOW.
I'm going to leave it at that. You and I both know there are soo many more things we could discuss, but I'm going to leave it there for the moment to show you what you can have. :-)
A typical, good quality, Norwegian Fjord horse will set you back about $4,500. - $7,500. You may or may not be getting top quality for breeding purposes, but for this money, you should get a sound, reliable, ready to go riding companion. You will still have some time getting to know each other, but this horse shouldn't come with nasty vices or bad behaviors. How much were we just talking about for training costs?
One of the greatest joys I have found with the Fjord horse is their ease in care. We never discussed the cost of feed above as most barns will include up to xyz amount of feed for your monthly boarding cost. We keep ours at home and I cannot even begin to say how excited I was to know how much less they eat. We work our horses 6 days a week and other than supplements (like us taking vitamins), they get hay only. Good quality, but still, no grain, per se.
One of our other joys is not seeing the vet as often. As much as we love our vet - he's great - quite frankly, I would rather have the money in my bank account. Or buy a few extra treats for the ponies and the tack room.
Overall, the price you pay will have a direct correlation to the horse you will get. Think twice about that free horse you see in the ad....
*You can find a reputable breeder or owner by doing your research: get on the Fjord email groups and ask. Ask the seller to provide you with references. Call breeders and ask about reputations - for the most part, this is a very small community and we know each other. There are many wonderful breeders and owners I would happily give a reference for - or even buy from myself. We are not out to "bash" others, but if we know of a particular person selling bad horses, we will not give a reference for them and put our own reputations on the line.