How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse
Horses

How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse? (Complete Expense Guide)

The cost of keeping the horse is quite more than the initial purchase of the horse. Horses require regular maintenance and care and this can stretch up to thousands of dollars per year. If you are thinking about owning a horse, then it is very important that you should know how much does it cost to own a horse.

How much does it cost to own a horse for a year? On average approximately $5000 – $7000 is the amount that horse owner has to spend to care for their horse per year. Before you buy a horse, it is very crucial to do proper research and understand how each item will affect the total amount spent on the horse per year.

So, in this article, we have provided the things that you should look after before determining how much does it cost to keep a horse and we have provided the approximate that each item will cost you along with budgeting and explanation.

Board

If you don’t have a budget for owning your own land then you can choose an alternative option that is to board a horse at your nearby stable. Boarding a horse means paying monthly charges to keep your horse at some other stable. 

Usually, these stables have all the facilities that your horse will enjoy. Depending upon which type of boarding stable you prefer there are three main different types of boarding options that is full care boarding, self-care boarding, and pasture boarding.

By knowing what all facilities are provided, it will help you determine which type of boarding option you should prefer for your horse and how much does it cost to board a horse?

Full-Care Boarding

Monthly Average price: $300 – $700

If you choose the full care boarding option then the stable will offer your horse a field for turnout as well as a stall in the barn. The staff of stable will take care of the daily needs of your horse which includes watering and feeding, blanketing, applying the fly spray, turn in and turn out, and stall cleaning.

This is an excellent option if you prefer a stall for your horse or if you don’t have time to make it out every day to see after your horse.  Usually, these boarding stables will also schedule vet or farrier visits so you don’t have to bother much about it.

Pasture Boarding

Monthly Average price: $150 – $400

In the pasture boarding option, you pay a stable to keep your horse in their pasture. This means that the horse will be in the field 24/7. If you pay for pasture boarding then the barn staff will still keep a check on your horse’s daily requirements.

Barn staff will fill the water buckets, blanket, and un-blanket your horse, feed them and check the hard for any injuries. Run-in will be provided usually so that your horse can escape hot or bad weather.

This is an excellent budget-friendly option and this excellent for people who don’t prefer their horses to be stalled the entire day; allowing them to go out in the pasture will allow your horse to get exercise, keep up their circulation, and graze.

Moreover, you don’t have to bother much about your horse or go every day to look after your horse because the stable staff is there to take care of your horse. On the opposite side, the best board might not be the best option if your horse does not do well in elements.

Definitely, a run will be provided but usually, there is a pecking order to what horses get to stand under it. Some horses would shiver and get cold after the rain because of this reason stalling is preferable, for this you have to choose full care boarding option.

Self-Care Boarding

Monthly Average price: $100-$200

The self-care boarding option is when you pay for keeping your horse on someone else property but no one is there to fulfill your horse’s daily requirements. This type of board is quite similar to renting out space for your horse.

It is the most budget-friendly option to consider. The self-care boarding option will provide pasture and sometimes stabling for your horse but you will be responsible for turn out your horse, watering and feeding your horse, cleaning the stall, and blanketing them. 

This means you have to go at least once a day to look after them. It is a tough job if you choose a self-care boarding option but it provides you an opportunity to spend time with your horse.

If you are not able to look after your horse every day and you can’t afford other boarding options then self-care borders usually help in monitoring Each Other horses.

Feed

How much does it cost to feed a horse? Most full care and pasture board care offer hay and grains for your horses, there are some cases where you yourself responsible for feeding your horses. This can happen if you have opted for the self-care boarding option and your horse needs specific supplements and feed which your boarding stables do not provide.

Usually, horses that keep weight don’t need grain unless and until they are under a heavy training regimen or require some supplements. This kind of horse will help in saving the money in the feed bill.

Even if your horse is a simple keeper then they would at least require hay. The horse body is built for gazing which usually stalls don’t provide therefore they require hay.

If the horse lives in pasture and they don’t have sufficient grazing grass or land then they will also need hay for the fulfillment of their diet requirements. This is usually seen during the winter season when the vegetation disappears.

We have provided a list of feeding options for your horse and how much does it cost to feed a horse:

Grain

The average cost per 50 Lbs Grain Bag: $15 – $60

Green provides horses some Minerals and proteins that they do not obtain from grass or from gazing. Owners of the horse will feed grains to help a horse in gaining weight or to help of horse with vitamin deficiency.

Another reason to provide grains to your horse so that they can eat medicines or supplements that they won’t eat otherwise.

The cost of grains is mostly dependent upon the quality of grains. The higher the price of the grain, the more vitamins and minerals are present in it which cheaper grains don’t have. 

Usually, cheaper grains fill-up the horse rather than providing essential minerals and vitamins. Depending upon how much brains your horse required to eat per day will determine how fast can your horse finish up a bag of grains.

But if you are feeding a horse a large number of grains per day then it is important to distribute the amount over some interval of times. This will decrease the risk of colic due to overfeeding.

Hay

How Much Does It Cost To feed a Horse

Cost per Square Bale: $3-$20

Cost per Round Bale: $40 – $120

Horses are supposed to consume up to to 1% to 2% of their body weight per day by grazing. But sometimes fulfillment of nutrients by grazing is not an option then you might prefer to feed them hay. The majority of the time horses will graze therefore feeding hay to your horse the entire day will help replicate this pattern. 

Usually, hay comes packed in two options: round bales and square bales. The cost of hay depends upon scarcity and quality. If you wait till winter to start stocking for hay then you are going to spend a lot more money on your bales because everyone is scrambling to get the last lot.

If you trailer your horse to shows or stall them then you should buy square bales. Square bales are easy to break into flakes so it is simple to serve hay net. Round bales were intended to serve horses. This round bale keeps many horses happy for several days. This is because they are perfect for pasture.

When buying hay then it is important that you purchase hay cut, particularly for horses. This is because horses can’t able to digest some material that other livestock can consume.

Before choosing hay examine it to ensure it is filled with thistles, or foxtail, weeds. This not only damages your horse mouth but can also damage the digestive tract.

Supplements

Cost per 5 Lbs Bucket: $15 – $70

Usually, supplement come in a form of pellets or powder so that they can be combined with the grain. They provide some nutrients that cannot be found in hay or in grains.

Owners of horses will usually provide supplements to their horses to help them to improve mental and physical health. The vet will suggest supplements for this purpose as well. Depending upon the brand and the type of supplement you provide your horse depends on the cost.

Supplements can be obtained from online and feed stores.  We always like to read reviews on some supplements and we are always interested in seeing if they are worthy of the money you are spending.

Vet Bills

Adult horses need the attention of at least one time in a year to get vaccinated, get a physical exam, have a Coggins a test run, and have their teeth checked or floated.

How much does it cost to vet a horse? Depending upon illness or injury your horse might get affected over the course of a year and you might be seeing a vet more frequently. While other illnesses or injuries can increase your bill up to thousands of dollars.

Let us see some important routine bills that you have to pay at some or other point:

Vet Calls

Cost of per Vet Call During Business Hours: $35 – $80

Cost of per Vet Call After Hours: $50 – $150

A vet call is a call in which the vet has to travel to the place where you have kept your horse in order to give a check-up.  Depending upon how much far they have to travel determine that how much charge they will take for each call.

Calling a vet during the business hour will be much cheaper as compared to calling on after the business hour or on weekend.  Fortunately, vets are available 24/7 to respond to an emergency but if you have called the vet at 2 am in the morning then they will charge an extra amount.

If you want to avoid giving extra money for a vet visit then you can always trailer your horse to the vet office. But make sure that before visiting the vet do check if they are available or not.

Physical Exams

Physical Exam cost: $60 – $150

The horse needs a physical exam at least once a year to ensure that there are no subtle issues in the horse. The vet will check your horse’s pulse breathing and temperature. They will find out the horse body Count on a scale from 1 to 9; being too skinny with no muscles and 9 is being obese.

The vet will also examine other things like horse ears, eyes, nose, and genitals. Depending upon the kind of physical exam your horse is getting will determine the cost. The simple and basic exam will be less expensive as compared to the more in-depth exam which might include ultrasound and x-ray.

Administering of Vaccines

Administering of Vaccines: $20 – $60

Need some vaccinations at least once a year in order to remain healthy and happy.  Depending upon what shots your horse requires and where you are located in the world will determine the cost of vaccines.

Here is a list of some vaccines that should be given to the houses:

• Rabies

• Eastern Encephalitis

• Tetanus

• West Nile

• Influenza

• Western Encephalitis

Ask your vet which vaccine they suggest for your horse. If you don’t wish to pay a fee for a vet call for them to administer the vaccines then you can purchase vaccines online or you can buy them from the local store.

For buying a vaccine you must ensure that you are well aware of how to administer a shot to your animal. 

Teeth Floating

Teeth Floating cost: $75 – $200

The teeth of horses can weared down by the way they chew their food. Outside ridges of their teeth are formed which cuts and ulcer form in their mouth. It is crucial that you examine your horse teeth at least once a year.

Ask your vet whether your horse requires teeth floated. Floating is a process in which it will take a drill or rasp and smoothen the sharp edges of horse teeth that are formed.

Depending upon your horse determines how frequently the teeth will be floated; some horses might need it every six months while other horses can go for one complete year.

Before you buy the horse you should be well aware of the cost of different services. Usually, a vet will decide the cost of teeth floating depending on how bad your horse misbehaves during this process or how bad the teeth are. Even if horses are sedated, some can through fit having their teeth floated. This can make it fatal for the vet and the horse.

Coggins Test

Coggins Test cost: $20 – $60

Event shows and other similar activities will need you to show a negative Coggins test in order to permit your horse to go into the grounds. Even a few boarding stables need that a Coggins test is on file.

A Coggins test will examine your horse for any sign of Equine Infectious Anemia. This is a type of virus where there is no cure and it can be spread quickly if horses are close to each other. 

As this virus is an infected virus so the only choice is to put the infected horse down. So, the Coggins test should be done every year.

Farrier

Farrier is a professional who takes care of your horse hooves. Hooves of the horses grow like a person’s fingernail. Just like fingernails, the hooves should be trimmed frequently. The horse will require the feet to attend after every 4 to 8 weeks depending on the time of year and horse.

In the summer they need farrier more frequently.  Stopping their hooves at files and more moisture in the ground will result in the hooves wearing more rapidly.  In the winter season, it will get dry and horses are more immobile which means they will go longer without visiting the farrier. 

Usually, farrier provides three main types of services to horse owners. This will include shoeing, barefoot trimming, and corrective shoeing. Depending on the type of discipline you are involved in and your horse will determine which services to prefer and how much does it cost to maintain a horse?

Barefoot Trimming

The average cost per Visit: $30 – $50

Barefoot trimming means farrier trimming the hoof back to its right position. It keeps the horse well balanced and makes sure that the weight is evenly distributed through the horse’s hooves rather than other joints in the body. 

If the horse is barefoot then it implies that it does not wear horseshoes. Some owners of the horses prefer to choose a barefoot option if their horses are strong, well-shaped feet if the horse does not work or get ridden that hard.

Shoeing

The average cost per Visit: $65 – $130

If your horse is not wearing the shoes then it implies that the farrier is applying semi-permanent horseshoes to hooves. Horseshoes are made up of aluminium, plastic, and steel. They can be attracted to the horse feed by glue or by nails.

A horse might require shoes if they compete in strenuous events such as eventing or endurance riding or if they are soft-footed. Shoe will helps the hooves from enduring extreme injury during these events. This kind of farrier service can also be applied to keep a hoof together that has notable damage or crack.

Corrective Shoeing

Average cost per Visit: $100-$250

Corrective shoeing means a farrier using shoeing to fix an issue that your horse might be facing, normally in conformation. When a horse’s body is not supported accurately on the hooves, it can result in weight to move to one specific hoof or also to the other joints in the body. A farrier can make a custom shoe in order to solve the issue.

Ideally, corrective shoeing is a temporary service, as the overall corrective shoeing should aid to solve the issues; but, few horses will need custom shoes for the extent of their life.

If your horse requires corrective shoeing, it is necessary to discover one who has been trained not only to determine the hooves of the horse but also to determine the other uses of the body. Most experts who happen to know corrective shoeing are vets for this reason.

Tack

Purchasing tack for your horse might seem like an initially large cost; but, if well cared for and maintained, maximum tack pieces can last a long period. The cost of tack can vary considerably, appealing to the professional on the show circuit and the beginner on a budget.

Saddles

Cost: $150 – $3,000

The cost of a saddle can range considerably depending on the quality and brand. In the English world, M. Toulouse is recognized for being an expensive brand, but if you have ever used one of their saddles then you will know why. If you are on more of a budget, see for used tack stores that give discounted prices.

Saddle Pads

Cost: $20 – $250

A saddle pad goes between the saddle and the horse in order to give comfort and cushioning. Such as saddle pads, saddles will range in cost depending on the quality and brand; but, there are several decent affordable choices out there.

Girth/Cinch

Cost: $15 – $120

Cinch in the western world and Girth is known in the English world, this part of equipment holds the saddle on the horse. There are clinch made for whatever discipline you wish to compete in. Cinches and Girths differ in price based on quality and material. A synthetic girth will be cheaper as compared to leather girth.

Bridle

Cost: $20 – $200

Bridles is above the horse’s head which provides you control. The bridle will include browbands, cheek straps, chin straps, and throatlatches. Some sets of bridles might include the bit and the reins as well; but, sometimes these components have to be purchased individually. Usually, you can purchase these parts for about $20 each.

Supplies

As a horse keeper, there will be several things you require on hand to take care of your horse. All of these items can be available at your local tack shop or farm store. But how much does it cost to keep a horse?

Here is a list of the everyday things you will require for your horse:

Brush Set & Bucket: $10 – $70

Water Bucket: $5 – $10

Halter: $10 – $60

Lead Rope: $5 – $20

Fly Spray: $10 – $20

Fly Mask: $15-$30

Liniment: $10 – $20

Wound Spray: $5 – $30

Feed Bucket: $5 – $10

Winter Waterproof Horse Blanket: $60 – $120

Insurance

Insurance is very necessary, particularly third-party liability which is a necessity! What does horse insurance cost? This price to own a horse is difficult to determine as it differs extensively depending upon the value of your horse, how much voluntary excess you have on your policy and the type of cover you need.

See online and compare few insurance companies to get some information and find the best horse insurance cost coverage options.

Yearly Rug Reproofing/ Washing

Cost per year: $30 – $150

At the end of every winter, it is an excellent idea to make your horse turnout rugs reproofed and washed (or any repairs) so that they can be ready stored for the next winter.

If you own any heavy stable rugs that won’t fit in a standard washing machine then you have to get these cleaned also. (You can reproof and wash yourself, but from many owner’s personal experiences, we don’t think it is worth it as it can destroy domestic washing machines!).

How much does it cost to own a horse per year? Usually, costs start from $10 for smaller rugs, up to approximately $30 for a reproof/wash of a larger turnout, and repairs extra.

Activities

Lessons

Average cost per Private 1 hr Lesson: $35 – $100

Average cost per 1 hr Group Lesson: $25 – $45

Simply because you are having a horse doesn’t imply that you should stop taking lessons. Having a tutor to instruct you at the time of getting to know your horse will be helpful to both you and your animal. It is also great to have someone to go to if you have any problems.

Competitions

We are not going to give expense details on competition aspects as they can differ so hugely. If you simply plan on showing the schooling circuit in your local place then competing won’t cost much. If you intend on presenting FEI and rated shows then you might be spending thousands of dollars every weekend.

Here are few expenses that you should consider:  trailering fees if have hired someone else to get your horse to the competition, entry fees to compete, hotel expenses for staying overnight, and stabling cost if you want your horse to get stable at the showground. Moreover, the cost of proper show attire. Competing in horse events can instantly become an expensive habit, so it is essential to know your budget.

Club Memberships

Cost per Annual Membership: $100 <

Club memberships mean being a part of polo clubs, foxhunting clubs, or any other clubs you might know. You have to spend an annual fee to be a member each. This means that all the capping costs were waved as you have membership benefits.

As you have probably seen, there are many variations in prices when it comes to owning a horse. This enables people from all different levels of income to still enjoy and own their beloved pets. You can find various budgeting choices to help keep expenses affordable.

Worming

Different yards have different worming routines and practices, traditionally it is used to be a program of a particular wormer for the time of year, given every few months, at $15-$33 per tube.

But, nowadays (because of concerns about worming resistance) it is very popular to have ‘worm counts’ collected from dropping samples by a professional, then worm subsequently.

How Hard Is It to Take Care of a Horse?

Based on you and your horse’s condition can decide how much effort it needs to care for horses and how much does it cost to maintain a horse. If you can manage to spend for full-care boarding, then it will be the responsibility of barn staff to take care of the everyday requirements of your horse. 

Caring for your horse implies going out to the barn in shine or rain, in blistering hot and freezing cold. Caring for your horse goes past the everyday habits and needs time set aside to strengthen bonds and to build trust. It is about learning to understand how your horse reacts, learns, and thinks so you can care for your horse more accurately.

This is devotion, but it’s also love. If you are really an equestrian, your affection for your pet will considerably surpass the hard work that has to go into caring for your horse.

Expense Table: How much does it cost to own a horse

 Cost of keeping a horse at homePartial Care BoardingFull service Boarding
  BoardN/A$400 / month $4,800 / year$650 / month $7,800 / year
Hay The average horse maintained on forage (not pasture) consumes 1.5 – 2.5% of its body weight each day in hay (around 18 and 30 pounds each day for 1,200lbs horse) depending on workload and body type. We have calculated expenses depending upon an average of 20 pounds of forage every day.$525 / yearN/AN/A
Feed Feed gives nutrients and calories that are not present in the hay. Availability differs by region; but, we have based our expenses on feeding 3 pounds per day of a national brand.$390 / year$390 / yearN/A
Supplements We based our estimates on the expense of an everyday basic multivitamin supplement.$240 / year$240 / year$240 / year
Water Water bills range significantly based on your water source and location.  VariableN/AN/A
Bedding Bedding expenses for horses differ by region, quantity, and type bought. We have estimated our cost depending on baled pine wood shavings.    $1,092 / yearN/AN/A
Waste Removal Waste removal price differ based on how horses are managed (turnout vs  stalls) and regional waste management charges.$260 / yearN/AN/A
Annual exam$120 / year$120 / year$120 / year
Vaccinations$60 / year$60 / year$60 / year
Deworming / Liceing$100 / year$100 / year$100 / year
Dental Care$250 / year$250 / year$250 / year
Farrier Farrier costs differ depending on a horse’s particular requirements. Few horses need a basic trim every eight weeks, while others horse require more technical shoeing every 5 to 6 weeks. We have based our calculations on standard shoeing at $90 every 8 weeks.$720 / year$720 / year$720 / year
InsuranceVariesVariesVaries
Emergency Fund Many keepers set aside money to help cover unexpected situations, like ailments or colic surgery.$2,000$2,000$2,000
TOTAL:$5,757$10,680$12,390

Final words

So, How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse? The first and the foremost cost will be boarding or a place suitable to keep your horses.

Thereafter the significant costs (vaccination, insurance, bedding, hay, feed, worming, shoeing, rug washing, fuel, back/saddle checks, dentist, and expendable items), then which of the optional cost you are going to need (shows/clinics, lesson, horsebox, or horse trailer) and an extra/contingency budget.

Just to give an idea that this article has been returned to take care of each and everything into consideration, and even do the items in the list might seem overwhelming. If you have time, you can afford it then owning a pony or horse is so rewarding and it is worth each and every single penny.


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