It doesn’t take long to start fantasizing about having a horse once you fall in love with them. Owning a horse may be a truly amazing experience because of how fulfilling the relationship is. However, owning a horse can be quite expensive, as you might anticipate. Therefore, it’s best to look at a general estimate of what you can anticipate before you either completely rule it out or move on just to be surprised by the whole expense of horse ownership. That’s why we’ve put together this useful guide on the cost of owning a horse, including the price of the animal itself and yearly maintenance costs.
Considerations Before Buying a Horse
It’s simple to get caught in the specifics of figuring out how much money you should budget for owning a horse. Particularly when you take into account that the cost of maintenance varies greatly depending on where you live, if you board your horse, and whether you keep your horse at home. However, beginning with the big picture will help you gain a better perspective. The following inquiries will aid in your decision-making:
What type of horse do I want?
Where can I purchase a horse?
What can I expect to pay to keep a horse?
What horse supplies will I need?
How will I care for my horse’s needs daily?
Where will I keep my horse?
Be sure to keep the horse’s intended usage in mind when choosing the breed. Do you intend to compete or ride primarily for fun? Is the horse intended for adults or kids? Your responses will help you choose the breed and temperament of horse that is best for you.
As you think about the breed of horse you might like, look at our list of the best horse breeds for competitive riders.
Do some online research and speak with nearby horse owners to get an idea of costs. It’s a good idea to find out what costs are normally like in your area since horse ownership comes with a wide range of charges in different parts of the country. We’ve included cost ranges in this article to give you an idea of what to expect, but speaking other horse owners in your region will help you get a more accurate estimate.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy a Horse?
Breed, lineage, conformation (build), and talent are some of the characteristics that will determine a horse’s worth and, eventually, its price. Expect to pay more for a purebred horse that has been carefully bred for a certain attribute because it is seen as having more value. If you plan to ride for pleasure and are more concerned with the character of the horse, a pedigree may not be important to you.
Given that it takes time and experience to train a horse for a certain purpose, training will also have an impact on the horse’s price. Last but not least, the supply and demand of horses may result in regional price variations.
A horse can typically be purchased for anywhere between $1,500 to $60,000 or more. The cost is significantly influenced by the horse’s age, level of training, and required riding abilities.
You can anticipate anything on the lower end of the range if you are just looking for a trail horse to ride sometimes. The cost will be much more if you’re seeking for a seasoned competitive show horse, though.
What Is the Cost of Owning a Horse?
There are a variety of recurring costs associated with owning a horse, just like there are for the initial purchase price. Will you board the horse somewhere other than your home? Continual maintenance charges will change depending on where you are. We’ll give you a broad idea of what to anticipate here in the Western Carolinas, where our flagship site is located, though, to help you get started.
Feed ($2500-$5000 per annum)
Feeding is a significant amount of the cost of owning a horse. A horse consumes roughly 0.5% of their body weight in grain each day (approximately 5 pounds, or the equivalent of one large coffee can), and 1.5% (15 pounds, or about 2-3 generous flakes), in hay. This is a lot when you consider that an adult horse weighs over 1,000 pounds! They might also require supplements like salt, minerals, and perhaps vitamins.
Currently, a decent quality 50-pound bag of horse feed costs around $40.00. You can anticipate using roughly 7 bags of grain each month or 84 bags per year, based on a 1000-pound horse fed 2.5 pounds of grain twice per day.
Your horse feed and any necessary supplements will cost between $2,500 and $5,000 per year, potentially even more in some regions, when you include in the costs of any vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, or other supplements that may be required locally.
Horse Care ($1500-$5000 per annum)
A veterinarian and a farrier must provide routine maintenance and treatment for horses. This covers examinations, shots, deworming, hoof trimming, shoes disease testing, and any other necessary treatment. A healthy horse needs proper hoof care, so don’t cut corners here!
If your horse is healthy, budget additional $1,500 to $5,000 per year. The range may seem wide, but keeping in mind that semi-annual appointments to the veterinarian for shots and normal maintenance, such as teeth floating, will cost about $500 per visit and adding in farrier visits to clip your horse’s feet puts you at the lower end of the range. However, the prices can quickly increase if your horse need shoes, joint injections, or special hoof care, particularly if they become injured or ill.
Home Care Stall Boarding ($1200-$7000 per annum)
You will incur boarding costs whether you keep your horse on your property or board it somewhere else. A barn requires upkeep in the form of equipment, arena management, and horse bedding, among other expenses. If the barn on your property is in good shape, you should budget between $1200 and $7,000 a year for maintenance.
Commercial Boarding ($12,000-$24,000 + per annum)
You can board your horse at a facility if you don’t have a stable. For pure pasture board, where the facility offers the bare minimum of care, typically includes grass pasture or hay, and water in a group setting, you’ll likely spend a minimum of roughly $300 per month. The price of full-care boarding will vary slightly depending on the facilities’ offerings.
Accordingly, you can expect fees to start at around $1200 per month for basic full care, which includes two daily feedings, turnout, bringing in, blanket changes as needed, stall cleaning, and arranging for and keeping your horse for vet and farrier services along with a secure riding facility.
You should budget at least $2000 a month if you need an indoor riding area, a lit ring to ride in after work, training rides, lessons, grooming, or tack up and cool down services.
It should be emphasized that normal vet and farrier care is typically not provided in commercial boarding facilities. You would pay extra for these services on top of your monthly board cost.
Basic Barn Equipment & Tack ($1500-$2000 to get started)
You’ll have equipment and tack fees in addition to the numerous charges for maintaining a barn or renting a stall. Included in this are a saddle, bridle, halter, bit, and other tack, as well as necessary apparel and equipment and grooming tools like brushes, buckets, and others. Depending on your experience, skill level, and preferred discipline, the cost can vary greatly.
In contrast to a rider who has precise equipment needs and intends to compete at the top levels of their chosen sport, your tack and equipment expenditures will be far lower if you merely intend to occasionally visit the trails when the mood strikes.
Having stated that, fundamental barn and grooming tools (brushes, halter, lead rope, turnout sheet, buckets, lunge line, etc.) A riding helmet, half chaps, and trail riding equipment are all essential items to have on hand. You should budget at least $1500 to $2000 for the essentials if you’re a novice horse owner.
Keep in mind that the equipment may cost more depending on how specific your goals and needs are. The numbers for equipment and tack are likely to be three times this amount or greater for the rider aiming to compete at the highest level in any English riding discipline. The prices for the various types of clothing needed to compete are not included in these estimations.
Lessons ($2400-$3500 per annum)
Taking lessons is a terrific option whether you’re new to horseback riding or wish to compete, and it will add to your budget as a separate expense. Private training normally costs between $75 and $150 per hour, while group classes typically cost between $50 and $65 per lesson. Most active riders attend at least one class each week, and more if they are actively racing. At the low end of the group lesson spectrum, allowing for at least one lesson per week throughout the year costs roughly $2,400.
Equine Liability and Equine Health Insurance ($400-$3000+ per annum)
Insurance is important to think about, especially if you intend to compete, keep your horses at home, or invite a trainer to ride them on your property. If a neighboring youngster inadvertently gets bitten while visiting your horse, if your trainer slips and falls on your land, or if you compete and your horse kicks or bites someone while they are off your property, liability insurance will protect you.
Equine Surgical and Mortality Insurance would help cover the expense of your horse’s medical costs if they became ill or injured, and in some extreme instances, it would help cover the cost of losing your horse due to a catastrophic disease or accident.
A horse’s value as established by the purchase price is typically covered by major medical and mortality insurance at a rate of roughly 3%. For coverage, high-value horses might need a regular physical examination.
The price of equine liability insurance depends on the level of protection you want. The cost of coverage will vary depending on the circumstance; a person with a few horses at home won’t require the same level of protection as a large farm with a lesson program. For the sake of this article, we’ll concentrate on the rider’s personal equestrian liability when keeping horses at home. Basic protection starts at around $400 per year, again dependent on the liability limitations selected by the owner and the number of horses on the property.
How Much Does a Horse Cost Overall?
The cost of owning a horse can be high. But bear in mind that some of these costs aren’t immediately necessary. A horse and your equipment can be purchased for as little as $4,000 to $9,000 up front. The cost will thereafter range from $6,000 to $8,000 annually, depending on where you live, whether you have a stable with equipment, and whether you need to board your horse.
The majority of equestrians agree that the cost is worthwhile because owning a horse is the most fulfilling experience there is for horse lovers. We do, however, want to make sure that you enter into the purchase of your own horse with a clear understanding of the costs. In this manner, you can enjoy your horse without being concerned about the cost!
Learn more: 9 Most Popular Arabian Horse Shows in the World