Costs Of Owning A Horse

Before buying your first horse, sit down and work out a realistic budget. Think of buying your first horse as starting a small business. You”ll have start-up costs: the basic equipment, a pre-purchase veterinary exam and the actual cost of the horse. Next you”ll have operating costs, including fencing, building a stable or paying regular stable fees. Finally, you should calculate your monthly expenses. These costs may vary, but you can determine an approximate range.

Do you plan to do anything extra like transporting your horse in a trailer or showing him occasionally? Take those costs into consideration, too.

Are your horsemanship skills up to par? If not, you”ll need to budget for lessons or pay someone else to care for your horse.

Do you feel pretty confident that you can handle the day-to-day tasks of owing a horse? Do you feel prepared to handle an emergency on your own? Do you have access to a good horse vet nearby? Some of these factors may add to the costs of owning a horse.

Making the commitment to buy a horse is just the beginning of your responsibilities. You”re now financially and morally responsible for his care and well-being. That means that you need to ensure he is receiving the proper nutrition, hoof care, veterinary care and exercise.

Horse Start-Up Costs

A horse can cost $1,000 or more. To ensure that you get a healthy animal, a check-up from a veterinarian is essential and costs about $125, depending on where you live and what services are offered.

This is the basic equipment you”ll need for your new horse, with approximate cost:

  • lead rope: $10
  • halter: $20
  • brushes: $30
  • hoof pick: $2
  • fly spray: $10
  • bridle (new): $40
  • saddle (used): $400
  • saddle pad: $20
  • bucket: $10
  • Total equipment start-up costs: $542

That”s a minimum of $1,667 in start up costs alone.

Operating Costs of Owning a Horse

Costs can mount up quickly. Here are some regular expenses that you should include in the costs of owning a horse:

  • monthly board: $200 and up
  • food: Costs vary; contact your local feed store for some general numbers.
  • shoeing: $65 and up
  • training/lessons: Costs vary and the amount you need will depend on your situation. Assess your skills and then get quotes from local trainers.
  • veterinary care: Costs vary depending on the health and age of your horse. Discuss your situation with a local vet to get an idea of the costs you should expect.
  • vaccinations: Costs vary.
  • de-worming: Frequency and costs vary.

If you”re providing care yourself, subtract the cost of monthly board and add:

  • hay: $8 to $20/Bale
  • bedding (shavings): $12/Bale
  • bedding (straw): $8/Bale
  • fencing and shelter: costs vary.

Many factors will affect your monthly horse ownership expenses and you”ll have to do significant research to even make an estimate of these expenses. Keep in mind that this will only be an estimate and unexpected costs can arise at any time. Horse ownership is an expensive and significant commitment, so make sure you”re ready!

Finding an Alternative to Owning a Horse

If you feel that this is too great a commitment to make at this time, consider other options besides owning a horse. This doesn”t mean that you should never own your own horse. Participating in a plan that includes horse care may help you ease into owning a horse and give you the opportunity for “on the job training” before you spend the big bucks. These include leasing or sponsoring a horse and bartering work for riding.