How Much Does It Cost To Own a Horse?
Horse Ownership Cost List

So how much does it cost to own a horse anyway? Is your daughter begging for a pony? Ever wondered if your family can afford it? Would you like to know what it realistically takes to house and feed such a large animal? I’ve got it all listed right here so you can make an informed decision!

How much does a pony cost?

Warning: Horses are highly addictive and may change your life forever! One is often not enough.

The costs are broken down into three categories:

  • Start up costs
  • Maintenance costs
  • Incidentals

Start up costs of owning a horse are one-time expenses that will get you the bare minimum you will need to ride and handle your new horse. These are moderate prices assuming that you will be purchasing used tack (saddle and bridle) and a horse that is already broke to ride.

Maintenance costs are those never ending monthly and annual expenses in keeping a horse. The prices will vary according to local feed and stable prices.

Incidentals are all the other items that you may purchase according to your riding needs.

Of course can spend much more if you insist on buying only the best, all new tack and a highly trained animal!

Horse Ownership Start up Costs:
Horse, Tack and Basic Grooming Supplies

Horse:

  • Broke to Ride Horse $800-3,500
  • Pre purchase vet check $250-550 (highly recommended – this cost will save you $ down the road)

Grooming supplies:

  • Dandy brush   $5-10
  • Face brush    $5-10
  • Curry comb $5
  • Hoof pick $1
  • Halter $10-25
  • Lead rope $6-10
  • Grain bucket $10-15
  • Fly mask $10-30

Tack:

  • Good Used Saddle $175-350
  • Leather Bridle (headstall, bit and reins) moderately priced $100
  • Saddle pads $60
  • Breast collar $25-75

You can save a lot of money purchasing used tack via craigslist or eBay and inexpensive online shops like horse.com.

Horse Ownership Maintenance Costs:
Feed, Farrier, Shelter and Veterinary Care

The cost of feeding a horse varies greatly on the price of hay in your area, the type of hay that you feed and the size of your horse. For example, a large horse will eat more than a small pony. Hay costs vary greatly from region to region and also fluctuate seasonally. These feed costs are based on the average feed intake of a 1000 lb horse on alfalfa hay (most horses weigh between 800-1200 lbs).

Call your feed store and check local hay prices.

Feed:

  • Hay 3-4 bales alphalpha /mo @ $12-22/bale…$36-$88/mo
  • Grain ~2 bags/mo @ $10-15/ bag…$20-30/mo
  • Large Mineral Salt block $25 (replace as needed, they eat about ½ lb of salt a week)

Horses hoofs grow continuously and need to be trimmed regularly for the life of the horse weather you are riding him or not. Depending on how fast your horses hoof grows they will need to be trimmed and/or shod (have horse shoes put on) every 6-10 weeks. For this cost estimate we’ll go with every 8 weeks for the farrier. Since horses need to be wormed every 8 weeks also, we will include that too.

Check with 2-3 local ferriers to see what the going rate is.

Hoof Care and wormer (both every 8 weeks):

  • Shoes $90-150 or Trim $50-75
  • Wormer (parasite control) $5-15

Where and how you house your horse will affect the cost. It generally costs less to rent a pasture than it does a paddock or a stall. If you keep your horse in a stall, you will have the added cost of changing the stall bedding regularly. If you keep your horse at home you will have the initial cost of building the fence, shelter, hay storage and feeder; but once built, keeping them at home is much cheaper.

Call your local boarding stables to check prices. Ask about any amenities included in the price. Do they provide riding trails, covered riding arena or daily feedings? Also check pasture rents on your local craigslist.

Boarding:

  • Stall or paddock Boarding $75-350/mo
  • Stall bedding $7-12 / bag @ 4-6 bags a month…$28-$60/mo

Or

  • Pasture rent $50-200/mo

Or

Home made horse paddock

At Home about $2500 initial outlay - free once built. These are Do-It-Yourself horse pen prices:

  • Fencing $500 and up
  • Shelter $700 and up
  • Hay storage ~ $1200 (more or less according to size)
  • Hay Feeder $40 and up
  • Water trough $75 and up (old bathtub works great and they’re cheap too)

Veterinary Care:

  • Annual Vaccines ~$50-75
  • Annual Sheath cleaning (geldings only) $75-150 (free if you do it yourself)
  • Teeth floating $185-250 (dental work every 2 years starting at 14 yrs; some horses sooner, some later)

Cost of Owning a Horse: Incidentals

There are so many things that you may buy over time according to your riding style. Packers buy pack saddles and panniers, folks into horse shows buy pretty show saddles and on and on it goes…

The items listed below are the most common things that you will eventually want or need.

  • Truck $12,000 and up
  • Trailer $1,000-8,000 and up
  • Fly spray $10-15
  • First aid supplies $40 and up
  • Winter blanket $50-200
  • Water bucket $5-10
  • Hay net $5-30
  • Saddle bags $10 and up
  • Shipping boots $50 and up
  • Tack box $15-25
  • Helmet $25 and up
  • Riding Boots $75 and up
  • Rubber stall matt $35/each
  • Saddle stand $20 and up
  • Riding lessons $25/hr and up

Horse Ownership Costs: Adding it All Up

The cost of owning a horse varies greatly according to local prices and whether or not you are able to keep your horse at home. To get the most accurate estimate, call for local pricing on hay, farrier and boarding services. Those prices will be out of your control, while prices on other items can be lowered by shopping around.

Once you have your local prices you can figure out the monthly cost.  

Building a lifetime of memories!
  • Add up the monthly feed and housing expenses then (multiply by 12)
  • Add up the hoof care/worming costs (Multiply by 6)
  • Add up the annual vet care costs

Add all three costs together (feed/housing, hoof/worming, vet care). Divide this total annual amount by 12 and you will have the monthly cost of owning a horse. Multiply that number by the number of horses that you plan on keeping.

Remember that this number is only the maintenance cost. It does not include start up or incidentals. Nor does it include any unexpected veterinary care due to illness or injury.

You may want to factor in the cost of your time and gas for twice daily feeding and care of the horse. Especially if your horse is not at home and you have to drive to get to them.

If you have never owned a horse and are considering the idea, I highly recommend you read Buying a Horse and Equine Safety. The more you know about horse keeping, the better experience you and your new horse will have. Right here on EquineSpot.com you will find loads of information that will inform, educate and entertain!

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