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How Much Does It Cost to Own a Horse?

a woman and her horse standing outside near a lake

Buying a horse means committing not only to the cost of the horse itself but also the cost of housing, food, equipment, maintenance, and health care. Being aware of these costs ahead of time will help you prepare to own a horse. 

A white horse stands in a field in front of mountains.
Make sure you’re prepared for the cost of owning a horse so you can give your horse the life and care it deserves. 

The Costs of Owning a Horse

The Horse: $1,000 - $3,000

The cost of a horse varies widely depending on what kind of horse you buy and where you get it. Specially bred horses who are raised for high level competitions cost more than $10,000, but those are not the type of horses bought by a first time horse owner. 

You can also find horses for free or only a couple hundred dollars from someone who can’t keep the horse anymore. It’s important to know everything about a horse before you take it, even if it’s very cheap or free. There must be a reason the original owner is giving up their horse. If the horse is simply too old for what the owner needs, it could be a perfect horse for you. 

You should plan on spending between $1,500 and $3,000 when you buy your horse. You might not end up spending that much, but having that budget will give you options and not limit you to only very low cost horses that could come with expensive issues. 

A row of horse trailers.
If you’re ever going to move your horse you need to factor a trailer into the cost of owning a horse. 

Trailer: $2,000 - $20,000

A trailer is necessary for transporting your horse. If your horse will never leave your pasture and someone else will transport it after you buy it then you might decide not to buy a trailer. Otherwise, you need a way to move your horse from place to place. 

The price of a trailer depends on what kind of trailer you decide on and whether you get it used or new. High end trailers can even cost $50,000. It’s up to you if you need a trailer for one horse or multiple and if you can get by with a bare bones trailer or need more features.   

A few horses look out of their stall windows in a horse barn.
If you don’t own enough land or a barn for your horse to live in, boarding your horse will be part of the cost of owning your horse. Of course, there are costs associated with owning the pasture and barn yourself as well. 

Housing: $700 a month

The cost of housing your horse will be specific to you--it depends on whether or not you have your own land and barn, where you live, and what kind of housing you need for your horse. 

If you own enough land for your horse to live on your property there will still be some costs. Your land needs to be sufficiently fenced in and that fence will need maintenance to keep it in good shape. You also need shelter for your horse which includes bedding that will need to be changed with relative frequency. 

If you’re going to board your horse instead there are some things to consider that will determine the price. 

First of all, where do you live? Boarding tends to be more expensive in urban areas than in rural ones because of availability, taxes, and land costs. You should expect to pay more for boarding if you live in an urban area. 

You’ll also have to find out what services are provided by the boarding options near you. Some places have self care boarding, which means they provide a shelter and fenced in pasture (and usually water) for your horse but you are responsible for food, bedding, taking care of your horse everyday, and cleaning the stall. 

Other places offer full boarding, which means everything is provided and your horse is taken care of for you. You should always ask about extra fees and policies before you commit to a boarding agreement so you know what to expect as well as what is expected of you. 

$700 a month will probably get you a well equipped boarding situation with most things included, but again price varies widely. Explore your options and talk to other horse owners before you decide on housing for your horse. 

A horse eating a mouthful of hay
You know what they say, hay is for horses...and it adds to the cost of owning a horse!

Food: $60 - $100 a month

Your horse will get most of its food by grazing in the pasture, but some of the cost of a horse will go towards hay, salt, and supplements. 

Depending on the price of hay near you, you’ll probably spend between $60 and $100 a month feeding your horse. Some people spend more buying grain for their horse.

It’s important to make sure your horse is getting all the necessary nutrients. A salt lick is a good way to keep your horse healthy and you can talk to your veterinarian about what other supplements your horse will need. 

Equipment: Depends

What equipment you need for your horse depends on whether your horse will live at your own barn or not and what you’re going to do with your horse. Some costs of horse equipment to prepare yourself for are:

  • Halter: $20
  • Lead: $20
  • Grooming Supplies (brushes, hoofpicks, etc.): $50-$100
  • Water Troughs: $50-$100
  • Manure Rakes: $20
  • Wheelbarrows: $100+
  • Hoses: $20
Two people ride horses in a field.
The cost of owning a horse goes up significantly if you’re going to ride your horse. 

Riding Your Horse: Over $1,500

There are a lot of costs associated with riding your horse. In order to ride your horse, you’ll need to pay for lessons as well as equipment. Lessons can cost between $30 and $100 per half hour. 

There is a lot of equipment involved in riding a horse. The saddle alone can cost more than $1,000, and that still leaves bridle, reins, girth, and saddle pads for your horse as well as supplies such as boots, gloves, and a helmet for you.

A farrier trims a horse hoof
Your horse needs its hooves trimmed by a farrier about every six weeks.

Farrier: $30 - $100 every two months 

Another addition to the cost of owning a horse is getting your horse’s hooves checked by a farrier around every two months. If your horse has hoof issues these visits might need to be more frequent, but starting at every six weeks or so will allow you to get a good idea of what your horse will need long term. 

A hoof trim will cost you around $30 every two months. If your horse wears shoes, reshoeing will bring the cost up to around $100 every two months. If your horse needs corrective shoes these visits will cost you a lot more. 

A brown horse standing in a field in front of a mountain.
Keep your horse in great condition with veterinary checkups, vaccinations, deworming, and first aid. 

Health Care: $300

It’s hard to know how much veterinary work your future horse will need, but you can plan for vaccinations and routine checkups in the cost of taking care of a horse. For one thing, you should plan on deworming your horse frequently at about $10-$15 a month depending on your veterinarian’s recommendation.  

A routine twice a year veterinary visit will probably cost around $50. You’ll also likely spend $75-$150 on vaccines for your horse. 

A equine first aid spray will prepare you to take care of skin wounds, scrapes, and cuts for $29.99. 

A horse runs towards the camera at sunset.
The cost of keeping a horse happy and healthy can seem like a lot, but it’s worth it. 

Now you have a rough idea of how much it will cost you to own a horse. You can’t know exactly how much your horse and everything that goes with it will cost until you actually have the horse, but you can prepare a budget to see if a horse is right for you. 

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