Odds are that if you are considering purchasing your first horse, you are well aware that owning a horse is not cheap. Whether you have leased a horse in the past or you have simply just used lesson horses, you feel that you have a general idea of how much it might cost to own a horse, but you can’t truly be sure. Continue reading for more information on the true cost of owning a horse so you can make a fully informed decision on purchasing a horse of your own.
We’ve all heard it before: the initial purchasing of the horse will most likely be just a fraction of what you can expect to spend when owning your own horse. It is important to keep in mind that while you may be enticed by a low selling price on a horse you have had your eye on, there are many more financial aspects to consider and make sure you will be able to afford later down the road. There’s no sugar coating it; horses are expensive animals to keep, and it is important to understand the entirety of the financial details so you are not taken by surprise when the bills start to come in.
Boarding Or Keeping At Home
One of the first things to consider is where you will be keeping your new horse once you bring them home. Whether you plan to keep them on your own land at home or you plan to board them at a facility, there are several things to consider.
If you plan on boarding your horse, check around in the area for the monthly boarding rates that can be expected. If you already belong to a barn and wish to bring your horse there, speak with the owner or barn manager to see first if there are any open stalls, and how much you would expect to be paying in boarding fees every month. The cost of boarding is dependent upon the area you live in, the amenities offered to members of the barn, and the services that are included within the boarding fee. Boarding costs can range anywhere from just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month, with the average boarding fee landing anywhere around $400 to $500 per month.
In many cases, boarding fees include comprehensive care for your horse; feeding, blanketing, turnout, and stall cleaning are all things that are generally included in the boarding fee, though the services that are offered vary from barn to barn. Some barns with more expensive boarding fees may even provide an experienced rider to exercise your horse on days when you are not able to make it to the barn.
If you are planning to keep your horse at home, you will be saving yourself money on boarding fees, but there are still fees for you to consider; bedding, utilities, hay, feed, and maintenance of the property are just a few examples of things that you will need to be responsible for when keeping a horse at home.
Your horse will need to be regularly seen by their farrier in order to maintain their shoes and hooves. If you choose to shoe your horse, you can expect to spend anywhere from $70 to $130 on a full set, depending on your region and the farrier that you use. Alternatively, if you choose to keep your horse barefoot, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $100 for a trim.
Your horse will need to be seen routinely by their veterinarian for their yearly checkup, as well as for floating of their teeth, vaccinations, and deworming. Veterinarian costs range greatly depending on your region, the experience of the veterinarian you use, as well as the deworming and vaccination products that you choose to use for your horse. You may find that your veterinarian may charge an extra fee for traveling to your barn, as well. The best way to determine how much you can expect to pay for veterinarian visits is to check with owners in your barn, or by calling local reputable veterinarians for a general quote.
Making the initial investment in tack of your own can be quite pricey. Whether you have been leasing a horse or simply taking lessons, odds are that you have simply been using tack that the horse’s owner or the barn provided for you.
Shop around for deals on tack; if you wish to purchase everything brand-new, check your local tack stores and inquire about upcoming sales. Check online as well; there are quite a few sites that offer competitive prices on reputable tack brands.
It is also worth considering that buying used tack can be extremely beneficial, as well. Whether you buy online or in-person, you may be able to find gently-used tack for a great price. Another benefit to purchasing used tack is that it will most likely be “broken in” for you already, so you won’t have to deal with any uncomfortable break-in period.
Lessons And Training
In addition to the costs of keeping your horse healthy and happy, you will also have to consider that you may need to spend money on riding lessons or training, if you are so inclined. If you are already working with a trainer, speak to them about working with them with your new horse. It also certainly would not hurt to inquire if they would be willing to work with you on the price of lessons or training; some trainers offer package deals, in which a certain number of lessons or training sessions are grouped together for a discounted rate.
Going forward with this information, start researching the costs of owning and keeping a horse in your area. While owning a horse can be rather expensive, it can be an incredibly amazing experience, and most horse owners would agree that every moment with their horse is well worth the money spent.