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What does it really cost to own a horse?

October 2009 Exclusive

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Can you afford to own a horse? If you're thinking about entering the world of horse ownership, it's time to take a look at your budget. The initial purchase price is often a drop in the bucket compared to the everyday costs of caring for a horse. The calculator below will help you determine if you will be financially able to provide for a horse. If you're already a horse owner, use the calculator to find out where all your money is going and where you may be able to cut costs.

Things to Remember

Boarding vs. at-home horsekeeping. Boarding may appear to be the more expensive, less desirable option. However, if you're a first-time owner, having an experienced barn manager to help you take care of your horse is invaluable. If you travel frequently, boarding may be preferable over trying to hunt down a barn sitter every time you leave town.

Hay, grain and bedding. These expenses are often included in full board, but some boarding stables will require you to purchase your own. Hay costs vary widely across the country. If you're not sure what hay costs in your area, ask horse owners or check local ads. Read on for more on calculating your hay costs.

Vaccinations. The AAEP vaccination chart will give you a basic overview of what annual shots your horse will need. When calculating your vaccination costs, remember to include the cost of a farm call (if you board, you can keep this cost down by splitting the vet visit with other boarders.)

Coggins test. If you travel with your horse for any reason, you will probably need a new Coggins pulled each year. If you travel across state lines, you may need a new one every six months. If your horse never leaves your property, you will likely only need one every two or three years. Regulations vary by state, so consult your vet.

For any expenses that do not apply to your situation, just leave the value at zero.

Item Frequency Cost Monthly Yearly
Boarding Stable Monthly    
Vaccinations Annual    
Coggins test Annual    
Dental Annual    
Deworming Every Two Months    
Farrier Every Two Months    
Additional Vet Expenses Annual    
Hay Monthly    
Grain Monthly    
Bedding Monthly    
For horses kept at home
Electricity Monthly    
Manure Disposal Monthly    
Water Monthly    
Property Maintenance Annual    
Optional Expenses
Supplements Monthly    
Riding Lessons Weekly    
Clinics Annual    
Training Monthly    
Equine Insurance Annual    
Association Fees Annual    
     Truck and Trailer
Truck and Trailer Payments Monthly    
Truck and Trailer Insurance Annual    
Truck and Trailer Maintenance Annual    
     Tractor Expenses
Tractor Payments Monthly    
Tractor Maintenance Annual    
Tractor Fuel Monthly    
     Tack and Equipment
New Tack Annual    
Tack Repair Annual    
Riding Apparel Annual    
Additional Tack and Supplies Annual    
     Horse Show Expenses
Show Fees Annual    
Stabling Annual    
Overnight Accommodations Annual    
Transportation Annual    
Trainer's Fees Annual    
Food and Beverage Annual    


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Reader Comments

Marsha    Birmingham, MI

10/23/2014 9:37:36 AM

This is INVALUABLE for someone like me. Yes, I will swallow hard when I show it to my husband, but it's a need to know!

Kelli    Detroit, MI

7/9/2013 11:00:55 PM

There should be cost factors added to include the first aid kit, other meds and bandages to keep on hand, horse wear items boots, blankets, sheets, fly spray and other pesticide control, and grooming supplies and products.

Ps. How do I delete that from my computer so my husband NEVER sees the costs all at once like that!!! :).

Rron    Central, VT

2/1/2013 12:50:43 PM

It's amazing to add it up!
No wonder there are no more new cars, expensive meals or vacations anymore

Beverly    Bedias, TX

5/28/2012 3:34:43 PM

My husband & I rescue horses! We recently went to an SPCA adoption clinic and learned that they will give you a monthly feed allowance to care for the horses on your property! This is an AWESOME program to help a horse in dire need and also have the benefit of riding and such without haveing the expense! Check with your local (City) Animal Shelter

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