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What does it really cost to own a horse?

October 2009 Exclusive

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Black Horses 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

Lorna    International

2/6/2015 2:22:43 AM

This is my answer:

Marion    Hafcrazyland, WA

2/5/2015 2:42:37 PM

But would you trade one day with your horses even with the costs? I am all for changing some of the way I spend on them....but can't replace how it feeds my soul to have them

Lynch    International

2/4/2015 2:44:53 AM

690 roughly to keep two...but I graze them myself the hooves on one myself...would be insane cost to board a horse can't even imagine

Jo Anne    Salem, WV

2/3/2015 10:02:14 PM

I have known for a long time what the yearly cost was. Changed my routine and wrote all my expenses for a show weekend on outside of a manila envelope ( reciepts inside). Totaled it at end of weekend. Last show season. It wasn't that much fun for 3 days. I was exhausted from all the work. My friend & I can ride on each other's farms. Never looked back with regret.

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