How Much Does It Cost to Own A Horse?
We all love pets; some of us like dogs, some like cats, some like birds, and a few people dream of having a horse as a pet. It is okay to have a horse as a pet. However, there were times when horses could be bought with just a few bucks, but that is not the same reality today. If you are planning to buy a horse, you should make sure that your wallet is much larger.
When you buy a horse, you have responsibilities that you need to carry for the rest of your life. It is a fact that when you buy a horse, you save the animal’s life from euthanasia because of physical failure.
Horses are beautiful creatures! Both the world of man and the world of horses have been closely connected for thousands of years. This goes without saying! You will be the coolest person in the whole neighborhood if you own a horse. But hold your horses first before you ride your dream: do you have any idea about the basic financial expenses of keeping animals? Or how much it costs to own a horse? Welcome to reality, folks, because it’s damn expensive!
You will be confronted with both one-time and recurring expenses on a periodic basis.
Let’s Talk About the Money
Buying a new horse will not be difficult, but the fight may begin with feeding, stabling, health care, and equipment costs, which add up to the final cost. There is a misconception that only the rich and wealthy can afford horses. The American Horse Councils (AHC) state that the average income of a horse owner in the USA is between $40,000 and $100,000. So how much does it cost to own a horse?
The total cost of a horse depends on the breed, whether it is young or untrained, its size, color, geographical location and whether the horse will live on your farm or in a boarding house. It seems that there is no easy way to give you the exact answer in numbers.
|Boarding fee||$400 – $600||$4060 – $7000|
|Equipment and Supplies||$350-$1500|
|Hay & Straw and other nutrients||$350 – $400||$4000 – 4800|
|Hooves trim||$32 – $40||$384 – $480|
|Vaccinations fee||$200 – $300 (Every 2-3 months)||$600 – $1000|
|Insurance cost||$90-$150||$2500 – $5000|
|Farrier trim||$50 – $80 (Every 2 months)||$550-$600|
|Veterinary cost (Dentist / deworming, etc)||$40 – $80||$300 – $500|
|Emergency Fund||$1000 – $1500||$10000 – $15,000|
|Total||$2250- $3300||$23000 – $34,380|
According to the current market price for a healthy horse, the price would be between $3000 and $10000 dollars without additional fees. Being the owner of a horse is unique and a lifelong commitment. The cost of hay, nutritive grains, sawdust, watering bucket, the right place, fence, farrier’s care, monthly health check, hoof care, saddle clamp, and riding equipment are all covered with the total cost on a weekly or monthly basis.
So here is a bird’s eye view of the essential things that add to the total cost of a horse.
- Facility costs
- Feeding costs
- Manure Management
- Health care costs
- Boarding costs
1) Facility Costs
When you start planning to buy a horse, the most important factor to consider is the place where the horse will live. Whether a home pasture or a boarding house, the living environment should be comfortable and free of pollutants. It is imperative that a horse needs at least one hectare of land to move around. There is also an enormous advantage in the cost of buying hay if you own many hectares of pasture land. Here are some things to consider when making your property horse-friendly.
- Pasture land should be fenced with an appropriate, secure fence.
- Plan to provide more hay if there is insufficient pasture or grass.
- Plan and maintain hay storage effectively. This will save the costs of hay losses and the purchase of hay.
- Manure management is key.
- Ensure the stalls and shelter are always clean.
- Make sure you have a well-maintained riding area.
- Provide an automatic watering system and ventilation system.
- Tank water heaters at the time of winter and snow.
Meeting these requirements requires time and planning. Making an informed decision also depends on the costs associated with setting up these facilities.
2) Feeding Costs
Have you ever heard of the phrase “He eats like a horse”? It’s a funny way to imply that a person eats too much in one go. Similarly, food plays the largest part of the total annual cost of a horse. In fact, a horse eats 1.5-2.5% of its body weight in grass or hay every day, and in the initial phase, almost 2.5 tons of grass will be consumed. In addition, the daily intake will vary depending on the horse’s performance level. For example, a riding horse would consume much more than a British showjumper because the energy level is different.
If you live in the southwestern United States and own a horse, you may find that hay prices are higher during periods of drought ($25/bale).
As is well known, grass and hay are the horse’s staple food intake, but it also needs to consume multigrain nutrients regularly to be healthy and to have a longer life span. So here come the “nutritional expenses”, which amount to at least 30% ($12-$15) of the total feed costs. On a daily basis, a horse must consume 2 pounds of nutritional supplements such as rice bran, vegetable oil, corn, oats, barley, mixed pellets, soybeans, etc. These nutrient supplements will combat common health problems such as dental problems, metabolic syndrome, geriatric problems, and bad breath.
In total, the annual cost of a horse feed averages $4,000 to $6,000. You can reduce these costs by using pasture land efficiently and making proper use of the feed management system.
3) Manure Management Costs
It is a well-known general metabolic system that what goes into the horse’s mouth should come out as dung. A horse excretes an average of 50 pounds of manure a day. It is the owner’s decision whether to use the manure as a fertilizer for empty areas or to remove it completely from the area. If the choice is to use the manure as fertilizer, you will need to buy equipment to stack, turn, and spread it for composting. This can cost about $50 – $200. If the manure needs to be completely removed, you can hire a fertilizer transport company for $100-$150 for a 20 square meter yard load.
It is necessary to have an efficient waste management system if you have a wide land area. This will prevent the spread of diseases from man to horse and from horse to man.
4) Health Care Costs
The physical functions of horses are similar to those of humans; they too get sick without being noticed. Therefore, it is necessary that the owner plans and owns an emergency fund to avoid future issues. I have explained in detail the few essential health factors for the horse on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
Trimming the Hooves
The hooves are the most important thing in a horse. They grow continuously unless they are not trimmed at the respective periodic times. The perfect feet are like the wheels of a car; they should keep the balance for a nice ride. In addition, unbalanced hooves will make the horse’s walking uncomfortable, the lower limbs will hit the leg bone joints and hurt, and it can lead to arthritis if this problem persists for a long time.
It is therefore better to trim the horse’s hooves every 8-10 weeks. Farriers’ costs for trimming are about $35-80 per visit and $100-300 for shoeing.
Parasite Control or Deworming
For any animal, be it a cat, dog, or sheep, the most worrying problem for the owner is parasite growth in the body. It is a fact that every year at least 6% of horses die or are euthanized because parasites grow in their bodies. To prevent this, pest control can be carried out by the horse owner if he has experience with it. Otherwise, it is better to have it done by a veterinarian for $50-$70. Products like Ivermectin would cost about $40-$50 for every 6-7 weeks.
It is better to solve dental problems in the early stages; otherwise, it will grow to be a dental abscess or even cancer, and it will be a bigger problem to solve. Healthy teeth help to chew better and waste less food.
Dental care will cost $60 to $80 per visit and a total of $250 to $500 per year.
The immunization of horses is highly recommended to protect against infectious viruses and other parasites that spread diseases. By vaccinating the horse, the owner could prevent diseases such as tetanus, encephalitis, rabies, flu, rhinopneumonitis, strangles, and anthrax from being transmitted to humans. These viral vaccines would cost about 40 to 100 dollars per year.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) suggests that each horse should be vaccinated annually.
These viruses spread depending on where you live and how you manage your stable. Owners should talk to their veterinarian about common forms of horse disease and make sure they follow them closely.
Similarly, there are few other medical treatments available such as Coggins tests or ELISA tests, and musculoskeletal care must be followed annually.
The AHC states that every owner must be prepared for future risks such as health and unnatural disasters. As this is a major investment for any owner, it would be an enormous financial relief to secure his or her investment. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the age, breed and type of use of the horse. You can call the insurance agents in your state and ask for agricultural insurance policies that are available for your budget. For example, the annual fee for a 15-year insurance policy would be $250 – $500 with all deductible claims.
5) Boarding Costs
It is time to thank the horse boarding farm entrepreneurs out there because they are hugely helpful for new horse owners in their daily struggle to manage things. Boarding is a better option for those who have less or no space available. To define boarding: this is a private horse farm and your horse will be provided with facilities such as riding lessons, stable accommodation, points, an outdoor arena, trail riding, grazing, dressage, health care, and meeting new people. Accommodation costs vary depending on location, facilities, and services. The average cost of a horse boarding is between 400 and 600 dollars per month (the annual fee would be 4060 to 7000 dollars).
So you don’t have to worry about the health of your horse and taking care of the daily tasks.
Having a horse is a big responsibility; it requires a long-term budget, personal commitment and enough time. Therefore it is good to be prepared for the unexpected expenses that may arise in the future, especially for the new owners. Be careful with every cent you spend. It is time to ride your horse like a king!