How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Horse?

Anyone who owns a horse will probably tell you that the initial cost of the average riding horse is really only the tip of the iceberg. Keeping a horse is a luxury for many people. But how much does the ‘average’ horse cost? What’s the difference between a free horse, a $500 horse, a $5,000 horse and one that can cost well over the $10,000 or $20,000 mark?

You might also take on a horse with a health or soundness problem, which can cost you lots of money, even though the initial purchase price was low. Of course, there’s the exception to every rulethere are gems among lower-priced or giveaway horses, but it may take a keen eye and willingness to deal with difficult issues.

A cheap horse may be more expensive in the long run if you have to contend with vet bills, specialized shoeing , and paying trainers.

How much does buying a horse cost?

To buy a horse, you can expect to pay between $100 – $10,000, depending on the horse breed’s pedigree, how you are planning to use the horse, and your location. The average cost of a hobby-horse is about $3,000. According to Seriously Equestrian, the most expensive horse breeds can cost up to $250,000.

Is it cheap to own a horse?

The annual average cost of owning a horse is $4,000; that being said, it can be done for much cheaper. … Some things to consider when figuring the cost of owning a horse would be the cost of board, feed, vet bills, farrier bills, tack, supplies, and any activities you may be interested in.

How much money should I have before buying a horse?

It is not easy to say how much money you need to buy a horse. It can cost you nothing, or you should pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions for the best animals. If you are new in this sport, it will be enough to set aside $5,000 to $10,000 for a decent horse.

Parents of horse-lovers, beware. Its only a matter of time before your child starts asking incessantly for a pony. I should know I was that child. For every birthday, Christmas, Easter, or special occasion, all I asked for was a horse. I dreamed about horses. I played with nothing but toy horses. My favorite excursions were those to the local country store so I could imagine buying a saddle and bridle of my own.

The average horse weighs 1,100 pounds and needs to eat a minimum of 1.5% to 2.5% of its body weight each day in hay and grain. Vet fees alone average $485 per year, including standard check-ups, vaccinations and tests, four annual dewormings, and minor care for non-emergency injuries.

In addition to daily care by the owner, horses should be seen by a certified farrier every six to eight weeks to be trimmed or shoed. If youre keeping a horse on your own property, there are general maintenance costs required to make sure everythings well cared for and functional. Depending on your facility and the required upkeep, horse owners can expect to spend more than $800 on maintenance per year.

That said, if you want to board your horse in a stable, with food, water, fresh bedding, regular exercise, and other amenities, expect to pay a lot more. A presentation by Rutgers University suggests the average monthly boarding fee is $260, although some facilities charge upward of $600. His or her needs will vary based on the type of riding performed and the level of competition, but you should be prepared to budget for and purchase a few of these items.

Lessons are a great way to introduce your child to riding and basic horse maintenance under the tutelage of a qualified instructor. 4-H programs offer equine instruction for students in grades 3 through 12 that covers everything from basic care to the ins-and-outs of showing your horse. These are essentially shared ownership agreements where both parties own the horse and chip in to cover the costs of care.

Youre agreeing to put time, energy, and money into the care and feeding of an animal that may be sick or malnourished. To see a horse come into your care, regain health, learn to trust humans, and find a forever home, is a beautiful and heartwarming experience.

Looking for a list of the costs you should expect if you want to buy a horse? We hope youre prepared to be surprised . . . both in a good way and a bad way. There are some expenses of owning a horse that dont cost much money as you might think, and there are others that are way more costly!

If you are paying for your horses feed every month, youll find that it can cost quite a bit every year to give it the hay, grain, oats, alfalfa, treats and other consumables it needs to stay healthy.

Before buying a horse, you should check how much does a horse cost and calculate your budget first. Believe it or not, it is not so exclusive nowadays as many people think. In fact, about 7.2 million Americans take care of their horses.

It can cost you nothing, or you should pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions for the best animals. Your location Horse breed, pedigree, age, sex, health status, purpose, and training level Available animals

The estimated price for an average horse for riding practice is usually $4,250. Even though you have a cheaper two-stage vetting process, the full and more rigorous five-stage process is the more secure option and will give you all relevant information about the horses condition. Sometimes, you can take the horse on trial, but you need to pay for this period, like when leasing it.

On the other hand, hiring someone to do this for you will cost you money, based on distance and gas prices. Keep in mind that you need to provide a health certificate and a Coggins test if you plan to cross the state lines. If you need to pass two borders, you will need to fulfill the requirements for each state line.

For example, these expenses will be at least $850 when you need to transport your horse up to 80 miles (129 km) and cross one border. The housing you choose is always based on the horse, its purpose and quality, and your budget. Keep in mind that a boarding facility or stable will also widely range depending on the area where you live, the option of full or partial care, and a deal about feeding and cleaning.

The average expenses are approximately $250 to $500 a month when you require complete care. PurposeOverall costs Horse$4,000 on averagePurchasing process$850 to $900Housing$1,200 to $9,000FeedingUp to $3,650 for hay and up to $1,500 for grainSupplements$840Salt block$14Equipment$265Tack$740Rider training$2,800 Horse training $600Professional help$250Farrier$450 to $2,800Veterinary care$200 to $550Vaccines$95Dentist$100 to $250Deworming$30Insurance$400 to $1,000End of life cost$600 to $4,000 The full board is the solution when you pay for a stall with provided stall cleaning, food, water, feeding, turnout, electricity bills, and maintenance. This option also includes regular farrier, vet, and dentist visits with shared farm call fees.

This variation implies paying for a stall without other services and amenities. In this case, you will need to provide food, feed your horse, turn it out daily, and clean the stall. In this case, you should pay for a stall and paddock, but the obligations regarding the horse are on you.

So, you should buy food and shavings, fill the water bucket, feed and turn the horse out, muck stalls, and organize the vet and farrier visits when necessary. It is a cheap solution and an excellent opportunity for your horse to stay outside all day long. Remember that it is necessary to check if the pasture is fenced and safe, whether there is ample water, and the level of the sheltering quality.

You need to count on property tax for such a large piece of land and the necessary horse amenities. Replacing roofs Painting siding Repairing fences Fertilizing and seeding pastures Managing weeds Fuel for a truck Necessary equipment Tractors Power tools Manure spreaders

When you keep a horse on your property, you need to pay more than $800 for general maintenance, including: $500 for a low-end saddle $20 for saddle pad $60 for bridle with reins $25 for stirrups $30 for halter and lead rope $40 for stirrup leathers $30 for girth $35 for a bit The average price per bale of hay weighing 30 to 50 pounds (13.5 22.5 kg) is $4 to $20.

Remember that grain and lush pasture can reduce requirements for hay during some months. Daily expenses One-half bale of hay$3 to $5Two-cup concentrate servings$1 or moreSupplements$0.17Salt blocks$0.04Farrier$0.83Routine vaccines$0.27Dentist$0.35Deworming$0.20 You can find thousands of different equine supplements on the market that protect the joints, boost hoof health, or improve digestion. As you can imagine, an average horse requires a lot of water.

Annual vet care for a horse includes regular checkups, deworming, and vaccinations (rabies, equine influenza, tetanus). Additionally, you will need to pay for a Coggins test and health certificate when you plan to transport your horse over the state border. However, you should also set aside some money for unexpected medical expenses like injuries, lameness, abscesses, colic , or infections.

An emergency vet visit will probably cost you $145, while colic surgery is expensive and can reach $5,000 to $10,000. Your horse will require a regular farrier visit once in 4 to 6 weeks. Another option is to rent a trailer, and overall costs will depend on the distance and necessary services.

$95 for a medium turnout blanket $70 for turnout sheet $20 for a bottle of fly spray $29 for a fly mask $40 for a grooming set $20 for shampoo and conditioner Full or limited mortality Major medical Surgical Loss of use Personal liability The overall costs will depend on the animal you choose, the way of feeding and boarding it.

On the other hand, you can make up your mind for a cheaper option and lease a horse.

How Upkeep Costs Affect Price

Poor hay crops and rising feed and fuel costs can affect the number of horses for sale and can affect the asking prices of those horses in any given year. The side effect of the banning of horses for meat slaughter is a lower price for some types of horses. This mainly affects horses that are elderly, unsound, young and/or untrained, but it does have a ripple effect on the general horse market.Those looking for a first-time horse will probably need to have anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 in their budget for the purchase. You may be able to find a gem for less than this, but having that amount will give you the greatest number of choices. The more you have to spend, the more choices you will have.

The Cost of Ponies

Ponies might be smaller in stature than horses, but that doesn’t mean their purchase or upkeep costs are proportionally smaller.The cost of a good pony can be the same or higher than a horse. Expect prices for suitable first ponies to be about $1,000 and upwards.

The Real Cost of a Free Horse

A free horse will probably live up to the old adage, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Usually, the horse will be a senior citizen, a youngster with poor prospects or little training, or a horse with behavioral issues. Yes, it‘s possible to get a really great free horse—like a senior citizen who is level-headed and serviceably sound, whose owner just wants a nice retirement home for it. However, these horses are rare and there’s a possibility you’re taking on someone’s problem.You might also take on a horse with a health or soundness problem, which can cost you lots of money, even though the initial purchase price was low.

The Costs of Horse Ownership

You probably know that the initial cost of purchasing a horse won’t hold a candle to the long-term cost of ownership. So while you may be able to find a rescue pony for just a couple hundred dollars, don’t let that fool you into making a purchase.Responses to a horse-ownership survey from the University of Maine found that the average annual cost of horse ownership is $3,876 per horse, while the median cost is $2,419. That puts the average monthly expense anywhere from $200 to $325 – on par with a car payment.

Food

If you’re wondering where all that money goes, a huge portion goes toward food. The average horse weighs 1,100 pounds and needs to eat a minimum of 1.5% to 2.5% of its body weight each day in hay and grain. While a bale of hay or a bag of grain won’t set you back that much, that bale or bag won’t last you very long. Food itself costs about one-third to one-half of the total expense of horse ownership – averaging more than $1,000 per year.

Vet and Farrier

Another significant expense to consider is the combination of veterinarian and farrier fees. Just like your dog or cat needs regular maintenance and care, so does a horse – and it costs a lot more than the care of a small pet. Vet fees alone average $485 per year, including standard check-ups, vaccinations and tests, four annual dewormings, and minor care for non-emergency injuries.If your horse needs emergency care, expect vet expenses to jump significantly. In fact, you’d be wise to have an emergency vet fund with several thousand dollars saved, just in case.In addition to vet fees, the cost of hoof maintenance must be considered. Caring for your horse’s hooves isn’t an optional expense. Poor hoof care can lead to infection, joint hyper-extension, and even permanent lameness. In addition to daily care by the owner, horses should be seen by a certified farrier every six to eight weeks to be trimmed or shoed. The annual cost of trimming is roughly $350, while shoeing can cost significantly more, depending on how many hooves are shoed and how often they’re replaced.

General Maintenance

If you’re keeping a horse on your own property, there are general maintenance costs required to make sure everything’s well cared for and functional. Upkeep of the barn, stable, or shelter, maintenance of equipment and fencing, and vehicle maintenance of a trailer all fall into this category. You also need to provide bedding for your horse if it’s being stabled inside.All-in-all, these expenses add up. Depending on your facility and the required upkeep, horse owners can expect to spend more than $800 on maintenance per year.

Boarding

Do you think horse ownership already sounds expensive? It gets a lot more expensive if you have to board your animal on someone else’s property.Boarding fees vary extensively based on the expectations of the boarding facility. If you simply board a horse in a pasture, with no expectation of exercise, food, or other amenities, you might be able to get away with boarding for less than $100 per month. That said, if you want to board your horse in a stable, with food, water, fresh bedding, regular exercise, and other amenities, expect to pay a lot more. A presentation by Rutgers University suggests the average monthly boarding fee is $260, although some facilities charge upward of $600.

One-Time or Occasional Expenses

In addition to the ongoing costs of horse ownership, there are occasional or one-time expenses you should be prepared to pay. For instance, you’ll want to purchase horse tack and grooming supplies, such as saddles, bridles, halters, brushes, shampoo, horse blankets, and lead lines. Each of these requires an upfront investment, and depending on use, will require maintenance or replacement from time to time.Another commonly overlooked expense is training. If you want your child to be able to ride the horse you purchased, the horse must be broke to ride. Even if you purchase a horse that’s already been through basic training, it may require additional training to work well with your child. Some horses are ornery or headstrong, and you need to feel confident that the horse will listen to and obey the commands your child provides.In the same light, your child may need training as well. If your child hasn’t spent much time around horses, enlisting the assistance of an instructor or trainer to teach your child how to approach, care for, and ride the horse effectively can make the experience more rewarding for all.And lastly, there are equipment expenses for the rider. Helmets, riding boots, chaps or riding breeches, spurs or crops, and gloves are only several of the items your child may need. His or her needs will vary based on the type of riding performed and the level of competition, but you should be prepared to budget for and purchase a few of these items.

Horse Ownership Alternatives

If you’ve crunched the numbers and have determined horse ownership to be too expensive, there are a number of alternatives. As much as you’d love to give your son or daughter a horse or pony, it may not make sense financially. Try to satisfy your child’s hunger by offering horse experiences without the long-term commitment and expense of ownership.

Horseback Riding Lessons

Check your local area for stables offering horseback riding lessons and instruction. Lessons are a great way to introduce your child to riding and basic horse maintenance under the tutelage of a qualified instructor. You can also pick and choose from a variety of riding styles falling into the general English or Western riding categories. English riding includes sub-specialties such as dressage, show jumping, and polo, while Western riding includes sub-specialties including reining, cutting, and rodeo.Start by introducing your child to a few different types of lessons from a few different instructors, and when he or she has fallen in love with an instructor or style, commit to a weekly or twice-weekly lesson. Most group lessons range in price from $15 to $50 per lesson, while private instruction may cost as much as $100 or more per hour.

H Club

While most 4-H club members do own their own animals, it’s worth calling your local 4-H Horse chapter to ask whether the horse program has animals available for young riders to use. 4-H programs offer equine instruction for students in grades 3 through 12 that covers everything from basic care to the ins-and-outs of showing your horse.If your local branch provides students who don’t own horses with hands-on experience, it may be the perfect, cost-effective solution. Some 4-H activities are free to members, while others, such as lessons or shows, may cost a nominal fee.

Volunteerism

Call around to your local stables, horse rescues, and horse therapy programs to see if they’re currently seeking volunteers. Some organizations are willing to provide lessons or ride time in exchange for help around the stables. Even if the organization doesn’t provide lessons or ride time, your child still may enjoy volunteering his or her time to groom, bathe, and otherwise care for the horses.

Horse Camp

When summer comes around, give your child the experience of a lifetime and send him or her off to horse camp. Local stables likely offer day camps, but for a true immersion experience, look for overnight camps. Most horse camps pair a child with a horse for a week or two, giving the child the responsibility of caring for, grooming, riding, and feeding the horse while at camp.Without actually bringing a horse into your life, horse camp is the closest thing your child will get to experiencing horse ownership. Trust me, I still remember the name, personality, and love I shared with a horse at horse camp more than 20 years ago – Brown Jug will forever live in my heart.

Horse Fostering

Just a step down from horse ownership, horse loans, leases, and shares are agreements entered into with a horse owner to gain access to his or her horse.If you choose to pursue a loan, lease, or share, consider having an agreement drawn up by a lawyer to protect your interests and the interests of the other party. You don’t want there to be any misunderstandings about who is responsible for which expenses.

Purchasing process

It is not easy to say how much money you need to buy a horse. It can cost you nothing, or you should pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions for the best animals. If you are new in this sport, it will be enough to set aside $5,000 to $10,000 for a decent horse. The final price for a horse will depend on:The estimated price for an average horse for riding practice is usually $4,250.

Housing

As you can imagine, boarding fees are high but significantly depend on the boarding facility. The housing you choose is always based on the horse, its purpose and quality, and your budget.Keep in mind that a boarding facility or stable will also widely range depending on the area where you live, the option of full or partial care, and a deal about feeding and cleaning.The average expenses are approximately $250 to $500 a month when you require complete care. Self-care is much more affordable, so you should pay only $100 a month in such a case. So, let’s consider your options to keep your horse happy and protected:

Full board

The full board is the solution when you pay for a stall with provided stall cleaning, food, water, feeding, turnout, electricity bills, and maintenance.This option also includes regular farrier, vet, and dentist visits with shared farm call fees. You can also apply for trainers and instructors for both you and your horse. The overall costs of such an arrangement are $4,800 to $9,000 per year or $400 to $750 a month.

Partial board

This variation implies paying for a stall without other services and amenities. In this case, you will need to provide food, feed your horse, turn it out daily, and clean the stall. However, staff can help you by the agreement you make.This option is cheaper, plus you have control over your horse care. It will probably cost you $3,000 to $6,000 per year or $250 to $500 monthly.

Self-care board

In this case, you should pay for a stall and paddock, but the obligations regarding the horse are on you. You can’t expect any help and need to do all the job on your own.So, you should buy food and shavings, fill the water bucket, feed and turn the horse out, muck stalls, and organize the vet and farrier visits when necessary. This arrangement will cost you at least $2,400 to $3,600 per year or $200 to $300 a month.

Pasture board

It is a cheap solution and an excellent opportunity for your horse to stay outside all day long. Plus, it will cost you only $1,200 to 3,600 per year or $100 to 300 a month. Remember that it is necessary to check if the pasture is fenced and safe, whether there is ample water, and the level of the sheltering quality.

Horse Tack Cost

Probably the best option is to keep your horse on your own property. However, you should be aware that this is not the most affordable option you have at your disposal. You need to count on property tax for such a large piece of land and the necessary horse amenities.For example, you will need to pay at least $20,000 for a decent arena and fencing. Then, it is necessary to add at least $3,000 to $50,000 for a barn. You should also count on:Additionally, you need to maintain outbuildings irregularly, including:In the end, you should calculate daily expenses, like:Unfortunately, the list is not finished, and your expenses can be enormous.

Horse Food Cost

Horse feed costs can significantly vary depending on the horse breed and type and your location.The average horse of 1,000 pounds (453.5 kg) needs approximately 20 pounds (9 kg) of hay a day. The average price per bale of hay weighing 30 to 50 pounds (13.5 – 22.5 kg) is $4 to $20. The approximate estimation is that you need $750 to $3,650 per year.Remember that grain and lush pasture can reduce requirements for hay during some months. Since bags of grain weighing 50 pounds (22.5 kg) cost $12 to $35, the overall costs for a diet that includes hay and grain will cost you approximately $1,500 annually.

Supplements

You can find thousands of different equine supplements on the market that protect the joints, boost hoof health, or improve digestion. Their prices vary from $0.40 to $5 a day. That makes these expenses range from $30 to $100 per month or up to $1,200 a year.

Water

As you can imagine, an average horse requires a lot of water. If you keep it in the pasture, it will need about 6 gallons (22.7 l) per day. However, a mare nursing a foal will need at least 20 gallons (75.5 l) a day.The water price is hard to calculate. If you have a well, you will need to pay only $0.06 a month for one horse’s needs. If you use city water, it will cost you $2.17 per 748 gallons (2,831.5 l) and $4 for the meter. It is practically nothing for something crucial as water.

Vet care

Annual vet care for a horse includes regular checkups, deworming, and vaccinations (rabies, equine influenza, tetanus). You will need to pay $45 to $60 for each visit, while vaccines cost $65 to $235 a year.Your animal will also need regular dental care. Routine filing teeth (teeth floating) costs $50 to $175, but you need to pay an extra $45 to $60 for the farm call.The price of a fecal exam is $30, and annual deworming is from $20 to $50. Additionally, you will need to pay for a Coggins test and health certificate when you plan to transport your horse over the state border. The Coggins test ranges from $35 to $90. In most cases, you should count on at least $525 per year for a vet.However, you should also set aside some money for unexpected medical expenses like injuries, lameness, abscesses, colic, or infections. An emergency vet visit will probably cost you $145, while colic surgery is expensive and can reach $5,000 to $10,000.An equine first aid kit will cost you $100 to $300. Some medications may cost you $30 a day. Basically, you can’t predict these expenses.

Farrier

Your horse will require a regular farrier visit once in 4 to 6 weeks. The price for trimming is $30 to $80 per horse or approximately $300 to $800 a year.Front shoes will cost you $75 to $160 or at least $750 to $1,600 annually. If you want to change all four shoes regularly, you need to pay $95 to $275, or about $950 to 2,750 a year.

The rider

Riding lessons are $35 to $75 per hour for regular lessons, while private lessons cost $50 per hour. So, you need to calculate $2,400 per year for this purpose.

The horse

Training board ranges from approximately $600 to $1,800 a month. Traveling trainers usually charge $40 to $75 per hour, while a regular trainer will cost you $650 a month.

Horse Insurance Cost

If you plan to buy a new two-horse bumper, it will cost you $15,000 to $30,000, while a used one is at least $5,000 to $9,000. A new truck is about $50,000, but you can find a used one for $6,000.Another option is to rent a trailer, and overall costs will depend on the distance and necessary services. It is also required to buy some equipment, so you should pay for:The estimated costs for this purpose are about $265 a year.