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If you’re looking to ride more often, whether for fun, work or for competition, you might want to consider buying a horse. Horse-owning isn’t that exclusive. It’s estimated that nearly 7.2 million Americans own horses. Before you put your money into your new four-legged companion, you may want to explore how much should be budgeted before you saddle up.

Specifically bred horses, like those who have more speed, can cost more than those that don’t have the same genetic lineage. Feed: Consider the cost of grain mix, grass and hay and salt and minerals for your horse. Healthcare: Vaccines, veterinarian visits, testing and exams are all necessary to maintain the health of your horse. Remember that horses can get sick like humans and other animals, and will need proper treatment if this comes up, including emergency costs. For instance, if you have the stable to house your horse, you’ll save thousands of dollars in boarding costs. A partial lease would let you ride the horse a few days a week while you pay the owner a fee for maintaining the rest of the cost. This might be a better financial choice if you’re looking to learn to ride and don’t want to take on the additional costs of horse ownership.

Is it expensive to have a horse?

Horses are expensive to keep. The initial purchase price of your horse, pony, donkey, or mule is only a small part of its overall cost, and there is no such thing as a free horse. … Your horse needs daily care, and that can be costly and the costs can vary due to a number of uncontrollable factors.

What is the cheapest horse?

The cheapest horse breeds on average are the Quarter horse, Mustang, Paint horse, Thoroughbred, and Standardbred. Though prices will vary depending on the horse, there are often many budget-friendly horses for sale within these breeds.

How much is it to buy a baby horse?

Expect prices for suitable first ponies to be about $1,000 and upwards.

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?

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. 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 rule—there 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. As you calculate how much you think you’ll need to buy a horse, make sure you include sales taxes, transportation costs, and a pre-purchase veterinary exam.

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 is not the same if you have your ranch in Texas or live in New York and need to find appropriate accommodation for your horse. 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. 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. 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. 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: 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. 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. Another option is to rent a trailer, and overall costs will depend on the distance and necessary services. Full or limited mortality Major medical Surgical Loss of use Personal liability On the other hand, you can make up your mind for a cheaper option and lease a horse. That way, you can ride it every week for a reasonable fee, without the additional costs for your own horse.

Adapted from “First Time” Horse Ownership: Selecting Horses and Budgeting Horse Interests, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service publication F-4004 – Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, David W. Freeman, Oklahoma Extension equine specialist, Odell L. Walker, professor emeritus, agricultural economics and Bobby Joe Johnson, unit Extension agriculture agent.

pleasure and enjoyment, a desire to compete in horse events, and participation in youth development projects. A horse’s attributes result from its physical ability, natural instinct, and behavior developed through training. A horse’s value is usually a combination of its pedigree, build or “conformation,” and ability to complete desired tasks. A horse’s ability to perform desired tasks (its training and behavior) usually affects value more than pedigree or conformation. Expect to pay more for a horse already trained to complete a task than one that will require time and expense to reach that point. Also, a private sale can allow time for a thorough pre-purchase examination of the horse’s soundness and health, as well as the arrangement of schedules and forms of payment. Ownership costs result from owning machinery, equipment, and the horse, and include cash expenses such as insurance, taxes, and interest on borrowed capital. Opportunity cost refers to the lost returns from alternative uses of money spent for horse ownership. The initial cost of the horse can vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the pedigree, condition, and level of training. The daily grain portion of the ration can be estimated at 0.5 percent of the horse’s body weight per day. Also, there are several types of hay differing in crude protein and energy levels, which affect the total amount of grain necessary for maintenance, production, and activity. As with other categories, the amount spent on health care varies among horse owners, depending on the frequency of scheduled exams, deworming, and vaccinations. Pasture expenses can include the cost of fence repair and maintenance, mowing, fertilizing, liming, and watering facilities. Horse-related utilities, including water, heating, and electricity, are difficult for hobby horse owners to estimate. But it must be noted that there is a cost for running lights, electric fence chargers, tub water heaters, and the like that the homeowner would not incur if they did not own a horse. Most people own horses for hobby interests related to family and youth development, enhancement of the quality of life, or recreation. Maintain accurate records of costs and make adjustments to maximize the amount of pleasure received from the money spent for horse ownership.

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

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.

Costs After Buying a Horse

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.

Horse Training Cost

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.

Selecting a Horse

Before buying a horse for the first time, you should consider the following questions:Like most situations, knowledgeable answers to these and other questions come from research and experience. Some of the more universal decisions to be made have to do with the selection of a horse, location of housing, and how to budget for the costs of horse ownership.

Evaluating Horse Value:

Matching up your interests with the necessary attributes of a horse will make your choices clearer. A horse’s attributes result from its physical ability, natural instinct, and behavior developed through training. You may want a horse that safely rides through trails. Others may desire a horse trained for a particular event at horse shows.A horse’s value is usually a combination of its pedigree, build or “conformation,” and ability to complete desired tasks. Pedigree indicates selective breeding for desired traits (for example, some pedigrees suggest a genetic potential for pulling, speed or cutting ability). Strong genetic lines for a desired trait or performance increase horse value, so expect to pay more for the horse if the trait is important to you or the seller. Likewise, certain physical traits are important for show and use. As a result, you can expect to pay more for horses with conformation desirable for an intended purpose. A horse’s ability to perform desired tasks (its training and behavior) usually affects value more than pedigree or conformation. Expect to pay more for a horse already trained to complete a task than one that will require time and expense to reach that point.Above all, realize that current supply and demand drive the horse market, and what is important to you is probably important to others. High demand and low supply increase horse value. Identifying needs and evaluating a horse’s ability to meet those needs will guard against spending money on needless attributes, or on a horse that does not have the characteristics most important to you.

Sources of Purchase:

In general, there are two ways to purchase a horse: at auctions or through a private contract. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Auctions offer several horses for sale, so comparisons of horse value are readily observed. Some auctions offer specific types of horses, such as horses for pulling, racing, showing or breeding. As such, auctions reduce the travel time and cost associated with locating and viewing potential horses. On the other hand, buying by private contract can allow more time to research a horse’s background and ability. Also, a private sale can allow time for a thorough pre-purchase examination of the horse’s soundness and health, as well as the arrangement of schedules and forms of payment.Regardless of where the horse is purchased, it is important to obtain as much information on the current horse market as possible. This may entail as little as visiting with other owners in your locale or as much as hiring an expert to help locate and purchase a horse for you. Going to shows and sales, attending functions at different clubs and organizations, and visiting with horse owners are ways to increase your knowledge of the horse market before buying.