How Much Does It Cost To Own A Horse
| | | |

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Horse? What It Really Costs to Have a Horse as a Pet.

Owning a horse is a dream come true for many people. But how much does it cost to own a horse? 

There are a lot of expenses such as food, boarding, transporting, insurance, and vet costs to consider when owning a horse. Also, your planned use of your horse can add to the cost such as riding in events. 

We will break down the costs of owning a horse so you can best prepare your budget for horse ownership and keep track of your expenses.

Please keep in mind these are generalizations and you will want to do thorough research into the details of your particular situation and needs.

How much does it cost to board a horse

Basic Costs of Owning a Horse

As mentioned above, there are many, many different expenses you need to be prepared for when owning a horse. Here is a short list to help guide you.

List of Costs to Own a Horse

  • Purchasing the horse
  • Purchasing a truck and trailer and other equipment costs
  • Buying or building a facility/ area for your horse OR boarding facility expenses
  • Hay, grain, and supplements
  • Training expenses
  • Tack and equipment
  • Horse show fees and expenses (if you plan to show or compete.)
  • Equine bodywork, therapy, veterinarian care, hoof care, dental care, and other expenses
  • Emergency expenses
  • Equine Insurance 

Cost Considerations When Owning a Horse

You can keep a horse fairly cost-effectively but here are some other factors to consider

  • If you plan to show and purchase a performance horse
  • If you will keep your horse at home or need to board them, along with what kind of boarding you will need. Will you need full care or partial care?
  • What your initial and continued budget each month or each year will be for your horse
  • Whether you purchase everything new or purchase it used. 

Next, we will discuss the variable factors that affect the cost of horse ownership.

Purchasing Your First Horse

If you are purchasing your first horse or simply just a new horse in general, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. 

How to buy a horse online

Buying a horse is a huge step to take and you need to make sure you plan. This is amidst all the excitement which can be fairly hard to do but will be very helpful in the long run.

Ask yourself these questions and plan accordingly

  1. Where will you put your horse? 
  2. Do you have professional help with finding your next prospect?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. Are you planning on building an area for your horse?
  5. Do you have the equipment and space needed? Will you care for your horses?
  6. How much time do you have to spend caring for your horses, what will you do when you are out of town? Have you planned emergency care?
  7. Do you have a vet for emergency care?

These questions will help you be prepared for your horse and any emergencies that could happen. 

It is always a good idea to go horse shopping with a well-respected horse trainer, especially if you are a first-time horse buyer or owner.

Do Research About Buying Your First Horse

When buying a horse there are multiple factors to consider BEFORE you actually buy the horse. 

  1. Figure out your budget.
  2. Figure out what kind of horse you want or need.
  3. What vet and farrier combo will do your pre-purchase examination?

Where are you going to put your horse?

You will need to consider where you plan to keep your horse and what your budget for the purchase price and care of your new horse will be. 

If you live in an urban area without your own property, you may need to consider boarding options at a local stable such as

  • Full-care board or full boarding
  • Pasture board
  • A grass livery or “pasture board”
  • Partial boarding

There are many ways to create a cost-effective alternative to expensive boarding, such as creating your own livery yard that is capable of providing all your horse’s needs.

Tips for Building a Horse Stalls or Barn

Building a stall yourself is one of the best options if you live in rural areas and have your own home and own land. 

You don’t need a large area for this but it will vary if you think you want more than one horse to put in a stall or barn.

It also creates the ability to provide daily care for your horses and can help you give a higher level of care to your horses while they are at home with you. 

The biggest expense will be the price of the horse and the initial setup of your livery, but there are plenty of other costs that come along with creating your own horse boarding facility at home.

Some of these other expenses will be:

  • The price of hay and your other feed bills (Each horse will need roughly 15-25 pounds of hay each day or 2% of their body weight. Different horses will have different needs, but it is usually a good idea to calculate how many pounds of hay per day by the percentage of their body weight to ensure they are getting the right amount. This is especially beneficial for older horses)
  • Farrier care- every 5-8 weeks.
  • Dental care and teeth floating
  • Emergency care/ vacation care
  • Bedding cost
  • Cost of lighting/ heating your barn (If applicable)

Average Costs of Owning a Horse

Every horse is going to be different concerning what it costs to own them. 


The average horse owner will spend between $1,000-$25,000 on the cost of the horse, although this is generally one of the one-time expenses. 

Many people may buy a horse and re-sell it later after they have put work and additional training into it, and many times can make a fair profit off the horse. 

Bedding can be upwards of $20-40 per week, depending on the type and amount of bedding you use. 

The cost of horse feed can vary more than just about any other aspect of horse care. 

Some horses can almost entirely live off grass, hay, and a salt block with a few added minerals. Other horses may have difficulties maintaining their body weight and good conditioning.

These horses may need multiple supplements, grains, additives, oils, and potentially many other things. The cost will vary by what you need to feed your horse. 

Horse Feeds and Supplements List and Links

Caring for Your Horse’s Hooves

You can’t have a healthy horse without a regular farrier check every 5-8 weeks. Farriers cost a good amount of money to visit your location. You don’t usually take your horse to them.

Make sure you pick a good farrier who is certified/ licensed to work on your horse. 

Regular hoof care will help protect your horse’s joints and cartilage and keep them sound long-term. 

Your horse may need corrective shoeing, which can be much pricier than just a basic trim or set of shoes. 

Learning the basics of hoof care will allow you to do some of this yourself and save some money.

Vet Bills and Other Equine Health Care Expenses

There are quite a few annual costs that are associated with your horse’s needs. The care of a horse can vary when it comes to what you need to prepare for with expected vet bills. 

All horses will need annual vaccinations and floating performed each year. Floating is when either your vet or your equine dentist cleans and files down your horse’s teeth. 

If you have an older or senior horse or a horse with previous injuries, you may need to expect regular vet bills. 

Equine Insurance Policies

When you are beginning horse shopping, it is a good idea to start planning for unexpected costs. 

Horses are unpredictable and also very prone to injuring themselves due to their flight or fight response that naturally kicks in when they get spooked or scared.

Horses can colic (get sick) or kick their leg through a wall very easily. I have even seen both happen at the same time. 

So, a really good option to protect you, your wallet, and your horse is to purchase an equine insurance policy. Doing so can help cover unexpected costs.

Riding Lessons, Training, Showing, and Related Expenses

Taking riding lessons is a great way to increase your knowledge, skillset, and hands-on experience with the guidance of a professional. 

Especially if you own or are purchasing a green horse it is wise to have help. 

This ensures your safety and the safety of your horse, and that they are going to be taught the important fundamentals that create a “finished” horse.

Remember, it is hard work to train your own horse, and if you are a beginner, it may end up being the cheapest option in the long run.

Horse Training Expenses

There are different options for horse training. 

There is traditional full-board and full-training available, partial training and board, haul-in lessons, and even virtual horse training. 

Depending on the number of horses you have, you may need to choose which horse you feel would be most beneficial or show the highest reward and put that horse into training. 

Some trainers even offer a program where if you have multiple horses and cannot afford to have them all in training, you can almost trade them in and out a few months at a time.

Average Costs for Horse Training

  • Trainers’ time $800-2,000 per month
  • Board $350-2,000 per month
  • Supplements, grain, and so forth $50-400 per month
  • Shoeing (every 5-8 weeks) $75-400 per visit

Horse Show Costs

Showing your horse is extremely fun and rewarding, but it can be very costly, especially when just starting. 

You will need to buy saddles, saddle pads, shoe gear, outfits, hats and helmets, boots, and so many other things. 

There is really no “one price fits all” here, but you can usually find second-hand or used items for very fair prices on eBay, through tack stores, and even at your local feed shop. 

If you plan on your horse trainer coming to shows with you, you will be looking at paying a day fee for your trainer’s time and help. 

It is hard work to show and even harder work to be a horse trainer, but there are also not many things that are as fun and competitive as showing a horse!

Related Horse Expense Questions

Is owning a horse a wise decision?

I think this question will be very personal to each individual.

Owning a horse could be a very wise investment for one and potentially an unwise investment for someone else.

Take a moment to think about your situation and also where you see yourself in the next 3-5 years. 

If you can envision a horse lining up with your plans, then owning a horse would be a great decision.

Where can I purchase a horse?

The best thing you can do, especially if you are a first-time horse owner is to have a trained professional come with you when you go horse shopping. 

There are so many ins and outs of buying a horse that it is best to have someone helping you with this purchase. 

There are pre-purchase examinations, contracts, and other legalities, and the matter of trying to horse out.

Also, check to make sure everything lines up correctly with what you believe to be the facts about the horse including its history

Horse-buying Websites and other ways to buy

Should I buy a horse sight unseen?

No. Unless you are a professional horse buyer, trader, or horse trainer, I would highly advise that you never buy a horse without seeing them in person.

You could also send a professional out to evaluate them but keep in mind that there are many unfair and untruthful trainers and sellers out there. 

Drugging horses for viewings or videos has become a fairly common practice, you want to ensure you are getting exactly what you purchased.

Owning a Horse Costs a Lot of Money and Time

Horse shopping and horse ownership are some of the most exciting adventures any horse lover could embark on but it is expensive and time-consuming. 

We were happy to provide you with some of the things you need to consider and expect when owning your own horse or purchasing a new horse.

how much does it cost to own a horse monthly

Similar Posts