Cost to Keep a Horse

How Much Does it Cost to Keep a Horse

cost to keep a horseI recently saw a post in an equestrian group on Facebook asking, how much does it cost to keep a horse for a year? Many people responded. My favorite answer was 'your heart and soul'. That pretty much sums up the life of an equestrian. But, it got me thinking. Horses and the sports that go along with them are, for most of us, far more than a hobby they are a way of life.

I would hazard to guess that not many equestrians know how much they spend annually on their passion. They will know how much they spend on board, farrier, and the vet but don't always take into account clothes, necessary tack, unnecessary extras such as treats, blingy browbands, the latest style of saddle pad, or any other accompaniments that equestrian brands tell us we must have.

Below I have attempted to put together a list of expenses relating to keeping a horse. It shows three varying options. The lower end includes the basics, the middle range covers possible unforeseen expenses, and the latter has all the bells and whistles. I have then averaged out these prices. Of course, I can not include all scenarios and these prices are subject to fluctuation depending on the type of horse, discipline, and location. I have also not included the cost of a truck and trailer to get your horse to shows etc.

I would love to hear your opinions and have some feedback.

Annual Cost to Keep a Horse*

Service Pasture
Basic Full
Full Board in a
Show Barn
Board $3,000 $6,000 $11,400 $6,800
Lessons $0 don't take
$3,380 one lesson
per week
$8,320 for one lesson and
one trainer ride per
Farrier $433 barefoot
every 6 weeks
$1,300 full-set
every 6 weeks
$2,340 full-set
every 4 weeks
from the best farrier in town
Vet $500 shots and
teeth floating
$3,000 basics
plus unexpected
$8,000 basics,
lameness, chiro,
Magna Wave
Tack $500 basic needs $2,500 basic needs
and upgrades
$7,500 basic needs,
upgrades, plus new
saddle as the horse's
physique has changed
due to training
Clothes $500 barn boots,
pants, etc.
$2,800 boots, new
riding clothes
$5,500 basics plus
latest fashion trends
Showing $0 do not show $800 a few local
$10,500 six rated shows
including entries,
trainer, etc.
$800 $2,000 $4,000 $2,267
TOTAL $5,733 $21,780 $57,560 $28,358

I will admit to being frugal when it comes to spending money so it is possible that these prices are on the low side. No matter what kind of barn you board at, whether or not you show, or how often you buy new clothes, one thing is very clear, the decision to buy a horse should be given a great deal of thought and you must be sure you can afford to cover all your known and unexpected expenses.

How much do you think it costs to keep a horse for a year?

*Prices are per annum based on average prices around the Charlotte, NC area in the summer of 2021 and are subject to change.

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