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What Does it Cost to Own a Horse?

Explore the financial side of horse ownership, from upfront expenses to ongoing care, so you know what costs to expect and can budget accordingly.
A chestnut horse wearing western tack

Aside from the initial purchase price, which can range from free for horses in need of good homes to seven figures for Olympic athletes, the cost to keep a horse can vary significantly depending on where you live, the equestrian sport you pursue, and whether you keep him on your property or board elsewhere.

Not counting stabling costs, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) estimates that the minimum annual cost of owning a healthy horse is $2,500. The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER), a nonprofit organization that rehomes these retired athletes, places this figure at $3,600. A recent study of more than 1,200 U.S. horse owners put the basic costs of owning a horse at $8,600 per year for backyard horses to $26,000 per year for show horses.

Here’s a breakdown of the average various costs of horse ownership.

Hay and Feed

thumbnail of costs worksheet
Download: The Yearly Cost of Keeping a Horse Worksheet

Horses must consume 1.5-2.5% of their body weight in forage (hay and grass) and supplemental feed per day.

  • Hay: $4-25/50-pound square bale, depending on the region and availability. So, if you calculate that your 1,200-pound horse will need to eat 20 pounds of forage per day, you’re looking at spending $500-650/year on hay.
  • Grain: $6-25/50-pound bag, if your horse needs supplemental feed to meet his nutrient and energy requirements. For the horse consuming 3 pounds of concentrate feed per day, you’ll spend $390-720/year.
  • Supplements: A daily basic multivitamin supplement costs around $240/year. Supplements for greater nutrient needs can cost closer to $1,400/year.
  • Water: Factor in the increase in your water bills if you keep your horse at home.

Hoof Care

Farrier services can vary dramatically depending on your horse’s needs, ranging from $200-2,500/year.

  • Trimming: $45-80 every five to eight weeks.
  • Shoeing: $90-250 every five to eight weeks.

Stall Waste

If your horse lives in a stall part- or full-time, these estimates are per horse.

Veterinary

  • Annual or wellness exam: $60-120
  • Coggins test: $40-60
  • Vaccinations: Annual and biannual vaccines total $100-200/year
  • Fecal egg counts and deworming: $50 every six months or per year
  • Dental exam: $110-250/year
  • Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage: $100/visit
  • Joint injections for older or active horses with signs of arthritis: $400-700 once or twice a year
  • Emergency fund: $2,000 to cover unexpected health issues such as colic surgery

Tack and Equipment

  • Grooming tools: $20-50
  • Bridle: $20-300+
  • Saddle: $150-5,000+
  • Blankets: $50-750

Board

  • $500-800+/month, for a total of $6,000-9,600/year

Insurance

If you decide to insure your horse, this figure will vary depending on your horse’s age, value, and use, but it can range from $300 to well over $1,000 per year.

You might add to this list basic supplies, riding lessons and training, association dues, trailering costs, and much more.

Related Reading: How Much Does a Horse Cost Per Month?

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