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How much does a horse cost per month?

by Marlen Fischer
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Have you ever wondered how much a horse costs per year? Especially if you are planning to buy a horse, you should definitely do your research beforehand. Whether it’s a horse or pony, mare or gelding: Anyone who has ever owned a horse is aware of the expenses. Prospective buyers often raise the question before committing to the purchase: How much does a horse really cost? In this article, we discuss the initial expenses and other related costs you should expect.

Overview of costs

  • Agistment

Agistment fees have to be paid every month and vary in price from stable to stable. Moreover, there are very big regional differences! It tends to get more expensive the closer you move to a big city. Generally speaking, you should plan on paying between $ 180 and $ 350 per month.

  • Farrier

The farrier needs to attend every 6-8 weeks, depending on your needs. You should allow between $ 30 and $ 120, depending on whether the horse goes barefoot or requires shoes.

  • Vaccinations

The horse should be vaccinated twice a year by the vet against tetanus and influenza which costs about $ 150.

  • Horse dentist

The dentist should see the horse once a year for dental health and care. This costs around $ 130.

  • Liability insurance for horses

It makes sense to take out liability insurance for the horse, because if worst comes to worst, things can get quite expensive. Insurance costs amount to about $ 100 per year. It is recommended to find out what covers are available so as not to take out an overpriced policy. There are also special insurances for ponies.

  • Riding lessons

Riding lessons can range from around $ 50 to $ 300 per month. Prices vary of course depending on how often you have lessons and how expensive the respective trainer is.

  • Equipment

It is impossible to name an exact figure for the equipment, it depends on the purpose, quality and quantity. You should calculate for at least $ 300 for one year.

  • Reserves

You should always have some spare funds, in case the saddle breaks one month or veterinary costs are higher than expected. You may like to set aside about $ 500 per year.

Monthly costs for a horse

Approximate total costs (in the example calculation) range from a minimum $ 4,180 to a maximum $ 9,940 in one year. If you divide this amount by 12 months, you have a price range of $ 348,30 to $ 868,50 in monthly expenses for a horse. Competition riders need to also factor in additional entry fees as well as a horse float and a car suitable for towing. Here too, are respective purchase and maintenance costs, as well as the cost of fuel for travel.

This list of expenses is only a rough guideline and the actual costs may vary upwards or downwards. If you live in an area where stable rents are cheaper, you will naturally have lower costs. If the horse goes barefoot, then costs drop even further.

It is impossible to put a price on the horse’s health. You should always be aware of that. If a horse becomes ill or has to go to a clinic, the veterinary costs can increase drastically. In any case, reserves should be kept for the unexpected. Many people also take out surgery insurance or even health insurance for their horse. This provides security in case of an emergency, even if the costs are high.

One item that is not included in our calculation is the purchase cost. This is a one-off expense, and varies greatly depending on age, breed and potential or intended use of the horse.

The purchase price is not everything

Many passionate riders fulfil their long-cherished dream of owning their own horse and quickly realise that the purchase is by far not the biggest financial expense that horse owners have to face. Depending on the breed, pedigree and ability, the purchase price can vary significantly, but once the dream horse is yours, the monthly costs of keeping it, are a major factor. There is a reason why riding and keeping your own horse is considered one of the most expensive hobbies of all: from the boarding stable to the farrier, various bills will pop up month after month that need to be paid. Before committing themselves, prospective owners should therefore first get an overview of the possible expenses and answer the question: How much does a horse cost?

Costs for basic equipment

A horse has been bought, but of course suitable care accessories and riding equipment are still missing. The costs for the basic equipment that every horse owner and rider simply needs for keeping and riding should not be underestimated. From the perfectly fitted saddle together with halters, bridles and tack to grooming and care utensils, brushes and the like, equipment costs can go up to $ 3,000 or more. A quality saddle alone can cost up to $ 3,500, not including accessories such as stirrups or girths. Add a grooming case, saddle blankets and so on, and the answer to the question “How much does a horse cost?” quickly exceeds the purchase price by a few thousand Euro. The initial purchase cost is only the start — by the time the horse is adequately cared for and ridden, a few more dollars have been spent.

Monthly expenses for keeping and care

Today the farrier comes to shoe the horse, tomorrow a worming treatment is due and soon the agistment fees will be increased — horse owners face monthly expenses of several hundred Dollar. The costs for veterinary care are difficult to estimate and always involve unforeseeable, extra costs. While vaccinations, including boosters, as well as worming treatments have to be factored in regularly, things can really become expensive when the horse is seriously ill. At six to nine week intervals, there are also costs for the farrier, ranging from about $ 15 to $ 30 for trimming to $ 30 to $ 115 for a partial shoeing and up to $ 150 for a full set of shoes.

The largest monthly cost is the horse’s accommodation. Agistment fees can go up to $ 600 per month, depending on the type of stabling, the care and location. Accommodation in a boarding stable, including feeding, mucking out and taking the horse to the paddock every day, is the most expensive option at around $ 300 to $ 600, whereas keeping a horse in a pasture or open stable costs between $ 100 and $ 250. Then there’s the liability insurance policy, which is highly recommended but can cost up to $ 300 a year, depending on the amount covered. And if you want to compete, you have to factor in related expenses (including suitable equipment).
The question of “How much a horse costs” cannot be answered with a specific fixed amount. What is certain, however, is that keeping horses is a comparatively expensive pastime.

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