Getting ready to buy a horse? This can be one of the most exciting and special things you will ever do in your life. But aren’t these beautiful animals expensive? How much does it cost to own a horse?
In this guide I will cover:
- The average cost to own a horse per year
- The average cost to own a horse per month
- The price breakdown of each expense you may have to face
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Horse Per Year On Average?
Because of all the different kinds of horses out there who require different levels of care and who are living at different places, it is hard to give a completely accurate estimate as to how much it costs to own a horse per year. On average however, it will cost you between $3,500 and $11,000 to own a horse for one year.
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Horse Per Month On Average?
If it costs between $3,500 and $10,000 to own a horse for one year, that means that it will cost you anywhere from $300 to $850 per month to keep a horse. These costs do sound expensive I know, but all of these expenses are needed for a reason.
Breakdown Of Expenses:
To get an idea of all the expenses you will need to be able to cover in the span of one year, I made a little list to give you an idea of the general cost of each thing you will need to pay each year.
Vaccinations: $250 per year
Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your horse safe from infections, diseases, and viruses. Keeping your horse up to date on all their shots and vaccinations is necessary when it comes to keeping your horse’s immune system strong.
Horses generally need their Core vaccinations done every year. These vaccinations are responsible for keeping illnesses like the equine rhino virus and other diseases and viruses away from horses.
It is recommended that every year horses have two veterinary examinations done to make sure that they are in optimal shape and health. During these examinations, vaccinations will be given.
Generally, annual vaccinations will cost up to $150.00 and semi-annual vaccinations will cost up to $100.00. This means that annual vaccination cost will be around $250.00
Farrier: $1,150 per year
The cost of your farrier all depends on who your farrier is, how much they charge, the type of shoe they are putting on your horse, the amount of feet the horse has shod, how often the farrier comes out, and the health of the hoof.
Generally, farriers will come out to shoe and trim a horse’s hooves every 4 to 8 weeks. The most common amount of time for a farrier to come out and do the horse’s feet is every 6 weeks.
For the farrier to put on 4 horse shoes and to trim all the horse’s hooves it will generally cost you around $130 per visit. If your farrier does this service every 6 weeks, it will cost you around $1,150.00.
Hay: $1,080 per year
Different types of horses require different amounts of hay. The average horse however will generally eat around 8 bales of hay in one month. Depending on where you are located in the world, the cost of hay will greatly differ.
If you are out in the country with farmers all around you, it can cost you just around $5 per bale of hay. But, if you are like me and live out in Phoenix, Arizona, coming across hay that cheap would be a miracle. Hay in my location costs me generally around $17 per bale.
If the average horse eats around 8 bales of hay in a month, it can cost you between $40 and $140 per month just in hay. This means that the annual cost of hay for one horse is anywhere from $480 to $1,680.
One of the nice things about boarding is that for the most part, boarding facilities cover the cost of hay.
This means that the average cost of hay for a horse in one year is around $1,080.
Grain & Supplements: $480 per year
Grain and supplements are a great thing to include in your horse’s diet to stimulate good coat health, a bettered top-line, more energy, and better gut health. Though there are all these great things that grain can do for your horse, grain has a cost to it.
Most grain bags and supplements come with a 30-day supply. Generally the cost of supplements and grain for a horse will cost you around $40 per month.
This means that on average it should cost you around $480 per year to give your horse supplements and grain.
Fly Spray: $100 per year
Fly spray is definitely a necessity when facing the flies in the summer and spring months. Because fly spray isn’t needed in fall and winter, this expense is really only faced during the colder months of the year.
Generally, a bottle of fly spray will cost you between $6 and $25. These bottles of spray, if used on one horse daily will generally last you around 3 weeks to a month. Because you will only need this spray a maximum of 6 months out of the year, the annual expense for this spray averages to be around $100.
Shampoo & Conditioner: $170 per year
Keeping your horse clean and shiny is important for the coat and skin health of your horse.
Shampoo and conditioner, if you are just buying standard bottles of soap, it will generally cost you around $7 per bottle of product.
Shampoo and conditioner is used year round, but especially in the warmer months. If you use these products often, you may go through one bottle of each product in the span of one month. This will equal around $170 per year in soap.
Board: $6,000 per year
Each place you board at will charge a different rate. I live in the state of Arizona and just in the area I live there are barns that charge $275 per month, $400 per month, $650 per month, and $1,000 per month.
Depending on the facility, the services they offer, and the quality of people, board will differ drastically in price.
With the cost of board averaging $500 per month, having a horse at your own house is probably the cheapest way to go.
The average cost to board a horse per month is around $6,000 per year
Shavings/Bedding (if needed): $250 per year
If you are boarding your horse, shavings are generally something that will come with the board cost. If it doesn’t or if your horse is kept at home, sometimes paying for shavings is necessary.
One bag of shavings will generally cost you about $8 and for a thick layer of shavings to fill a 12 foot by 12 foot stall, it should cost you around $24. Shavings should be completely removed and replaced every month or two depending on the size of the stall, the messiness of the horse, and how dirty the bedding is.
Each year, it can cost up to $250 in shavings.
Sheath Cleaning (if male): $100 per year
Sheath cleaning is a veterinary service that is needed to be done to geldings and stallions annually. It usually will cost you around $100 for the vet to come out and perform this service.
If you own a mare, you lucked out! Mares don’t have sheaths so it is not something all you mare owners need to deal with!
Floating: $150 per year
Floating is the filing down of the horse’s back molars. This, like a sheath clean, it is a veterinary service that needs to be done every year.
The average cost for this service lands at around $150.
Deworming: $50 per year
Horses, especially those living in pastures or those eating off the ground, are prone to get parasites. This means that the horse needs to take a deworming paste a few times per year to take care of those worm and parasite problems.
Horses should be wormed between 2 and 4 times each year (once every 3 to 6 months). For a syringe of deworming paste it costs around $10 to $15.
The average annual cost for deworming lands at around $50.
Veterinary Expenses: $485 per year
Horses are large animals who are bound to get injured or sick here and there just like people do. Because of this, having some extra money lying around for those occasional vet bills is important.
Your average veterinary expenses per year just in check ups, medications, and injury treatment wind up to be just about $485 annually
So now that you see all of the expenses you need to cover to take care of a horse, do you think that you are financially and mentally prepared?
Total Annual Cost
Assuming you need to pay all of the above costs every year, you will be looking at a total yearly cost of:
If you weren’t boarding your horse, it would be an annual cost of:
And if you were boarding your horse, but the facility covered the cost of hay, your annual cost would be: