If you are contemplating owning a horse, you may be wondering how much it will cost you to have one.

What many potential horse buyers don’t know is that the cost of owning a horse is not limited to the cost of buying one. Several other factors determine how much it will cost to buy and maintain a horse.

Important Factors To Consider:

1. The Breed

The breed determines the buying price of a horse. Depending on the breed, you may pay between $2,000 and $100,000 for a horse. For instance, the Shetland Pony will cost you about $2,000. But, the Arabian horse, considered as the strongest breed, will cost you roughly $100,000.

If you want a racing horse, the Thoroughbred is the best for that purpose. This horse breed goes for about $90,000 in the market. When you consider the breed, you will have an idea of how much it will cost you to buy one.

2. Accommodation

Where do you want to keep the horse? You must consider whether your property can accommodate the horse or not. If you can accommodate it on your property, that’s fine. If not, you have to make your property conducive for the horse to live in. Fencing and putting in everything the horse needs to feel comfortable will come at a price.

If your property can’t produce enough forage to feed the horse, you may supplement it with hay. The cost of building a storage facility for the hay will also increase the total cost.

Sometimes, you may need shelter for the horse. You may have to build a shed or barn. Either of these options will cost you extra. Especially if you consider the cost of maintaining the shelter.

It is advised that you factor in everything the horse needs for proper accommodation. That will form a part of how much it will cost you to own a horse.

3. Boarding

Boarding your horse is another factor that may push up ownership costs. If you can’t accommodate your horse on your property, your next option is boarding.

The boarding cost depends on the facility and your expectations. If you choose a property without food, exercise, or anything else, you may pay as much as $100 per month on boarding.

If the boarding facility provides more than accommodation, expect to pay more. If it provides food, exercise, and other things the horse needs, you may pay up to $600 per month.

4. Health Care

You need to maintain your horse and take proper care of it, especially, when it has some health challenges. You may have to call in a farrier or a vet to attend to the problem at infancy to prevent it from getting out of hand. These are professionals and their services are not free.

The annual cost of hiring a vet is about $500. This will cover tests, vaccinations, check-ups, and managing minor injuries. If there are emergencies, you will pay more than the regular charges. This usually depends on the severity of the problem. You may set up a fund for emergency medical needs once you buy the horse.

Hoof-related problems are the most common health challenges horses have to deal with. You need a farrier to prevent these problems or help you to treat them. The farrier looks into the horse’s hooves for signs of potential problems and handles them.

To keep your horse in good health, the farrier will examine the hooves for signs of a potential problem. A farrier will charge you about $25 for a simple hoof trimming while it may cost you $100 for complete shoeing.

On average, a horse will take five major vaccinations every year. The vaccinations cover rabies, encephalitis, West Nile, and tetanus. Will your horse travel often or have a lot of exposure to other horses? If so, it will need more vaccinations to ward off infection. Each vaccination will cost between $100 and $200, excluding the veterinary fee.

Intestinal parasite control is another health problem you must pay attention to. You will need to treat your horse against parasites every 8 to 12 weeks to boost its immunity to parasites. Each treatment will cost you $200.

Consider saddling and shoeing too. When you use your horse often, consider replacing the shoe. A good rule of thumb is to change the horse’s shoe every 4 or 6 weeks. Each replacement will cost you between $75 and $150. This is the average price for a healthy horse. If the horse has some issues in its feet, changing its shoe may be the best solution.  The cost of changing the shoe is $400.

5. Feeding

Horses have large appetites. An adult horse will consume between 1.5 and 2.5% of its body weight every day. Your pasture may not produce the quantity of forage a horse needs daily. In that case, supplementing the forage with hay is the alternative. You need money to buy the hay when needed.

Julie Wilson of Turner Wilson Equine Consulting gave a breakdown of what an average horse will consume each day. She said: “I encourage owners to budget (to feed) at least 1.5% of each horse’s body weight per day in hay – less if using hay feeders that reduce waste; more if hay is thrown on the ground.” You may consider this a low cost because a bale of hay is inexpensive. But, a 1,000-pound horse will eat a little over 2.7 tons of hay every year. Think about that. Such a large quantity of hay doesn’t come cheap.

Horses also consume equine supplements and vitamins to maintain their agility and health. Getting foods that are rich in these two can be expensive. This may cost you more than $100 every month. Horses that live on grains will consume more than $100 worth of food monthly.

6. Equipment

You will need to get some riding equipment to make your rides fun and smooth. This may include a hoof pick, tack, sweat scraper, hard brushes, and more.

You must include tack in your cost list. The tack includes items such as bits, saddles, brushes, equestrian clothing, and bridles. According to the American Quarter Horse Association, a tack costs an average of $2,000. A very good one may cost between $3,000 and $5,000.

7. Insurance

Several factors determine how much you will pay for insurance. These include:

  • Age: Most insurance companies cover horses up to 16 years old under their standard insurance coverage. For horses between 16 and 20 years old, they charge an extra premium. This will push the insurance cost up.
  • Coverage: The type of insurance you want for the horse is another factor that will affect your cost. You will pay less for Limited Mortality insurance than for Full Mortality coverage. This is because the Limited option offers less coverage than the Full options.
  • Breed: Insurance companies also charge according to the horse breed. Expensive breeds will attract a higher insurance cost than the cheaper breeds. Examples of more expensive breeds include the Thoroughbred and Arabian.
  • Use: Why do you want to own a horse? That’s another factor the insurance company will consider when giving you a quote. If the horse is for private use, it will cost you less to insure than if the horse is for commercial purposes.
  • Value: The value may bear on the cost too. If you buy a successful breeder or a horse that has won several competitions, its value will increase. This will affect the insurance cost as well.

8. Training

Horse training comes at a price. Several variables go into consideration when determining the prices of horse training. These are some of the factors that will determine how much you will be spending on training:

  • Location: The location of the school is the most significant factor that determines cost. You will pay less if you have the training on a farm than in the city. If the trainer is on a farm, they may have easy access to locally-grown hay and enough training space. Compare this to a city where hay is scarce and expensive.

While the cost of maintaining the facility on the farm may be cheap, it is expensive in the city. The trainer will consider this factor in their charges.

Do you want to have the training in your neighborhood? The training cost will be lower than if you have to ship the horse to another state. The facilities available in the training facility also play a major role in the price. You may have to pay for boarding, feeding, and other expenses. This is especially the case if the training facility offers them as a part of the training program.

  • Experience: This also plays a major role in determining how much you will pay for training. The working experience of the trainer will determine what they will charge. An experienced trainer with a good reputation will charge a higher training fee. Someone who is new in the industry is more likely to have a lower fee.
  • Style of training: There are several riding styles such as combined driving or barrel racing. There is racehorse training, too. These training styles attract different training fees.

Some of these styles are more time-consuming than others. Training a horse for fun riding is different from training a horse to become a horse race champion. You will pay more for specialized training than for regular training. The training cost will also be higher if there is a scarcity of trainers in the particular style you want.

While giving an idea of the training cost for a horse, the Racehorse Owners Association wrote: “For a Flat horse, the average cost was $28,519.63 and for a Jumps horse the average was $20,605.58. These costs include all training and racing costs – i.e. training fees, gallops, farrier, transport, vets, entries, jockeys, registration fees, pre/out of training costs etc. The average cost for Flat and Jumps horses combined is $25,804.62 (this is after weighting results to correctly represent the proportion of Flat vs Jumps horses in training).”

These and several other factors determine how much owning a horse costs.

Tips For Buying A Good Horse

Now you have an idea of what it will cost to own a horse. It is imperative that you buy a horse that will give you the right value for your money.

Are you are unsure about what to consider when shopping for a horse? Here are some vital tips that will assist you in making the right choice:

1. Know What You Need

Don’t pay for a horse until you know what you need the horse for. You must know the type of horse you want and its purpose. Consider your personal ability to use the horse and other relevant factors.

There are cases of individuals who bought horses they couldn’t use. Don’t make that mistake. If you are a novice rider, you may have a problem with a horse that needs more exercise than your schedule allows. Ponder over this.

Once you have your requirements outlined, don’t buy a horse that doesn’t meet them. If you do, you may regret your decision later on.

2. Check Its History

You will make a gross mistake if you believe the vendor without checking for yourself.  Ensure you review the horse’s history. Check the claims, previous challenges, vet records, and anything that gives you a clue into its past and present condition.

While checking the history, be cautious when dealing with vendors. Some questionable dealers sell stolen horses. They may also cover the horse’s behavioral problems with drugs. Some sell horses with loss-of-use insurance claims. This means the horse has little to no usefulness.

If you have an offer that seems too good to be true from a dealer, that’s a red flag. Don’t jump on these offers.

3. Buy From A Reputable Vendor

To reduce the risk of falling victim of a scam, it is advisable that you go to a vendor with a track record of credibility. This implies that you should do a background check of the vendor. Check their identity and see whether they are who they claim to be.

What’s their reputation in the industry? Which horses has the vendor sold in the past? It isn’t a bad idea to ask for references when working with a dealer. Do your due diligence before you pay for a horse.

4. Get A Written Receipt

Ask for a comprehensive receipt from the seller before you leave with the horse. The receipt should cover the deposit or full payment amount. It should also include the horse’s identity, the horse’s description, and passport number.

Make sure your personal information and that of the vendors is listed as well. This includes your full names, telephone numbers, addresses, and signatures.

5. Check Its Health

Try to find out the last time the seller vetted the horse. To make it easier for you, take a vet along with you for the inspection. The vet knows how to determine if the horse is healthy or not. This may include checking the horse’s silhouette and passport.

Using the vendor’s vet isn’t a good idea. There may be a conflict of interest and the outcome won’t be in your favor. Ignore any pressure from the dealer to overlook vetting. The dealer may do this subtly by giving the impression that other buyers are waiting. You need to vet the horse and be sure that you are comfortable with its condition before making a payment.

6. Buy What You See

Online shopping has proven to be a convenient method for buying almost everything. But, it is not ideal for buying a horse. A dishonest seller may give a false description of the horse to deceive buyers out of their money. There is no way to affirm or debunk their claims. This means you have little or zero chances of getting your money back if you fall into their trap. So, conduct a physical one-on-one transaction.

Whether you need a horse for commercial or personal use, you need to consider all the factors about owning and nurturing a horse. This goes beyond just the purchase price. You need to know exactly what you are getting into and be prepared for your new reality of being a horse owner.