Many passionate riders want to buy their own horse. A real dream, but one that can quickly cost a fortune !
I will try to explain step by step all the expenses involved in buying and maintaining a horse. Of course, these are only estimates : depending on your region, your ambitions, the type of accommodation, the prices can vary greatly. But it does give you an idea of the annual cost of a horse !
The purchase of the horse
It's hard to give a price range ! On average, you should expect to pay between 800 and 4000$ for a leisure horse, and much more for a sport horse. The price varies according to the age of the horse, its work, its aptitudes, its breed, whether it has papers or not, and even its colour and sex !
The veterinary visit
Whatever the value of your horse and whatever your ambitions for it, i cannot stress this enough : the veterinary visit is compulsory ! It will allow you to check that your horse is really in good health. If you intend to have a sporting career, don't hesitate to ask your vet to take X-rays of the limbs as well, you never know ! This visit must be carried out by the vet of yout choice : never accept a visit carried out by the vet of the owner of the horse for sale, just in case.
Cost : about 150 to 200$ for a simple visit, without X-rays.
Unless your future horse is already in your stable, you will have to provide a small amount of money to move him from one pension to another.
It is impossible here to give you a price, it goes without saying that moving a horse over 500 km will be much more expensive than if there are only 10 km to be done. Be careful, however, as transporters often charge for 2 journeys : the full journey and the empty return journey. Don't hesitate to ask for several quotes before committing yourself to a transporter !
Note that stables often have their own van : your instructor or another rider may agree to pick up your future horse.
Cost : from 0 to several thousand dollars !
The Essential equipment
- Complete grooming kit : count about 15 to 20$ for a complete grooming kit
- Halter, lead rope : about 15$ for the set
- Drying blanket : from $20
- Waterproof blanket : ideal if your horse lives in the meadow during the winter, count on a minimum of 100 dollars in order to have a blanket that lasts. I recommend buying two blankets so that you can continue to cover your horse if one of the blankets breaks or needs to be washed.
- Fleece blanket : practical especially if your horse is shorn and lives in a box. From around 40$ for a blanket that lasts.
- Kidney rug : especially useful in winter for shorn horses (fleece rug) or if it rains (waterproof rug). From 20$.
- Fly spray : from about 10$.
- Leather care products : glycerine soap and leather grease (about 15$ for both).
Blankets are optional, depending on your horse's lifestyle, whether it is shorn or not and the weather conditions in your area.
Cost : from 95$, and much more if your horse is shorn !
The basic equipment for horse riding
- Net + reins + bit : from about 20$ for the net and 15$ for the bit.
- Saddle pad : from 15-20$. Remember to buy at least 2 of them so that you can alternate the time of washing !
- Saddles : there's something for everyone. From the low-end second-hand saddle at 100$, to the top of the range leather saddle at several thousand dollars. It all depends on your desires and your budget ! Don't hesitate to ask a saddle-fitter to advise you.
- Stirrups + stirrups + girth : about 50$ for the whole set.
- Gaiters and fetlock protectors (if necessary) : about 30$ for the whole.
Cost : about 150$ without the saddle
The material of the footwork
- Spinning lanyard : about 10 dollars
- Surfaix : optional, count 20$ minimum
- Chamberlain : from 15$.
Cost : from about 25$.
If you like working on foot and want to do it regularly, you will probably need to buy other equipment : see our article on lunging horse equipment.
Whether you are going to a show, a training course, a trip to the beach or simply taking your horse to the vet, it is always useful to have equipment for transporting your horse !
- Transport protectors : count on a minimum of 50 dollars, but prices can quickly climb here again.
- OR Resting belts + flannels : about 25$ for the whole
- Tail protector (if transported in a van) : from 10$. Note that a strip can also do the trick !
Cost : from 25$.
The first aid kit
- Betadine (or other disinfectant) : about 2.5$ per bottle
- Healing cream : minimum 12$ for a tube
- Sterile compresses : 5 to 10$ for a box
- Single-use plastic gloves : less than 1$ for about 20 gloves
- Thermometer : from 5$ for the simplest to about 20$ for something more sophisticated
- Pair of round-ended scissors : 1$ !
- Adhesive tape : about 8$ for a roll
Cost : about 35$.
Housing the horse
Boarding in a stable
Again, prices vary greatly depending on the region and the services provided.
For example, in the Texas region you will find excellent pasture boarding for around 150$ per month and box boarding for between 250 and 300$/month. In the South, prices are much higher : in the 300$ range for a boarding stable and over 450$ on average for a boarding box. In Miami, it's even more expensive.
If you also want a working boarding (i.e. a boarding where your horse is regularly worked on by an instructor or a professional rider), the prices can very quickly climb to a small monthly salary. That's right !
Of course, a stable where there are only walking paths will cost less than a boarding stable with several riding arenas, which itself will be less expensive than a club equipped with a covered riding arena. It's up to you to decide, depending on your budget of course, but also on your expectations. It should be noted that, in general, clubs run by associations are much less expensive than others.
If you can't afford to pay for a pension, think about the commodat system !
Cost : from 0 to 1000€ per month
A horse at home
It's hard to give figures. If your horse is boarded at home, you will have to provide him with a box or a meadow with a shelter, install electrified fences, possibly build a career or a round pen.
To this you will have to add all the maintenance tools (forks, wheelbarrows and so on), as well as the stall/meadow accessories : rack, feeder, trough.
Finally, you will need to add the feed (hay, grain) and bedding if the horse is in a box.
Farrier or podiatrist
You will need to go to the farrier (or podiatrist) every 6 to 8 weeks, whether it is for a simple trimming or for a complete shoeing.
Prices vary enormously depending on the region and the professional, but on average you should expect to pay around 90$ for a 4 foot shoeing, 60$ for a front foot shoeing and 40$ for a simple trimming.
Cost : from around 240$ per year for a barefoot horse, and 650$ for a horse shod on all four feet.
These are the standard costs, exceptional costs following an injury or illness are of course not included :
- Vaccinations : about 30$ / year
- Deworming : 15 to 25$ twice a year minimum
Cost : from 60$ / year
An annual check-up by the dentist is always welcome. Prices vary greatly, again depending on the professional and the region. Expect to pay between 50$ and 100$ per visit.
Cost : from 50$ / year
An osteopath is of course optional (unless your dog has problems), but a small annual check-up is always welcome. The price varies enormously depending on the osteopath and the region, but you should expect to pay at least 70$ to 100$ for a visit.
Cost : from 70$ / year
Of course, unforeseen events cannot be predicted ! It's best to think about having a little money set aside before buying a horse, and to put some money aside each month. A colic, a blockage, an injury. can happen very quickly, and can quickly add to the bill !
- Civil Liability of Equine Owners : 29$ / year (often included in your home insurance)
- American Riding Federation licence : 36$ / year if you are of age, 25$ / year if you are a minor.
You can get your licence directly from your riding school if you have one, or from riders' associations.
You can also insure your horse against theft, death or certain veterinary procedures (colic in particular). Do not hesitate to ask for a quote from various insurance companies as the rates charged vary enormously depending on the options requested and the situations encountered : type of activity, age of the horse, value of the horse, etc.
Cost : from 36$ / year
It is often forgotten, but lessons are rarely included in pensions and it is always good to have a regular follow-up by a professional, whatever our level and that of our horse.
The prices of lessons vary enormously depending on the structure and the region, count on average 15$ for a group lesson and 25$ for a private lesson.
If you want to compete, your budget may well increase ! In addition to the essential competition equipment, you will need to subscribe to a Competition Licence (free for Club & Pony events, 80$ / year for Amateur events).
To this you will have to add the entry fees (from 15$ per competition, even more depending on the competition, the region and the discipline), the transport costs and the coaching costs.
Verdict : how much does it cost to own a horse ?
As you can see, buying a horse is not to be taken lightly. All too often we hear only about the cost of buying a horse, whereas this is generally a negligible sum compared to the cost of maintaining the horse, particularly if it is being boarded.
In addition, you will need to buy a lot of equipment if you don't already have it, ensure it is well maintained and replace it regularly due to natural wear and tear.
- Purchase of the horse: to be determined according to the value of the horse + add the veterinary visit (from 150$).
- Various equipment : from 330$ for first price equipment, not including the saddle.
- Boarding : from about 150$ / month for a pre-prepared horse up to several hundred dollars. To be adapted according to your region and the type of structure desired.
- Horse care : from 355$ / year, or even much more if your horse is shod on all four feet or falls ill !
And you, how much does your horse cost you each year ?