Personal Finance

How Much Do Horses Cost Per Year

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 5 minute read

The parents of horse-lovers, beware! If you don’t act quickly, your youngster will be begging you for a pony before you know it. After all, I was once one of those kids! I always requested for a horse as a birthday, Christmas, Easter, or other special occasion gift. Horses appeared in my dreams.

Toy horses were my only companions. Visiting the local country shop was one of my favorite pastimes since I could see myself purchasing a saddle and bridle of my own one day.

When I was a child, my parents never gave me a horse, and as an adult, I understand why. It’s expensive to keep a horse, and youngsters aren’t always dedicated to a single activity. 

Hold off on buying a pony if your youngster is showing indications of horse fever. Instead of buying a horse, examine the annual costs and start with one of the numerous cost-effective alternatives.

Horse Ownership Expenses

You’re undoubtedly aware that the initial expense of acquiring a horse pales in comparison to the long-term cost of ownership. So, while you might be able to find a rescue pony for a couple hundred dollars, don’t be fooled into buying one.

According to the results of a horse-ownership study conducted by the University of Maine, the average yearly cost of horse ownership is $3,876 per horse, with a median cost of $2,419 That puts the average monthly cost between $200 and $325, which is comparable to a vehicle payment.


Money spent on meals accounts for a sizable chunk of the total. A horse’s daily hay and grain intake should be between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent of its body weight. You won’t spend much money, but you won’t get much use out of a bale or a bag of grain.

About one-third to one-half of the total cost of horse ownership is spent on food alone, which averages over $1,000 per year.

Farrier and Vet Fees

The combination of veterinary and farrier expenses is another big cost to consider. A horse, like your dog or cat, needs regular upkeep and care – and it is far more expensive than caring for a tiny pet. Standard check-ups, vaccines, and testing, four yearly dewormings, and minor care for non-emergency accidents cost an average of $485 each year.

If your horse needs emergency care, anticipate vet bills to skyrocket. In fact, you should have a few thousand dollars set aside for an emergency vet fund just in case.

The expense of hoof upkeep must be addressed in addition to vet fees. Caring for your horse’s hooves is a necessary cost. Infection, joint hyperextension, and even lifelong disability can result from poor hoof care. In addition to daily care by the owner, horses should be trimmed or shaved by a trained farrier every six to eight weeks.

Trimming costs about $350 per year, whereas shoeing can cost much more, depending on how many hooves are shown and how frequently they are updated.

General Maintenance

If you maintain a horse on your own property, you will incur general maintenance fees to ensure that everything is in good working order. This category includes barn, stable, or shelter maintenance, equipment and fencing maintenance, and trailer vehicle maintenance. 

If your horse is being stabled inside, you must also supply bedding. These costs mount up over time. Horse owners should anticipate to spend more than $800 per year on maintenance, depending on their facilities and the needed upkeep.


If you have to rent out your pet on someone else’s property, you will spend a lot more money. The boarding facility’s expectations have a significant role in deciding the cost of boarding.

You might be able to board a horse in a paddock for less than $100 per month, with no expectation of exercise, food, or other creature comforts. However, if you want to maintain your horse in a stable with food, water, clean bedding, frequent exercise, and other amenities, you need a larger budget.

Rutgers University recommends $260 for the average monthly boarding fee, however other institutions charge up to $600.

Occasional or one-time expenses

Owning a horse comes with continuing expenses, but there are also one-time charges to consider. If you have a horse, you’ll need a variety of accessories, such as equipment and grooming products including saddles, halters, brushes, shampoo, blankets, and lead ropes, for example. Each of them involves an initial outlay of cash and, depending on usage, may require periodic upkeep or replacement.

One of the most frequently neglected costs is the cost of training. When purchasing a horse for your child, it is important to ensure that the horse is fit to ride. A horse that has already undergone basic training may still require extra training in order to be suitable for a child’s use. Your youngster has to be sure that the horse will listen and obey the orders that he or she gives.

When it comes to your child, you may also need to provide them some guidance. Enlisting the help of an instructor or trainer who can educate your child how to approach, care for, and ride the horse successfully may make the experience more gratifying to everyone.

In addition, riders must pay for their own equipment. Helmets, riding boots, chaps, spurs and gloves are just a few of the equipment your youngster may require. Depending on the style of riding and level of competition, you’ll need to budget for and acquire a few of these things.

Bottom Line

The truth of the matter is that if your child wants a horse, you’re going to hear about it for a long time. In the meanwhile, there are methods to satisfy the need by providing frequent horse experiences that don’t cost as much as owning your own horse. Explain to your youngster why he or she cannot have a horse that you cannot afford.

Prepare a budget and let them know that the decision to buy a horse will be theirs when they have a paycheck.

When it comes to owning a horse, I’ve never completely given up on the idea. However, even though I’m now able to care for a horse on my property, I’m still unsure whether or not I’m ready to take on the monthly expenditure. Since a horse may live for 25 years or more, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford to spend $3,000 a year for the next 20 years.

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