An average horse may cost only $3000 to buy, but over its
working live can easily cost $100,000 to take care of. I'm
often amazed at people who feel that cannot spend a couple
of thousand dollars more for the horse they really want, considering
that the purchase price is perhaps 5 or less of the cost of
owning a horse.
The typical costs of owning a horse are:
Depending on where you live, a professional stable will charge
between $250 and $1000 per month to stable a horse. This is
$3000 to $12000 per year. Over 20 years, a grand total sixty
thousand to a quarter million.
Of course, if you have enough land, you can build a stall
and keep the horse yourself. Although this is cheaper than
professional stabling (as you do the work rather than pay
someone else), you will need not only the stall but also storage
facilities for hay, bedding, saddle, tack and miscellaneous
items. You will also need to purchase bedding and hay, which
will run you $100 or more per month. You will also need to
purchase minerals and salt, as well as paying for water and
electricity (allow another $40 per month). Finally, the work
which would have been done by the professional stable (e.g.
mucking out stables) will likely take you a half hour per
day just for the basic activities.
Your horses should be inoculated once per year, de wormed
3 times per year, and have a dental checkup annually. These
basic items will cost $200 to $300 per year. Should the horse
become ill, medical costs can range from $200 to $8000 (e.g.
for a case of colic requiring corrective surgery).
Horse hooves need to be trimmed every 2 months (cost $30 each
time) and if shoes are required these cost about $30 additional.
Shoes are usually required if you ride your horse out on a
regular basis, so allow $360 per year farrier costs.
Third party accident insurance is a legal requirement in some
countries. In addition to the legal requirements, you may
wish to insure against other items (e.g. death, theft, incapacitating
illness). Basic insurance costs about $40 per month.
To ride your horse you will need saddle, rugs, tack, and your
own riding clothes. These will run you about $2000 to purchase
a basis set, plus one must allow for repair or replacement
costs if one rides frequently.
Horse sprays, fly sheets, cleaning solutions and so on can
be expected to run a minimum of $200 $300 per year.
In total, one is looking at a minimum cost of $2000 (if self
stabling) or $4000 (professional stable) just for keeping
the horse. If your horse becomes seriously ill, these costs
can double. In addition to the actual costs of keeping the
horse, there are costs for using it (e.g. training for you,
training for the horse, show or competition costs).
Consequently, when buying a horse, one needs to think not
only of the purchase price, but more importantly of the costs
of keeping and caring for it over a period of years. If these
costs are too high, it may be worthwhile looking at alternatives
(e.g. sharing a horse between two or more owners).
article was written by Doug Stewart.