How Much Does a Horse Cost?

From Black Beauty to Secretariat, the horse has been a symbol of magnificence and glory – whether they win millions of dollars at the Kentucky Derby or capture the hearts of their owners. The cost of a horse varies according to your intentions. For example, a horse used for trail riding will cost less than a racehorse or English jumper. For the most part, the level of training and experience of a horse will increase the overall cost.

  • Trail riders (such as quarter horses) typically cost $1,000 to $4,000.
  • Saddle mules (half horse and half donkey) cost between $1,000 and $3,500.
  • Arabians, thoroughbreds, and quarter horses groomed for working cattle or rodeo events average $2,500 to $7,000+.

The Cost to Own a Horse

Horses require hay for their diet and should consume about ½ bale (20 pounds) daily. One bale of hay costs about $2.50. Therefore, average yearly costs for hay are around $450 [1]. Many trail horses can live on a diet of hay alone – often a blend of oat and alfalfa hay. Grain is also used to supplement the diet of a horse. One 50-pound sack of grain can cost about $20 to $40.

Horses are boarded and stabled with costs that start at $50 per month in locations with year-round pastures. Inside stalls can cost up to $500 per month. Grooming supplies and buckets cost about $50 to $100. Boarding of a horse with the addition of training can cost about $1,000 per month (or $12,000 per year).

If you plan on riding your horse, equipment (such as a saddle, bridle, halter and saddle pad and runs) cost an average of $400 to  $1,500. Higher quality and style of equipment increases overall costs. The cost of a farrier, which tends to horseshoes, costs about $25 to $100 every six weeks. Other typical veterinary and care costs include:

  • Shots: $10 to $95 per dose.
  • Mineral supplements: $25 every six months.
  • Hoof trimming: $12 to $75
  • Dental care: up to $150 twice a year
  • Emergency or unscheduled vet care: $50 to $250

Including board, routine veterinary care, farrier care, medical insurance, clothing, and riding, the average cost to own a horse is about $11,000 per year [2].




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