Horses are probably up there as one of the most desirable, romantic, and exciting pets that are kept by the general public, but it can’t be denied that they’re also among the most expensive. If you’re looking at keeping a horse (or multiple horses), you need to make sure that you can afford to cater for their needs before you take the plunge.

Remember that it’s important to over-budget. Assume everything will cost more than it does and build in some contingencies to ensure you don’t run out of money and find yourself unable to care for your horse. Unexpected bills may crop up, so be careful and check your finances are good enough to handle surprise expenses. Here are some ideas of things you need to take into account when planning for keeping a horse.


Routine Care

You should know approximately how much it’s going to cost you to keep a horse year on year. This will differ depending on your area, the horse, whether you have access to any special deals or trades, etc., but think about things like: boarding fees (which could be up to $3000 per month), food, water, supplements, general equipment like brushes, any extra help you need, riding gear, etc.

Remember to take into account annual vaccination fees and the cost of transporting your horse anywhere it needs to go to. You will also need to employ a farrier or trimmer every one to two months to take care of your horse’s feet and ensure they are in good order

Make yourself a budget sheet with all these items and approximate expenses alongside to get an overall idea of costs.

Cost Of The Horse

While this is likely to be a one-off expense, it’s important to budget for it, especially if you’re new to horse-keeping. Horses can vary enormously in price, so you need to familiarize yourself with your local area, the sorts of things to look out for, and the different buying methods available. It can help to talk to other horse owners in your area to access specific advice.

It is often useful to have a vet look over a horse you are intending to buy. This is an additional expense, but will give you a much better idea of the horse’s health, any medical conditions you need to be aware of, and any potential weaknesses the horse has. Even if you’re experienced with horses, the opinion of an expert may be invaluable in picking up subtle signs that something is wrong with a horse. This exam can cost up to $2000, especially if the horse requires any specialist examinations or x-rays.

Barns Vs Home Boarding

It’s generally cheaper to keep horses on your own land, if you can. This is assuming you have a suitable building for them to shelter in, and access to grazing land for them. However, bear in mind that boarding horses at home means you will be doing all their care, and this is immensely time consuming. If you are working and don’t have access to other help in the form of friends or volunteers, it’s probably not feasible.

Boarding a horse is expensive, but does mean that somebody else is doing the bulk of the care – brushing, feeding, watering, mucking out, exercising, etc. If you lead a busy life and want to be able to own and ride a horse around your other commitments, this is probably the better option. If so, get prices from local places and make sure it appears on your budget sheet. 


On your budget sheet, add a “misc” section that includes things which will need replacing as they wear out, one-off purchases, estimated travel costs, any help you will need to hire in, lessons you might need, etc. This will help you get a clearer idea of other expenses than the main ones; ask around and check forums to see what else should be included that you might not have thought of.

Owning a horse is certainly an expensive business, so you need to be fully prepared for that. The upside is that you will get to bond with a beautiful, intelligent creature and provide security and comfort to them for many years. Most horse owners may spend a lot on their horses, but very few would change that even if they could!

Written by Martha Arnold 

Martha Arnold is a marketing specialist and also is a startup article writer at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. She enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of online marketing.


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