Ballpark cost for one horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Ballpark cost for one horse

Hi all,

I've decided to purchase my first horse (after a year and a half of lessons, paid-off debt and sold my new car for an older car that is paid off to have more horse money, lol)

I've enabled myself to have roughly $300-$450 extra a month for horse ownership expenses. However, I really like to think things through before making a big decision and I am worried this won't be enough.

My Horse will be boarded 2 miles from home at my instructor's barn. My board will be around $50 as I am exchanging barn chores and helping when they go out of town since I live so close.

I know what all horses need but I am wondering what you all spend as a ballpark figure for one horse. I have emergency money - but it is ONLY for emergencies. I just want to make a good decision and not let my dream of being a horse owner make me miserable because I can't pay my bills.

Any help would be SO appreciated!
I
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post #2 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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My ballpark: 500$ a month. But I pay full board (350$ plus I pay for my own hay) and that doesn't include the costs of lessons or start-up costs (transporting the horse, getting insurance, buying everything from brushes to saddles...). Does your 50$ board cover hay and feed? If so, I'd say that 300-450$ should cover most other costs, barring a major emergency. Of course that doesn't include the cost of lessons, horse stuff (although if you're careful, you can usually get a lot of things used), and vet emergencies. But for the run-of-the-mill day-to-day expenses, I think you'd be ok. If you start going to shows, then of course, your costs can go up significantly, but if you're just looking to ride casually, you should be ok. However, I'm in Eastern Canada and you're in Florida so it might be best to get the advice of someone in your area since prices vary significantly.

It also sounds like you've thought of emergencies, should they occur, and have the ability to deal with them financially if necessary.
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post #3 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
My ballpark: 500$ a month. But I pay full board (350$ plus I pay for my own hay) and that doesn't include the costs of lessons or start-up costs (transporting the horse, getting insurance, buying everything from brushes to saddles...). Does your 50$ board cover hay and feed? If so, I'd say that 300-450$ should cover most other costs, barring a major emergency. Of course that doesn't include the cost of lessons, horse stuff (although if you're careful, you can usually get a lot of things used), and vet emergencies. But for the run-of-the-mill day-to-day expenses, I think you'd be ok. If you start going to shows, then of course, your costs can go up significantly, but if you're just looking to ride casually, you should be ok. However, I'm in Eastern Canada and you're in Florida so it might be best to get the advice of someone in your area since prices vary significantly.

It also sounds like you've thought of emergencies, should they occur, and have the ability to deal with them financially if necessary.

Thanks! :)

I will pay my share of hay and feed.

I will have to buy used tack (which is completely fine with me).

I do have emergency funds.

Lessons are $45 a pop but may cut down to one every two weeks if I can't afford one a week.

I want to eventually start showing. I am planning on creating a savings account specifically for show money. Just smaller shows around my area which will probably run $500 for a weekend (the amount I was told from local show-goers). I may only be able to go to one, MAYBE two a year but that's also ok with me.

I am wondering about insurance. Are you talking about horse insurance or insurance on myself in case I am injured? Or some OTHER type of insurance?
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post #4 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
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I put out about $200 per month in horse expenses, when it's all averaged out.

I pay $185/month for board, including hay. My gelding is an air fern, so doesn't need any grain or supplements.

I pay $40 every ten weeks or so for a trim. This is not typical. My gelding has extremely slow-growing feet. We tried putting him on a shorter trim cycle and there wasn't anything for the farrier to trim. Average horse needs a trim every six to eight weeks. Then there's the added cost if your horse needs shoes, which need to be reset every five to six weeks.

I give shots and dewormer myself, so only have to pay the price of the vaccinations and dewormer. I think I spent less than $100 all year on both. My gelding doesn't really ever leave the property, though.

As for tack, except for halters, bridles, and bits, I've bought all my tack used. Wish I could buy my bridles used, but I have a draft cross with a draft-sized head and live in the land of the tiny-headed QHs, arabs, and TBs. I tell people I have a draft cross and they look at me like I'm completely nuts.
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post #5 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kisiahc View Post

I've enabled myself to have roughly $300-$450 extra a month for horse ownership expenses.

My board will be around $50 as I am exchanging barn chores and helping when they go out of town since I live so close.

I know what all horses need but I am wondering what you all spend as a ballpark figure for one horse.
Maybe I'm unlucky, but both my horses have had a lot of medical expenses this year due to soundness problems.

Of course, you cannot predict if a horse will have soundness issues but it can get very expensive to figure out what's wrong and then to treat it.

Do you already have a saddle and tack?
Do you have a truck/trailer or how will you transport your horse when needed?
How much is grain/supplements going to cost you?

Annually, I find it necessary to have a horse's teeth checked and floated if necessary. Depending on your area, that may be around $200.
Of course, they'll need their annual vacinations.
Throughout the year, you'll need dewormer.
You'll also need regular farrier visits, usually every 6 to 8 weeks. If your horse needs shoes, it's going to be much more expensive. I have to take my 2 horses every 5 weeks b/c one of them has problems (one needs shoes and one does not) and that runs me $130 each time (For both).
I personally find chiropractic work to be important and my horse's get adjusted about 3 or 4 times a year, or as they need it. That's $60 a pop a horse for me.

So let's go with the low end and say you have $300 a month.
$50 of that will go toward your board each month.
If you did 2 lessons a month, there goes $90.
Farrier you maybe can stretch to every other month, and may run you $30 to $50 for a barefoot trim (roughly).
One month you'll deplete that when it needs its teeth checked.
If you have a lameness problem or sudden injury, you'll need to dig into your emergency fund.

It's be really tight. You'd have to plan really really well if you want to make it work.

PLUS you're going to have the purchase price of your horse.
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post #6 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any tack yet. I haven't picked out a horse yet so don't know which sizes I need.

I do have the money for purchase price which I will roll the necessary tack cost into that.

I am going to try my hardest to get a horse that is fine barefoot - but I will have to get one that needs shoes if it's the right horse for me.

I have a truck but no trailer but our vet and farrier come to us. I don't plan on taking my horse anywhere unless we go to shows but that's a year or more down the road.
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post #7 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 03:40 PM
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Probably you should contact the vet you would be using to find out his rates on barn calls, etc. Depending on what is wrong with your horse, treatment and meds can vary greatly.

Contact a farrier, equine dentist and chiropractor for the same rates.

Allow for increases in hay prices. Here, they can go up or down dramatically depending on the weather affecting the crops.

My budget, with full board ($250.00/month) includes hay, grain, and worming 4X a year. Then there are yearly vaccinations, dentist, chiro 2X a year, trims every 8 weeks which puts me $300.00. Add in my lessons at $25.00 per only in the summer and that raises it to $400.00 from May to August.

I recently had my vet out to check my mare for lameness. She was fine, the bill was $58.00.

Your start up budget will be pretty steep, but after that should not be too bad.

Now, that does not include miscellaneous purchases such as saddle pads I don't need, extra halters, good deals I see like breeches and footwear and lots of stuff I could do without but hey, I don't go to the mall and shop. It's all horse stuff!
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post #8 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Now, that does not include miscellaneous purchases such as saddle pads I don't need, extra halters, good deals I see like breeches and footwear and lots of stuff I could do without but hey, I don't go to the mall and shop. It's all horse stuff![/QUOTE]


Ha! You are so right! It's funny, because I was the person that ALWAYS had to have a nice, new, cool car and other stuff but since I got back into horses, the ONLY thing I like to spend my money on is....Horse stuff!


I think I will be alright, I have been working so hard to completely pay off debt and getting an older car so I don't have a car payment so I can own a horse. I just really like to "make sure" over and over again. My instructor thinks I'll be fine too and I am probably driving her nuts with questions, but I want my horse to be as happy and healthy as possible!
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post #9 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 04:42 PM
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I have been very lucky and got 2 super easy keeper, barefoot horses that I keep at home in a manner that does not necessitate shavings or bedding. Even with all the savings I have found, my costs still break down as follows:

Feed
4 ton of hay per year per horse. 1/2 bluegrass straw, 1/2 meadow hay mix. I don't have a rig to haul hay, so I pay for delivery and stacking. $420 for the straw and $490 for the hay, totaling $910 per horse.
I also feed alfalfa pellets and Horse Guard vitamin/mineral, and go through 1 big bags of supplement per year and about 10 bags of pellets per year per horse. $150 for pellets and $90 for horse guard.
My annual feed bill per horse is $1150 or about $96 per month

Farrier
I found an awesome barefoot trimmer who charges $35 per trim per horse but for optimal hoof health they get trimmed every 4-5 weeks. $35 per month

Vet
I do my own vaccinations because I have experience and it is legal here and I know my vet well enough. So that saves a farm call. But one horse has a bad reaction and also gets steroids, driving the price up, between $50-75 per horse annually. Annual teeth floating here is about $300 per horse including farm call. I have a small closed herd so only deworm 2x per year, about $20 per horse per year. I spend probably around $100 per year on first aid stuff, replacing expired drugs, keeping banamine and bute on hand, et cetra. About $500 per year per horse averaging out to $42 per month

So, looks like I am paying about $173 per horse per month, not including tack or anything beyond maintenance and that is pretty bare bones horse-keeping. I also usually have to have blankets repaired and washed each year, replace or mend some tack, keep emergency vet funds, pay to build and maintain fences and run ins, electricity for the electric fence, replace hay nets a few times per year. It goes on and on and on, but I think your budget is very doable if you are willing to live simply and horse keep simply!
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post #10 of 33 Old 12-11-2015, 05:13 PM
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If you don't have a horse yet, you can economize by not buying trouble. A small purchase price rarely translates into economy down the road, most especially for novices. Avoid a rescue for your first horse.

Limit your search to small to medium-sized mature but not elderly horses with all or most of the training you want, and no vices. Anything other than the above risks more costs due to needed training, or medical care. Oversize horses need bigger everything so that will cost you.

Avoid breeds which typically have ongoing issues such for example as TBs (feet, hard-keeping), or Friesians (unique inbreeding problems). OTTBs more often than not come with some kind of damage to their legs and feet, so I hear.

Get a PPE. Good luck!
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