We all know the best things in life aren’t free. But, at the least, we hope they’re not wallet-crushingly expensive.
But being able to accurately predict the total cost of ownership of some purchases is unnecessarily difficult. You can hear ten different lifetime costs from ten different sources about the same product. People then act on what is sometimes incorrect or incomplete information and end up purchasing something they ultimately can’t afford. This scenario can cause a lot of stress on its own, but it can be made multiple magnitudes worse when the purchase is a living, breathing animal.
To help you avoid this nightmare scenario, we’ve decided to throw in our 2-cents on the age-old question: how much does it cost to own a horse?
How Much Does it Cost to Own a Horse?
The price paid when the sale is finalized is likely to be the least expensive aspect of horse ownership. However, what that exact price is depends on a variety of factors including the horse’s age, experience, pedigree, and more. That means the purchase price of a horse can range from anywhere between free and a number with so many zeros that it would make your head spin. However, the average cost for a horse that’s going to be used for casual recreational use is around $3,000, according to the University of Maine.
But the sticker price of the horse isn’t the only expense you’ll incur when shopping around. It’s always a smart idea to have a professional veterinarian perform a pre-purchase exam before you buy. This may help you spot any hidden or unknown medical conditions the horse may be suffering from, while also alerting you to their general strengths and weaknesses. The cost of this exam can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the extensiveness of the exams your vet performs and the intended use for the horse.
The initial purchase of a horse will also require the purchase of a considerable amount of equipment, both for the rider and the horse. A horse needs a well-fitting saddle and bridle, grooming tools, saddle pads, and protective boots. All in all, this can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000 due to the variance in quality and functionality between different products. If you’re planning to travel with your horse at all, consider investing in a truck and horse trailer.
Horses that are living in cold climates will also require blankets, indoor and outdoor variety and possibly also sheets, fly sheets…well, the list goes on.. Blanket/sheet prices can range from $100 to $900, as some horses require specific designs or weights to accommodate differing environmental conditions.
A rider will require equipment if they’re going to ride a horse safely. Helmets, riding boots, chaps, spurs, and gloves are only a few of the items you may need, depending on the type of riding performed. Additionally, one should mull over the value of a good trainer relative to the kinds of tasks the horse is expected to perform. If training is deemed necessary, an exceptional trainer with a well-established client base can charge over a thousand dollars per month.
How Much Does it Cost to Board a Horse?
Boarding is a highly variable cost that is dependent on an assortment of factors including the facility, location, and services offered.
One option is to pasture board. This is where you pay a stable to keep your horse on one of their pastures, meaning they’re on the open field 24/7. However, the staff will still cater to your horse’s needs. Horses who are pasture boarded will usually also be allowed run-ins to escape particularly bad heat or cold This is an ideal option for owners who want their horses to avoid being stalled all day. This option can cost anywhere from $200 per month to $600 per month.
On the other hand, there are high-end, full-service facilities that include feeding and watering, turn-in and turn-out, stall cleaning, and basic care as part of their monthly fee. They may also schedule vet and farrier visits. This tends to be a good option for horse owners who can’t feasibly tend to their horses every single day. This option can cost between $600 per month to $1,600 per month.
Self-care boarding is a great option if you’re wanting to spend more time with your horse while saving money. This involves you paying a stable to house your horse, but you (and you alone) are responsible for tending to the animal’s daily needs. Imagine that it’s sort of like renting your horse an apartment. You should expect to go to the barn twice a day to check on your horse if you self-care board them. Self-care boarding typically costs between $200 and $400 per month.
How Much Does it Cost to Feed a Horse?
For those who house their horses in full-care stables, the issue of feeding your horse is taken care of. However, there will be some instances where you are responsible for feeding your horse if your horse has special needs or special feeding.
In those moments, it may be easy to fool yourself into thinking “Ah, horses are vegetarians! And grass is free, right? How expensive could some hay be?”. Not so fast.
Consider this: most adult horses consume anywhere between 1.5% to 2.5% of their body weight via grazing each day, depending on their performance level. Using an average of 2% as a figure, a 1,000-pound horse would consume an average of just over 3.7 tons of hay every year. That’s a LOT of hay and along with buying hay comes delivery cost, storage costs, spoilage costs (oh yes!..hay can spoil very easily and then it s life-threatening to feed to your horse!)
Hay bales usually come in two varieties: square and round. Square bales break off into flakes for easier netting and measuring, making it ideal for horse owners who stall or trailer their animals. Round bales are intended to feed a herd, making them ideal for use on pastures. The price of hay is variable depending on quality, quantity, and the time of year it’s purchased, with prices usually ranging from $4 to $20 per bale.
Nutrition expenses may increase if you decide to supplement your horse’s diet with grain or complete feeds. Grain offers horses certain proteins and minerals that are unavailable to them from grass or hay. It can be an especially useful supplement for horses who work hard, have vitamin deficiencies or have trouble keeping weight on. The price of grain is dependent on quality, as more expensive grain bags will have a higher concentration of minerals and vitamins. However, you should expect to pay between $15 and $40 for a 50-pound bag of grain.
How Much Does a Horse Veterinarian Cost?
Like any other animal, horses have a number of health care needs that must be urgently attended to by medical professionals.
A typical vet call (where the veterinarian travels to your horse’s location to administer care) is usually charged depending on the time you schedule the appointment and how far the vet has to travel. You will typically be charged much more for after-hours calls than a call during business hours. These visits can cost anywhere from $35 to $150. But that is just for the travel fee; the veterinary service will be on top of this cost.
Horses should get annual physical exams to nip any minor, underlying problems in the bud before they become worse. During this exam, the vet will check your horse’s temperature, pulse, and breathing. They’ll also determine your horse’s body count from 1 to 9, with 1 being very skinny and 9 being obese. These tests can go from being very simple to the very complex, and they’re charged accordingly. A basic exam may cost as little as $60, while a more intensive exam with radiological tests or ultrasounds may cost a few hundred dollars.
Horses also need to get a few core vaccines if they’re going to remain protected against an assortment of potentially deadly diseases, including tetanus, Eastern and Western encephalitis, rabies, Flu-Rhino, Botulism, Potomac Fever and West Nile virus. However, risk-based vaccines (such as those protecting against influenza, rhinopneumonitis, strangles, Potomac horse fever, botulism, anthrax, equine viral arteritis, and rotavirus) vary according to a horse’s use, gender, and location. Generally, it is recommended to get core vaccines annually and protective vaccines biannually. This can cost between $100 and $400, depending on where you go and what vaccines are administered.
It’s also recommended that horses get tested annually for equine infectious anemia virus (EIA). Otherwise known as swamp fever, this viral disease is characterized by fever, anemia, jaundice, depression, edema, and chronic weight loss. To determine whether or not a horse has been infected with EIA, veterinarians will administer a Coggins test. This test checks for antibodies of the disease and usually delivers a positive result within the hour it’s administered. Coggins tests usually cost between $20 and $60. Once a horse tests positive for EIA, an owner must either adhere to a strict quarantine or euthanize the animal.
Additionally, just like with human children, you have to pay close attention to and actively care for your horse’s teeth. Regular dental maintenance ensures your horse will get the maximum nutrient use from their food and can safeguard against discomfort caused by tooth decay. By keeping your horse’s teeth clean, you’ll also reduce the risk of them developing colic or diarrhea. Annual dental checkups can start at $150, but this investment will save money in the long run. If your veterinarian determines that your horse’s teeth are in need of care, they may recommend “floating” your horse’s teeth. And, yes, horses also may need to have teeth extracted too! Teeth floating is a process through which the veterinarian will smooth out the sharp edges of your horse’s teeth with a rasp or drill, Some horses will need this procedure performed sparingly, while others may require it once or twice a year. The cost of this procedure is largely dependent on the exhaustiveness of the floating required and if your horse needs to be sedated.
Vet bills for minor care options such as non-emergency injury treatment, deworming, and musculoskeletal therapies and supplements can also seriously rack up and throw your budget off track.
How Much Does a Farrier Cost?
Everyone loves a beautiful, well-kept set of nails. Even your horse. Just like our fingernails, a horse’s hooves have to be trimmed every so often. Luckily, you don’t have to get down there and trim your horse’s hooves yourself.
That’s what a farrier is for! A farrier attends to your horse’s hooves and helps keep them healthy. They usually offer three core services: barefoot trimming, shoeing, and corrective shoeing.
Barefoot trimming is where a horse’s hoof is trimmed back to its original position to ensure even weight distribution throughout the hoof. This is done on horse’s who don’t wear horseshoes and tend to have well-shaped, strong feet. This fits well for horse that is used for casual, low-stress riding.
Shoeing is usually performed on horses who are soft-footed, perform arduous physical labor, or compete in strenuous events. During this process, semi-permanent horseshoes are applied to the hooves to prevent them from enduring too much trauma. This can also be done to hold a damaged hoof together.
Corrective shoeing is performed when a horse’s body isn’t distributed correctly over their hooves causing the weight to shift around and cause damage or for a horse that has conformation issues. A farrier can custom-make a shoe in order to help with this problem. When pursuing a farrier for corrective shoeing, it’s important to only use professionals who understand the functions of the body. Professional farriers typically charge between $100 and $250 per visit per horse but this varies tremendously on distance traveled and the type of service needed
The total lifetime cost of owning a horse is highly dependent on a number of factors, meaning that it can cost you as little as just a few thousand dollars per year, or it can cost you more than the average person makes in a year. It really just depends on what you aim to do with your horse. Is he a backyard ornament that you ride a few times a year or a trail horse that you board with a local stable or are you a hard-core competitor?—this decision along with the size of your bank account will be important factors when putting together a plan and a budget for your horse.
There’s one last investment to consider when owning a horse. Ideally, you’d like the medical and home remedy supplies you buy to last a long time and remain potent from the moment you open them to the moment you throw them away,
Well, with Banixx, you can have that without any of the stinging, stickiness or smells that come along with using competing products for bacterial and fungal infections. Use Banixx with confidence to successfully provide fast-acting, no-sting, no-odor relief for wounds, rashes, rain rot, white line disease, horse scratches and more!
We hope you found this article helpful and if your horse ever gets any cuts, abrasions, scratches or white line disease, we hope you keep Banixx Horse & Pet Care in mind. To learn more about how to keep your horse happy and healthy, visit our horse page!