Horse Cost Calculator

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Black Horses
Can you afford to own a horse? If you’re thinking about entering the world of horse ownership, it’s time to take a look at your budget. The initial purchase price is often a drop in the bucket compared to the everyday costs of caring for a horse. The calculator below will help you determine if you will be financially able to provide for a horse. If you’re already a horse owner, use the calculator to find out where all your money is going and where you may be able to cut costs.

Things to Remember

Boarding vs. at-home horsekeeping. Boarding may appear to be the more expensive, less desirable option. However, if you’re a first-time owner, having an experienced barn manager to help you take care of your horse is invaluable. If you travel frequently, boarding may be preferable over trying to hunt down a barn sitter every time you leave town.

Hay, grain and bedding. These expenses are often included in full board, but some boarding stables will require you to purchase your own. Hay costs vary widely across the country. If you’re not sure what hay costs in your area, ask horse owners or check local ads. Read on for more on calculating your hay costs.

Vaccinations. The AAEP vaccination chart will give you a basic overview of what annual shots your horse will need. When calculating your vaccination costs, remember to include the cost of a farm call (if you board, you can keep this cost down by splitting the vet visit with other boarders.)

Coggins test. If you travel with your horse for any reason, you will probably need a new Coggins pulled each year. If you travel across state lines, you may need a new one every six months. If your horse never leaves your property, you will likely only need one every two or three years. Regulations vary by state, so consult your vet.

A Note on Deworming. Most horse owners don’t need to deworm every two months. If you plan to utilize fecal testing as most experts now recommend, leave the “Deworming” field blank and include your anticipated costs in the “Additional Vet Expenses” field.

For any expenses that do not apply to your situation, just leave the value at zero.

Item Frequency Cost Monthly Yearly
Boarding Stable Monthly    
Vaccinations Annual
Coggins test Annual
Dental Annual
Deworming Every Two Months
Farrier Every Two Months
Additional Vet Expenses Annual
Hay Monthly
Grain Monthly
Bedding Monthly
For horses kept at home
Electricity Monthly
Manure Disposal Monthly
Water Monthly
Property Maintenance Annual
Optional Expenses
Supplements Monthly
Riding Lessons Weekly
Clinics Annual
Training Monthly
Equine Insurance Annual
Association Fees Annual
     Truck and Trailer
Truck and Trailer Payments Monthly
Truck and Trailer Insurance Annual
Truck and Trailer Maintenance Annual
     Tractor Expenses
Tractor Payments Monthly
Tractor Maintenance Annual
Tractor Fuel Monthly
     Tack and Equipment
New Tack Annual
Tack Repair Annual
Riding Apparel Annual
Additional Tack and Supplies Annual
     Horse Show Expenses
Show Fees Annual
Stabling Annual
Overnight Accommodations Annual
Transportation Annual
Trainer’s Fees Annual
Food and Beverage Annual
Total:

 

93 COMMENTS

  1. I retired in Feb. 2009 and currently live totally on my SS income. I own horse property which is fully paid for. I am able to support my 8 horses, 4 dogs, 10 cats, some poultry and me on my SS income alone. All my animals are in top condition and receive excellent care. Your calculator was interesting; however, it is not realistic for my situation. I have owned horses in various numbers since I was 16 and knowledgeable horse people know many ways to get maximum benefit for moneys expended.

  2. I’m a college student and I found the calculator interesting but well, not very accurate. A lot of things on there most don’t have. Me and my horse are both living on my part time paycheck. You learn quick where to cut costs. Hay I buy in a load with others aa bulk. I feed a higher priced high fat feed but I feed less. I buy and give my own shots and use a small animal vet for the things I can’t give or need documentation. Plus I haul my horse to her. It cuts down my annual vet bill from 300 to 140. I order big buckets of supplements and look at the ingredients over name brands and the price per day. I really called around when looking for a farrier, found one I love to death that everyone agrees does a good job (even my mare’s chiropractor) for a really good price. Having a good observant farrier can save lots of money! Taking really good care of your horse now with preventative care will end up saving lots of money. Research cheaper alternatives for everything but don’t accept less quality. Biggest thing of all, don’t have more horses than you can give the best care for. Just because you can afford more doesn’t mean a thing.

  3. This is a fantastic tool! For a beginner rider looking to buy their first horse this is an invaluable tool and surprisingly very accurate, matching my own budget down to the dollar. Thanks!

  4. My horse only costs me $560 dollars every year.(that’s not quite including the new saddle pack I purchased this year, but it wasn’t very much and for now I’m borrowing a friend’s tack because the saddle I’d bought online and it doesn’t fit my girl) She’s a 4 year old 14.3hh Paint Mare. I have a nice man who boards her for me and feeds her well, while I buy and administer vaccinations an do her farrier work. There are other ways to cut costs, some people just don’t care to consider cutting them because they think it’s too risky. But I say that’s definitely not true in the majority of the situations. Happy Trails!

  5. Great idea, could use section for fly spray, masks etc, blankets, treats such as carrots, barn supplies such as buckets, rakes and grooming products/equipment

  6. Oh my gosh!!! I don’t think I realized how much we spend every year to have fun. What an eye opener! But it won’t stop my having my horse or showing(locally).

  7. Good lord! $7000 is ALOT but it wont stop me from going to shows which is only 500 a year, its the board of 450 a month woosh guess it all adds up!

  8. Oh boy… But she is worth every long work week, and skipped meals ha ha! She is healthier than me! I will happily pay her vet fees before I see a doctor! Strange, us horse people!

  9. My annual cost has actually dropped a little from years past. I do not pay for training or lessons, which took a big chunk for some years. But she’s worth every struggle because this is what I enjoy most.

  10. NOT useful at all for someone who has never owned a horse!!!!! This doesn’t give any clue to what the vet expense will be only that a lot of shots are needed. This could only be helpful if you already had a horse and wanted to find ways to cut costs.

  11. If you plan to keep your horse at home, don’t underestimate what you are going to spend on the clothing you will need to take care of it, especially if you live where it gets really cold in the winter like I do! I’ve had to buy a heavy barn coat (one that will hold up to barn chores, and not hang onto hay!) two pairs of boots (insulated for cold days, and rubber for the muddy days-still could use a pair that’s insulated and rubber!) and several pairs of gloves and assorted hats, plus long underwear for those bitter cold days. And then of course “barn clothes”-good clothes to wear around the horses that I don’t mind getting messed up with mud, hay, etc. And not too loose, so I don’t get them caught on things while I’m working. And I’m not even riding yet, so you’ll have to figure those in too.
    And since I’m coming back to horse ownership after years of being away, can I also complain about the lack of good “horse clothes” in larger sizes? After having and raising my kids, and aging of course, now I have to deal with trying to find things in womens plus sizes-seems like the horse world still discriminates according to size, in spite of the fact that most of us are getting larger, according to what you hear! Maybe I just haven’t found the right places yet, so if anyone has any suggetions, fill me in!

  12. I have been riding for nearly 50 years, and have owned and trained horses for nearly 40. I have competed in everything from hunters, jumpers, eventing and I now concentrate on dressage. It is a very expensive sport and the passion and love of horses keeps me from losing my mind over how much I have spent over the last 50 years! Yikes!

  13. I was a tad afraid to do this, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected — $5000/boarded horse in Yucaipa, CA [southern], IF they don’t get sick and need the vet!
    If the person in San Bernardino wants to contact me for any info, I’ll be gald to help however I can. gaitgatsby@yahoo.com

  14. Less than $1100/year for my one horse. Not bad! I keep mine at home; I enjoy the upkeep immensely. It’s why I have a horse, to be connected to her, and responsible to her. You wouldn’t board your dogs or cats 24/7 would you? Live the whole experience, folks!

  15. I think it is great, but it can be like buying the groceries! You don’t want to add up what you would pay for them!!!! We keep our 4 horses in paddock behind us and pay $2880 per year for the 4 of them, Having to travel just adds more expense & I love having them close by,our costs are: feed approx $2400/yr,fortunate to have good pasture, farrier around $1000 for all of them/ yr and fingers xed they cost very little in vet bills, just the 3mth worming

  16. I shouldn’t have tried this…it would probably have been better not to know we’re spending upwards of $37,000 a year for my son and his horse to train and show, and it’s only going to climb higher. What ever were we thinking?!

  17. WOW!!!!! Only $1602 to keep a horse at my farm a year! I thought it would be SO much more, like around $2000 or something, thats what is cost for my last horse, but he died 1 year ago. 🙁 This was very helpful to me because my dad said I had to tell him what the yearly costs would be before I could get my horse! AWESOME!!

  18. 186.52 and I was guestimating high on most things! im pretty impressed with myself…not enough to buy another anytime soon…but Ill definately be keeping Boy!

  19. yikes – mine is least $8000/yr per horse (I have 4) not including show fees. I can see a huge chunk goes to my trainer ;-> granted not all 4 are in training either.

  20. I agree with Tammy, and have you heard what it cost to put a kid through college. I’ll keep my 4-legged kids thank you.

  21. Good tool! It provides an eye opener for those of us who already own and spend money on our horse(s) and provides insight for those thinking of purchasing a horse for the first time!

  22. YIKES! According to this and it was just a guesstimate. I didn’t even fill out all the stuff. I spend about 11,500 a year on 5 horses! Counting all my show stuff, thankfully my horses don’t have many emergencies. So vet bills aren’t too bad

  23. We all know horses are expensive, you just need to weight the cost benefits of each item that you provide your horse. You could spend endless amounts of money on them.

  24. not helpful for first time owner, who does not know what these items cost. Was hoping to see something that laid out expenses, so can make good decision on how much I can anticipate spending on a boarded horse for my 14 year old daughter.

  25. Not helpful for someone that new to the equine world and trying to educate themselves to the costs before owning a horse. If it could give estimated costs for unknown items this would be more helpful.

  26. I always knew it was expensive. I’ve had at least 2 horses for better than 20 years, luckily at our own barn. For those 1st time horse owners or thinking about it.. there is always an unexpected expense. I’m not an expert, but 3-5 thousand a year for the basics! and worth every penny!!!

  27. Hope this will help; This is what I pay out in Calif. Board $275. mo., supplements $100. mo., Shavings $50. mo. Farrier $120.00 every 7 weeks yearly expenses: vacc., $50. Teeth floating $125.00 grooming and tack supplies $250. (be careful,this could be a big expense for first time buyers) and unexpected charges for Vet services if needed $250-$350.

  28. There is always the option of leasing a horse that is owned by someone else. This is what we do for my horse-loving daughter. It’s $100 a month for the lease and we only lease from February thru September to cover show season and the 4H week-long fair. We also pay $140 a month for private lessons. The equipment and the clothes can get very expensive, but Craigslist and the clearance department at tack stores help out a lot. You really don’t have to go broke to let your kid ride a horse.

  29. I have three horse at my home. I am very frugal with everyting except feed, farrier and vet care. I have minimal expenses relating to manure disposal, etc. Even so, my annual costs for the three of them came out to almost 20,000.00 per year. I may have to sell one of them.

  30. My husband & I rescue horses! We recently went to an SPCA adoption clinic and learned that they will give you a monthly feed allowance to care for the horses on your property! This is an AWESOME program to help a horse in dire need and also have the benefit of riding and such without haveing the expense! Check with your local (City) Animal Shelter

  31. There should be cost factors added to include the first aid kit, other meds and bandages to keep on hand, horse wear items boots, blankets, sheets, fly spray and other pesticide control, and grooming supplies and products.
    Ps. How do I delete that from my computer so my husband NEVER sees the costs all at once like that!!! :).

  32. $2767 a year for one horse. Of course, we don’t require vaccinations, boarding, trailer fees, vet checks, or really anything besides food, water, shelter, and the occasional show. I do my own training, my horse doesn’t need supplements other than the usual salt and mineral, or any grain. Still kind of expensive, though.

  33. $4,696 for just one of my two horses and they’re both stabled at home. One is retired and one is a young horse so there’s no training costs yet. Pretty depressing for a college kid..no wonder I’m broke each month!

  34. Wow … It makes you realize what you spend. I always look at it as 10$ per day per horse ( I have two ) when I look at my boarding cost. That way it doesn’t sound like much. But when you add it up, you see how much it really is.

  35. I have known for a long time what the yearly cost was. Changed my routine and wrote all my expenses for a show weekend on outside of a manila envelope ( reciepts inside). Totaled it at end of weekend. Last show season. It wasn’t that much fun for 3 days. I was exhausted from all the work. My friend & I can ride on each other’s farms. Never looked back with regret.

  36. 690 roughly to keep two…but I graze them myself …do the hooves on one myself…would be insane cost to board a horse can’t even imagine

  37. But would you trade one day with your horses even with the costs? I am all for changing some of the way I spend on them….but can’t replace how it feeds my soul to have them

  38. I board but my costs are still only 230 a month per horse. My board is $120 per horse for self care. I don’t show so no expenses there, nor are they on any supplements. I use round bales which I stuff my slow feed hay nets with so that cut my hay costs in half and I get sawdust from the Amish which cut my bedding by more than half($2.50 vs. $7). I only de-worm after having manure analyzed and so far haven’t had to do it in 9 months. My grain is $25 a bag but last a month. I have very easy keepers. The only other expense I would add on here for me would be fly spray which is expensive.

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