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Cost of owning a horse

Are you considering the idea of horse ownership, but you’re perhaps wondering what the cost of owning a horse are? There is a lot of things to decide and take into consideration, such as the horse breed, temperament, age, and suitability. It probably won’t be a shock to hear that horse ownership isn’t cheap. On this page, we’ll cover the potential costs of horse ownership.

Accommodation

Do you own your own land?
If you own land, that is large enough for a horse to graze, then this may help in reducing the overall cost of ownership. However, there are still lots of other costs to consider.

An often-overlooked cost includes the preparation and maintenance of fencing, shelter, gates, and having a water trough. Making sure that your field is safe for your horse is important to preventing injuries.

If you need to leave your horse for long periods of time. i.e., going on vacation, then your horse will need to be looked after by either a friend who’s used to keeping horses or kept at your local stables. Although stables are useful for these situations, it can easily eat into your budget.

Bedding

Horses that are kept indoors require fresh bedding, which needs to be changed regularly.
There are different options for bedding. The most commonly used bedding is wood shavings, straw, paper, and wood pellets.

Example of bedding needs:
If your horse is kept in a stable of around 12 x 12ft, then the initial bedding that was used would need to be around 8 bales of wood shavings or 5 bales of straw.
Then every week after that, you will need around 2 bales of wood shavings or 3 bales of straw, which will be needed to top up the bedding.

The above is an example. There are a lot of different variables to consider, such as the length of time the horse is kept indoors and the general nature of your horse. Therefore, your horse could need more or less.

Feed

Partially outdoors
Horses that are out during the day, but kept indoors at night, will need access to food, even at night. Haylage, which is the most common food for horses, should be used. For around every week, your horse is kept in stables during the night, will require around 3 bales of hay per week.

Kept on grass
Horses that are kept outdoors will need extra hay/haylage, especially in the winter. Haylage is typically more expensive than hay, and harder to keep fresh.

Additional food
Whether your horse will require additional concentrate feed will depend on different factors such as the horse’s breed, age, weight, and how the horse is used. Horses that are kept for leisure won’t need very much additional concentrate feed, as they won’t be burning through as much energy.

Cost of horse boarding

Full
Although having your horse in boarding full time is expensive, all the stables staff does the daily care and duties that your horse requires.

DIY
This option is a lot cheaper. Although you would still get access to a field and stable, the work is at least shared between the horse owner and staff.

Health care costs

Farrier
Your horse will need a farrier to trim your horse’s feet around every 2 months. Horses that have poor balance could need additional attention, needing shoeing every 6 weeks.

Vet
Keeping your horse up to date with vaccinations is important for preventing diseases such as tetanus and equine influenza. Along with vaccinations, a horse needs to be wormed, along with testing for tapeworm. Horses also need their teeth looked at every year, which can be done by a vet or a local dental technician.

Unexpected costs

It’s important to budget for situations that aren’t expected, such as an emergency visit to the vet. If a horse gets a serious illness, then the money should be there to get the horse the treatment needed.

Getting horse insurance is a good idea and can put your mind at ease if the worse was to happen. Although horse insurance premiums can be high, the cost of treating a horse that is seriously ill can run into the thousands.