Monthly cost of keeping a horse

Last post 07-10-2009 11:52 AM by RopinReins. 20 replies.
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  • 11-04-2008 9:32 PM

    Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    I'm thinking of buying a horse, but don't know what to expect in terms of what the monthly cost is. I know that boarding and feeding will be the most expensive part. Then there's the shoeing every 6 weeks, the yearly shots (Coggins and what else?), insurance, vet bills if he gets sick, and what else? What's the average cost of these? I know all these things will vary depending on where you're located. I'm located in North Texas (DFW).

    I'm thinking it will cost at least $1000/month. I realize this doesn't cover any extra bills - vet bills if he gets sick. Am I missing anything? What else should I consider? How did you decide to take the plunge? Did you have any surprises - financially or otherwise?

    Thanks.

  • 11-04-2008 10:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

     Lessons or training, showing. Teeth floating. Tack or apparel that you will need per weather or breakage. Fly spray.

    After a 30 year hiatus away from horses I decided I had to or thought I would fade away.

    I spend @ $400/month average for everything. I already have all the tack and apparel I need (that's what I keep telling myself). I pasture board, which is very reasonable. Vet bills will most certainly be a surprise as you can't predict when or if a horse will get sick or how sick. I don't count the bills for the extra visits in my monthly average. For a case of pneumonia, the cost was @ $350. For a recent mild gas colic, I'm guessing $400. Haven't gotten the bill yet and I asked for a blood test and urine test due to the symptoms.

    It's all worth it! Just try to give yourself a budget and stick with it. You can find really good used tack and apparel if you look around. The horse does not care about brand names.

     

     

    MorganRider
  • 11-04-2008 11:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Board:  $262.50/month on pasture

    Farrier:  $35.00/trim (she's barefoot) every 8 weeks

    Deworming 4x/year (our barn has a mandatory program for all the horses):  so far roughly $15.00 each time

    Feed and supplement (she's not in heavy work, so gets just enough feed to disguise the supp):  roughly $15.00/month

    Lessons:  $35/hour semi-private, we take one every two weeks

    AEF membership (my provincial equestrian association, includes insurace coverage):  $35.00/year

    Shots are done yearly (5-way and WNV, and when we start going off the property more I'll probably add the strangles IN) since she's not showing yet, as are teeth and Coggins.  I don't know what I'll be paying for those this spring, since we just moved and changed vets.  Mind you, the mileage will be drastically less and for the first time I'll be able to split the farm call... yay!

     I've decided to have our trainer clip her, so we can take advantage of our first ever winter with an indoor arena.  That will cost between $100.00 and $200.00 depending on which clip I decide to go with.

    Because of the clip I'm having to buy her a blanket, which looks to be $200.00-$300.00 depending on what I choose (which will also depend on which clip I choose lol).  Other than that I have pretty much all the tack and clothing I need for the moment.

    All in all I'm coming up with about $440.00/month, including a generous estimate for the vet and all the one-time costs divided by 12.  I know that costs may be very different where you are, but I hope this helps in some way.  It doesn't include emergent vet costs for acute injury or illnes... so far I've been lucky enough to avoid those (touch wood!!!) so the only info I have first hand is 10 years old.

    Oh, don't forget to factor in the cost of buying the critter, and getting it home that was the one that nearly got me when I bought Squeaker!


    photo by FallingForNova
    RIP my beautiful girl -- April 4 2002 - August 21, 2012
    http://squeaksmom-lifeinthezoo.blogspot.com/
  • 11-05-2008 7:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    It is dependent on your area and your level of activites.  If you have a pleasure horse on pasture board obviously it is much cheaper than having a performance horse at a training barn. 

    I'd say on average I spend about $450-500 a month of which board is $300.  Add supplements, hoof trims (I'm a big barefoot person) and the inevitable accessories I can never resist because something is always broken/needs adjusting/needs replacing.  I do some schooling shows and off-site trail riding too, so that is always added on top.

    Whatever you budget is, just know that you will spend more than you anticipate and you can never think of everything.  Just this year, Solo decided to try to cut his own foot off in the pasture, had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, has had problems with saddle fit, and more.  Thank god he only needs his teeth done every other year.  The definition of horse ownership is suprise bills.

    For me, I waited 27 years for my horse and I finally just put my foot down and said enough -- it's not like it's ever going to be easy for me to pay for, but is important to me, so I just make it work.  My groceries suck, but it's worth it!



    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 11-05-2008 8:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Solaris:

    It is dependent on your area and your level of activites.  If you have a pleasure horse on pasture board obviously it is much cheaper than having a performance horse at a training barn. 

    EXACTLY.  So much depends on what you plan to use this horse for.  And if you've never had horses, you can also count in a lot of "start up" fees. (basics like buckets, tack, grooming supplies, day-to-day first aid necessities, etc). 

    I have my personal horses (2) at home, and I figure I spend roughly 400.00/mo on feed, hay and shoes alone. (they're shod every 6 wks so I prorated that expense).  I don't have boarding costs but I do participate in a lot of activities (drill team,  playdays and jackpots, overnight trail rides, working family's/friend's cows) so I haul a lot, which brings about a whole 'nother different set of expenses.

    It's kinda hard to say, but one thing you can say as others here have; it's always SOMETHING.  And if horses can hurt themselves, they will, so be prepared. 

    Talk to other horse owners in your area, maybe at the barn you're planning on using, horse owners love to talk about their horses (as you can see!).

  • 11-05-2008 9:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Oh, and because I board I forgot to include a tank of gas per week to get to and from the barn.  No point in having a horse if you never get to see them!


    photo by FallingForNova
    RIP my beautiful girl -- April 4 2002 - August 21, 2012
    http://squeaksmom-lifeinthezoo.blogspot.com/
  • 11-05-2008 9:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Of course all thats been said we all probably agree,they are sooo.... worth it lol! Some horses are easier on the ol pocketbook than others. I have 2 geldings the same age ,one is a easy keeper the other is another storyBig Smile. I have found that i'm usually pleasantly suprised when I get my vet bills,they're usually less than i expected.The vets let us make payments if we need to,they are great! You sound like you would make a good horse owner because you're getting info first[Y. Tack auctions are a great place to find the stuff you need daily,brushes etc.

  • 11-05-2008 2:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    I already have the tack, riding clothes, and grooming supplies. I know that he has to have special shoes on his front feet - he's shoeless in the back. I agree with you - it's always SOMETHING. I just bought a new helmet for $65. 

    I currently do a special lease on him (he's my lesson horse), but no one else is riding him - which means he's not paying his way. I don't think that I can pay for his maintenance. I could go somewhere cheaper, but that usually means driving much further. And even though gas has gone down, it's still another expense. I think I will talk to the owner about increasing how much I pay for his lease. I'm not sure they would be able to sell him right now, but you never know.  I hate to lose him over a few hundred bucks. We get along so well and I'm one of the few people who can ride him - he's sensitive and other riders tend to rev him up rather than calm him down. It'd be worth it to me to give up cable and going out to eat so I can keep riding him.

    I think my barn might be on the expensive side, but they take really good care of the horses. They aren't stuck in their stall all day like some other places around here. My horse is usually in a paddock most of the day, which helps his attitude. 

    Thanks for replying to my question. 

     


  • 11-05-2008 6:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    kingsenglish:


     It'd be worth it to me to give up cable and going out to eat so I can keep riding him.


     

     What are these mysterious things of which you speak??  It stirs some dim cobweb of memory from the times before I had horsey bills.......hmmmm, nope all gone!  But now I have no free time in which to pursue those things anyway cause free time = riding time, much better!



    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 11-05-2008 7:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Board for 2 horses per month-$300

    Ferrier for 2 horses every 12 weeks-$50

    Dewormer for both horses every 8 weeks-$30

    The look on your face when your picking out their feet and they drop one right next to your head...Priceless... Surprise

     

    Honestly though, pasture board is what I do, and that's a really great price at a place that I love, I have the dewormer and the trimming ( I dont shoe either of my horses).  The most expensive part whas at the beginning when I had to get all their tack.  Det a little aside every month, because if you're like me you cant go to Fleet Farm or the tack store without buying something that you "just can't live without!"  and there are the vet bills that come up in the spring for shots & stuff.  If I remember right I think shots for Shadow last yr were $80, but he didnt have to have his teeth done or anything.  Just save up for the emergencies. 

    The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.
    ~Sharon Ralls Lemon
  • 11-06-2008 3:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Here are my costs in NM:

    Board (Outside stall): $375/mo

    Lessons (one a week): $120/mo

    Front shoes and a trim on the back feet: $50 every 6-8 weeks

    Worming (twice a year, I think): $20 each time

    Show fees (if you plan to show): For the four shows I want to do next year this should total around $1,400

    Trainer fees for shows: Your left arm ;) (kidding, I really have no clue)

    Feed, turn outs and blanketing are all part of the board fee, although I know some barns charge extra for all of that.  I did not have all of the tack and equipment that I needed so I just bought it bit by bit as I would get extra $. You learn to get really good about looking for deals (most of which I have found online). I rarely ever pay the full sticker price on my horsey stuff anymore.

    Ad for making the plunge, there will never be the perfect time to do this.  You just have to realize that there may have to be other sacifices in your life in order to accomodate the horse. Eating out, looking for grocery deals, having the newest clothes, etc. These are all areas that I have cut way back on. I would much rather have my horse than the newest sweater trend.  You have to give and take a little but it's more than worth it.

  • 11-06-2008 4:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    Wow, I feel really lucky looking at everyone else's costs...

    We have our own land (180 acres - of which the horses have 40 acres fenced off) so my board bill = $0

    We make our own hay, but gas is expensive so it probably costs us around $100-$150 in gas money for the tractor (it hurt too bad to keep track this year).  Then there's baler twine ($20 for a big roll of it, I think).

    My horses are really easy keepers so grain is just a treat rather than a diet supplement, so I'd probably say I spend around $40 a year on grain.

    I usually get the cheap ivermectin wormers most of the time at about $3.00 a piece and alternate with a Zimectrin Gold (around $10-$15) so not much money there...

    I give my own shots and do my own farrier work, so it's just the cost of supplies (hoof nippers & a nice rasp are expensive to start out with but they last a long time if you take care of them) and shots (I think I pay somewhere around $14 for a 5 way and $10 for WNV per horse).

    My horses' teeth are generally pretty good but they're getting up there in age so I'll probably have to start factoring in vet costs for teeth floating... they generally come out once a year for coggins tests anyway.  One vet is around $150 and the other is $60, so you can guess which one I choose (both of them are good with horses). 

    Here is a cautionary word of advice: Ebay is great for finding good bargains on tack/horse supplies.  I say "cautionary" because you will probably get addicted and spend a ton of $$$ anyway!

  • 11-06-2008 5:45 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    I would say about 1,000 dolalrs a month is ballpark. Of course that doesn't include vet bills--I would definitly invest in insurance. My horse had to have a major colic surgery last fall and insurance covered more than half of it. Then there are always the random vet calls- like when my horse decided to knock his head and get a concussion, when his belly went bald due to flys, and when he abbsessed last year. 

    For me, 
    Board: $500/mnth (but I think Maryland is much more expensive than other areas)
    Lessons: $160/mth- I work off a second one each week.
    Shoes: $175 every 5 weeks so there are those lovely off months

    Don't forget about all the stuff you'll need when you first get your horse--bridle, saddle, saddle pads, girths, halter, blankets, etc.

    In the end though, there is nothing better than having a horse of your own =] (coming from a proud mom)
    Addie,
    Lover of Ponies.
    Owner of a Fabulous Argentine Warmblood.


  • 11-07-2008 8:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    I believe it would also depend on the type of riding you'll use the horse for.  We only pleasure ride with our horses, trailriding and some playdays.  We have not had to hire a trainer because many  people at our barn are knowledgeable about horses and have helped us over the years.  With our stall, trims, wormer, vets, feed, tack - it probably averages out about $300 - $400 a month (depending on emergencies and such).  I've learned that you'll find a large range of prices when stalling your horse.  I've found anywhere from $75 to $750 a month. One of the most important things I looked for when looking at stall rentals was the environment of the barn.  Some were more of a partying atmosphere, where some were more family oriented.  It would depend on your personal preference.

     

  • 11-07-2008 6:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Monthly cost of keeping a horse

    I'm in S. Calif.

    We only pleasure ride, so no show fees or trainer

    My horses are on my property, so no board $

    Farrier every 6 weeks is $80 x 2 horses plus $15 tip per horse

    Hoof Supplement $25/month per horse

    Shots (I give them myself but get from the vet) about $75/horse for the year

    Vet once a year for check ups about $70/horse & $35 ranch call

    Float teeth $60/horse once a year

    Hay about $100-125/month per horse

    Don't feed grain = $0

    I know I'm forgetting something else, just can't remember.


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