Boarding Your Horse

If you live on a farm, you may be able to keep your horse on your own land. However, most people will need to find a barn that will let you pay to house your horse either in a stall or pasture. This can require you to go several times a day to feed the animal and clean out the stall.

Another option, if it is in your budget, is a full-service barn arrangement that will handle all of the chores including feeding your horse, cleaning up after him, exercising him regularly, and overseeing regular grooming and health care responsibilities.

You should also be aware that if you do decide to keep your horse at home, while you will save on the cost of boarding him, you’ll still need to be prepared for some upkeep costs. For instance, you will need to keep your land in good condition, which includes maintaining your fencing regularly and keeping your pasture in good shape. In addition, you will still need to cover the costs of food, grooming, and health care for the horse.

Boarding Options

If you decide you want to have your horse boarded, you can compare barns to determine what seems like a good fit. Be sure to ask what your responsibility will be and what the barn will be willing to handle. The price will vary depending on the size of the horse stall. They usually measure 8 x8 feet or 12 x 12 feet. You’ll also need to know if food and hay are included in the price. Other extras that can add up quickly if they aren’t included in your boarding fee include use of the horse trailer, tack, saddle, other riding supplies, and veterinary costs.

Breed Matters

What you spend on your horse will depend on the breed you desire. Some horse breeds are well suited for trail riding and recreational use, while others are a good choice for showing, jumping, racing, or engaging in equestrian events. Horses with certain pedigrees are better suited for the latter categories, and will typically be more expensive. In addition, the more training that a horse has received, the more expensive he will be.

Cost For A Horse

Cost For A Horse

When deciding if you want to own a horse, the first expense to consider is the horse’s purchase price. On the less expensive end, you can consider a Quarter Horse, which is a good choice for recreational horse riding. These cost about $1,000 and can increase in price to about $5,000 or more, depending on how old the horse is and how much training he has received. (Many horse owners recommend looking for a horse that’s about 10-15 years old, since this will be more affordable than a younger horse and may also be easier to control. Since horses live to be 25 to 30 years on average, this should give you many years to enjoy your animal.)

If you plan to show your horse or ride competitively, you might consider a more expensive breed, such as a Thoroughbred horse. These cost from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on what you get. You can also find many horse breeds that fall somewhere in between the high and low extremes.

The price to buy a horse can range from $1,000 to $10,000, with most people spending somewhere in the lower to middle of the range.

Other Costs


Hay, oats and grain for your horse will cost $30 to $50 every month.


The most economical option (barring keeping the horse on your own property) is a price of $50 a month for space in a pasture where your horse can stay. If you prefer for your horse to live in a barn stall, this can cost from $100 to $1,000 a month, depending on what type of feeding and care is included.

Health Matters

Necessary vaccines, horseshoes, hoof trimming, and dental care can also add up. For instance, that can cost another $300 annually on routine medical and dental care, while farrier service (setting and caring for your horse’s hoofs and horse shoes) can quickly add up to another a cost of $400 a year or more.


The cost for horse equipment, such as a saddle, bride, horse blanket, grooming supplies and anything else you need to ride your horse can cost and additional $1,000 to $3,000 or more. The good news is that you don’t have to invest in these items annually. If you purchase good quality tack and equipment, they can last you for several years or longer.

Riding Lessons

You can expect a cost of $40 and $100 an hour on private riding lessons. Expect to take at least one horse lesson per week.

Whole Tab

To give you an example of an average cost of a horse, assume that it will cost $5,000 to purchase your horse and it will cost another $2,000 for horse clothing and equipment. This would mean your up front cost would be about >$7,000. Then assume that the other, ongoing horse care costs can be $500 per month for food and boarding ($6,000 a year), $100 a month for medical and dental care and farrier service ($1,200 a year), and $300 a month on riding lessons. ($3,600) Over the course of the year, this can add up to a price of almost $1,000 a month, or close to a cost $12,000 a year to own a horse. This total does not account for illness or other unexpected expenses that can pop up.

Less Expensive Option

If you simply can’t come up with the money necessary to purchase your very own horse, but you can’t relinquish the dream of owning a horse, you can search for other alternatives. Some senior citizens or people moving to new locations might be seeking a good home for their older horse and will give him to you at no charge. This can be a great approach, but it’s important to remember that while you won’t need to pay up front, you will still need to budget for the monthly expenses. In addition, older horses can begin to accrue high medical bills, so you need to be prepared for this as well. Expect that it will cost $200 to $300 for each basic veterinary visit your horse requires. Any complicated illness or treatment needs can become very expensive. But if you can plan ahead for these expenses, you can relax and enjoy the many benefits of horse ownership.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2011

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