How Much Does it Cost to Have a Horse? Full Guide

It has often been said that owning a horse is like digging a deep hole in your backyard and throwing in enormous sums of money, never to be seen again. This relates to how much it costs to have a horse, which comes with great expenses.

It is important to note that how much an owner is willing to spend to support his horse-caring desires depends on which equestrian sport he practices, what geographical location he is in, and whether he keeps the horse on his home farm or goes on board.

Many people have had that desire to own a horse but have their desires unrealized due to a lack of financial capacity. We have made available quality information on how much it costs to have a horse and the alternative ways to have a horse experience without spending much on it.

Table of contents

Are horses expensive?

Horses are expensive to keep. The initial purchase price for your horse, pony, donkey, or mule is only a small part of the total cost, and there is no such thing as a free horse.

Whether it’s $100 worth of horses or $10,000 worth of horses, basic horse care can cost the same. Your horse needs daily grooming. This can be costly, and the cost can vary because of several uncontrollable factors.

How much does it cost to have a horse?

You probably know that the initial cost of buying a horse does not match the long-term running cost. Although you might find a rescue pony for as little as a few hundred dollars, don’t let this fool you into making a purchase.

Responses to a University of Maine horse-owning survey found that the average annual cost of owning horses is $3,876 per horse, while the median cost is $2,419.

This puts the average monthly cost between $200 and $325 – just like paying for a car.

Here is a breakdown of the basic minimum costs if you keep your horse or pony. These costs vary by region. The closer you are to an urban area, horse ownership can become more expensive.

You may be able to cut costs by buying the cheapest, good quality hay and taking it from the field yourself, learning to trim your horse’s hooves yourself, and buying your vaccinations, although this is not recommended.

  • Half a bale of hay is $3.00 per day – this can cost a little more as hay costs more than $10 in some places. Or your horse may need more than half a bale.
  •  A six-month supply of loose mineral supplements $30.00 or $0.17 per day
  •  Salt block $14.00 or $0.04 per day
  •  Two cup servings of inexpensive concentrate per day for $1.00
  •  Farrier every six weeks at $35 per trim or $0.83 per day
  •  Deworming every three months $0.20 per day
  •  Annually dentistry for $125 or $0.35 per day
  •  Annual basic vaccinations against rabies, tetanus, horse influenza, and other routine vaccines at the cost of $95.00 or $0.27 per day

The minimum daily cost of keeping a horse is $5.01 per day or $1,828.65 per year.

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What are the other costs for a horse?


Getting into a horse can cost anywhere from $100 per month for pasture boards without an indoor stall to over $1000 per month in barns with stalls, custom switches, arenas, and other facilities near urban areas.

They also pay for extras such as farriers and veterinary care, special feed, or care such as removing and putting on blankets and fly masks.

In self-care facilities, monthly meals are cheaper, but you provide your feed and bedding and travel daily to groom your horse. It gets much more expensive if you have to get your pet on board at someone else’s property.


If you’re wondering where the money goes, a big part goes into the food. The average horse weighs 1,100 pounds and must eat at least 1.5% to 2.5% of its body weight in hay and grain daily.

While a bale of hay or a bag of grain won’t put you off as much, that bale or bag won’t last long. The feed itself costs about one-third to one-half of the total cost of owning a horse – an average of more than $1,000 per year.

Vet and Farrier

Another important expense to consider is the combination of veterinarian and farrier fees. Just like your dog or cat needs regular maintenance and care, so does a horse – which costs much more than caring for a small pet.

Veterinarian fees alone average $485 annually, including standard exams, vaccinations, tests, four annual deworming, and minor care for non-emergency injuries.

If your horse needs emergency care, expect veterinary costs to increase significantly. It would be wise to have an emergency vet fund with several thousand dollars saved just in case.

Hoof Maintenance

In addition to the veterinary fees, the cost of hoof care must be considered. Caring for your horse’s hooves is not an optional expense. Poor hoof care can lead to infection, overstretched joints, and even permanent lameness.

In addition to the daily care provided by the owner, horses should be seen by a certified farrier every six to eight weeks for trimming or shoeing.

The annual cost of trimming is around $350, while shoeing can cost significantly more depending on how many hooves are shoed and how often they are replaced.

General Maintenance

If you keep a horse on your property, there will be general maintenance costs to ensure everything is well looked after and in good working order.

The maintenance of the barn, the stable or the shelter, the maintenance of the equipment and the fencing, as well as the vehicle maintenance of a trailer, fall into this category. You will also need to provide bedding for your horse if it is housed inside.

Overall, these costs add up. Depending on your facility and the required maintenance, horse owners can expect to spend more than $800 per year.

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One-time or occasional expenses

In addition to the ongoing costs of owning horses, there are occasional or one-off costs that you should be willing to pay. For example, you might want to buy horse accessories and grooming products such as saddles, bridles, halters, brushes, shampoo, horse rugs, and leashes.

Each of these projects requires an upfront investment and will require maintenance or replacement from time to time, depending on usage.


Another often overlooked issue is training. If you want your child to be able to ride the horse you have bought, the horse must be broken to ride.

Even if you buy a horse with basic training, additional training may be required to work well with your child. Some horses are ornery or stubborn, and you need to be sure that the horse is listening to and obeying your child’s commands.

The driver may need to be trained in the same light. If the rider hasn’t spent a lot of time with horses, the experience can be more rewarding for everyone with the assistance of an instructor or trainer to teach you how to approach, groom, and ride the horse effectively.

Finally, there are equipment costs for the driver. Helmets, riding boots, chaps or breeches, spurs or crops, and gloves are just a few of the things your child may need.

Alternatives to owning horses

If you are determined to own a horse and find it too expensive, there are a number of alternatives. There are several ways you can experience the horse without the long-term commitment and expense of owning, including:

1. Riding lessons

Look for stables near you that offer riding lessons and lessons. Classes are a great way to get introduced to riding and basic horse care under the guidance of a qualified instructor.

You can also choose from a variety of driving styles that fall into the general English or Western driving categories.

2. 4-H Club

While most 4-H club members own their own animals, be sure to call your local 4-H horse chapter to see if animals are available in the horse program for young riders.

4-H programs provide horse tuition for students in grades 3 through 12, covering everything from basic supplies to the pros and cons of presenting your horse.

This might be the perfect and affordable solution if your branch provides hands-on experience for non-horse students.

Some 4-H activities are free for members, while others, such as classes or shows, may cost a small fee.

3. Volunteerism

Check with your local stables, horse rescue services, and horse therapy programs to see if they are currently hiring volunteers. Some organizations are willing to give lessons or drive time to get help in the stable.

Even if the organization does not offer any lessons or no riding time, you are welcome to volunteer for the care, bathing, and other care of the horses.

4. Horse camp

When summer approaches, give your child the experience of a lifetime and send them to the horse camp. Local stables likely offer day camps, but look for overnight camps for a real immersion experience.

In most horse camps, a child is paired with a horse for a week or two, leaving the child responsible for grooming, grooming, riding, and feeding the horse.

Without actually bringing a horse into your life, the horse camp is the best thing you can experience when you own horses.

5. Horse care

Unfortunately, many horses are abandoned, neglected, or simply undesirable by their owners. Horse rescue organizations often go to foster homes to manage horses surrendering to their care.

Horse grooming might be the perfect solution if you have the facilities and space to keep a horse in your home. Rescue organizations typically cover a large portion of operational costs, such as veterinary costs, training, and corrective visits for farriers, while foster families provide groceries, shelter, and other standard care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the expenses associated with owning a horse?

The average cost of owning a horse is around $500 per year, including feed, hay, and veterinarian bills.

What are some of the benefits of owning a horse in 2023?

There are many benefits of owning a horse in 2023. Horses provide physical and emotional health benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and providing exercise. They also provide companionship and can be a source of income.

How much does it cost to have a horse in 2023?

It is difficult to predict exactly how much it will cost to maintain a horse in 2023, as prices can vary depending on the region and the specific needs of the horse. However, according to The Horse Trader, the average price of a horse in the U.S. is $3,000-$6,000 per year. This means that it could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to maintain a horse in 2023.


Caring for your horse means going to the barn in rain or shine, freezing cold and hot. It goes beyond daily routines and takes time to build trust and strengthen bonds.

Owning a horse is indeed quite expensive. However, there are alternative ways to live the experience when you cannot afford one.

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