Important questions to ask yourself before purchasing a horse:
- Why do you want a horse?
- What will you use this horse for?
- Pleasure, show, breeding stock, work horse, racing, etc.
- How are you going to care for the horse's daily needs?
- Where will you keep the horse?
- At "home":
- Barn/shelter - a barn can bring on more time and management care
- Pasture - consider sectioning the pasture to rotate horses and keep pasture healthy
- What type of fencing will you use?
- What daily care and maintenance will be needed?
- Boarding facility:
- What are the costs?
- What are the amenities?
- What are the expected costs?
- Feed, medical care, upkeep, etc.
- Do you have horse knowledge?
- Increase your knowledge by spending time with trainers and attending horse clinics
- Do some research
Benefits/Concerns of Ownership
- Horses are wonderful companions
- Horse riding can be a lifelong hobby
- Enhances self-esteem
- Provides an opportunity to develop friendships with other riders/owners
- Excellent form of exercise and recreation
- Ongoing financial commitment
- Great deal of time and physical labor involved
- Horse knowledge is needed
- Horses can live a long time, some up to 40 years
- Requires daily care: stall cleaning, feeding, watering, and daily observation
- Can cause accidents, even when practicing all safety precautions
- Horses need exercise
Costs associated with ownership:
- Feeding ($100-$250 per month per horse)
- Grain: (about $10 to $25 per 50 lb)
- 1,000-lb horse needs 2 lb/day
- Hay: (about $6 per bale)
- 1,000-lb horse needs 20 lb/day
- Supplements can vary in price
- Housing and fencing
- Bedding is needed for stalls
- Stall should be 12 ft x 12 ft
- "Run-in shed" should be 90 to 150 square feet per animal
- Pasture: two to three acres per horse is ideal space
- Fencing: wood board, plastic PVC, V-mesh wire with a top board
- Fences should be 4 to 5 ft high, with no sharp edges, narrow corners, or projections, and bottom fence and gates should be 8 to 12 in. off the ground (about $3 per foot)
- Pasture ($75 to $300 per month)
- Stall ($250 to $1,000 per month)
- Health care
- Vaccines: done twice a year by you or a vet
- Vaccines ($75 to $125)
- Coggins test ($50 to $75 per year)
- Deworming: done every six to eight weeks
- Rotate products ($50 per year)
- Teeth care: done one to two times a year ($75 to $200)
- Hoof care: done every six to eight weeks
- Trim ($25 to $50)
- Front shoes-four shoes ($50 to $125)
- Specialized care ($100 and up)
- Emergency care
- Showing costs
- Training and lessons
- Monthly lessons ($200 and up per month)
- Full training with board ($1,000 and up per month)
- Show fees
- Local shows ($10 and up), large/national shows ($125 and up), and trainer fees ($50 and up)
- Transportation fees
- Gas from home to destination
- Show apparel and equipment
- Helmet, hat, boots, breeches, shirt, chaps, grooming supplies, tack, blankets, barn equipment
- To help prevent more expensive situations
Making ownership a long-term investment
- Research local horse market before making a purchase
- Budget cost of housing and care
- Maintaining records and reevaluating expenses often can help with budgeting
- Costs will vary because management and care for each horse are different
- Buying land, with facilities, a truck, and a trailer are purchases that would be beneficial to those who might want to make horse ownership a long-term commitment
Horse Cost Calculator
Guide to First-Time Horse Ownership
Horse Ownership: Obligations, Costs, and Benefits
Virginia Cooperative Extension - Sample Livestock Budgets
Ranch Horse Enterprise Budget
Funded in part by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD)