Discover How Much It Costs to Own a Horse

If you need to take more regular horse rides for competitions, work, or for fun, you might consider purchasing a horse. Owning a horse is not that exclusive. About two million individuals own horses in the US. Different factors determine the price of a horse. Hence, there’s no fixed cost. But what’s the cost of purchasing an average horse? Before you own a horse, you might want to consider how much you should budget.

The Cost of Owning a Pony

Although ponies have smaller stature than horses, the costs of buying them and their upkeep are not proportionally lower. A good pony can either be cheaper or more expensive than a horse. A pony can cost around $1,000 and more.

What Will It Cost to Own a Horse?

The cost of buying a horse depends mainly on the kind of horse you purchase. But before deciding on the price of a horse, you need to understand its purpose. Do you plan to use the horse for recreation, working, or racing? People use horses for recreational purposes more than for working purposes.

Besides its purpose, another factor that determines the value of a horse is its pedigree. Some horse breeds, like those that can run faster, can be more expensive than others outside that genetic lineage. A horse will be less expensive if you’ll need to spend more time training it. Just like other animals you purchase, a more trained horse will be more expensive.

Since there’s a significant variance in horse types and reasons for buying them, there’s also a broad gap in the costs. The cost ranges from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars. The University of Maine records that the average cost of buying a horse for recreational use is about $3,000.

A Free Horse May Come at a Cost

The free horse may be young with little training or poor prospects, old, or even have behavioral problems. However, it’s possible to receive for free a serviceably sound, level-headed adult horse, whose owner may be relocating to a place where horses aren’t fancied. Notwithstanding, such great horses are rare to find, and there’s a high possibility that you’ll be taking on another person’s problem if you get a horse at no cost.

Moreover, if you happen to get a horse with health issues, you may have to spend a boatload of money on them.

Costs After Purchasing a Horse

Buying a horse at a cost is just the tip of an iceberg, as other expenses come with owning one. For example, you’ll need to consider the cost of transporting a horse after buying it. You’ll also want to figure out how to move it from the stable to long-distance locations (for those who use horses for races and shows) if needed.


There are various kinds of boarding facilities, depending on what they provide, from full-services to self-maintenance of your horse’s stall. Horse boarding facilities can cost as low as $100 monthly (without inside stabling) and more than $1,000 monthly (barns with stalls, arenas in urban areas, etc.)

In some horse boarding facilities, you may also need to pay for extras, such as veterinary care, special feeds, farrier, or services like putting on and removing fly masks and blankets. The monthly boarding fees in self-care facilities are cheaper, but you’ll be supplying the bedding and feed for the horse daily.

Supplies and Equipment

You’ll need to pay for some necessary equipment, even if you’re riding for recreational purposes. Some of the equipment includes stirrup leathers, grooming supplies, and a saddle. As a horse rider, you’ll need a pair of boots, a helmet, and riding pants.


Your horse needs veterinarian testing, visits, exams, and vaccines to maintain good health. Like other animals, horses can also become sick and require adequate medical treatment, including emergency costs. You may also consider purchasing health insurance for the horse. Insurance that costs about $50 monthly should cover vet costs. A medical off-hour call can be very costly, and colic surgeries can cost thousands of dollars, depending on which procedure you choose.


You’ll need to budget some money for hay, grass, minerals, and grain mix for your horse to feed. The cost of shaving bales ranges between $30-$80, $35-$150 for bales of straw, and $50-100 for bales of hay. However, if your horse has access to pasture, you may not need to spend too much on buying hay.

Farrier Care

You will need about $100 to trim and file your horse’s hooves every two months, depending on several factors. Some horses need corrective shoes, which may be costlier.


You may need to budget between $40 to $80 per hour for horse riding lessons if you don’t know how to ride. Your horse may also need to be trained.

While you are estimating your expenses, you can check facilities to know the services they cover and what you will be responsible for. You might save on some expenses if you can do some of the work yourself. For example, if you have a stable for your horse, you won’t need to spend several thousands of bucks yearly on horse boarding.

Leasing a horse is an alternative to purchasing one. You can lease the horse partially for a few days or weekly and pay a fee to the owner for the maintenance and other costs. This decision might be financially better if you’re only looking to learn how to ride and not incur the extra costs of owning a horse.

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