People are always curious about money. What do horses really cost? Can you afford to own a horse? What kind of money is someone who has horses really shelling out?
I'm not shy about money - so I'm going to break it down for you! These are the costs I am currently paying for ONE horse. In the past, I've paid a total basic cost close to $1500 monthly for two horses. Right now I think I have the most economical setup that I've had since college!
What My Costs Cover
Depending on your situation, your costs will vary drastically. My current situation:
- I board my horses in group pasture, where they receive alfalfa twice a day.
- I feed them basic supplements and pelleted hay to increase calorie intake - this is important for Tucker, which is who this breakdown will be for, as he cannot maintain a healthy weight on hay alone!
- My horses are barefoot, and on a 6 week trim cycle. My current trimmer is the cheapest I've ever paid for a barefoot trim - and he is quite good.
- I also deworm my horses and vaccinate twice a year!
Your board cost is the easiest to budget, as you will know it upfront and it usually doesn't change a whole lot! Board costs vary widely across the nation, and can include anything from just the space your horse lives on to full board with all sorts of bells & whistles. Shoeing a horse is more expensive, and in my opinion, almost always unnecessary. Supplements may or may not be helpful for your horse depending on their feed & needs, and the cost of vaccinating can be reduced at some boarding facilities who have vaccine clinics, which usually means no farm call or exam fee.
Let's get to the numbers! These are my recurring monthly costs, calculated by day (for 30 days) for things on a schedule other than monthly:
- $300 Board
- $28.57 Hoof Trim
- $26.86 Horseshine Omega 3 Supplement (1 cup a day, purchased in 50lb bag with autoship)
- $44.38 Hay Pellets (based on Tucker eating about 4lbs a day, more in winter or when working a lot)
- $16.49 Beet Pulp Shreds
- $2.86 Redmond Crushed Mineral Salt (from a 25lb tub)
Total monthly cost estimate for Tucker: $419.15 Of course this total accounts only for costs that I know are happening every month! There are always things that come up, vet visits I don't expect or plan for... Something like teeth floating is a vet visit that happens every other year or so, which can be anywhere from $200-300+ depending on the vet. Depending on if I vaccinate myself or pay a vet to do it, vaccines can run between $40-100ish maybe? Wormer is cheap!
The prices I've used above are also for the supplements purchased in bulk amounts, which has a higher upfront cost but saves you tons of money in the long run if you can properly store them. Omega Field's Horseshine has a longer shelf life than other flax seed supplements, which makes purchasing in bulk easier. And it is hard to get salt to go bad!
Ways I Cut Costs
I haven't always been able to afford the expenses of my horses...to be honest, I still can't, but I manage! For many years, Trubee was always half-leased out to at least one person. People would come and go so frequently it was nearly like running a side business. I've also half leased Tucker when needed, and both horses are very understanding when it comes to pulling their weight to help us stay together as a family!
I use to collect the largest assortment of horse things - most of the time, these things would end up with me as hand-me-downs or from second hand sales. But I've also fallen victim to plenty of unnecessary purchases thinking that they would somehow improve the lives of my horses. Today, I like to think I am much more educated in my purchasing decisions! One big thing I do not waste any money on is a variety of grooming tools - I use one tool for grooming my horse's body, which is the famous StripHair Gentle Groomer. I also use the same hairbrush I've been using for probably 5 years - which is just my old hairbrush - and a hoof pick. I do not spend money on fancy shampoos or topical products. I look at products now with quality in mind, and will spend more to get something that I know will last longer and do a better job.
I almost never buy frivolous things in my life outside horses, I hardly spend money on myself, and I work hard to get and maintain partnerships with brands that I love to help reduce my monthly expenses. I didn't go out looking for either Tucker or Trubee... they both ended up with me by chance, both having just stepped onto a path leading to darkness. I have always felt an immense responsibility to provide the very best for them! I'm so thankful to have found products that I trust and see results with that are also economically priced, and a routine that works to keep both horses feeling and looking their best. But it is EXPENSIVE to own a horse, even with my current costs which are lower than they've ever been. I would never advise someone to get into horse ownership who isn't 100% certain about their financial stability, but I will say that if you want something bad enough, you figure out a way.