What it costs to own a horse
Owning a horse is an expensive hobby and can easily cost a small fortune.
It is not unusual for the initial expense to reach thousands of pounds. And the ongoing costs, which can exceed £ 10,000 per year, can take a toll on your finances in the long run.
The total bill could be in the order of £ 200,000 for an owner who keeps his horse for 20 years (which is not unusual) after foaling.
Unsurprisingly, some horse owners find that almost all of their money is used to care for their animal. In some cases, meeting the costs can mean making sacrifices elsewhere, such as “getting by” with a car or minimizing vacations.
Owning a horse is a real labor of love; a huge commitment in terms of time and money. Since costs can go up soon, you need to think long and hard before you get started.
That said, horse obsessives will insist that their beloved animals are worth every penny and somehow find the money to keep their equine dream alive.
Here is an overview of the cost breakdown.
What affects the price of a horse?
The price of a horse or pony can vary widely, as there are many different elements that contribute to the cost. This includes factors such as breed, size, age, type, pedigree, and training.
While you can buy a pony for a few hundred pounds, expect to pay over £ 3,000 for a good first pony. As for horses (defined as anything over a height of 14.2 hands, or around four feet ten inches), you might be able to pay as little as £ 500.
Having said that, you can’t expect to buy a good horse at a low price. And, in many cases, the costs are more likely to run into the thousands than the hundreds. Basically expect to pay around £ 4000 for a horse and much more for a performance horse.
As a guide, here are some examples of what popular horse types might cost, depending on the equine market, Horsemart:
- Ear: £ 1,500 – £ 5,000
- Irish Sport Horse: £ 3,500 – £ 7,500
- Connemara Pony: £ 3,000 – £ 7,000
- Irish Draft: £ 3,000 – £ 6,000
- New Forest Pony: £ 1,000 – £ 3,000
- Dutch Warmblood: £ 4000 – £ 6500
- Hanoverian: £ 4,000 – £ 8,000
- Andalusian: £ 4,500 – £ 9,000
- Frisian: £ 1,500 – £ 4,500
- Appaloosa: £ 2,000 – £ 4,000
Tips when buying a pony or a horse
Keep the following factors in mind before making an equine engagement:
- Inquire locally for horses for sale
- Check out the ads on a site such as Horsequest, Horsemart and Horse & Hound
- Consult relevant groups on Facebook and other social media sites
- Don’t rush your decision
- Do thorough research before you buy
- Remember to factor in travel and transportation costs if you need to see potential animals further away from your home
After you find the horse you want to buy, you should have it “checked” to make sure it is fit and healthy. The cost of this operation will vary from veterinary practice to veterinary practice, but a ‘basic’ stage exam will typically cost around £ 75, rising to around £ 250 for a more in-depth exam.
Are there ways to reduce the cost of buying a horse?
If you are looking to cut costs, you may want to consider getting a rescue horse or pony. The costs can be lower, and you will have the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing that you are giving this animal a second chance.
Another option to consider is the loan or lease of a horse. It will cost less than owning it, and you can return the horse if things don’t work out – or if you decide to buy it.
Another route to explore is horse or pony sharing. Typically, this involves paying a monthly fee for the care of a horse in exchange for regular access. You may be able to set up this arrangement with a riding school or with a private owner.
With a horse sharing, you get the benefits of “owning” but at a fixed cost. Plus, you can opt out of the arrangement if you need to, making it less of a commitment.
What about ongoing charges?
While you may focus on being able to afford the initial cost of a horse or pony, it is important to understand that ongoing costs such as shoeing, stalling, feeding, equipment, etc. annual vaccinations and insurance will likely exceed the initial expense in some way. .
Costs will vary wildly, depending on where you live. In London and the South East, bills will likely be higher if there is no option to keep a horse at home. In this case, you will have to pay for the livery.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have your own land and facilities, one of the biggest expenses you’ll have to budget for is livery.
The cheapest option is the Budding Livery, but it could still cost you between £ 80 and £ 200 per month, depending on the level of care.
The next level is known as the “craft book” where you pay for the stable but are then responsible for your pet’s daily care. For example, this may mean having to go to a yard twice a day to feed, ride, and cover your pony or horse. Expect to pay between £ 200 and £ 300 per month.
With a full livery, the livery yard is responsible for the needs of your horses, including stables, field access, exercise, feed, hay and bedding. Costs start at around £ 400 per month, but near London you might have to pay almost double.
If you keep your horse on grass, he will only need to be hay-fed in the winter. If your horse is in the box, he will need hay all year round. As a guideline, consider a budget of around £ 10-15 per week.
For a horse that needs extra hard feed, expect to pay an extra £ 10 per week. A supplement of £ 10-20 per week will need to be added for stable bedding, such as straw or shavings.
Horses’ hooves are continually growing, so you’ll have to pay for the farrier’s regular visits. As a rough guide, you’ll need to pay around £ 30 for a cut every six weeks and just under £ 100 for a new set of shoes.
While you might be able to grab a mat for under £ 100 and tack for a few hundred pounds, you could easily find yourself paying £ 300 for a mat and £ 1,500 for a saddle and bridle. Equipment costs could soon rise to over £ 2,000 per year.
If you can, try to get the existing harness and equipment included in the offer when you buy your horse. This will help reduce costs.
If your horse becomes ill or injured, vet costs can quickly increase. But even if your pet is healthy, you still need to factor in annual vaccinations (around £ 40 plus call charges), and deworming (around £ 15 per treatment), and less obvious costs such as dental care, mowing and alternative treatments.
A routine visit to the dentist can cost around £ 80. An equestrian chiropractor could cost you around £ 800. Expect a vet fee of around £ 1,000 per year, but be prepared for a much bigger bill.
While it can be tempting to go without equine insurance, it’s an expense you can’t afford to cut. Veterinarian fees are far from cheap, and specialized procedures can be extremely expensive.
In addition to veterinary cost coverage, the policies will also offer coverage against theft or loss (if your horse goes astray), as well as civil liability.
Typically, you can create your own policy by “ setting ” features such as individual accident coverage, material and equipment damage or theft, your trailer coverage, and coverage for elimination (cost of removing your horse’s body in the event of its disappearance).
Fonts can often have a lot of exclusions, so be sure to read the fine print carefully. Costs can vary widely, but a decent policy could cost around £ 1000 per year.
If you need to transport your horse or pony, you will need to pay for a trailer or truck if you don’t own one yourself. On top of that, you may need to invest in a bigger vehicle to pull the trailer (not to mention the cost of gasoline / diesel). A new trailer could easily cost a few thousand pounds. The costs will be lower if you buy used.
Costs can vary widely, but expect to pay between £ 20-50 an hour, with costs potentially higher in London and the South East.
As a pilot you will need the right kit. Plan around £ 500, but be prepared for a bill closer to £ 1,000. Save money on some kit items by buying from a store like Decathlon or buying second-hand.
Competitions and affiliations
You could pay a nominal amount to a riding club for an annual membership. This will give you access to club activities and internal and external competitions. But if you take competition seriously, you could pay around £ 1000 for competition fees and memberships. You should also factor in the cost of travel to competitions.
Other costs worth considering include:
- Shampoos and care products.
- Treatment of minor cuts.
- Washing and repairs of upholstery and carpets.
It is worth budgeting around an additional £ 1000 per year for ‘ancillary’ costs such as these.