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How much money do you spend for 2 horses monthly?

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  • How much money do you spend for 2 horses monthly?

    Im in the process of looking for a second event horse. I board my mare at a barn right now for $600 a month. My parents sent me on a mission to figure out how much it would be if I had two horses at my own farm.
    So I guess the question is, for all of you who keep your horses at home, or at your own farm. . . how much do you pay for them a month? Basically in hay,grain, shavings, etc.
    Would it be cheaper then $1200 a month? I sure think so.
    Also, I live i CT. . . so if there is anyone who lives in new england that knows closer to how much suff like hay, shavings cost that would be great!

    Any ideas/thoughts would be great!

  • #2
    The math isn't going to support your position to home board. But it is a visa commercial "satisfaction is priceless". I pay way more in capital improvements, than you would ever spend on boarding. I figure I could have boarded him for 40+ years.

    Consider the expenses I had over the last 5 years alone--replace 2000 ft of fencing (well over $10K), refurb the ring footing was $15K, the tractor for all the barn chores another big bill, and the list goes on and on....
    Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted.


    • #3
      Well I don't know the prices in CT, but it will probably come out cheaper for you to have your horses at home. But the money is not the big difference between boarding and having your horses at your house, it's TIME. When you take care of your horses at home, stalls have to be done, horses fed, hay and feed bought, fences fixed, etc. Since I've had my horses at home my riding time has gone way, way down, because there are always horse care things that must come first. I'm sure you'll get some other great advice, but that's the big difference that most people don't think about. And beside the time, will you have access to the types of facilities you need to successfully train your horses to the level you want to compete? And it can get kind of lonely to ride alone and sometimes hard to motivate yourself.

      Just a couple things to think abut before you take the plunge. Sorry I'm no help with the numbers, but if you visit your local feed store, you should be able to get a good feel of what you'll spend in hay, feed, and shavings a month.

      But on the other hand (since I feel like I'm sounding really negative and am not trying to by any means) if you asked me if I would ever go back to boarding, my answer would be NO WAY! I love knowing exactly what is going on with my horse at all times; it has made me a much better horseperson. And for me, it's a trade I'm very willing to make.

      Good luck in your new endeavor!


      • #4
        I live in New England. My monthly expenses for 1 horse are:14 bales of hay at $6.00 each= $84.00 100lbs Blue Seal sport formula $23.00 7 bags of shavings at 5.50 each=$38.50. Total per month is about $145.00. I bed nice and am generous with hay.


        • #5
          For 2 horses here are my expenses (roughly):

          Grain: 8 bags @ $13.00 = $104.00
          Hay: about a bale a day @ $4.00 a bale = $112.00
          Supplements: 2 bags @ $10.25 = $20.50
          Bedding: anywhere from 8-12 bags a month @ $6.25 = $50.00-$75.00
          Farrier: $95.00 shoes every 6 weeks and a $40.00 trim every 12
          Vet: Probably divides out to be about $50.00 a month

          Mine comes out to $496.50. And that's with the 12 bags of sawdust, shoes and a trim - so some months it's cheaper. Considering board was $425.00 per horse, we're saving quite a bit with them at home


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone for your thoughts/advice!

            Philliab, you brought up another HUGE reason why Im debating this, because I love knowing exactly whats going on with my own horses and I want to make sure they get exactly what they need and when, etc.



            • #7
              If purchasing i've discovered it will cost about the same to either board or keep them on your own farm. Things like fencing, tractors, ... uh fencing really do add up.
              I just recently went through the buying comparison for a horse farm versus a house of equal awesomeness with no land, and board my horse. They were smack dab the same. I opted to board because of the fantabulous barn i found with a great community and amazing ammenities.
              Now if you can find a great farm with great fencing in place, you may be able to sway those numbers, i was not so lucky in my searches.

              That all being said i currently RENT a horse farm and it's TONS cheaper. I found a farm for rent with a 4 bedroom house, a 5 stall barn and 6 fenced acres of decent pasture. If you take out how much it would cost for me to board my horse, i'm paying literally $450 in rent! So to RENT a horse farm, if you shop you can get VERY economical.
              I have no clue what these other folks have for pasture but if i fed my horses (worked heavily 6 days a week) that much food they'd roll down the hill and founder. I go through 2.5 bags of feed a month per horse, 4 bales of alfxhay, and 2 bags of shavings (but my guys are housebroken). My horses only come in their stalls to eat and nap (about 2hrs a day) or when it's scary weather.
              It cost me under $200 to keep 2 horses on my own property in my care, and they are working athletes.

              **i've had a few folks PM me wanting to know what I feed. I figured it easier to include it here.
              Seminole Show and Sport 12% protein 12% fat less than 15% starch
              Here's a pic of what 2.5 bags of feed gets you (ignore me)
              Last edited by Petstorejunkie; Oct. 17, 2009, 12:05 PM.
              chaque pas est fait ensemble


              • Original Poster

                wow thats awesome! Thank for the advice!


                • #9
                  Do you currently have fenced pasture and a run-in or barn? If you have to spend the money to put fencing and shelter in, boarding is less expensive. If you already have facilities, then your own backyard will be a lot less expensive. Don't forget to figure in expenses like water troughs, heated buckets, stall mats, tack room hangers and all the other accoutrement that goes along with having a horse on your own property, electric, water bill, etc. MyBeau's numbers sound about right for Kentucky. A lot depends on if your horses are easy keepers...we have two that get a handful of grain along with their vitamins and two that get 8 lbs. of grain plus a high fat supplement and others in between. Obviously the easy keeper is a BO's dream. Same thing with the bedding. Do your horses trash their stalls or do they keep a neat stall? Your bedding costs could be on the low or high side.

                  Hay costs vary from summer to winter. In summer we feed less than two flakes per day per horse. In the winter, we average 1/2 bale per horse per day. Of course, that's without the drought we had two summers in a row!


                  • #10
                    To some of the replies, a tractor has resale value, it is not like buying a car. Property w/ improvements for horses has resale value and you go basic or high dollar with those improvements. It is not the same lost money as paying board for a horse.

                    I pay $4 for a bale of hay and feed one bale a day year round. My beet pulp and grains run $70 a month and shavings are nil. I go through maybe a couple bags a month so $120 for the year. And this is for 3 riding horses and 2 miniatures.

                    To the OP as an eventer you'll have to decide how much facility you need to ride at home. I just foxhunt so the gravel roads and row crops fields in my neighborhood are all I need to keep my horses fit.


                    • #11
                      We feed 1 bale of hay per day per horse ($6.50) plus $1.50 per day of grain. We leave the barn open so they can come and go, so we don't need to put down shavings. That adds up to $240 per month per horse.

                      The big expenses were putting in the barn and fencing. Having a tractor for the past 5 years has been a big labor saver, but also an additional cost. We also spent money initially on rubber mats for the stalls, waterers, heated buckets, fans, a feed container and other miscellaneous supplies.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks everyone!

                        On the property its a 10 stall barn . . . in great condition. Its all set up inside, everything from the floor mats to the clips for your buckets are all set up. There isnt any pastures, so I would have to put up fencing, but the barn is all set. Im not sure what type of fencing I woud put up exactly but that would need to be done.

                        My mare is a pretty easy keeper and doesnt require a ton of grain and is pretty clean in her stall


                        • #13
                          $620 per month, 1 semi rough, 1 full board.


                          • #14
                            It's so variable from place to place, but FWIW here is a rundown on my 2-horse operation:

                            Hay: I pay roughly $2000/year for the year's worth of hay, delivered.
                            Grain: minimal--I'll buy 100 pounds of ration balancer and 40 pounds of rice bran about every 10-11 weeks, so roughly $400/year for grain
                            Farrier: $100 every six weeks during "shoes on" season (one of mine is shod, the other bare) and $70 every six weeks during the winter when all shoes are off.
                            Vet: about $250/year/horse for shots, teeth, coggins, routine stuff.
                            Vitamins, etc: minimal--maybe $100-150 per year
                            Bedding: a big expense, and I keep mine outside all the time so I don't use nearly the bedding I would if I kept the horses is more--they only have access to stalls at night but like to pee and poop in there. At about $7 per bag, using on average 3 bags/week, that's $1000/year.

                            So if I add all that up, and put it in an average monthly format, it's around $200/month/horse--very close to what everyone else is saying. This, of course, does not include startup and maintenance costs, fencing, ground prep, seeding/fertilizing pastures, improvements, automatic waterer, tractor, implements, etc. etc. This list of expenses dwarfs the cost of the consumables.

                            I'm lucky in that I can ride in my big pasture, a field close to the house, or my sacrifice (dirt) paddock, but only during good weather--no indoor arena here; I have to trailer out or board during the bad weather in order to keep riding.
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EventerOP View Post
                              Thanks everyone!

                              On the property its a 10 stall barn . . . in great condition. Its all set up inside, everything from the floor mats to the clips for your buckets are all set up. There isnt any pastures, so I would have to put up fencing, but the barn is all set. Im not sure what type of fencing I woud put up exactly but that would need to be done.

                              My mare is a pretty easy keeper and doesnt require a ton of grain and is pretty clean in her stall
                              Check out RAMM fencing. It costs less than 3 board fencing, is way safer, you can install it yourself and it lasts longer.

                              i am the queen of frugal, if you need help with number crunching, pm me... i've been through all this recently
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble


                              • #16
                                I'm in CT...I can give you a full breakdown of my horse's monthly care (I have two at home) after my second cup of coffee and morning barn chores. If I tried right now, it wouldn't make any sense.
                                However since I do track this stuff I can tell you it costs me $450 per month for both horses and that does include farrier care, bedding, grain, hay, hay cubes, dengi.
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!


                                • #17
                                  Three horse live out 24/7 with run-in's, the ponies are stalled at night.

                                  Rounded to make my early morning math easier...

                                  grain for all five: $102.00 (13 pounds per day at $13 per bag)
                                  hay for all five: $225.00 ($3 per bale, around 2.5 bales a day)
                                  Supplements: $ 30.00
                                  Farrier $120.00 (8 visits a year at 35 per visit)
                                  Shavings (pony) $ 60.00

                                  So mine are under $600 for 5 horses. $107.40 per horse. Actually the ponies are like...I dunno...$25 a month they are so cheap to keep.

                                  Other expenses like a truck, tractor, and all of that is so subjective that I don't know how to include it really. A truck can be a brand new $60k Suburban, or my very old, dependable and sturdy Chevy that cost me $1600. A tractor can be a $30k Kubota or our Super-C that costs us $500 at the auction. Some people think nothing of dropping $20k to fence a 200 ft paddock. You can fence the same paddock for less than a $100 with good tape and wood posts. Vet care as well....I don't know many boarding situations that include vet care so there is no sense in adding it.

                                  But to add in other things

                                  Fencing/run-in $420.00 (5k averaged over 12 months)
                                  Truck $135.00 (1600 averaged over 12 months)
                                  Tractor $ 42.00 )$500 averaged over 12 months)

                                  So you are adding another $600 a month for a year and then the expenses are just your upkeep. I average maybe $50-75 a month.

                                  So I run WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY under $1200 a month for 2 horses lol!
                                  I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

                                  Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


                                  • #18
                                    I boarded for 5 years before buying my own farm and I find I ride more now than before. I guess it depends how much travelling you have to do to get to your barn but I found I would ride 1-2 days per week when I boarded. Now I ride 4-5 days per week.

                                    Another consideraton if you have them at home is that you could board other peoples horses yourself and further defray costs. My farm came with an 8 stall barn, I have 4 horses of my own and board 4. The boarders are great, its fun having them around to ride with and they chip in to help when I need to travel.emergencies etc.
                                    Uncle Fester

                                    "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with all the responses above, and am right about in the middle of their expenses....somewhere between $125-$150/horse per month if averaged out across the year. (More in hay in winter, zero in hay in summer because of pasture, etc.)

                                      Also agree about the entire issue that your main expenses of a home farm are not really the monthy horsekeeping expenses, but the facility improvements. Which, unlike hay & grain, don't disappear and can become an asset. But, sometimes cannot be anticipated so you do have to have enough in your savings account to cover for unexpected disasters (tree down on fencing, etc.)

                                      A 10-stall barn?? You definitely could consider a boarder or two (or 8). I own one and board one; the boarder covers all my basic "horsekeeping" costs, or I can (and currently do) exchange board for work so we can travel when we choose.

                                      Personally, I love having the horses at home; but it's a lifestyle, not just a hobby.


                                      • #20
                                        OKay, have had the second cup of coffee and horse chores are done. I'm a little more coherent now. (just a little )
                                        For a breakdown of monthly costs for two horses for me in CT, it does come to $450 per month for both or $225 each per month. That includes my average vet and farrier...does not include any "extra" vet of farrier costs.
                                        Also in CT, it's not common to have much in grazing, if any grass pasture it's usually not enough to keep a horse fed for the summer months on grass alone since due to weather conditions and normal soil types it's common to have to pull your horses off the grass due to it being muddy or whatever. Open grassy acreage in CT is excessively expensive and when we do have it it needs to be high dry ground with good drainage if we don't want to have to rotate horses off of it often. Due to type of grass and rate of growth it takes on average about 2 acres per horse of *good* pasture to graze them 24/7 in growing months.
                                        So it's rather typical to start out with a little grass and only have limited use of it for short periods...feeding extra hay is pretty much a must.

                                        Sooo, here's a breakdown of my costs, haying them daily to offset lack of grazing:

                                        Bedding: 8 bags of woody pet per month @ $7 per bag, one bag per week per stall, horses in at night = $56
                                        Hay: 1 bale per day, 25# per horse per day with no grazing on average year round. Average cost of hay from a grower is $5 per bale for timothy/orchard grass = $150 for 30 bales.
                                        (if you purchase hay from a feed store, average bale cost is between $7-$11 per bale so find a grower and use them)
                                        Grain: 2 50# bags per month, Blue Seal Strider @ $12 per bag = $24
                                        Cubes: I feed a mush every night of soaked cubes and dengi as a snack/extra water. Not so much for extra nutrition as for a treat. Ontario Dehy 50# bag, $17 per bag, 2 per month = $32
                                        Dengi : Same as above...Totally Timothy chopped hay, $17 per bag, 2 per month = $32
                                        Farrier: every 6 weeks, front shoes on one horse, just trims on the other. $145 per visit is $100 for shod horse and $45 for trims, breaks down to $100 per month.
                                        Vet: normal wellness exam and vaccines annually comes to $600 per year or $50 per month.

                                        These are never ending costs so I can use those as my baseline per month of horse care and they come out to just about $450 for the two horses. With the hay you may have to add a tad more in winter to keep them warm or a little extra here and there on days they're inside to keep them busy. So I do buy 25 bales every 3 weeks just to have an extra cushion amount, but on average I feed a bale per day. Bedding costs can bounce around depending on how often your horses are in, how messy they are in the stalls, whether you have mats or not and what type of bedding you use. I use Woody Pet in 10x12 matted stalls with horses in all night. I personally find I use less bedding added because the pellets don't need stripping out and can maintain a nice thick dry bed if cleaned right without adding often. I keep my stalls rather deep. Shavings can run between $5-$8 per bag here, sawdust can be cheap and it's lovely to use *if* you can find a sawmill who has extra. (around $20 per truckload, you load it up) Straw isn't any cheaper than hay around here, so figure $5 per bale.

                                        You will have upkeep costs like fence repair, replacing buckets and forks, etc. These can run all over the place...you might have a year when you don't spend a dime on it and a year where every time you turn around something needs repairing or replacing. Also, the type of products you use can determine how often they need repair. I use Ramm fence...only repairs I ever have to do is yank my posts back upright again and repack around them. The Ramm fence is pretty much repair free...and cost effective to buy too. However having me and my husband install the posts was not our best idea, LOL! So had we used a pro to put the posts in we'd have zero repairs on it instead of my drunken looking leaning posts. (but we're not handy, many handy folks do just fine putting in their own fence)

                                        Hope this helps...if you give your area (or pm it) some of us in CT can give you the names of hay suppliers and feed stores to use and their average prices.
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!