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Average monthly cost of ownership?

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  • Average monthly cost of ownership?

    Ok, I KNOW this has been asked before, but my search-fu is utterly failing, and I'll be darned if I can find a single thread about it! So if anyone else wants to try to find them instead of answering again, that would be fine!

    Having last owned a horse more than a decade and a half ago, I'm trying to get a rough estimate of the average monthly cost of horse ownership - things _outside_ of full board, that is. Shoeing, vet, supplements, insurance, etc. - the only thing I can currently estimate is the farrier cost because I've heard people complain about it

    Thanks so much! I'm working on my formal proposal to convince DH that I should indeed buy the lesson horse I love

    ETA - if it helps, I'm in MA. I'll likely do a couple of unrecognized schooling events or maybe shows a year.
    Last edited by RolyPolyPony; May. 21, 2011, 08:56 PM. Reason: Added more info!

  • #2
    For us, it is all over the page, because some years we have great pasture, others, like this one, where we have not had any rain yet, we are feeding like in the middle of the winter.

    Maybe you could do a budget according to what you feed, how much it costs in your area, pasture, depreciation on all you will have to own to keep horses at home and the appropiate part of cost of the land and your labor.


    • #3
      Insurance runs me around 3.5% of the insured value (I use Markel.)

      I figure on around $500 in routine vet costs per year - that's spring and fall shots, a regular physical/soundness eval, and the odd boo boos/belly ache that I seem to call them out for from time to time. (Farm call from my vet is $100, less if shared for things like vaccs.)

      I have a really top farrier and pay $300/five weeks. If I used the barn farrier it would be somewhere around $50-75 less. Don't need a ton of supplements since my barn feeds a very high quality feed/hay, but I do buy an oral joint supplement, vit E/SEL, etc. Runs another $80 or so from Smartpak.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        Depends on where you are at.
        I have OTTB. (we event, haven't had him terribly long, moving up to novice in near future)
        1 month treatment for Ulcers. $400+ (more if you go the gastroguard route)

        He gets front shoes every 4 to 6 weeks. My farrier here charges $60 for fronts, $90 for all, $100 to drill and tap for studs (he gives me a break)
        My farrier at my WS job in KY charges 100 for front shoes, idk what he charges for the rest (also gives me a break)

        Rice Bran Oil $25, Supplements $30, Extra Grain (horse eats alot) $75

        Thats a basic normal month,
        He also gets occasional body work, $40

        I try not to think about it
        "Hell yes I can ride. I was riding when I fell off!"


        • #5
          I just took a look at my daughter's 4-H record book for last year's horse project.

          We are in Florida, so our hay prices are a bit higher than some other parts of the country.

          For the project period of 11/19 - 2/27, here were the miscellaneous and Feed costs.

          Total Miscellaneous Expense $ 387.98
          Total Feed Expense $ 563.55
          Total Ending Inventory Value $ 1,474.99

          Miscellaneous expenses are things like shavings, fly spray, vet and farrier.
          Our horse is an easy keeper, and she is barefoot, and we had no vet visits during that period. The inventory is equipment we purchased many years ago (saddles, bridles, blankets, etc). If you are new to horse ownership, you might need to purchase all that also, along with the horse.

          In your case, if you will be doing full board, you won't have the feed expense, but you will have board to pay, which per month is more than what we spent on both feed and miscellaneous for 1 month.

          Hope this information helps.
          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


          • #6
            For my horse, extra grain at 40-50/month, legend AND adequan every month (75 and 40 by shopping around), supplements 10-ish a month (just have the horse in the basics like MSM),

            Farrier about 45 every 8 weeks (barefoot).

            Training is 40/lesson. Horse is not in training now.

            Vet is a couple hundered spring and fall for routine shots and dental. I've had some major bills along the way totaling about 5-7K (injuries, surgery, vet exams).

            My insurance is about 550/year, just need the basics to cover medical/colic not to recover the cost of the horse should they die.


            • #7
              about $650 per month per horse for just board/farrier, plus $45 a week for a lesson, average of $200 a month for vet care (usually $50, but expensive year for my horse)


              • #8
                It might help to has your trainer what you might expect to pay for your area and barn specifically. This is what I did before I got my first horse and it was really helpful. Your trainer will know your area, your barn, and what your horse will need and can probably give you the best estimate of cost.

                Which is not to say the input of others isn't helpful, but your trainer can probably give you the most accurate number without giving you a sales pitch (like a BO might) and knowing any special needs your horse might have (like shoeing or supplements).
                If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks all!

                  (And I know I could get more specific numbers from my instructor, but I'm trying to get a of wide-range of estimate, as DH likes his numbers )


                  • #10
                    Don't forget cost of blankets, tack, show clothing and trailering!


                    • #11
                      It can vary so much according to your location, your budget, and your horses' needs.

                      My horse is barefoot so farrier is $40 for a trim every 7 or 8 weeks. No supplements. Maybe $200 a year for vaccinations, coggins, etc. No lessons, training, or shows right now as I can't afford it this year. De-wormer costs are minimal, maybe $50 for the year. So my basic care costs beyond board average less than $50 a month.

                      That said, I just paid about $600 to get my guy gelded.

                      Don't forget to factor in the costs to purchase tack and equipment. There is a huge amount of variety so decide what you'll need and take a look at Dover or Smartpak or such to get an idea of what you'll be spending.


                      • #12
                        I would recommend inquiring at a bunch of local boarding barns to get an estimate of monthly costs if you're going to be boarding. Otherwise estimate how much an average horse eats and look at the costs of hay and grain. For example, here it only costs me around $80/month to feed the average horse in moderate work, but things are really cheap here and from what I understand it is a lot more expensive in your area so my numbers are practically useless unless you're planning on moving.

                        For most schooling shows here I budget around $100 for the day, not including travel costs. Usually it winds up being less than that but not by a whole lot. Some very nice schooling shows (as in, ones that could almost be recognized shows or that have really cool prizes or great judges etc.) cost more.

                        I estimate about $300 per horse per year in routine vet costs, again it is usually less. Pretty much that entails teeth floating (about $150) and vaccinations ($60 because I do them myself, buy in bulk, and we only have to vaccinate once a year).

                        I shoe my own so it ranges from more or less free for trims to about $10 for full shoes ($5 for the shoes themselves plus nails and gas for the forge) out of pocket (as in, not including time or wear on the tools) but going rates are between $35 for a trim and $100 for full shoes. Some of the best farriers or any specialty stuff cost a lot more.

                        I can outfit a horse fully for around $500 in tack and equipment, but I have a knack for finding great deals and high quality used stuff. I've had to pay a lot more when I really needed stuff right away.
                        exploring the relationship between horse and human


                        • #13
                          Fair Hill area, if you are haying year round, it costs about $200/month for hay and grain, provided you are not feeding supplements or anything special.

                          I can trim my horse for $20/every 8 wks. Shoes will be about $60/8 wks. (Shoes will run $390/year)

                          Wormer is about $10 (or less)/tube. Occurence depends on personal taste. I usually do every 6 to 8 wks. (for every 6 weeks, looking at about $90/year)

                          Vaccines and coggins will run $300/year on the high end.

                          Straw is $5/bale and using a half a bale per day for bedding. (30 days is about $75/month).

                          So, on the higher end, about $4080/year or $340/month to keep a horse.

                          This is provided you are not boarding.

                          Where I am moving to soon, I will rent a stall for $260/month and feed my own hay and grain, so I will need to budget about $600/month to keep my horse. Full board around here is $400-$550/month.


                          • #14
                            Depends entirely on country area, facility type or if kept at home, kind of management etc. I live in NV, keep mine at home, buy hay year round directly from the ranchers, do my own shots/worming and most of my own farrier work and almost all of the training (unless I'm wanting one to go show). Mine live outdoors 24/7, are not blanketed, and only are on grain if in late pregnancy or nursing or hard keeper for some reason. My land pays for itself (when the rental is occupied by a paying renter!) and the horses generally pay for their own care with sales/training/stud service fees plus tax savings on ag land designation and depreciation of purchase prices on breeding stock. My feed costs are about $1000-1200/month for 20 head (good alfalfa hay in large bales...ie...1250 lbs/bale)...this may go up a bit this summer although the earlier predictions look to be a bit high...or I have a wonderful hay rancher! I feed a $45 lick tub a month formulated for this area....mineral supplement... one in each pasture and the boys take about 6-8 weeks to go through theirs while the mares do one a month.
                            Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                            Northern NV


                            • #15
                              Just doing quick mental math, I would say my expenses average $400 per horse per month including board and everything else, shoes, vet, fly spray, etc.

                              Someone noted, figure in tack and blanket and clothing purchases and etc- which is true- but in my case I have a whole lot of inventory dating back 40+ years and so my expenses there are pretty much nil.

                              I don't blanket the current horses much but, for example, I recently found a vintage New Zealand rug (1970s) in the garage (while looking for something else entirely and completely non-horsey)- said rug would fit my mare just fine if the need arises and would I am sure turn the heads of many horse owners who have never seen one!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                                Ok, I KNOW this has been asked before, but my search-fu is utterly failing, and I'll be darned if I can find a single thread about it! So if anyone else wants to try to find them instead of answering again, that would be fine!

                                Having last owned a horse more than a decade and a half ago, I'm trying to get a rough estimate of the average monthly cost of horse ownership - things _outside_ of full board, that is. Shoeing, vet, supplements, insurance, etc. - the only thing I can currently estimate is the farrier cost because I've heard people complain about it

                                Thanks so much! I'm working on my formal proposal to convince DH that I should indeed buy the lesson horse I love

                                ETA - if it helps, I'm in MA. I'll likely do a couple of unrecognized schooling events or maybe shows a year.
                                In the Eastern Zone of the Peoples' Republic of Taxachusetts you're going to be looking at $250/mo., more or less, plus board. You are in one of the most expensive places in the U.S. to own a horse.

                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                • #17
                                  The old guy runs $1.50 per day for Pergolide plus about $0.10 per day for MSM. He is trimmed every four weeks at $25 per trim. His dental is $100 annually, shots and Coggins maybe $150 annually. Right now he is on pasture, no hay, and unfortunately I can't give you a cost breakdown of the beet pulp, alfalfa cubes and sweet feed because I haven't ever computed it.

                                  Our largest expenses have been facilities and horse clothes and tack.

                                  Being that he's a Cushing's guy I had to purchase a set of clippers at $179 for his summer comfort, I had to replenish the fly spray at $17 last week, the dog got ahold of his Cashel fly mask so there was another $20 - $25, ditto the blanket which I replaced with a cheapo for $75 (quite happy with that BTW).

                                  According to our accountant we have about $10K invested in fencing for all the stock, and maybe $7500 for housing.

                                  The nickle and diming thing is the hardest - they BREAK stuff, so buying something like the better quality Rubbermaid water trough will pay for itself. And there is the stuff you never think of - our dog is a chewer and has damaged or destroyed brushes, the fly mask, electrical cords, a heated water bucket, the blanket and I am sure there will be more - I can't leave anything within reach if he is out and keeping him cooped up is part of the reason he chews - so invest in high hangers for your leather goods - nothing under three feet if you have a chewer! Same if you have little kids who forget to put stuff up - the next thing you know the bridle on the ground is sliced badly by an iron horseshoe and you are having to buy new reins or strap goods, or even if you get busy and drive off with something loose in the truck bed. Pretty horrible to hear *crunch* and realize what you just did to yourself.

                                  Anyway I'd budget between $50 to $100 per month for supplies and damages, to be absolutely safe.
                                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                  Incredible Invisible


                                  • #18
                                    Hmmmmmm...We have four horses and all have different needs. Let me just start by saying that costs have increase exponentially since we have moved to the Notheast! We pay between $190-$300 for each horse's shoes every six weeks...vet fees are very difficult to estimate - one horse gets joint injections every year, another needs special care for an old injury, etc. I think we spend no less than $1200 per head on vet fees each year. The ones that live at home cost less than the boarded horse, but all get about $80 a month in dewormer and supplements...the cost of shows/events varies but consider the cost of transport and entries. I can't think of a month when someone hasn't needed some clothing item (blankets, sheets, fly masks, etc). To be realistic you are looking at a general budget of at least $500 a month on top of fixed boarding costs...can you make that number smaller? Of course, but I would rather err on the high side. I only insure two of the horses, but can tell you it is worth every penny for mortality and major medical! Lucassb's figure is the same as mine for insurance as we are also Makel, but I was with Great American and their rates are similar. Remember that some months are going to be very expensive - shows, hauling, vet fees...others will be less so. Best of luck!


                                    • #19
                                      The TYPE of horse matters IMMENSELY. I've had horses all my life, most recently a half-Arab and an elegant Saddlebred-type Morgan. I got a Thoroughbred, because she seemed the best in my (admittedly low) price range. I couldn't AFFORD that horse!!! Even though the stable was full board, the costs for extra feed, shoes, clothing (HORSE, not mine ), vet bills, saddle fitting, re-training, etc., etc., etc. -- ended up being more than my salary could cover. It was almost a relief when she died from the care that other horses THRIVED under.
                                      Last edited by nightsong; May. 23, 2011, 03:37 PM.


                                      • #20
                                        I'd say someone between a mid-size care payment and house payment!
                                        Southern Cross Guest Ranch
                                        An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia