What does it cost to keep your horse at home? Having a horse at home will change your whole life. You should ask yourself a couple of questions before you embark on this journey into another world, the world of horses.
First and foremost, you need to know if you are allowed to have horses on the property. Contact your Zoning Office for your area and go from there. If it works out, you need money to build or renovate a barn, shelter and storage area as well as fences and all accessories for raising horses.
Do you have the money to spend on horses? I say “horses” because they should be in pairs or at least with another grazing animal. So you would need to buy two animals. They are meant to be in a “herd” and that becomes their family. One or two, either way, it will take money to buy them. Prices vary greatly depending on what you want to do with it. Show quality, pet quality, or breed, etc.
If it is a normal size quarter horse, of about 15hh (60 inches at withers) in the Winter it can eat 1 small rectangle bale of hay and 4 scoops of grain or so per day. There are many kinds of “mixes” of grain depending on what type of work your horse is doing. Feed mills can deliver in quantity bags or loose bulk to your “hopper” in your barn for the best deal. This only works if you have enough horses to eat it all before it gets moldy and if they all can eat the same kind of grain.
If there’s nice green grass (and they are able to eat grass), then you may not feed much grain or have them inside at all. This means no bedding expenses or cleaning out stalls. A lot of boarding places use this method. (But will charge the same high rates and make more money.) Please be aware that some horses cannot eat grass and that is why they are being sold.
You would also need bedding if kept in a stall, as well as a place to store it. For shavings, you can buy it in a 50-pound bag or you can buy it loose in bulk for less if you have a storage area for a truck load of loose shavings that won’t get wet! Straw bales are also used for bedding especially if they are going to give birth.
In a stall the size of 12 x 12, that has a base and a rubber mat, I would use 1-2 bags in the warm months and 2-3 bags in the cold months. If it was straw, I would use 1 bale. If I had a pregnant mare that was due any day, I would use 3 bales or more, depending on mare size.
A horse would need some shots yearly and other shots less often, blood tests and certificates of health, especially if you show your horse. For show horses, there are entrance fees and special clothing and tack, along with lessons. If the horse is registered you also have the expense of joining the club and transferring ownership, just like a car title.
Most horses will need their hooves trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Not all horses need shoes, but all must be trimmed. Some horses have slow growing hooves while others need it done every time you turn around! Shoes are about $5.00 a piece or more.
The horse would also need worming paste twice a year or more depending on where you live and what the horses are kept with, such as cattle. It is also available in pellet form which can be cheaper and easier to do if you have a lot of horses. It is mixed with their daily grain ration when the horse is fed alone.
And don’t forget vet care. Be prepared for bills that are $150.00 or more per visit, depending on what’s going on.
The other big question of importance is time. Do you have the time it takes to care for horses at your home? Usually, I am at the barn for an hour each feeding for 6-8 horses. That does not include riding or training. There is heavy lifting involved so some people hire help, which would be another expense.
What does it cost to keep your horse at home? Please see the list below to help you on your horse journey. Before buying a horse at all, search local places to see what prices are for your area.
- Purchase of one horse or two varies $500.00 – up
- Hay $5.00 – $8.00 per 3 foot long bale
- Straw bale -$2.50 – $4.00 per 3-foot long bale
- Grain $5.00 – $50.00 per 50-pound bag
- Shavings $4.00 – $8.00 per 50-pound bag
- Wormer paste $8.00 per tube
- Wormer pellet $8.00 per 8oz bag
- Vet call generally $85.00 per trip more or less
- Shots per year $200.00 if showing your horse or more
- Supplements per month $10.00 and up
- Feet trims without shoes $40.00 per horse for 6 trims $240.00
- Paperwork if they are registered, price to join club varies at $75.00 and up
- Send in forms to transfer ownership varies $10.00 – $75.00 and up
- Building a barn or shelter plus all accessories $3,000.00 and up.
- Hired help- pay per task and not per hour – amounts vary greatly
Having a horse is not just taking it out on the grass with a water bucket. Horses are not tomato plants!