How much does a horse cost to care for?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by fushalilly, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. fushalilly

    fushalilly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2008
    Rhode Island
    If you have one horse on 2 acres of land in lets say, Kentucky, how much is the average upkeep including food and farrier, vet, etc. over ONE YEAR?

    In general, how much does it cost to keep a horse on your property for one year?
  2. chinadollgreen

    chinadollgreen Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2009
    Phil Campbell Ala
    In Mississippi the cost for our two horses is about $20.00 a month for feed, $25.00 a month for a roll of hay, the vet bill depends on the vet, and how you know about horses. We have a friend that shoes our horses but a good shouldn't be too exspesive, look around. Good luck.
  3. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    There's a whole bunch of "depends" answers to your questions. It depends on the cost of hay in your area, the age of the horse, what you'll be using the horse for, the quality of pasture you have, etc....
    Farrier is going to depend on what you're using the horse for as to whether you're going to need shoes or not. If this is a hard working horse you'll need to supplement with feed. If the horse is older you'll need to figure in costs for teeth floating. If you can't give the shots they need by yourself you need to figure in that cost as well.
    Up here, I worm every three months. Some people do that every two months. My cost is about 26 bucks per horse per year for worming.
    Shots here are 14 dollars per shot per horse. I give my own shots so I don't have to figure in vet fees.
    Farrier costs (I have drafts so it's more for me) are 80 bucks per trim.
    I have two pregnant mares and one of those girls is old so I'm feeding grain. About 30 bucks per month.
    Hay is anywhere from 7-9 bucks a bale. I have drafts, don't even know how much that would cost for one regular horse.
    Then there's the incidentals like do you have shelter, tack, does the horse need training?
  4. lizardz

    lizardz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    There are a lot of variables, as farmerlor said. Where I live, we figure about 5 acres per horse to not have to feed. I have 40 acres and 4 horses, and I still supplement during the winter. They are not used for hard work (most times, no work), so I really don't feed for performance. Every area is different, cost-wise, so your best bet would be to do research in your area - first, talk to people who own horses in your area. What are they feeding their horses and what are they using their horses for? There are many different types of "hay" that can be fed, each with a different price. Same with grains. Also, how much storage space do you have? Will you only be buying a few bales at a time or can you load up for the year? You can ususally get a discount if you're buying a larger quantity. Do you know someone you could go in on a purchase with? I have a friend who goes out to the fields and I go in with him, helping pay for gas. I got my alfalfa/grass mix for $15/bale, plus gas money whereas at the feedstores they were going for $18/bale, plus delivery (min. $50.). What about bedding? Will the horse be left on pasture with a run in shed or will it be stalled? Will you use shavings or straw? Shoeing varies depending on whether it's just a trim, half shoes, full shoes or special shoes. I pay $40.00 for a trim. Vet bills, again, varies. How much do you feel comfortable doing? I give my own shots, so save lots there. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, are there other horse owners near you that you could organize everyone to get their horses vaccinated on the same day and meet at one person's place for the vet? We used to do that and it's a good way to save. Then, of course, there's all the unforseen vet calls. You never know - some years you may spend nothing, then the next year a lot. Then, of course, there's worming, supplements, etc. A very rough guess for me is about $600/yr per horse if there are no vet bills, special shoeing, etc. I'm probably figuring low, and I know that this is a low amount for most people (in California, anyway).

    Really, your most accurate figure will come if you do the research in your area - call the feedstores, the vets, the farriers and anyone you know who has horses. Good luck.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't know how much all the what-ifs and variables matter, given that this is just a daydream estimate as I understand it [​IMG]

    For those purposes, I'd suggest your lowest likely cost, assuming the horse lives out 24/7 on 2 decent acres with safe strong fences and a safe strong run-in shed, would look something in the ballpark of this:

    $30/month farrier and worming, x 12 months = $360/yr
    $150/yr vet check and vaccinations = $150/yr
    5 months of hay @25 lbs/day = 3750 lbs, perhaps ~$350/yr (ish!)
    $150 dentistry every 2 yrs =$ 75/yr
    $90 waterproof turnout sheet, replaced every 3 yrs=$30/yr

    scheduled yearly expenses = roughly $1100

    PLUS ON TOP OF THAT there will be repairs needed to fences and shed (unpredictable amounts and timing) and unexpected vet bills ranging from none to whopping (I would recommend at least $1500 cash in the bank to 'self-insure' against this).

    Also some horses will be more expensive to keep, e.g. ones with ongoing feet or medical issues that have to be managed or require you to have more-expensive farrier or facilities than a 'plain vanilla' horse would; and if your fences are unsafe, your land harbors hidden hazards like metal trash, or your pasture is insufficient in quality/area to gracefully support the amount of grazing it gets, costs can rise (sometimes *substantially*) from the above.

    However you will not want to keep just one horse. Two, at least. They really do MUCH MUCH better that way, are easier to deal with, damage your fences and escape less, are healthier and happier, etc. And of course for two horses you would need twice as much land (or more) to avoid them ruining the soil and degrading the pasture into a mudpit and requiring to be fed a lot more hay per year.


  6. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Basic feed and care for a horse, should run around $500 per year. [​IMG]
  7. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    I'm feeding 4 per 12 acres of pasture in Alabama. Right now there is no grass available--at least not enough to count as food. I feed a bale a day of good grass hay ($4.50 a bale) to the 4 of them, plus a scoop of feed each twice a day for the younger ones and 2 scoops twice a day for my old mare. She also gets medications that average about $45 a month. I worm every other month at $14.95 per horse (which I administer). I do my own trimming. Oh, and shots--I give my own, too. But the vet has to do the Coggins.

    Hmmm. That's almost $1700 a year for hay. I feed Omolene 200 at $14.95 a bag, so that's $3800 for grain. The wormer runs about $360 a year and the shots another $80--unless somebody gets a cut and then I do an extra tetanus for that one. I replace my hoof rasp 3 times a year, so that's another $60. At least I can resharpen my nippers.

    All that added together comes to -- good grief!-- $5946.00!!!

    Divide that by 4 and that's an average of $1500 a year per horse! plus the extra medications for my old mare. Had NO idea I was spending that much. And that doesn't even consider what I spent building the barn and fences. Plus there is lime and fertilizer twice a year on that 12 acres so it will grow some grass.

    Not to mention that I have several pastures, each with 4 horses on it.

    No wonder I'm always broke!

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  8. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Whew, Rusty, Im not even going to figure up what I spend on a horse per year now. We put up our own hay, so fuel and upkeep on tractors and equipment, lime, fertilize......etc. [​IMG]
  9. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    I think it depends on what kind of care you want to provide for the horse. I know that horses used to cost us a bundle. Vet care, farriers, emergency vet care, supplies, feed, ect. It's good that you are checking it out before you get them.
  10. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    A lot. [​IMG] My mom says I can get a horse if I can pay for all care myself... I'd have to board so that would add on... [​IMG] Too expensive for me right now. I'll have to wait until I have a steady income.

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