How much does it really cost to own a horse?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by mama24, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    We've got a reject from the glue factory, but it sorta looks like a mare. We have it on pasture and usually have good grass 9 months out of the year here. It isn't cheap, but not real expensive either. Honestly, I'd give her away if it wasn't for the fact my wife and daughter love her to pieces. I'm the only one who rides and I haven't been on her in over a year.

    We buy our feed bulk from the local co-op feed store, sweet feed custom mixed for horses, cost about $300.00 per ton. We feed a couple of tons a year. In the winter she gets three large scoops twice a day and all the hay she wants and in the summer two scoops once a day and pasture. Spring and fall is somewhere between those two extremes. I also buy a few barrels of oats for the winter, give her a scoop a day.
    Hay is about $4.00 a square bale for good coastal bermuda and mixed grass hay. I buy a hundred bales a year usually, but sometimes we have goats or other critters eatting hay and might use as much as 150 bales.
    The barn, fencing and such we already had, so no expense there.
    Vet bills are as needed, the week after we got her she was spooked by a train, ran through a fence and wound up with a $600.00 vet bill. I worm her once a year myself and trim her hooves myself. I do pay to have them professionally trimmed twice a year, usually around $80.00 each time. We don't shoe her as she isn't being rode.

    I think we probably average around $100.00 to $150.00 per month for her, but we live in a very cheap area of the country too. Plus many years I can trade labor for hay, I even traded a goat for her hoof trim once.
  2. MustLoveHens

    MustLoveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    Albion, Wisconsin
    I completely agree with Welsummerchicks, wisher1000, and bigdaddysmom. Horse ownership in not cheap. Yes you can "cut" some corners to help defray costs, but in the end they are expensive. I have a saying: Horses eat all things green including money. Also horses can live for a very long time 30+ years easily and the time, money, and dedication to care for one should not be taken lightly, but to be researched, thought out, planned for, and agreed upon by everyone involved in the family.

    Just picking out a horse that might work for your situation is the start. That is not an easy task with an over flooded horse market and unscrupulous horse owners trying to unload problem horses. Take a friend with you to help you stay focused when a horse owner is pressuring you to make a decision NOW because she has some else who wants the horse. If that "someone else" wanted the horse the they would have bought it.

    Once you have picked the horse you want, the first vet bill comes in the form of a prepurchase exam from your vet. This exam is essential to find out the condition of the horse and any obvious medical issues he or she might have. This is the time to invest in that fine toothed comb to make sure your not buying someone else's problems like founder. There are some issues that are very costly to correct.

    Next comes the tack. Just because the horse comes with tack does not mean that the tack FITS the horse correctly or you for that matter. Ill fitting tack leads to all sorts of medical and behavioral issues that may need to be addressed by your vet or a qualified trainer. Plan on budgeting for purchasing new tack for your new horse that fits the horse and you correctly.
    Investing in a good equipment in a must. Do you need top shelf? No, but you want to buy the best quality you can afford. It lasts way longer and is much cheaper in the long run to invest in quality equipment. Also plan on getting a good fitting helmet if you don't already have one.

    You also need to set aside money for an emergency. Gosh knows I've had my fair share and they are expensive. The more stellar ones are: My mare got on a colic kick......once a year.....every year...for 5 years.....on Christmas Day....It was so bad that my vet would plan his Christmas activities around my mare. As mysteriously as the colic episodes started, they disappeared....
    Then there was the Laminitis/founder incident. When she foundered, by the grace of God, I worked for a large animal vet and got my bills half price. Still set me back about $1200 to $1500 for the first episode then another $1000 for the second one. Then she needed corrective shoes. That was $175 every 6 weeks at first then $150 every 8 weeks because we switched shoes.
    Now she can go barefoot but it's been almost 20 years. My farrier is very very good and he keeps her feet in top shape.
    Oh! This is a good one! My mare got cast in her pipe corral. She got so stuck that we had to call the fire department to come and cut her out of the pipes. My vet had to come and give her valium. Then we had to hook her up to fluids once she got freed. While I did not have to pay for the fire department, my vet bill was about $200. Then I had to pay for the pipe corral to be fixed. That was $300 I think.
    Then there was time my 9 year old mare colicked and died. She had a field vet treat her twice-$250 each go, then we went to the hospital- where they could not save her-$5000. That was for 30 hours of supportive care and the euthanasia. The disposal was another $175 because in our county diseased horses had to be taken to the landfill.
    IMHO, to keep a horse well cared for and to be prepaired for an emergency is not for those on a limited budget or who mistakenly think horses are "not expensive". They are. Plain and simple. That is one very big reason why there are so many horses that are being sold right now.

    My mare has some how managed to live to be a sassy 26 year old mare. I've known her all her life and I took over her care when she was 5. I've boarded or cared for her myself over the years. Currently she is living in CA because she cannot physically handle a trek across country due to a stifle issue. So I pay $300 a month in board, $55 for a trim every 8 weeks, hay is included in my board but it is $23 a bale for a grass hay mix. She gets the best senior supplement money can buy at $30 for a 50# bag-one months worth. She needs that to help keep her weight on since she is a very hard keeper. She gets stableized rice bran to add fat to help her old body keep weight on-that is $33 for a 40# bag-one months supply. She gets her annual vet visit and teeth check at $100- ish a pop and if she needs a float that will run me ~$225 to $250.
  3. mama24

    mama24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2010
    GSO, NC
    Just so you know, I am not planning on running out and buying horses as soon as we move. I'm not an idiot. I also don't think they're going to be free. But $100/month for feed, etc, plus maybe $500/year excluding emergencies for vet care sounds reasonable to me. We're not poor on a limited budget. I am a chemist, as is my husband, only he has a PhD. We both have jobs, though I took the summer off mine and am debating going back. I need more fun physical labor, I guess. Routine lab work is just really not my thing, I'm finding. I need to be outside with animals. I wanted to be a vet, which is why I majored in chemistry in the first place. That didn't work out.

    It took me about 4 years to talk him into chickens. He's already agreed we can get some goats as soon as we move. I'm thinking if i start working on him now, maybe in 2-3 years we can get some horses. [​IMG] But I wanted to make sure I knew what I was asking for before I started asking. KWIM?

    Thanks for your replies. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  4. Jasmine1998

    Jasmine1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2010
    Montgomery County
    We are fortunate to have our own place, otherwise we would never be able to pay board for 6 horses. Board around here is about 300-750 per month. We pay $14 for a bag of grain - only 2 of our horses need grain - the others eat grass in the summer & hay in the winter. We use about 500 bales of hay per year - at $4 per bale & this is a nice timothy mix. We order 250 bales at a time. None of our horses need shoes so we pay $25 per horse every 6 weeks to get the feet done, except for foals & they are only 15 for a trim. We just had shots done for the horses & they were $120 per horse for Botulism, Prestige V & West Nile & Rabies. Now the vet call for Jasmine having her foal, since she had trouble passing the placenta ended up being $460.

    CMTSMWC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    You do not need to have manure hauled away. Pick a spot where you are going to dump it and let it compost then use it in your flowers, give it away in truck beds to family members. And as far as feeding cost goes it depends on the horse, some horses don't need any grain, I don't give mine any. I give my old girl some grain in the winter but she is old and it helps keep her weight on her. But my other two do GREAT on just grass hay. In the summer they are on pasture, sometimes they are in the barn and pen and during the summer they get about a bale a day. During the winter they get close to 2 bales a day. So yes horses are expensive but they are doable, especially just two. You have to put into consideration the area you would have to build for them, vet care(vaccinations, etc, injuries, because believe me horses have a way of finding trouble!)
    There is also dental, HORSES NEED TO SEE THE DENTIST AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR!!! My old girl goes twice a year because her teeth get so bad. And then there is hoof care, my farrier charges $20 a $40 every 6-8 weeks (more often when it is dry outside). I THINK YOU CAN DO IT!!! Horses are such a joy, I love them.

    I am an equine major at SMWC in Indiana and they feed about 60 horses in a school year. They just bought 2,000 bales to stock up for the winter and they paid $6 a bale!!! I said "I am in the wrong business! What am I going to school for?!" lol

    So unless you are getting 60 horses, you will be fine with 2!

    Good Luck and I think you'd be happy if you got them!
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  6. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    I believe the original poster had a question of how much horses cost, not whether she should buy them, so here it goes.

    We have 6 drafts, 2 of them are below 3 years old. Mine get trimmed every 6-8 weeks at $40 a trim each.

    We feed huge amounts of hay, no grain, and have 14 acres of pasture to use in the summer. My annual hay requirement is about 1200-1400 bales and bale prices change a lot. We paid $2.40 a bale but had to pick up and load ourselves- with no hay elevator into a 10ft hay loft.

    My horses drink a lot, eat a lot of salt and poop a lot so there is a lot of upkeep involved.

    My vet costs are minimal. They are very hardy and fairly accident proof but I have a budget set aside should anything ever happen.

    I pay premium for riding equipment as everything is oversized but other than that I don’t regret having the horses.

    Good luck on finding your perfect horse(s).
  7. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    There are as many different ways to keep horses as there are people keeping them.

    I'm on a small farm in Alabama. We are set up for stallions, mares, and youngsters with appropriate turnouts for each group. IE each stallion has his own paddock plus there are pastures for the mares and pastures for our young ones when we have them. Right now, the way the economy is, we are not raising any babies nor offering our stallions at stud. The pastures and paddocks are in seeded in bermuda and fertilized twice a year. We overseed with rye in the winter, so they have graze year-round.

    All of our horses are out from sunrise to about 4 pm, which is when I feed. I feed Omolene 200 (currently $16 a bag). Everybody pretty much gets a scoop (that's 4#) morning and night, adjusted to individual condition. We have minerals in every turnout. Stock tanks in every turnout. Double fences (hotwired) for the stallion paddocks. Everybody gets hayed morning and night even with the pasture turnout all day. I'm currently paying $4.50 a bale for bermuda and averaging 2 1/2 bales per horse per week.

    I rotate wormers and worm every other month (that's 6 times a year). Everybody gets shots for everything I can think to give them shots for. Plus when I have bred mares, they get additional shots. My filly gets HB15 daily. My old mare gets medications every evening. Everybody gets sprayed for flies. I keep fans in the stalls at night whenever the temp is above 89 degrees. Of necessity now, I tend to do my own vet work, so I keep a very extensive kit, including banamine, bute, suture material, betadine, and the like.

    My barn is up on a hill with really good drainage and my stalls stay dry even in rainy weather. As a result I use a bag of shavings per stall per week and the stalls stay in good shape. When we have babies, however, that changes big time and then we go through almost a bag a day in that stall.

    We used to show a lot, so we have the heavy-duty truck, a big trailer, and tons of show-quality tack. BUT my everyday saddle is easily 30 years old and still going strong. You can easily spend as much or as little on tack as suits you and your wallet, IMO. Along that same line, I do my own barefoot trimming for everyone not being shown, so I generally use a farrier only for show shoes (we used to show in cutting and reining) and that generally got done right on the show grounds where the cost can be pretty steep--about $150-200 as I recall.

    Emergency stuff is a big deal. When you need a vet, you generally need him RIGHT NOW. When we were in Florida, I could drop $10-15 grand on an emergency easily. Vets there are just a call away and big-time expensive. Alabama is a whole different world. Here I lost a mare to colic who could have been saved, just because the local vets didn't feel like making an emergency call on a holiday weekend. Oh, they didn't SAY they wouldn't come...they just didn't answer the "emergency" number that weekend. I would have gladly paid anything to have saved her or at least spared her the agony of the death she endured. So, yeah, emergency stuff IS a big deal. Now I keep everything imaginable on hand. Make sure you KNOW and PLAN so you don't wind up standing there helplessly watching someone you love and who trusts you to help right up to the instant they drop dead at your feet.

    There's a lot of heartbreak in horses.

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

    CMTSMWC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    Hope you find some good horses! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  9. ~Wind~

    ~Wind~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2011
    We have it easy at my place, from May to September we dont feed our horses anything as the have a 5 acres pasture to graze, then from October to April we feed them hay. Our guys are very easy keepers and eat about 1/2 a small bale each a day. Our bales are about 45lbs each and they cost us $1.25.

    Basically it costs us per horse per year

    $125 year hay
    $80 year shots
    $160 farrie
    $60 wormer

    Total of 425 a year per horse
    $36 a month per horse

    I'm feeling really lucky right now.

    Of course that doesnt cover the things like halters, treats, emergencys....
    1 person likes this.
  10. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Quote:I know what the original poster was asking...don't start being rude. There is no reason for that, just be nice my goodness! If she thinks she can afford them, because she is exactly right when she said that people make horses cost more than they really should, then she should get them. She sounds like she has done her research and knows the basics so I thought I would give her some encouragement instead of just saying how expensive horses are.

    I was not being rude to you or anybody else and I am sorry that you feel that way. Please don’t read more into my post than what is there. I simply answered the OPs question.

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