Recently, I have seen a lot of free horses posted on various pages, and I have been asked a number of time about how much does horse ownership cost, so I thought I would give a brief outline here on how much it may cost to keep a horse per calendar month in my local area.
- Somewhere to live – there are two main options, either at a boarding barn or at home, both have a cost
- Board – from self to full, this can be from $150 (for grass only) to $800 plus depending on the facility
- At home – even if you have space t home for a horse, you need to consider maintenance and repair, along with possible property improvements. For example, horses love to chew through fencing, fencing boards are not cheep, but need to be replaced for the safety of your horse. A simple shelter will cost $2000. A monthly cost of $100 is not over the top
- Feed – Horse will need hay and probably some grain along with a multi vitamin, and mineral blocks
- Hay – At CURRENT prices, for an average keeper, $110
- Grain – for example, a simple feeding routine of beet pulp and alfalfa pellets and supplements, $30
- Feet – Horse need their feet looked after by a professionally trained farrier. Cutting back here will only lead to bad things happening in the future, along with higher maintenance costs, and vet bills. Costs between $35 – $50 for a trim, $160 plus for a set of shoes, every 6-8 weeks, so, being generous, $80 per month
- Worming – again every 8-12 weeks, average dewormer cost, $16, so $8 per month
- Vet – A yearly maintenance visit, including teeth float, $300, emergency call out (because it will happen) $1000+. So, I advise putting aside $200 a month, just in case, then you will, at least, have some aside if needed, if not, you have a nice saving plan!
Basic estimated cost for a horse kept at home = (100+110+30+80+8+200) $528 per calendar month
Basic estimated cost for a horse kept at a barn = (220+110+30+80+8+200) $648 per calendar month
A free horse will cost the same as an expensive horse, and size will make little difference, as most of the costs are not dependent on the size of your horse.
This numbers are estimates only, and costs will vary with area, but when you are working out your budget, all these basics need to be considered. There are a lot of other items to be taken into consideration, for example, rugs, training, tack, safety equipment, items for you, but we can cover this another time.
Edit: I am going to include some sort of basic insurance (3rd party at least), as a basic requirement. You need to protect yourself if your horse causes injury or harm to another person or animal that is not your own. For example, an escaped horse can cause much damage if it runs out into the road and causes an accident. You could be seen as liable as the horse is in your care. In BC, membership to the Horse Council of BC will provide some insurance, and is worth it for peace if mind. Membership is just under $50 a year, so add $4 onto your monthly cost.