Budgeting Other

Cost of Owning a Horse: July 2020 Expense Report

Written by Horse Rookie

How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for July.

These reports are intended to be a tool for horse enthusiasts who are considering buying (or leasing) a horse and want a transparent look at the real cost of horse ownership.

(If you’re new to these expense reports, make sure to read the “reminders” section here for background on my finances.)

This month, I’m happy to report I came in ~$400 under budget. This is partly due to not incurring shoeing expenses and x-rays in the same month, plus there were no new major medical expenses (yay!).

july spending

Summary Breakdown

Finally, remember that if you’re not exploring barter opportunities, you need to start! Sign up for our email list to get 7 ways to trade for horse expenses and lower your cash out-of-pocket burden.

Cost of Owning a Horse This Month


  • $200 // Ranch Riding Class & Lessons
    • Typically, I take 3 lessons per week (Western flatwork, jumping, and cow work). This month I took several cow working lessons on a friend’s horse, which the owner also paid for.
    • The same friend asked me to take her horse to our barn’s Ranch Riding Clinic, so I got to do that for free as well!
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for these lessons.)

If you’re taking lessons (or about to start), check out our 13 best horseback riding boots for lessons.


  • $185 // Farrier
    • My horse got new shoes, including wedges and pads.
  • $15.99 // Hooflex
    •  The farrier recommended applying hoof moisturizer since the weather is so dry.
  • $50 // Friend’s Vet Fund
    • One of our riders at the barn lost two of her horses this month, so the barn family pitched-in to offset some of her medical expenses.


  • $24.95 // Horse treats
    • I bought several bags of treats for the friend that boarded and cared for my horse while he was injured.
horse treats

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  • $3.99 // Grooming brush
    • I purchased a stiff brush for my friend’s mini-horse foal. She loves scratches.


  • $14.58 // Liability Insurance
    • I have a liability policy in case my horse ever (accidentally, of course!) causes injury or damage. My Equisure policy covers $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 aggregate.
  • $57.50 // Mortality & Major Medical Insurance
    • I also have a mortality and major medical insurance policy through Northwest Equine Insurance. It covers up to $10,000 in major medical expenses and the cost of my horse if he were to die. (Note: He WILL live forever.)
  • $70.42 // Tow Vehicle Insurance (Progressive Commercial Policy)
  • $12.75 // Horse Trailer Insurance (Progressive Commercial Policy)
  • $12.42 // US Rider Equestrian Roadside Assistance Membership
    • Think of this like AAA when you’re hauling a horse trailer. (FYI, regular roadside assistance programs will NOT service or tow horse trailers if you breakdown.)
    • I have the Classic Membership Plan from US Rider.


  • $0 // Board (Modified)
    • My horse continues to stay with a friend while he heals from his popped splint.
    • Meanwhile, I’m retaining a spot at my regular barn until he can return.
    • I barter clinic marketing and management in exchange for board (or a spot, in this case).
    • Board includes outdoor paddock, feed, blanketing, turnout, deworming, and access to the facilities. Boarders also get a discount on lessons.


  • $111.35 // Fuel for Barn Visits
    • This figure is an average. It’s calculated by taking the IRS mileage rate for 2019 (58 cents) x 4 visits per week x 4 weeks per month.

TOTAL (Before Adjustments) = $805.35

GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $605.35

Under-budget by $394.65

Money Well Spent

What am I particularly glad I spent money on this month?

  • I love seeing 0ur barn family step up to support those going through tough times, so I’m happy to help cover medical expenses for a friend.
  • Ranch riding classes are always a monthly highlight so I was glad to get to practice reining and cow work in July.

Wonder how expensive horses are where you live? We break down the average horse cost in all 50 states

Buyer’s Remorse

What do I regret spending money on?

  • I did not have any frivolous expenses this month, so no regrets.

Tips for Reining in Expenses (Pun Intended)

How could you save some money?

  • Barter, barter, barter: Periodically trading for things like board and lessons helps lower my bills a lot. Bartering is what allows me to take 3 lessons per week and ride in so many clinics. If you want to get 7 ideas for how you can trade for some of your expenses, subscribe to our email list!
  • Watch for price drops: If you have a product you use often, keep an eye out for sales on Amazon or in your local tack stores. Apps like Honey can help you do this automatically by applying coupon codes and checking prices for you. Click here to try Honey for free.
  • Compare costs before you buy: Much of the time, I make my horse-related purchases on Amazon. I love the selection, 2-day Prime shipping, and competitive prices.

On the Horizon

What’s on my wish list for the future?

  • X-Rays (Round Three): I scheduled a final x-ray for the first week of August. Fingers crossed that things look good.
  • Thank you gifts: For when my horse moves home next month, I plan to give a few fun goodies to the friend who cared for him.

As I head into August, it’s nice to feel a little budget relief and look forward to riding my own horse again soon.

Here on Horse Rookie, we talk a lot about how expensive horses are. If you’re not sure you’re ready for the financial responsibility, remember that there are other ways to get your horse fix besides ownership.

Wear a Mask & Ride On!

P.S. If you hate buyer’s remorse too, check out our Horse Rookie Must Haves on Amazon for equestrian gear that’s worth every penny!

P.P.S. Buying your first horse? Check out 60 Questions to Ask When Buying the Horse of Your Dreams and our Beginner’s Guide to the Best Equine Insurance

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About the author

Horse Rookie

I began riding horses at age six, and I'm just as infatuated (OK, more!) with the sport decades later. My AQHA gelding exemplifies the versatility of the breed -- reined cow horse, reining, roping, ranch riding, trail, dressage, and jumping. We're also dipping our toes (hooves) into Working Equitation!