How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for June.
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 was largely over-budget due to maintenance health expenses like hock injections, new shoes, and sheath cleaning (eww). I also bought some fun gifts for a friend who helped care for my horse while I was traveling. I also tried to troubleshoot some behavioral changes with my gelding by trying various supplements, though it doesn’t seem like they’re making a difference.
What’s a little more money down the horse fund drain, right? #storyofmylife
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Cost of Owning a Horse This Month
$255 // Lessons & Ranch Class
- I typically aim for 3 lessons per week—jumping, western flatwork, and cow work.
- This month, I did 4 lessons plus a weekend ranch riding class.
- (Adjustment: I traded social media management services in exchange for these classes.
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$295 // Ranch Riding Clinic
- I participated in our barn’s two-day Ranch Riding Clinic, and it was a bunch of fun. The first day, I rode my gelding. The second day, a friend and I swapped horses!
- We made good progress on lead changes, sliding stops, and boxing cattle.
$75 // Ranch Riding Show
- There was a local show in early June, and I let my friend compete my horse in a Ranch Riding class (reining pattern plus boxing a cow). He’s a finished Rein Cow Horse, so he’s able to teach her a lot!
- I didn’t expect how much fun I’d have watching them together—and they did awesome 🙂
- (Adjustment: My friend paid the entry fee since she was riding.)
$175 // Farrier
- This was a routine farrier appointment, but he did add small leather wedges to both front hooves. My horse has thin soles, so the wedges should help alleviate pressure when he walks on hard surfaces like the road.
$535 // Hock Injections
- A couple times each year, the vet injects my gelding’s hocks. This is done to make him more comfortable, help his joints last longer, and ideally make his joints fuse more quickly. Once they fuse, injections will no longer be necessary!
$50 // Sheath Cleaning
- Since he was going to be sedated for the hock injections, my horse also got his sheath cleaned. I shouldn’t need to have the vet do this again for a while.
$45.98 // Equi-Spot Fly Protection (x2)
- I tried something besides traditional fly spray to keep the bugs away—Equi-Spot.
- So far, I’m really impressed. A few drops rubbed into my horse’s skin in strategic areas, and I haven’t seen any flies on him!
- Each vile lasts for two weeks, and I got a box with 6 treatments for me and a second box for a friend. This should last us all summer.
$15.99 // Apple Elite
- Montana has been having a heat wave, and supplement electrolytes can help horses regulate their body temperature and drink more water. Since we went to an offsite outdoor Cutting Clinic*, as well as multiple full-day events at our barn, I picked up some Apple Elite powder.
- Downside: My horse apparently doesn’t like the taste (apple?!). He started getting picky about his grain when we sprinkled this on top, so I’ll likely discontinue it.
- They also make a tube version you can inject in the mouth, and I seem to be more successful getting my horse to eat that.
*I pre-paid for this clinic, which is why it doesn’t show up in this month’s report.
$99.99 // Cosequin
- When I started riding a friend’s horse for jumping lessons, I offered to put him on joint support supplements. He’s 15 years old, and fairly out of shape, so Cosequin should help him be more comfortable.
- Plus, he got hock injections for the first time ever! (Note: His owner paid for those, which is why they aren’t included in this month’s report.)
$41.35 // Calming Supplement
- My gelding has been extra grumpy with his paddock mates this Spring. We haven’t seen this behavior before, but he’s now had to be separated without turnout.
- While we rule out health-related causes, I’m hoping Formula 707’s calming supplement powder might help him relax.
$93.06 // SmartPak Daily Supplements
- He gets SmartDigest Ultra Pellets, which also keeps him qualified for SmartPak’s Colicare Program.
- My gelding also gets Equithrive every day, which helps with joint help and extends the benefits of hock injections.
- I’d previously added SmartHoof Pellets to his SmartPak, but apparently he didn’t like the taste and stopped eating his grain. So I dropped that supplement this month.
$7.49 German Horse Muffins
- These are my horse’s favorite treats, and it was time for a refill.
$5.99 Bag of Peppermints
- His second favorite treats are peppermints, and he gets one of them every time I catch him.
$23.99 Off-Brand Lickit
- A friend got a new yearling, and he’s quite mouthy. We thought he might like something like this in his paddock to stay busy. The horse thought it was fine, but the dog really loved it!
$6.49 // Community Horse Treats
- Every now and then, people will leave a bag of horse treats in the barn cross-ties. Everyone is welcome to take some, and I noticed the supply was running low. I picked up a replacement bag.
$69.99 // Noble Outfitters Ankle Muck Boots
- It was in the 90s much of June, and my tall muck boots were simply too hot.
- I purchased a pair of short muckers from Noble Outfitters. They’re SO much cooler in the summertime.
$66.95 // Cell Phone Holder x 2
- Part of the issue with normal riding jeans is that they usually don’t have a thigh cell phone pocket.
- My lesson partner and I like to take videos during lessons so we can see what our horses (and ourselves!) are doing well or need to improve.
- I picked up a couple cell phone holders at our local tack shop, and they’re working great.
$109 // Kerrits Stretch Denim KP Breeches
- On days when I ride both English and Western, it’s hard to know what to wear. I wanted pants that would work for either style by simply switching boots.
- Denim breeches seemed to be the best option, so I bought my first pair from Kerrits. I’m excited to try them soon.
$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.)
$450 // Board
- Board is currently $500 per month, I prepaid my barn account for a while to get a 10% discount.
- Board includes outdoor paddock, feed, blanketing, turnout, deworming, and access to the facilities. Boarders also get a discount on lessons.
- (Adjustment: I traded clinic marketing services in exchange for this month’s board.)
$107.52 // Fuel for Barn Visits
- This figure is an average. It’s calculated by taking the IRS mileage rate for 2021 (56 cents) x 4 visits per week x 4 weeks per month.
TOTAL (Before Adjustments) = $2,600.87GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $1,525.87
Over-budget by $525.87
Money Well Spent
What am I particularly glad I spent money on this month?
- I’m not sure why I waited so long to get ankle muckers. In the summer heat, they are far more comfortable for long days at the barn.
- Equi-Spot has worked really well, and I only need to apply it every two weeks. I may never go back to regular fly sprays.
- Hock injections are expensive, but worth the investment. I want to keep my horse comfortable and able to do what’s asked of him for many years to come.
Wonder how expensive horses are where you live? We break down the average horse cost in all 50 states.
What do I regret spending money on?
- Even though I’ve used it in the past successfully, my horse decided he no longer wants to eat Apple Elite powder. I’ll likely need to switch back to the paste version.
- My gelding has been on Formula 707’s calming supplement for a couple weeks now, but I haven’t noticed a clear change in his grumpy attitude around other horses.
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, expedited shipping, and competitive prices.
On the Horizon
What’s on my wish list for the future?
- Bodywork: To help rule out any physical causes of behavior changes, I plan to have the chiropractor out for a once-over.
- Ranch Riding Show: I plan to show my horse in one class at our local show in July. It’s good practice to ride away from home, even though it gives me some anxiety.
All-in-all, this was a pretty typical month for 2021. Though health expenses were high, they were mostly routine maintenance items. The extra health-related items were investments to try and alleviate my horse’s annoyance with herd mates. Keeping him healthy—and happy—is top priority. If you’re surprised how expensive horses are, remember that there are plenty of other ways to get your horse fix besides ownership.
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.See More Expense Reports
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