Budgeting Other

Cost of Owning a Horse: October 2019 Expense Report

Written by Horse Rookie

How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for October 2019.

what horses cost oct 2019

Summary Breakdown

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.

This month, we wrapped up our barn clinic season and monthly ranch riding series. (Spoiler alert: We won!) Thanks to some creative bartering (sign up for our email list to get 7 ways to barter for horse expenses), and not having a farrier visit this month, I came in way under budget. Yay!

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

Cost of Owning a Horse This Month


  • $345 // Riding Lessons & Ranch Riding Class
    • Typically, I take 3 lessons per week (Western flatwork, jumping, and cow work). This month, I took 4 private Western lessons, 2 semi-private jumping lessons, and 1 cow working lesson
    • I also attended our barn’s Ranch Riding Finale, which was the culmination of our monthly series!
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for 4 lessons. Because I board at the barn, I also get a discounted rate on lessons.)
horse riding buckle

We won our barn’s ranch class finale!

  • $295 // Cow Working Clinic
    • My trainer held a 2-day cow working clinic, and it was our last event of the season.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for this clinic.) 

Learn how I manage my anxiety at competitions with my 33 Tips for Nervous Riders.



  • $1.99 // Discount Apples
    • Our grocery store puts bruised produce on a sale rack, and I always look for bags of apples. My horse certainly doesn’t mind a few bumps on his apples.


  • $90 // MDC Stirrups (Gift)
    • My jumping lesson partner and I went in on a pair of MDC stirrups for our instructor’s birthday.

Click to see MDC stirrups at Amazon

See why MDC stirrups made our list of the 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe).


  • $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.
    • Note: I initially forgot to include this expense on my January and February reports, but I went back and added it.


  • $460 // Board
    • Board includes outdoor paddock, feed, blanketing, turnout, deworming, and access to the facilities. Boarders also get a small discount on lessons.
    • (Adjustment: I bartered marketing services in exchange for board.)


  • $111.36 // 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) = $1,517.41

GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $582.41

(Under budget by $417.59)

Money Well Spent

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

  • Though it was an expensive gift, I loved seeing the look on my trainer’s face when she opened her new MDC stirrups. She does so much for our barn family that it’s nice to spoil her every now and then 🙂
  • The monthly ranch riding series was new this year, and we made so much progress in our reining, cow work, and roping. (OK, we actually still suck at roping…but it’s better.) I was so proud of my horse for earning the championship buckle at the finale! 

Buyer’s Remorse

What do I regret spending money on?

  • I was really good about budgeting in October, so I don’t have any regrets.
  • Part of the reason I spent less on horse stuff was knowing I would be going Christmas shopping at the end of the month. (Yes, I go really early!) Having something else to save for kept me from making any frivolous equestrian purchases. 

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: Most 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?

  • (Still on my list) Compositi Eclipse Safety Stirrups: As I said in my Compositi Stirrups Review, I’m loving this brand’s products. After I purchased the Reflex stirrups, I discovered Compositi also makes a safety stirrup called the Eclipse (see it at State Line Tack). I still want them for my jumping saddle.
  • Twisted X Moccasins: Most days, I wear boots or Sketcher flats. This fall, I realized how handy it’d be to have an in-between type of shoe that I could wear around town, to the tack store, and out walking the dog. I’ve had my eye on these Twisted X loafers for months. They’d look great with jeans and be a solid 3-season shoe. 

Click to see Twisted X shoes at Amazon

Overall, I’m grateful to come in under budget this month. Between Christmas shopping and an upcoming farrier visit in early November, it’s nice to have a financial buffer right now.

Plus, I did get some fun new horse supplies this month — without needing to pay for them. SaddleBox sent me one of their equestrian subscription boxes to review, and it was such a blast to open all those gifts.

Happy Trails!

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!