Budgeting Other

Cost of Owning a Horse: August 2019 Expense Report

How-Much-Do-Horses-Cost-3
Written by Horse Rookie

How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for August 2019.
Aug 2019 Horse Cost Report

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 I started getting back into dressage. I’ve been focusing on my reining, cow work, and jumping for the past year. My dressage saddle just sat in my trailer, and I kept forgetting about it! In addition to a clinic, I took several lessons and invested in a couple pieces of dressage gear.

I’m excited to help my horse become stronger over his topline, especially to build his upper neck muscles. 

(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

EDUCATION

  • $380 // Riding Lessons & Ranch Riding Class
    • Typically, I take 3 lessons per week (Western flatwork, jumping, and cow work). This month, I took 3 private Western lessons, 3 semi-private dressage lessons, and 2 cow work lessons.
    • I also attended our barn’s monthly Ranch Riding class.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for 5 lessons. Because I board at the barn, I also get a discounted rate on lessons.)
  • $275 // Reining Clinic
    • My trainer held a 2-day reining clinic, and we had a great time practicing our sliding stops, turnarounds, and speed changes at the canter.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for this clinic.)

Love Reining? Check out our 5 Weird Reining Stop Tips That Actually Work.

EVENTS

  • $62.50 // Dressage Clinic Private Lesson (Balance)
    • Last month, I paid a 50% deposit for a private lesson with dressage trainer Ellen Eckstein. This month, I had my lesson (and paid the balance).
    • My lesson was really fun, and we focused on getting my horse to step under himself when I collect him (vs. kill the engine). Though he’s not strong enough to maintain collection for very long yet, the couple moments I felt were enough to give me the bug for dressage again!

HEALTH

  • $185 // Farrier
    • As you read in my June expense report, we’ve been working our way back to a regular farrier schedule.
    • I’m happy to report that we only needed one standard farrier visit this month! 
    • It was a bit more expensive than a typical appointment since my horse got wedges on his front feet again. 
  • $46.39 // SmartPak daily supplements
  • $90 // Chiropractor
    • My trainer recommended an appointment with the equine chiropractor to see if she could help alleviate his occasional cough. 
    • The chiropractor helped loosen his neck and shoulders a lot, and we’re hoping that also decreases his cough. It seems to be triggered when he’s stretching over his neck more during collection. 
  • $2.50 // Morton Salt
    • I’ve been buying electrolyte powder for about a year, and it’s really helped my horse keep his energy up during summer months — and year-round.
    • This month, my trainer suggested I try substituting regular salt. She thinks it could provide the same benefits as the more expensive powder, so we’re testing it!
  • Click to get Apple Elite paste at Amazon

    $17.53 // Hooflex

    • My farrier recommends applying Hooflex Therapeutic Conditioner to all four hooves whenever I’m out at the barn, so I go through it pretty quickly.
    • You can get Hooflex at Amazon, and it acts as both a moisture barrier (my priority), maintenance conditioner, and hoof crack treatment. #Winwinwin
  • $7.95 // SmartLytes Paste
    • I like to keep some extra electrolyte paste on-hand as a supplement on super hot days. (We’ve had several this month!)
    • Usually, I get Apple Elite. It works great for helping my horse recover faster after work, and there are 3-4 doses per tube.
    • This month, I decided to try SmartLytes Paste from SmartPak. What I didn’t realize was that the tube was only one dose… lesson learned.

FUN

  • N/A

GEAR

  • $18.95 // Davis Bell Boots
    • I’ve been struggling to find bell boots large enough for my horse’s hooves.
    • I found Davis Bell Boots had an extra large size, so I gave them a try. They were actually too big!
    • So I exchanged them for a size Large and am waiting for the new ones to arrive.
  • ($110) // Sold Tack on Consignment
    • I sold a few no-longer-needed pieces of equipment at our local tack store on consignment, so this was my commission.
  • Click to see my Horseware dressage pad at Amazon

    ($100) // Sold Saddle Pad

    • I sold my Ecogold dressage pad to a friend. It was an extra long, which turned out to be a few inches too long for my horse.
  • $60 // Horseware Dressage Saddle Pad
    • I replaced the dressage pad I sold with a white normal length dressage pad from Horseware. My goal is to keep this pad nice and clean(ish) for clinics and shows.
    • I’ve already ridden with it a few times, and it’s great! I love the non-slip underside, extra cushion at the top, and quality construction.
  • $32.26 // Schooling Dressage Saddle Pads (2)
    • When I stumbled upon an eBay auction for 2 new dressage pads (red and blue) with a starting bid of $10, I was hooked!
    • I ended up winning the auction and paying $32.26, including shipping, for the pair of pads.
    • Now, I can use these pads for schooling and not worry about getting them dirty.
  • $25 // SSG All Weather Gloves
    • I found an unused pair of SSG All Weather Gloves on consignment at our local tack store. My english reins had been rubbing my fingers, so it was good timing to find a nice black pair of gloves.

INSURANCE

  • $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.

STABLING

  • $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.)

TRAVEL

  • $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) = $1,732.11

GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $757.11

(Under budget by $242.89)

Money Well Spent

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

  • I’m really happy I decided to ride in the dressage clinic. It reminded me why I used to love dressage in middle and high school and how good it is for developing your horse. 
  • Though I wasn’t sure a $60 dressage pad would be high enough quality, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my new dressage pad from Horseware. That’s why I’ve made it my “fancy” pad and plan to keep it nice for special events!
  • The SSG All Weather Gloves didn’t disappoint. My english reins no longer slip through my fingers or rub my skin, and they help me keep a more consistent contact throughout my ride.
  • Special shout out to my Ariat sunshirts from last month. They’ve come in SO handy during our recent heat wave. I haven’t gotten sunburned once, and the mesh panels under the sleeves are lifesavers. I sweat less in these shirts than I do in regular tank tops. (In fact, I wear them out and about when I’m not going to the barn, too!)

Buyer’s Remorse

What do I regret spending money on?

  • I do have a bit of buyer’s remorse about the bell boots that were too large. A friend ended up giving me a pair of boots from her old horse, and they actually fit pretty well. But, it was too late to stop the size exchange on the ones I’d ordered.
  • That said, we’ve already worn out several pairs of bell boots, I’ll probably be happy to have an extra pair in a few months. 

Tips for Reining in Expenses (Pun Intended)

How could you save some money?

  • Sell What You Don’t Use: You’ll rarely (if ever) make your money back selling used tack and apparel. But, you’ll make more than if stuff is just sitting around in your tack room or trailer. If you don’t use it, sell it on eBay or consign it at your local tack store. 
  • 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?

  • eclipse-safety-stirrups

    Click to see Eclipse stirrups at State Line Tack

    (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). Now I want them for my jumping saddle…

  • Cow Working Clinic: I’m registered for a two-day cow working clinic in September at my barn, and I’m going to try to focus on going down the fence with more confidence.

Not choosing a single discipline certainly leads to more expenses, but that’s the choice I’ve made. I’m lucky enough to have a horse who’s willing and athletic enough to work across disciplines, and really enjoy learning new things. 

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

See More Expense Reports

Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:

Love it? Share it!

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!