How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for Feb. 2019.
As I mentioned in my January report, my goal is to provide horse enthusiasts who are considering buying (or leasing) a horse with a transparent look at the real cost of horse ownership.
One thing to note is that your expenses may fluctuate seasonally. This month, as you’ll see, my “education” costs were notably lower. The reason? Terrible weather!
(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
- $75 // Riding Lessons
- The weather in Montana this month has been AWFUL. Most of our lessons cancelled due to negative temperatures, and I made far fewer visits to the barn. Because I board at the barn, I get a discounted rate on lessons. (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for two lessons.)
- $10 // Higher Education Barn Meeting
- A group of adult amateurs at my barn meet monthly to discuss riding and horse care topics. Led by our english riding instructor, these casual seminars are a great chance to build community and learn at the same time. This month we talked about boots and bandages. (I’m feeling especially good about last month’s SMB Combo Boots purchase now!)
- $190 // Farrier
- Included trimming, shoeing, pads on both front hooves, and hoof packing.
- $90 // Equine Chiropractor
- It’d been a few months, so this was more of a maintenance/discovery treatment. There was nothing specifically “wrong,” but the chiropractor said more regular treatments will help make my horse more supple and balanced overall. I’ll likely schedule another session in 4-6 weeks.
- $46.39 // SmartPak daily supplements
- $22.48 // Electrolyte Supplements (2 Tubs)
- I began adding these apple flavored electrolytes to my horse’s feed last summer. He was getting lethargic, and this daily boost almost immediately helped him perk back up (and keep drinking well). It was so helpful that my trainer and I decided continue year-round. (Adjustment: They were on sale for 25% off, so I stocked up.)
- N/A (Though I still had fun this month 😉
- $74.58 // Foot Warmers
- I use a set of Grabbers foot warming insoles almost every barn day this time of year. Time to stock up!
- (Adjustment: I bartered marketing services for this purchase.)
- $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.
- $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.)
- $55.68 // 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. (Adjustment: Because of weather, I cut this typical average in half.)
- $74.58 // Grabbers Foot Warming Insoles
- I would not survive Montana winters without these amazing heated insoles. Every time I’m out at the barn in frigid temperatures (I ride down to 15-20 degrees.), I put in one of these inserts. They’re so thin you don’t notice them in your boots, and they last the entire visit to the barn.
TOTAL (Before Adjustments) = $1,191.80GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $581.79
(Under budget by $418.21)
Money Well Spent
What am I particularly glad I spent money on this month?
- My horse loved his chiropractic adjustment, so that makes my list of worthwhile purchases this month. He was moving much looser afterward, and the trend should continue with regular treatments.
- I really like these apple flavored electrolytes, and they’re a low-cost way to keep my horse feeling healthier (and drinking enough) all year round.
What do I regret spending money on?
- Drum roll… nothing! This month, I didn’t make any frivolous purchases or invest in products that weren’t valuable.
Tips for Reining in Expenses (Pun Intended)
How could you save some money?
- 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 low prices.
On the Horizon
What’s on my wish list for the future?
- Custom C4 Belts: Yep! On my wish list are custom-designed belts for Horse Rookie 🙂
- Custom Western Headstall: I have a friend who does beautiful custom leatherwork, and I may have her build a headstall that really fits my horse perfectly. (OK, and probably a breast collar, too…)
- (Still on my list) Velcro Trailer Ties: I love the design of the Intrepid International Tie Safe Trailer Ties. Not only do they save you from dealing with pee-soaked ropes and “is this right?” knots, the velcro means they separate easily in the event of an emergency AND can be put back together again afterward.
- (Still on my list) 2 More Turnado Bits: I also have a backup western headstall and dressage bridle that could use an upgrade from regular snaffle bits to the Turnado loose ring snaffles. I may spread out those purchases over the next few months, as those are my least used bridles. Read about why I switched bits here.
Overall, the terrible weather was probably the biggest reason I came in under budget this month. With very few lessons and fewer trips to the barn, expenses really stayed down.
P.S. If you hate buyer’s remorse too, check out our Horse Rookie Must Haves on Amazon for supplies worth every penny!
P.P.S. Buying your first horse? Check out 60 Questions to Ask When Buying the Horse of Your Dreams.See More Expense Reports
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