Budgeting Other

Cost of Owning a Horse: March 2019 Expense Report

Written by Horse Rookie

How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for Mar. 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, the weather was much nicer! That meant more trips to the barn, more lessons, and a couple purchases I put off over the winter.

(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


  • $350 // Riding Lessons
    • I’m finally back to my regular lesson schedule, which typically means three sessions per week (Western flatwork, jumping, and cow work). This month, I took 4 private Western lessons, 2 group cow working sessions, and 2 semi-private jumping lessons.
    • Because I board at the barn, I get a discounted rate on lessons. (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for five lessons.)


  • N/A


  • equiwinner-patches

    Click to see it on Big Dees

    $139.00 // Equiwinner Patches

    • Equiwinner is a patented, non-transdermal patch that acts as a natural electrolyte-balancing system. (Nothing goes into the horse’s body–it recognizes the electrolytes in the patches and responds to them.)
    • I first tried this product in 2018 when my horse’s cough kept getting worse during exercise. He’s always been a cougher (My trainer owned him since he was a baby, so he knows.), and it gets seasonally worse during the summer and fall. Come winter, we still have some issues because my horse loves to make holes in the round bale net and stuff his whole face in it!
    • Thought initially doubtful, this product has blown me away. Since using it ~9 months ago (plus adding daily electrolyte supplements to his grain), my horse has only coughed a handful of times. That’s basically a miracle.
    • Each pack contains 10 patches that you stick on your horse’s rump for a series of 10 days. One series’ treatment lasts up to a year, so this is only an annual purchase.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for this purchase.)
  • $46.39 // SmartPak daily supplements


  • $5.87 // Apples & Carrots
    • The apples are from the reduced-price bruised produce section, but my horse doesn’t seem to mind 🙂


  • Click to see it on Amazon

    $14.76 // Replacement Grab Strap

    • One of metal clasps broke, and I didn’t want to go long without replacing it. I use it to attach my beloved Hit-Air equestrian safety vest.
    • Between sub-zero winters and hundreds of on/off the saddle rack jostles, I’m surprised my saddle grab strap lasted as long as it did (3 years).
    • Since it did so well, I bought the exact same one again–the Equiroyal nylon grab strap.
  • $50.95 // Second Herm Sprenger Turnado Bit
    • I purchased my first Turnado bit in January, and I love it so much I got a second one for my dressage bridle.
    • Check out my January expense report to see why I switched to this bit for English lessons, or head over to my full Herm Sprenger Turnado Bit Review.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange 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.
    • 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. 


  • N/A

TOTAL (Before Adjustments) = $1,346

GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $484.58

(Under budget by $515.42)

Money Well Spent

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

  • Equiwinner patches were one of the best investments I made in all of last year, and I’m completely confident it’ll be worth the money again this year.
  • Herm Sprenger’s Turnado bit has already changed the way my horse travels and seeks contact. I’m excited to be one step closer to replacing all of my old snaffles.

Buyer’s Remorse

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?

  • Invest in Health: Horses are expensive; there’s no denying it. But, do you know what’s even more expensive? An unwell horse. For me, I’d rather put my funds into the supplements and other preventative care that keeps my horse feeling good–and avoids costly illness and injury down the road.
  • 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 & Breast Collar: I have a friend who does beautiful custom leatherwork, and I placed my order for April! (My horse has a large head, and I’ve struggled to find store-bought headstalls that fit him.)
  • (Ordered in April!) Velcro Trailer Ties: I’m ordering two of the Intrepid International Tie Safe Trailer Ties. The velcro means they separate easily in the event of an emergency AND can be put back together again afterward.
  • (Still on my list) 1 More Turnado Bit: Now that my dressage bridle is all set, the only remaining snaffle I want to replace is for my backup western headstall. Read about why I switched in my Herm Sprenger Turnado Bit Review.
  • Cow Working Clinic: The 2019 clinic season is underway, and I’ll be riding in a two-day cow working clinic in April.

Overall, I’m shocked how much accountability these expense reports have already generated in my life. My horse-related spending has remained stable (and under budget) each month so far this year, and I don’t miss the feelings of buyer’s remorse over silly, spontaneous purchases at all.

Happy Trails!

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 and our Beginner’s Guide to the Best Equine Insurance

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About the author

From the tender age of six, I embarked on a journey that would weave horses into the very fabric of my existence. Over 35 years have passed since I first mounted a horse, and my love for equestrian sports is stronger than ever before.