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How Much Horses Cost & How You Can Actually Afford One

horse cost girl
Written by Allison G.

Understand the Annual Cost of Owning a Horse Before You Giddy Up

Whether you rode as a kid or started horseback riding as an adult, all horse lovers dream of finding that special horse. Visions of lazy afternoon trail rides or getting a 72% on your second-level dressage test may dance through your head. But, as you might expect, horse ownership isn’t all sunshine and roses.

Owning a horse is expensive. Although there are ways to reduce costs, it’s important to understand a horse’s impact on your finances before you take the plunge. After reading this post, you’ll have a realistic estimate of the actual costs of horse ownership in the first year. You’ll also have ideas about where you can consider reducing costs. Let’s get started!

(Thanks to Emily Harris for our feature photo!)

Summary: Annual Cost of Owning a Horse

Housing $1,200 – $9,000
Feeding (may be covered by board housing fees) $0 – $1,500 grain, $0 – $3,650 hay
Routine Veterinary Care $200 – $500
Farrier $300 – $2,750
Dentist $95 – $235
Total Annual Estimate $1,795 – $17,635

Note: This chart does NOT cover initial “start-up costs” that may include: buying the horse, initial equipment investment, and supplies. It also does not cover other costs like insurance, showing, training, or unexpected medical care. We do dig into those topics below, though.

Knowledge is Horsepower! Check out Cherry Hill’s month-by-month guide to horse care on Amazon.

*Rider apparel is not a focus of this article, as there are very few items you truly “need,” but many riders choose to invest more heavily in apparel.

Want to get into even more details? Check out Horse Rookie’s monthly expense reports to see an example of the real cost of horse ownership.

Whoa, Nelly!

Horses are expensive, but exactly how expensive is based entirely on where you live and how you manage them.

Someone who lives on their own farm in Iowa will pay a different amount than someone who lives in an apartment in New York City.

As an example, we’re going to take you through the adventure that is buying that first horse as a middle-aged working mom in North Carolina.

When you think about what a horse costs, you probably jump to the big basics: the horse, horse food, horse housing, vets, farriers, and maybe even the horse tack. Those are the most obvious areas, so we’ll start there.

first horse and girl

Start pinching those pennies (Source: Emily Harris)

Hold on to your britches (or breeches, chaps, or whatever you’re wearing) because things will snowball quickly. We’ll also go over training for the horse and rider, medical emergencies, transportation, the equipment and supplies you didn’t realize you needed, insurance, and end-of-life planning.

Before taking the plunge into horse ownership, you need to sit down and do your homework. Horses are a BIG responsibility, and you need to be honest about whether you can afford the care they require.

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Get tips to afford your horse habit in Shelby Dennis’ article about How to Ride & Show Horses on a Budget.

The Horse Itself

The amount you spend on a horse can range from $0 to over $60,000,000. Granted, you’re probably not in the market to buy a Kentucky Derby-winning Thoroughbred stud like Fusaichi Pegasus any time soon.

first horse on a budget

You don’t need to spend thousands for a good horse (Source: Emily Harris).

Most rookies are probably looking at horses that are under $10,000. Many still are trying to keep it under $5,000. Honestly, most of us would like a free horse, but that’s opening up a whole new can of worms.

(Spoiler alert: there’s generally a reason why beautiful El Diablo is listed as “free to a good home.”)

How much you can expect to pay for a horse depends on where you’re located, the breed, sex, age, training level, and health status.

A senior, grade (i.e., not registered) gelding that can’t do anything more than plod around a flat arena a couple of times a week won’t cost nearly as much as a 7-year-old purebred (and papered!) gelding that has a stellar show record and impeccable training.

Check out the 60 Questions You Should Ask When Buying Your Dream Horse.

The horse we “bought” for this example is a registered, 12-year-old, dun AQHA gelding that is very experienced on trails and is great for beginners.

Estimated Horse Cost: $4,250

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Purchasing Process

Yes, buying a horse costs money beyond just the horse itself. It is recommended to get a pre-purchase exam – whether it’s a $500 horse from someone’s backyard or a $40,000 schoolmaster from a professional stable.

A vet can help identify medical problems you could miss due to being inexperienced and maybe a little star-struck. Pre-purchase exams can also include X-rays, which can identify problems invisible to the naked eye.


There are several one-time purchasing costs.

You should also bring your trainer or another horse-savvy person with you. Plan on paying for gas, maybe even lunch, for both of you.

If you bring a professional along, expect to pay them for their time!

If you’re able to take the horse on trial, that’s ideal. That way you don’t make the mistake of thinking you were a good match when the chemistry fizzles out after a day.

You can expect to pay for this trial period, much like you’re leasing the horse. You may also be required to keep the horse at that facility, which will cost you drive time and gas money.

Once you select your horse and buy it (hopefully with a good contract in place!), you’ll need to bring it home.

Chances are you don’t already own a truck and trailer, right? You’ll need to hire someone to do this for you, and the price will vary based on current gas prices and distance.

If your horse needs to cross state lines, you’ll need to get a health certificate and Coggins (if it’s not already done). Check the requirements for EACH state line your horse needs to cross.

Our gelding was just across one state line and 72 miles away. We also hired our trainer to check him out and trailer him home.

  • Pre-purchase Exam: $200 – $300
  • Health Certificate and Coggins: $100
  • Expert Help: $0 – $75/hour ($100)
  • Trailering: $1.5/mile for 144 miles ($216)

Estimated Purchasing Process Cost: $866

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Feeding Fees

Horse feed costs vary wildly depending on your location and the individual horse. The average 1,000-pound horse needs about 20 pounds of hay per day. Hay bales range from roughly 30 to 50 pounds each.

It’s best to weigh hay bales to determine what it costs per pound instead of per bale.

The cost of a bale of hay can range from $4 to $20 or more, depending on location, quality, and cutting.

This means hay could cost you $730 to $3,650 per year. Large square and round bales are generally less expensive per pound but require special equipment for handling.


Feed costs vary widely, depending on your location, activities, and supplements.

Access to pasture and adding other types of feed will change how much you spend on hay. Adding grain to the diet may reduce how much hay a horse needs to maintain a healthy body condition score.

A nice, lush pasture could eliminate hay from the diet altogether (for part of the year).

Grain itself can get complicated, and not all horses need it.

Some horses require a lot of calories to maintain their body conditions due to genetics or activity level.

Check with the horse’s previous owner to see what they were feeding and how much work the horse did as a good starting point. You can also ask your vet or trainer for advice.

Check out Food or Foe: What Horses Eat (And Why).

50-pound bags of feed can range from $12 to $40+. For our horse, we chose one for $20 at Tractor Supply. We feed our gelding 4 pounds of grain and 13 pounds of hay daily.

  • $20 per 50 pounds = $0.40/pound x 4 pounds = $1.60
  • $11 per 50 pound bale of nice Timothy hay = $0.22/pound x 13 pounds = $2.86 per day

Source: Canva

Estimated Feeding Cost: $124.88/month ($1,627.90/year)

Depending on your horse and what you’re feeding, you may need to add supplements to his diet.

Common supplements include things like biotin, glucosamine, and pre-and probiotics. These can range in price from under $30 to over $100 per month.

We added a supplement for our gelding that addresses joint health, hindgut digestion, and hoof/coat quality.

Estimated Supplement Cost: $70/month ($840/year)

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Learn what horse care typically costs specifically where you live, in our blog Estimate Your Average Horse Cost (State by State).

Check out 3 Types of Horse Feed Every Owner Should Understand.

Housing Costs

There are a few different options for housing your horse. One of the more popular options is boarding.


You have many options for horse housing and associated expenses.


    • Full board generally refers to a situation where you pay a facility, and they provide a stall, stall cleaning, shavings, turnout, feed, hay, and water for your horse.
    • They also pay for electricity and water and maintain the stables and grounds.
    • Often, they have regular farrier, vet, and dentist visits that you can sign your horse up for. This is great because it allows everyone to split farm call fees over a larger number of animals.
    • Many boarding facilities have trainers and instructors on staff, and some even host their own shows.
    • It generally includes grain and hay, so be sure to consider that when budgeting.
    • A starting range for full board could cost between $400 – $750+ a month, or $4,800 – $9,000 per year.


    • Partial board usually means that you are paying for a stall but not all amenities or services. You might have to clean the stall, turn out your horse, or purchase the hay and feed.
    • The barn staff might clean stalls or give your horse grain and hay that you have set up.
    • Either way, this gives you more control over your horse’s care and saves you a little money.
    • You may need to “budget” more time for running errands and completing barn chores.
    • It could cost $250 – $500 a month or $3,000 – $6,000 yearly.


    • You pay for access to a stall and paddock, but you have to do all of the work yourself: buy food and feed the horse, fill water buckets, buy shavings and muck stalls, turn the horse out, schedule the vet and farrier, etc.
    • It could cost $200 – $300 a month or $2,400 – $3,600 per year.


    • Pasture board is an even cheaper option that has its own list of pros and cons.
    • It’s fantastic that your horse gets to spend all day outside as nature intended, but you need to be sure that there is ample water, the pasture, and fencing are both safe, and your horse has access to a shelter.
    • It could cost $100-300 a month or $1,200-3,600 per year.


    • The final option is to house your horse on your own property. While this outwardly seems like the cheapest option, it may not be.
    • You have to consider the greater cost of owning a large property, like property tax and insurance.
    • If the land does not have horse amenities, owning land becomes more expensive than you initially thought.
    • A decent arena could run you $20k, as could fencing.
    • A run-in shed or barn could range from $3,000-$50,000 or more.
    • Bags of shavings start at $4-5 each, and it may take 5 to set the stall up and 2-4 per week to keep it clean. That could run you $20-25 just to set the stall up and $8-20 a week to keep it tidy. Yes, that’s $416-$1,040 yearly to clean one horse stall.
    • If your property came with horse amenities: GREAT! Now you get the joy of maintaining it… Acreage and outbuildings require regular maintenance. Roofs need to be replaced, siding needs to be painted, and fences need to be repaired. Pastures need to be fertilized, seeded, and the weeds need to be managed. Trees WILL fall, most likely on your fence or barn, and you’ll spend a lot of money on fuel driving your truck to the hardware store and feed store all the time.
    • People who own their own horse facilities often need additional equipment, from wheelbarrows and stall forks to tractors, side-by-sides, trailers, power tools, manure spreaders, bush hogs, and more.

For our gelding, we picked a place with full board because we work and would rather spend our free time riding, not cleaning and feeding.

We found a nearby boarding facility that has access to many trails and is close to parks with horse trails. They also offer riding lessons, training, and shows. They charge $450 a month for full board.

Estimated Board Cost: $450/month ($5,400/year)

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Vet Care

The basic “vet care” a horse requires every year includes vaccinations and a checkup.

That’s not too bad, but there are a lot of other things that usually crop up and need to be addressed. First off – horses ALSO need regular dental care, which we will discuss later.

If you are planning on traveling with and showing your horse, you will need a Coggins test and, depending on where you’re going, a health certificate.


Routine vet care lowers your long-term medical expenses.

Depending on travel, showing, and feeding, horse vaccines could run you $67-$236/year. Coggins ranges from $37-87, depending on how fast you need them. Farm calls can cost you $45-60.

Horses also require regular deworming, and the consensus now is that you should have a fecal egg count done. Your veterinarian can then recommend what dewormers to use, when, and how often.

A fecal exam could cost you around $30. Yearly deworming could range from $20 to $50.

You also need to have money set aside for unexpected medical problems. Lameness, injuries, colic, abscesses, infections, illness, etc., can pop up anytime, and you need to be prepared.

Dental care is absolutely vital to domestic horses. Genetics and management can play a role in the dental health of a horse, and it is recommended to get their teeth checked yearly or twice yearly if they are very old or very young.

Floating (i.e., evening out/filing teeth) is done by an equine veterinarian or dentist (depending on your state). It can be pricey, depending on how much work needs to be done.

A routine float costs $50 – $175 + $45 – $60 for the farm call.

Every year we have a farm call, exam, fecal egg count, vaccines (EWT-WN, Flu-/rhino, rabies, and strangles), Coggins, and teeth floating. Our EWT-WN was done every 6 months, which required another farm call.

Estimated Vet Care Cost: $525.50/year

Estimated Deworming Cost: $32/year

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Horse Tack

The bare minimum you need for your horse includes: a halter and lead rope, saddle, bit, bridle, saddle pad, girth/cinch, stirrups, and stirrup leathers.

The cost and type of tack you need depend on your riding discipline.


How much tack and what quality you buy can vary widely.

Check out our Horse Riding Equipment List: What You Need & What You Don’t and What to Wear Horseback Riding articles for additional details. 

For our gelding, we purchased this tack online:

  • Halter: $20 + Lead Rope: $10
  • Low-end saddle: $500
  • Saddle pad: $20
  • Stirrup leathers: $40
  • Stirrups: $25
  • Girth: $32
  • Bridle with reins: $60
  • Bit: $34

Estimated Initial Horse Tack Cost: $741

Check out our Horse Riding Essentials Amazon List for product recommendations. 

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The Farrier

The farrier charge is based on your location and what needs to be done. Horses need regular farrier work done – roughly every 4-6 weeks. Even barefoot horses need to have their feet trimmed regularly.

Check out Why (Good) Horse Shoes Don’t Hurt Horses.

Shoes are more expensive but are required for many horses. Horses doing strenuous work may need shoes (or boots!) to protect their hooves from excessive wear and tear or to provide extra traction.


Caring for your horse’s feet is an ongoing expense.

Some horses have foot problems that require a shoe to correct.

  • Expect to pay $30-80 per horse per trim or roughly $300-800 per year
  • Only front shoes could be: $75-160 or $750-$1,600 per year
  • All four: $95-275 or $950-2,750 a year

Our gelding only needs a trim, and the going rate around here is $50.

Estimated Farrier Cost: $450/year

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Training the Rider

Everyone requires some continuing education, but the type and to what degree will vary based on your personal experience.

You can attend clinics to work on different skills, whether it’s obstacles, jumping, or groundwork.

Riding lessons range from $35-75 per hour, and clinics average $200 per day.

We take regular lessons at our barn. Our trainer charges $50/hr. for private lessons.


One of the best investments is your own knowledge.

Riding lessons: $200/month ($2,400/year)

We also attend a clinic several times yearly, costing about $400.

Estimated Rider Training Cost: $2,800/year

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Training the Horse

Depending on your experience level, you may need additional training for your horse over time. If you are having your horse trained, it’s ideal if you regularly work WITH the trainer.


Getting a professional trainer to help with your horse can be worth every cent.

Sending Snowball out for 30 days of training works well as a temporary fix, but that weird thing he started doing because it was kind of cute, and you let him get away with it will probably return unless you get trained, too.

Training board can range from $600-1800 a month.

Traveling trainers can charge from $40-75 an hour to come to train you and/or your horse, depending on how far you are from them. If they need to travel excessively, you can expect to pay extra.

Let’s say we want to train our horse to do something else.

We love going on trails, but we kind of feel he might be a cute hunter/jumper. Our trainer charges $650/mo. for the training board, which is another $200 on top of what I’m already paying.

Estimated Horse Training Cost: $600/year

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Surprise! More Medical Bills…

There is a multitude of health emergencies that can arise for a horse owner, whether or not they’re experienced.

These include things like colic, lacerations, puncture wounds, lameness, eye injuries, laminitis, and choke. A good horse owner will be prepared for these situations.

Be sure to have money set aside for emergency medical care, and consider that your horse may require urgent transport.

You may also need a backup plan if your vet is unavailable, and you have to choose another, more expensive, option.


Every horse will have surprise medical expenses, so you should be prepared.

Our vet charges $145 for an emergency vet visit.

If our gelding colics and requires surgery, we might have to cough up $5,000 – $10,000!

Some horses require medications. Diphenhydramine is useful for summer allergies and can be surprisingly inexpensive if purchased in bulk.

Some medications, like treatments for ulcers, can cost $30 a day.

Access to a stall could be a problem if you pasture your horse. If your horse becomes injured, it may require stall rest. You may need to buy enrichment (e.g., stall toy) to keep your horse entertained.

Finally, you should have an equine first aid kit handy. These can range from $100 – $300.

Estimated Surprise Medical Cost: $???

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Professional Help

Another potential place you need to spend money is on experts. You might find yourself wanting to hire a saddle fitter because you’ve tried 10 saddles now, and none of them fits your horse.


Professional saddle fitting may be well worth the investment.

Maybe your horse has been doing a lot of strenuous exercises and might benefit from something like massage therapy.

Maybe your horse seems uncomfortable, and your best horse buddy swears by their chiropractor.

If your horse has been injured or has a physical impairment issue, consider hiring an equine physical therapist to help get them back in tip-top shape.

In addition, you may need to hire someone to clip your horse in the winter or braid for shows.

If you own a horse and house it on your property (or have self-care boarding), you will need to hire someone if you ever want to go out of town. A “horse sitter” often charges at least $20 per visit.

In our case, we hired a saddle fitter for $150.

Estimated Cost: $250/year

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Trailers and Trailering

Most of the time, you can get away without owning a trailer, but having one is incredibly useful.

Trailers can vary in price from a cheap, used, two-horse bumper-pull to basically a luxury RV crossed with a barn on wheels.

You will need to pay for: the trailer, registration, insurance, and added fuel costs.


Budget far in advance if you want to invest in a truck and trailer.

You will also need an appropriate vehicle to STOP the trailer, not just get it going.

And yes, you will need to register the trailer separately from your vehicle, and you will need to contact your insurance company to figure out the costs for different types of coverage.

Check out Horse Trailer Weights By the Numbers (63 Types & Models).

If you hire a professional horse hauler, expect to pay a certain rate for a loaded trailer and potentially another rate for the unloaded trailer if they’re making the trip just for you.

A new 2-horse bumper pull could cost $15,000 – $30,000. Even a used one could still run $5,000 – $9,000.

If you still need to get a truck (yet), they can run from $6,000 for a used one to $50,000+ for a brand-new one.

Estimated Cost: $???

Horse Trailer Weights

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Yet More Equipment

When you own a horse, it’s tough not to spend extra money on bonus equipment. Some of this equipment is needed, and some of it is just nice to have.


How much equipment you need varies widely based on your budget and goals.

You might need to buy overreach boots because your horse overreaches (e.g., hits his legs while moving), or maybe splint boots because your horse interferes.

Maybe you decided to splurge on some extra, fancy saddle pads or wanted that jeweled browband.

Check out Horse Riding Gear for Beginners (Quick-Print Equipment List).

You’ll probably need to buy lunging equipment. This could be as simple as a rope halter and lunge line, or you might buy a lunging cavesson, training surcingle, and lunge whip.

 Remember that properly using this equipment takes knowledge, which comes best from a reputable trainer.

You will also need to buy protective equipment, like fly masks and turnout blankets and sheets, and grooming supplies, like shampoo, fly spray, brushes, and hoof picks.

  • Turnout sheet: $70
  • Turnout Blanket (medium): $95
  • Fly mask: $20
  • Grooming Set: $40
  • Shampoo + conditioner: $20
  • Fly spray: $20 a bottle

Estimated More Equipment Cost: $265/year

Check out our Horse Riding Essentials Amazon List for product recommendations. 

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What about insurance? Types of insurance you can buy include major medical, surgical, full mortality, limited mortality, loss of use, and personal liability. Some even offer colic-specific coverage.

Read our guide to the best equine insurance.

Some companies have a policy where you must insure your horse at a value of at least $15,000 to get major medical coverage.


Insurance is optional, but it may be a wise investment.

Estimated Insurance Cost: $400 – $1,000/year

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End of Life

Proper dental care, great nutrition, and good deworming programs allow horses to live longer than ever. Unfortunately, these things have not yet made our equine friends immortal.

There will come a time in every horse’s life when it all ends. It isn’t easy to talk about, but horse owners must plan for this.

You may need to pay for euthanasia, but at the very least, you must plan what you will do with your horse’s body.


End-of-life care is a sad but necessary part of your ownership journey.

You must consider local restrictions to bury your horse on your property.

In some places, it’s illegal to bury chemically euthanized horses. You will probably need to rent or hire a backhoe to dig a large (and deep!) enough trench to fit a whole horse. This could cost $150-500.

If your horse is euthanized, just the vet call and injection could be around $50-200.

A horse burial in a pet cemetery could cost you $1,000-4,000.

Whole horse private cremation, where the horse is returned in a wooden urn, may cost as much as $950-3,000. A communal horse cremation where the remains are not returned costs less – closer to $750-1,200.

You may need the burial or cremation service to pick up your horse for these services. They may charge $2 a mile after a certain distance, and if the horse is in a difficult spot, like a stall, there may be additional costs of as much as $200.

Some landfills will actually take livestock carcasses, but not all of them. In addition, some may refuse chemically euthanized animals.

If you pick this option, you will still need to transport the horse there, which can be emotionally and physically difficult. (It may also be expensive.)

Rendering is another way to dispose of a horse carcass, but there are fewer rendering plants these days, and it can be more emotionally difficult for the owners. You also still need to pay the company for pick up.

Estimated End of Life Cost: $600 – $4,000

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Alternatives to Horse Ownership

Person feeding a bay horse.

Source: Canva

Don’t despair if you’ve crunched the numbers and horse ownership isn’t in your budget now. A few fantastic alternatives allow you to indulge in your love of horses without breaking the bank.

Take Lessons

If you’re brand new to horses, try testing the waters by taking lessons.

Many barns offer lessons on lesson horses, which means you get all the advantages of riding without the financial responsibility of ownership.

Taking lessons also gives you the advantage of trying out different disciplines without confusing your horse.

And by having exposure to all kinds of horses, you will clearly understand what to look for in a horse if purchasing becomes an option down the road.

Try Leasing

If you’ve been taking lessons for a while and are financially able to step it up a notch, consider leasing.

Many horse owners offer their horses for lease to keep the horse in shape when the owner themselves is unable to ride, such as during busy work seasons, pregnancy, or when attending college.

Leasing offers the owner an opportunity to offset ownership costs while ensuring their horse gets all the love and attention they deserve.


If lessons or leasing are not options, consider volunteering your time.

Many rescue and therapy barns need help with all kinds of tasks, from cleaning stalls to basic grooming.

Finding ways to help others helps the organization and gives you the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a pony cost?

The cost of a pony depends on breed, age, and training. They can range from $100 to over $250,000!

How much do baby horses cost?

Price varies based on breed and age. There is also the option to purchase a foal “in-utero,” which means before it is born. You can expect to pay between $150-$10,000 or more. The cost will continue to rise as the foal gets older, is weaned, and is trained.

Where can I find a cost of owning a horse calculator?

Try this Horse Cost Calculator from Horse Illustrated

What is the typical price of a quarter horse?

You can typically buy a registered Quarter Horse for $2,500 – $25,000.  Price increases with training and showing. Expect to pay more if you buy from a breeder, trainer, or dealer.

Once you buy your American Quarter Horse, check out the Best Bits for Quarter Horses and the Best English Saddles for Quarter Horses.

What is an average vet bill for a horse?

You can expect to pay around $150 per year for routine vaccinations, not including the farm call.

How much does a mustang horse cost?

It costs $125 to adopt a BLM horse or burro, unless you competitively bid online. In that case, it can be more expensive. Keep in mind that wild mustangs require special housing and training, which may cost more than your average domesticated horse.

You have to fill out an application to be approved for adoption. You have the option to adopt a horse with basic training by utilizing a TIP (Trainer Incenteive Program) trainer. If you adopt a completely wild, untouched horse, you may be eligible for a $1,000 incentive paid by the government to offset your equine care costs.

What’s the cost of keeping a horse at home?

If you house your horse on your property, you will just need to supply feed, bedding, a vet, a farrier, and a dentist.

Without considering the costs of building or maintaining infrastructure, water, electricity, and property tax, you may pay $100 – $300 a month.

What’s the average horse cost in my state?

Check out our article Estimate Your Average Horse Cost (State by State) for more information.

What is the cheapest way to keep a horse?

While most people might immediately say, “keep it on your land,” that may not be the cheapest for most.

Land costs are pretty high, especially in horse-friendly areas, so the purchase cost of property alone takes that option off the table for many people.

However, if you already own a few acres, fencing some of it and building a basic shelter will be cheaper than most other options.

For most people, the cheapest way to keep a horse is with self-care boarding options. You pay a small monthly fee, usually $100-$200, and provide all of the feed, hay, and care yourself.

Is it cheaper to own a horse or a car?

Speaking from years of horse-owning experience, it’s cheaper to own a car.

While the upfront cost of purchasing a horse is generally cheaper than that of a car, the monthly, long-term maintenance and care of a horse get you in the end.

You can get a decent lease for around $250 a month with a car. Factor in another $100 for gas and insurance (being generous depending on various factors), and you’re looking at $450 a month.

There’s the occasional large repair if you own, but this is largely avoidable if you lease.

On the other hand, horses cost at least $450 a month for just board (including feed), usually more. Add in farrier costs, vet visits, lessons, tack, etc., and your cost comes in at around $800 a month.

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Our first year of horse ownership saw us find a horse, buy it, pay for board, training, lessons, lots of tack and equipment, and pay for a whole year of vet/farrier/dentist work.

Turns out, we spent OVER $16,000 for our first year!

And we were trying to play it safe. Yikes. Thankfully, our second year will be less expensive – closer to $10,000 or less.

We could have dropped the price down closer to $7,000 a year by not taking lessons or getting training, but in our case, we needed and wanted them.

Take these prices with a grain of salt.


Though horses are expensive, the joy they bring us can be priceless.

Your mileage may vary.

The horse you buy might be cheaper, you might want more expensive equipment, you may not take lessons, or you may want to send them to an Olympic-level trainer.

It will cost extra if you choose to go to shows or travel with your horse. Expect to pay A LOT more if your horse has a medical emergency.

If you own your own property, chances are you’ll need at least TWO horses. Horses are herd animals, after all! In that case, you can expect to almost double your cost.

Do your homework, check your budget, and keep your expectations realistic.

If you want to see down-to-the-dollar monthly horse reports (including creative ways to lower your costs), check out Horse Rookie’s Real Cost of Horse Ownership Expense Reports.

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About the author


I'm Aleks Gill, and I've immersed myself in the equestrian world, wearing multiple hats and exploring diverse aspects of this magnificent realm. My journey began with a Bachelor of Arts in Animal Sciences, a foundational step that opened the doors to my multi-faceted equine adventure.