When this article was written in 2002, the prices were fairly accurate for that
year and in the Western US. However, please read the factors that affect the cost
estimates and adjust the prices higher (east and west coasts) or lower (Midwest)
to fit the costs in your area. Then increase the costs by 5% each year to keep
up with inflation. So if you are reading this article in 2008, the costs will
be at least 30% higher than stated.
of Keeping A Horse
© 2008 Cherry
you know that you could easily spend as much or more keeping your horse each year
as you did purchasing him or her in the first place? This will be true if you
were given a horse, you rescued a horse, or you purchased
a horse that cost $2000 or less.
costs are constantly rising as our planet continues to "shrink", making land a
valuable commodity. The cost of pasture and feed is a huge part of
your horse budget and is directly related to the high costs and increasing scarcity
of agricultural land. Finding a place to turn your horse out or ride your horse
may involve considerable expense, especially
if you live near an urban area.
course, there are many things you can do to minimize horse costs, such as performing
most of the labor yourself rather than boarding, sharing facilities with a friend,
working for board or pasture space, and keeping your eyes and ears open for bargains
in hay, bedding, and horsekeeping
Just to give you a rough
idea of what it costs to keep horses, I'll outline below the customary routine
costs needed to properly care for a horse. I'll give you a cost estimate based
on today's prices.
For example, I just
figured the average cost of feeding my horses for the entire year of 2002. I kept
7 horses during 2002 and fed each horse hay twice a day and grain once a day.
When they were turned out on pasture, I just considered that as a recreational
supplement as far as the ration was concerned because in these semi-arid, non-irrigated
Colorado foothills, you can't rely on pasture to support a horse's nutritional
So my average is based on full feed rations,
twice a day, 365 days a year. The figure represents the cost of hay, grain, supplements,
salt, and mineral. All other horsekeeping costs (which I will outline below) are
separate from this figure. My feed cost per head for 2002 was $730.00 per horse.
is a breakdown of all
costs so you can get a better idea of the total cost of keeping a horse. Remember,
these are estimates only and will vary widely depending on the following factors: