The Cost Caring for Horses

Owning a horse involves a larger financial commitment than simply the initial purchase price; maintaining your equine companion requires recurring monthly costs. To make sure you can meet your horse’s needs, it’s a good idea to evaluate your monthly spending before you purchase a horse. Here, we will be providing you with a clear and concise breakdown of the average monthly cost of owning a horse.

What is the Monthly Cost of Owning a Horse?

How much does it cost to keep a horse each month? In the US, a horse’s maintenance typically costs $600 per month. Included in this sum are the typical monthly costs for boarding, feed, and farrier services. Depending on where in the nation you live, the standard of the particular boarding facility and food you’re buying, and also how many programs (competitions, classes, etc.) you participate in, your monthly average cost may vary significantly.

What Are the Most Common Monthly Costs for Horses?

The nightmare stories you’ve heard about expensive vet bills and saddles costing $3000 definitely come to mind when thinking of the term “expense” in regard to horses. The good news is that you typically only have to pay your vet a visit about twice a year, unless your horse suffers an unanticipated mishap. Vet bills won’t be listed in this monthly list, so be aware of that.


What then are the most typical monthly costs associated with care for a horse? The following includes a list of the costs you can anticipate each month:


  • Boarding Charges
  • Boarding Charges Farrier Care
  • Feed Prices (hay, grain, and nutritional supplements)
  • Optional Practices, such as competitions, lessons, etc.)

Monthly Boarding Costs for Horses

The cost of boarding your horse will be one of your major ongoing costs. You can pay to board a horse at a boarding facility if you don’t directly have the property or room to keep one. When compared to having a horse on your own property, boarding a horse might quickly increase your monthly expenses, but sometimes that’s the cost you need to pay in order to properly care for your equine buddy!


In the US, boarding costs about $400 per month on average. The good thing, however, is that there are a variety of boarding options available, some of which may be more affordable with a reduced monthly average charge.

Full-Care Boarding

The most popular and expensive boarding option is likely full-care board. Your horse receives complete attention from the barn workers in this scenario. Both turnout and a private stall will be available to your horse. This can be your best choice if you can only devote a limited amount of time to caring for your horse. Typically, the monthly cost of full-care boarding is between $300 and $700.

Pasture Boarding

The less expensive alternative to full-care board is pasture board. With pasture boarding, your horse will still receive complete care from the barn staff; however, he will spend all of his time in a pasture. This can give your horse a much more natural living condition and spare the stable staff from needing to properly maintain and clean the stables. Please ensure that your horse has access to an adequate shelter if you choose the pasture board option. The cost of pasture boarding typically ranges from $150 to $400 per month.

Self-Care Boarding

Although it can be more challenging to find stables that offer a self-care board, it is likely the least expensive boarding option available. You are totally in charge of caring for your horse if you use a self-care board. Instead of paying for barn workers to additionally take care of your horse, all you are doing in this instance is paying to keep it on the property. This implies that you’ll need to go out to the stable to take care of your horse rain or shine. You must find someone who will take care of your horse when you are away if you plan to take a vacation. Self-care boards often cost between $100 and $250 each month.

Feeding a Horse Monthly Cost

If you board your horse elsewhere, the stable might give it some simple grain to eat. When you pay for board, boarding stables frequently also pay for and provide hay (unless you choose a self-care board, in which case you are responsible for providing your own hay and feed).


If you board your horse, it’s possible that they need a certain feed that the stable doesn’t offer. Or perhaps you maintain your horse on your own land and provide for all of its requirements. In these situations, you’ll need to account for feed expenditures in your monthly spending.


You most likely won’t need to worry about buying your own hay if you are having your horse boarded elsewhere and are paying for pasture or full-care boarding. Nevertheless, it’s helpful to be prepared. Hay must be given to your horse if it spends any time throughout the day in a stall. Hay should be available in a trailer and also while the horse is waiting if you are transporting it to a show or event. You are going to need to give your horse 10–20 pounds of hay each day if the pasture does not have enough grass to support their diet and weight.


Hay prices might fluctuate since every year’s production can be different. Purchase horse hay in the summer when it is being harvested if you want to obtain the best deal. You will avoid price increases and shortages of supplies throughout the colder months if you do this. Additionally, make sure you get hay that is suitable for horses. Horses require hay that is free of thistles and other difficult-to-digest substances, even though it may be more costly than lower-quality hay.


Based on when you buy, the estimated price of a square bale of equine hay ranges from $3 to $20. Based on where you buy it and where you live, a round bale of equine hay could cost anywhere from $40 to $120.


Not all horses require grains. Grain shouldn’t be your horse’s primary source of nutrition; it should be utilized to enhance their diet. Because each horse is unique, its diet may need to be supplemented with a variety of nutrients and carbohydrates. The best course of action is to discuss the proper diet for your horse with your veterinarian. The very last thing you are going to want to do is offer grain to your horse without first learning how grain might harm your horse if fed improperly.


Horses can be quite sensitive to sugar intake, and some grains contain a lot of sugar. A horse’s hoof tissue may become inflamed and fragile as a result of having an excessive amount of sugar enter its bloodstream. Laminitis is the term for this. The coffin bone in the horse’s foot starts to migrate and descend, resulting in significant pain for the animal if laminitis is not treated and nutrition is not changed. To conclude, never feed arbitrary grain without first consulting your veterinarian.


Depending upon the particular kind as well as the quality of the grain, the typical cost of a 50-pound bag of grain might range from $15 to $60. Depending on how much your veterinarian advises you feed, your horse might go through a bag of grain every two weeks or a bag every month.

Nutritional Supplements

Supplements are intended to increase the amount of vitamins, nutrients, and/or minerals in your horse’s diet and are frequently available in pellet or powder form. Basically, you can find a supplement to treat every health issue your horse has. But be careful—not all supplements affect the body in a positive way. The best course of action is to consult your veterinarian and follow their advice.


You should budget between $15 and $17 for a 5-lb bucket of supplements. The amount you should feed your horse on a daily basis is what will ultimately determine how long the pail will last.

Farrier Fees

The maintenance of your horse’s hooves is among the most crucial components of horse care. You should pick out your horse’s hooves every day in addition to scheduling a farrier appointment every four to eight weeks, depending on your region’s environment. A farrier may advise you on the best ways to take care of your horse’s feet and may trim or shoe its hooves.


Like human fingernails, horse hooves are constantly growing. The frequency of farrier appointments is greatly influenced by the climate, which also affects the number of times horse hooves need to be trimmed. Your horse’s hooves will grow more quickly and become softer and more sensitive if you reside in a humid area with frequent rains.


In this setting, you will most likely need to have a farrier visit every 4-6 weeks. Your horse undoubtedly has hard, slowly-growing hooves if you reside in a dry, arid region. You’ll likely schedule the farrier every 6 to 8 weeks in this setting.


You should budget $30 to $50 for a farrier to clip your horse’s hooves. Expect to pay between $65 and $150 for a farrier to shoe your horse’s four hooves.

The Bottom Line

Caring for a horse can most certainly be costly, however, the experience of owning one truly is a unique and incredible one! Just be sure that you do plenty of research and budget your expenses accordingly so that you can make sure that caring for a horse is something that you can comfortably afford.