Horse Ownership

barnMany people jump into horse ownership without considering all the expenses and responsibilities it entails. This is meant to serve as a general expense guide on horse ownership in the central Florida area.

These are approximate estimates. Call the local feed stores for current rates of feed, hay, bedding, etc.

  • Boarding $100-$600/month
    The price for boarding depends on the facility, what they offer, and if you are having pasture board, self care, or full board. Pasture board is generally the cheapest at $100-300/month. Often times there are limited options for pasture board as not a lot of people are able to fully sustain pastures that can handle X amount of horses 24/7. Many barns in this area have problems with over-grazing the pastures (meaning you may need to purchase hay as well). Consider if your horse will have shelter if there is a hurricane (barns fill up fast or evacuate) and if the fencing is appropriate for your horse.
    Self care or partial board will vary with each barn but generally means the owner is responsible for providing care for their own horse everyday, such as feeding, turn out, stall cleaning, etc. Cost is approximately $200-350/month and the owner is responsible for their stall bedding, hay, feed, etc.
    Full board generally costs $350-600/month, typically the horse will have its own stall and the barn will provide the day-to-day care (feeding, water, turn out, stall cleaning). Depending on the barn, the cost may or may not include feed, hay, and bedding expenses. Some show barns may have a requirement that boarders use their lesson or training services which costs additional money each month.
  • Feed & Hay $50 – $1000+
    This price ultimately depends on every individual horse as their needs vary. Highly competitive horses will require more nutrition bringing the costs of feed and hay up each month. Horses that have difficulty maintaining weight will require more hay each month compared to an “easy keeper” type.
    Approximate estimates:
    Feed $15-$40/bag
    Coastal Hay $7/sq. bale or $70 large round bale
  • Farrier $30+
    Most farriers in the area charge approximately $20-$40 for bare hoof trimmings. A full set of shoes may cost $120 – $200+ depending on the farrier.
    Horses need their hooves trimmed/evaluated by a farrier every 5-6 weeks.
  • dental
    Teeth must be checked yearly to prevent damage to the mouth. (c) American School of Equine Dentistry.

    Vet ???
    This varies dependent on the horse needs. Expect to pay ~ $500 year at least on a healthy horse to cover their vaccinations, coggins, and dental work. If a horse is ill requiring the vet to see your horse at your barn, expect a minimal $100+ per visit.
    When purchasing a horse, a pre-purchase exam is suggested to be done by a vet to help you be aware of any potential illness or issues a horse may have before you purchase, this can cost $200-$600.

  • Riding Lessons
    Many stables charge $35-$40/hour for group lessons, $50-$85/hour private.
    Some barns give discounts if you use your own horse. Expect $10-20 additional cost if your instructor drives to your barn to instruct your lesson.
  • Tack & Equipment
    Horse owners are responsible for purchasing safe usable tack that fits the horse and rider. Bridles $30-$300, saddles $200-$2000+, saddle pads $30+, girths $50+… expect that to be at least a few hundred at the get go then occasionally plan to spend more here and there (honest). Horse trailers cost $4000+.

If you are unsure if you’re ready to commit to horse ownership, there are several options out there. You can find a lesson stable for riding lessons and learn more about horses. Many barns offer horses for lease where you can enjoy spending time with your favorite horse a few days a week at an agreed price without having to commit to ownership responsibilities and expenses – but it’s like having your own horse.

If you enjoy reading, there are numerous books that are highly educational to learn about horses and their care. The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to horses, is to be willing to learn.