Costs of keeping a horse
As well as being heaps of fun and very rewarding, buying a horse is a big commitment. Before doing so you should carefully consider the finances that are involved. Here are some essential factors to take into account before taking the leap into horse ownership.
Land / Stabling
Unless you own land that is suitable for a horse to graze on, you will need to pay for somewhere to keep your horse. There are several options that are available depending on your preferences and budget.
One option is to pay for livery, normal livery will include stabling, grazing, riding facilities such as a ménage or school and sometimes the cost of hay and straw. A good livery will turn your horse out when required, meaning you can visit your horse just once a day if you prefer.
Alternatively, you can rent land and erect your own stable or temporary shelter. Shelter is essential as horses need protecting from all elements not just cold weather. However, unless you have more than one horse this may be a lonely choice, they tend to do better when socialised with companions.
Hay will need to be provided for horses unable to graze on grass. This may only be necessary for horses kept in a stable, or during winter months when the land is not providing grass. Horses are forages and will need to eat little and often.
For horses kept indoors, straw or other suitable bedding will be needed to keep your horses warm and provide somewhere for them to lie down comfortably. Don’t scrimp on the bedding as poor-quality bedding can be full of dust, which is harmful to your horse’s lungs, sometimes causing COPD.
Depending on your horse and its level of activity, you will need to provide suitable feed. Standard chaff is a basic staple for most horse’s diets, with added supplements for working horses.
For more advice on feed see our article on the basics of equine nutrition
Unfortunately, you cannot predict when your horse will fall ill, the chances are this will happen at some point, making the need for insurance all the more necessary. It is a good idea to get your horse checked by a vet every 12 months for a ‘mot’ style all round check-up. They should check their hooves, teeth and overall health.
Any responsible horse owner will have a good insurance policy in place for their horse. This should cover most eventualities including accidents whilst riding, accidents that incur due to your horse breaking free and any vet costs that rear their ugly head! Read more about the types of horse insurance
Farrier fees are yet another cost that depends on the level of activity of your horse. Although, most horses will need to see a farrier every four to six weeks. Farriers will trim your horse’s hooves and shoe them to meet their requirements.
More tips on horse ownership