Buying a First Horse/ Costs of Horse Ownership

buying-a-first-horse2Buying a first horse is a major decision and there are many factors to consider before taking on the responsibility of horse ownership. Owning a horse can fulfill a lifelong dream and be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. It can also be one of the most expensive lessons one may learn if they go into it blindly. The following are the costs involved when buying a first horse that you should know in order to make an educated decision.

Initial Cost of the Horse: This all depends on what area you live in and what you are purchasing the horse for. The price could range anywhere from $500.00 on up into the thousands. For a trained horse that will be used for leisure trail riding you can expect to spend around $1,500-$3,000.

Transportation of Your Horse: If you purchase your horse locally and you do not have access to a trailer, ask the seller if they will transport for you. Sometimes they will include this in the cost or they will charge an extra fee. If you are looking into long distance hauling the shipping costs will vary depending on the carrier and can range from $.25 to $1.00 per mile. Shop around to find the most cost effective but be sure to do your research. Get referrals and find out their policy regarding stall space in trailer, watering, feeding and layover schedule.

Stabling: Will your horse be in your backyard or will you be boarding? If you’re a backyard owner you will be responsible for feeding 2-3 times per day. You will be purchasing your own hay and a bale of hay will cost approximately $8-$20 per bale. Feeding portions are about 5-7 pounds per feeding and one horse will go through approximately one bale per week (depending on weight of the bale). It is very important that you make sure there is fresh water available at all times.

If you are boarding, will your horse live in a pasture, an outside stall or a box stall. Each boarding facility is different and will offer options such as training, feeding (schedule and supplements), turn out, stall cleaning, etc. The cost can vary between $50 on up to $2,000. Call around and find out all your options so you have a clear idea of how much boarding will cost you.

Vaccinations – $20-$100 every 6-12 months. This will depend on if you will be giving them yourself or calling the vet.
Worming – $4-$12 every 6-8 weeks
Hoof care – $10-$25 for trimming and $40-$100 for shoes every 6-8 weeks.
Emergency veterinarian calls – Make sure you have funds set aside for those unforeseen emergencies.

Pre Purchase Veterinarian Exam: Although this may seem like an unnecessary expense at first this is highly recommended for any buyer as it could save you thousands in the long run. This cost can range from $100 to $500. For a pleasure horse expect it to be on the lower end but if you are looking for a competitive horse that needs a more thorough examination this will be a little more expensive.

You will not be able to use the seller’s vet as this would be a conflict of interest. Ask around and find one that comes highly recommended. Be sure you are there for the exam as the vet will have questions in order to make a fully educated recommendation.

This is the person to trust in your final decision so listen to what he/she has to say. It is very easy to fall in love with a horse but if the vet feels that there is something wrong or that this is not the horse for you, keep looking. There is sure to be the perfect horse out there for you.

Tack, Stable Tools and Grooming Supplies:

Saddle – $500-$2000
Saddle Pad – $40-$200
Bridle – $50-$200
Halter – $10-$100

Stable Tools
Stable Fork $20-$30
Wheel Barrow $50-$150

Grooming Supplies
Body Brush & Mane/Tail Brush
Curry Comb
Hoof Pick
Sweat Scrapper
Total cost of these grooming supplies can range from $50 to $80

There are ways to cut these cost by finding tack stores that offer second hand tack or purchasing online through discount horse supplies.

As you can see there are many costs involved when buying a first horse and must be considered when purchasing your first horse. When budgeting for a horse, the initial cost is not the only consideration you must make but the monthly cost of the horse as well. Plan ahead and know the costs involved so that your horse owning experience will be a lifelong enjoyable and fulfilling journey.

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