Before settling for my first horse, my family and I were concerned about how much it will cost to maintain the horse. We had to delve into some good amount of research to determine the average sacrifices we needed to make with an equine companion.
So how much does it cost to maintain a horse (on average)? A study conducted on horse owners by the University of Maine indicated that $3,876 was the annual average for each horse. The estimate was between $200 and $325 every month, which is almost the same cost of car payments. This is the price you need to prepare to pay to make your horse happy and healthy? It obviously depends if you are going to take extra care for the horse
If you have children who are horse lovers, it is just a matter of time before they get attached and demand more time for the pony. I know this because I was that child once and dreamed about horses for Christmas, Easter, and birthdays but never got one. Of course, as a child I was devastated and resorted to playing with toy horses and surrounding myself with horse accessories. As an adult, I finally understand why I never got a horse; it is expensive and since children are known to move on from their interests or hobbies, it would go to waste. My advice is therefore hold off on purchasing that pony because your child demands it. Ensure you have considered the annual expenses and are ready to pay the price (not just monetary price but effort and time too). Find out cost-effective alternatives to purchasing a horse before you set out. It does not end with the initial cost of purchasing a horse as it does not come close in comparison to the long-term cost of ownership. If you are sure and ready for an equine companion, there is more to find out about the long-term cost so read on.
The Cost of Maintaining a Horse
Most people can tell the initial cost of buying a horse. Only a couple hundred dollars can secure a pony but this should not fool you. The initial cost will not hold a candle to the long-term cost of ownership. The study conducted by the University of Maine showed that horse lovers needed to take into account the fact that they were purchasing an equivalent of a car. The price of maintenance equaled their car expenses on average. Average Americans spend between $200 and $350 every month depending on the intensity of use. Here are some of the things to consider, which may not be well-thought at first when you make the purchase.
You may already be wondering where all the money goes in treating a domestic pet. An adult horse weighs about 1,100 pounds on average and needs at between 1.5% and 2.5% of its body weight in consumption just to maintain its body weight. This means you need about 200 pounds of hay and grain daily for horse to thrive. The interesting part is that a bag of grain and bale of hay may not set you back. However, the bag of grain and bale of hay may not last as long as you think. You will be spending between a third and half of the total expense of owning the horse, which is about $1000 annually.
Veterinarian and farrier fees are easily ignorable yet they are significant to the overall cost of your equine companion. Your horse needs medical care and observation just like you do with your cat or dog. And considering its size, you will be paying quite more than you would with a small pet. The University of Maine’s study on the cost of equine companionship concluded that the average vet fees were $485 annually. This money goes to standard checkups, vaccinations, tests, and treatment of injuries. Even without a serious medical issue, your vet will be a frequent visitor with solutions to even non-emergency injuries and other minor care details. In case of emergencies, the vet expenses will soar highly and you may need an emergency vet fun to save you the costs that come with direct payment. This should be a wise decision to consider at a time the horse seems fine. Vets are also concerned about hoof maintenance. This is not an optional expense as poor hoof health results in high risk of infections, joint hyper-extension, or permanent lameness in extreme cases.
You need a certified farrier to visit every six to eight weeks to trim and shoe your horse. This is besides your daily care and will cost you an average of $350 every year. Shoeing is more expensive because it depends on the number of hooves shoed and the frequency of replacement.
If you think you are done with the expenses, consider the cost of boarding your animal on someone else’s property. Boarding facilities have varying expenses, which average $100 per month (without the cost of food, exercise and other amenities).
What are the alternatives to horse ownership?
If you want to quench your desire for horses, you may opt for horse riding lessons, 4-H programs for young riders, bee a volunteer in a horse therapy program, or send your horse-loving child to a horse camp.
What monetary deals can I get?
Horse loans, horse leases, and shares are agreements, which can help an owner to access their horse.
If your child craves to own a horse, you will not hear the end of it until you do purchase one. Prepare adequately, budget effectively, and find out the financial solutions to help you give them their treat and treat the horse right.
If not boarding look at your land see if you can manage it in a way to save money. If you have a few acres of unused land or a lawn you don’t like mowing because of how big it is you can make this into horse pasture usually pretty easily. Sometimes all you need to do is brush hog or mow a couple times and it will be adequate for the horse to feed on. Other times you may need to seed and fertilize but still it will save you money in the long run.