Miniature horses are such a unique animal and absolutely adorable. They take up less space then a normal horse and are perfect gifts for kids. But with those amazing benefits there comes some cons the biggest one being the budget you have to take of some of them.
So what is the cost of a mini horse?
Miniature horses are very small compared to regular horses so you would think the cost of a mini would be a lot less then regular sized horse however this isn’t the case in all aspects like with horses being shod they are actually harder to do so. A Miniature horse to buy will cost you anywhere from the cheap end of $400-1,000 to $100,000 for expensive blood lines. Our mini horse my mother-in-law got us was around $900 dollars. You can also find older ones for free at times.
These prices will vary quite a bit based on your location along with other expenses we have listed below that we will be going over.
- Feed Expenses
- Stable (Board)
- Farrier Costs
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How Much Does A Mini Horse Cost?
As with all things living you have other expenses including the cost of feeding, board, fencing, getting them shod, vet visits. The below are average estimates and will vary greatly depending on where you are located.
What Is The Cost Of Feeding A Mini?
Feed Expenses For A Mini
Just like with any living animal there are expenses for feeding, but not as bad as you might think with a horse. Mini’s are much smaller so they take in less. At around fifth of the size to a regular sized Quarter horse.
Hopefully you have at least a lawn that needs to be mowed and your mini can help you out with that. That or pasture and a nice humid climate should help with cutting into the cost of feeding hay to your mini.
- Hay – hay can be anywhere from $2-$6 bucks a bale depending on quality and cutting. Here where we live in upstate New York we get very good quality hay for around $3-$3.50. Mini Horses only go through maybe 1/3 to 1/2 a bale a day if that is all they eat. So average expense per day if feeding only hay and no pasture would be $1.50 or $550 a year. Not too bad considering our lab cost us about $840 a year. But our average the last two years we calculated to be about $200-250 but we have about 18 acres of pasture between 6 horses.
- Grain – not everyday grains their horses we do. If you worm your horse it can be enough to leisurely take care of a horse. If you use your horse frequently you will probably grain more frequently as well. The cost is minimal compared to a bigger sized dog. We actually got away from the specialty miniature horse feed and get regular horse feed (same ingredients) just give less and it cost a lot less. Average cost of a 50lb bag of feed is around $14-20. We don’t really track these costs too closely for the mini since we feed all our horses the same feed. But even at $20 a bag it is going to be around $5 a month for a mini.
So as you can see not that much to feed a mini horse over the course of a year. This is with a healthy mini so those will vary as the mini ages might need extra supplements or more expensive feed.
How Much To Board/Stable A Mini?
If you have room for your mini or barn at home that is the best case scenario. You probably aren’t going to save much on boarding out a mini is going to cost you about the same as a regular sized horse for the actual stable since most people don’t build mini sized stables. You will probably save on feed that is for sure. We usually charge around $200 month or more plus the cost of food for our boarders. We don’t have any mini boarders, but I would probably cut a deal of 25% cheaper.
Cost to build a stable in a garage or barn you already have will probably be around $100-$200 for the wood and hardware plus around $60-100 for the gate. Bringing the total to around $160-300.
They will need to get out of the elements so best case they can run in and out of their stable freely or you build them a run. I have seen people use those cheap green cargo tarps as run ins. We baby our horses so they have a run in with access to the barn and they also come in when it is too hot (with fans) and also in during the night during winter or cold and rainy. Yes I know they can survive outside in crazy weather but we like to make them comfortable. The green cargo 10 foot by 10 foot models run around $150-$200.
Our shavings we used to get at a store called tractor supply for $6.99 for 8 cubic feet. This goes a long way and can cover 4-8 stalls depending on how you use it.
We aren’t shy with our shaving anymore since we now go local and it is around $3.99 for 8 cubic feet. So we go through a lot more then we probably should. With our mini it is still a lot less then a normal sized horse. So it is probably around 1/4 a cubic foot a day when we clean stalls. That would be a bag about every 30 days. We use a pick and only pick out soiled sawdust and do a deep clean every month.
So in a month we spend $4 and over the course of a year we spend $50. Even at double that it is still under $100 a year.
What Does It Cost To Shoe A Mini Horse?
So you would think smaller horse, smaller shoes, smaller expenses for a shoeing a miniature horse right? Well that has never been the case for us and I do understand why after dealing with quite a few minis.
You have to get down lower to shoe a mini horse and they can be much tougher to deal with surprisingly. Raising your mini make sure you do get them used to people messing around with their feet. Trimming is one thing and actually putting shoes on is a whole other situation.
So for us it cost around $30 bucks a trim per mini horse which isn’t that bad. We have paid double that were we lived down south which still isn’t that bad. Depending on your footing of your pasture you mini might need to only be trimmed around 8-10 weeks. We have ours on the same schedule as our other horses.
Shoeing a mini will be around $75-100 bucks.
So yearly for trims that would be around $15 bucks a month or $180 a year.
Shoeing would be around $40 a month and $450 a year. We don’t really shoe our horses in the winter where we live because of the snow and ice and we don’t ride anywhere but on grass an indoor arena in the winter time.
How Much For Vet To Take Care Of Mini Horse?
This depends on how you take care of your animals and I am friends with people that take or have the vet come out for their yearly’s and I know people that never go to the vet unless they need.
A barn call is $100 for us to have the vet out. So for our shots yearly it is around $40 dollars a horse. Our vet also does barn rounds so it is half off or less for the call.
Depending on what state you live in your can do most all shots and vaccines yourself and get them right at your local feed store. Rabies is the biggest one that needs to be done by a vet.
Worming your mini. You can worm your mini just like any other horse. Most people have opinions on this but with having as many horses as we do it is a no brainer. We worm them every season the wormer average around $3-10 for a vile. So around 12-40 a year for wormer.
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Mini According To Real Horse Owners?
We think mini horses are amazing and affordable, but don’t take our word for it. We have compiled a list of Real Miniature Horse Owners to get their experience and opinion on how much it cost to own a mini.
Some of these answers have been edited for better grammar and writing style. However, the meaning and overall intent remain the same. Most of these answers are curated from the Horse SubReddit and other mini horse forums.
1. Disney Horse “Board Can Be High” – That is really tough to say… it totally depends on your location and situation. A large portion of MY upkeep here is paying board… but if I had horse property it might not be as much.
2. Minimore “$40 A Month To Feed Per Mini” – It does very much depend on location and your specific situation. I think I’ve figured it up previously as an average of $40 per mini per month for feed–because we buy all our hay, and feed square bales as opposed to rounds–if I figured it up per individual horse some would be more (those on higher grain ration) and some would be less (those that get hay only, no grain). This amount does include bedding costs (straw…if I used shavings it would be much higher) but doesn’t include dewormer (approx. $12 per year per horse) or annual vaccines ($35/horse/year). It also doesn’t include farrier costs because I do my own trimming. And of course that amount doesn’t include any regular or emergency vet care.
If you have to board your horse the cost will be much higher. Vaccine costs will also be much higher if you give extra vaccines–PHF, flu/rhino every 2-3 months, etc etc and/or if you have to have the vet out to administer those vaccines.
3. Little Wolf Ranch “You Can Eliminate A Lot Of Costs” – Alot of expenses can be cut out if you know how to do things yourself.
Here is how I eliminated or cut some of the costs:
– I keep my horses on my own property = $0 board fee (initial building of fencing and stalls is something you have to consider but is a one-time thing, not yearly)
– I trim my own horses hooves so don’t have to pay farrier bills = $0 (used to cost $25/horse for trimming)
– I give my own shots myself = $0 vet visit bill (used to cost me $80 just for him to show up!)
– I do not call my vet out for emergencies unless I think someone if on the verge of dying or needs stitches as I have a neighbor has several “natural remedies” for several things including colic and my other neighbor delivers about 3-4 foals per year so he assists me with breeding. So basicly my two neighbors with over 100 years of horse experience combined are my “vets” unless someone really gets hurt – then the professional vet comes out
Things I still have to pay for:
– Shots = $20/horse per year from Tractor Supply (used to cost me $45-50/horse per year by the vet)
– Oat Hay = $600/year gets me 30 4×4 round bales
– Coggins Tests = $15/horse per year for my show/sale horses only (if they don’t leave my property that year, they don’t get one)
– Health Certificates = $10/horse for sale horses (I don’t show out of state so I don’t need it)
– Grain & Beet Pulp = about $62/month (I go through about 2 bags of Strategy and 2 bags of Beet Pulp per month feeding 6 minis and 2 riding horses as they get mostly hay)
I would guess on average that I am spending atleast $1500 per year – BUT THAT IS FOR 6 MINIATURES AND 2 RIDING HORSES! By my calculation, each horse is costing my roughly $300 per year.
Like others have said, it depends on your region and what things cost as to how much it will cost you to keep up a miniature horse. Some are more fortunate than others and some are not. Don’t you just love variables?
4. DougS “How You Keep It Makes Biggest Difference” –
The cost all depends on:
– Where you live, and
– How you keep the horse.
Costs for a lot of things depend on where you are. For example, I can buy a small bale (25 pounds) of hay or straw for about $2. However, I’ve heard of areas where it is over $10. Likewise, things like a annual dental checkup varies from $100 in some areas to $300 in others.
The other factor is how you keep it. If you have a lot of pasture, you don’t need to buy in much hay. Also, if the pony is outside most of the day rather than locked in the stable most of the day, you need less straw. If you stable the pony yourself, it is half or less the cost of a professional stable.
I suggest you start with a list and explanation of the various costs (there is one here: http://www.wowhorses.com/cost-of-a-horse.html) and then phone around to get the local costs of the various items. Then, take into account what you reallly need (how much hay, straw and so on), depending on your circumstances.
Hope this helps.
5. MindyLee “Has 7 Mini’s” –
7 minis here and I figured about $800-$1000 per year. Thats hay, grain, vacs, and I trough in a couple hundred in case of any emergencies. Now if you want to add housing,fencing and such, $500-$800 more.
BUT what helps me is I do my own farrier and dental to my horses as of right now and have for years.
6. Davie “$34.00/Month” – Last year my costs (hay, grain, vet, dentistry, and farrier) averaged just over $400/horse and I had 20 head here last year. That averages to about $34.00/mo per animal. Add another $5000.00 for 3 horses I showed last year at 3 shows plus Nationals.
7. Jean_B “Has No Pasture” –
Average annual cost here – hay/grain, vaccinations, farrier, worming, dental = $500 per horse. This does NOT include any veterinary calls for anything other than coggins/health certs etc.
I have no pasture (on a mountain ridge that is all rock) – so feed hay year ’round. Do my own vaccinations and take care of 90% of the medical issues by myself. Farrier is $25 a pop – some horses are done ever 7 weeks, some every 14…nothing ever goes more than 14 weeks. Dental is $55 a horse and only if it needs to have work done. But I am VERY VERY VERY particular about the quality of my hay and willing to pay for it. My horses are not stalled – ever….well, if foaling, getting ready for a show, or if sick, but that’s it, so very minimal bedding costs.
8. Kriss3 “6k for 4 Minis” –
I think I spend easly 6,000.00 a year on mine….( 4 mini horses) minimum!!!! last year i spent well over that with a round pen , stall mats, trailer , show fees , club fees, …..
vet… teeth, shots,wormers etc. 400 to 500 per year add 500 more for the emergency call you could have
hay …10 to 25 .00 per bale , 1 bale a week
grain .. well you shouldnt be giving grain anyway IMO
vitamins…I give a vitamin everyday they get everything they need in it 36.00 for 2 month supply
mineral block…25.00 2 per year
Farrier…4 horses 100.00 every 6 weeks
tools… fork, broom wheelberrow, hoses, rake etc…200.00
bedding … 19.00 per 10 kilo I need at least 4 per month… 75 .00 per month
I keep mine at home , and file the horses feet between Farrier appointments
then add medical supplies … bandages , creams ,ointments, thrush buster, vasoline, stethiscope , vet manuals, etc.. brushes combs shampoos, blankets, flyspray fly sheet fly mask, fencing, hauling poop from your property the list is endless…
lots of hidden costs…YEP at least 1,000. per horse per year. That is as long as he is healthy.
9. Wingnut “New Owner” –
We’re new at the horse game so it’s a little unclear exactly what our costs will ultimately average out to be as we’re still buying supplies as they become needed.
Last week I had our weanling foal clipped by someone I found on Craig’s list. We’ve never clipped a horse of any kind before and still don’t have clippers of our own. We only needed this done once before next spring so it seemed that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay someone else to do it. It allows us time to research the best clippers we can afford, save up for them and be ready to go come spring. It also helped to watch someone do it. I had a peek at this in early July when I visited Marlene at WhiteTails farm. A second time of watching was really helpful. And I met another great miniature horse owner. That was another well spent $75.
We pay $25 per horse for trimming. Our mare only went 4 weeks this last time despite a good trim before…it wasn’t a botched trim the previous time, just really fast growing hooves. We’re averaging 7 weeks between trims with this one exception. We now have 3 minis, so that’s $75 * 6 (on average) = $450. I think my husband will ultimately figure out how to do this himself. He’s adamant that we never let their hooves go without good farrier care so he has incentive to learn how to do it to save us some $$. That’s at least a year or more down the road though.
Right now, we aren’t paying anything for hay. A childhood friend of my husband has a hay business and he refuses to take any money. We will be using more and more hay as our small pasture is pretty chewed down right now and of course winter is coming. At some point though, he’s gonna have to charge us something. Husband is really uncomfortable about it but I’m counting my blessings :p By next summer (June-ish) our larger pasture will be ready for use. We’re splitting it in half and will rotate the 3 of them between the 3 even sized fields. We hope this minimizes our hay needs next summer.
Our mare is on a senior sweet feed. It’s $15 a 50lb bag and that bag is lasting us about 45 days. She’s a hard keeper so she gets 2lbs a day.
The yearling and the weanling foal are both on a complete pelleted feed to ensure a well balanced nutritional diet. That 50lb bag costs around $25 and is lasting us about 60 days.
Obviously, our biggest expenses this year came from getting everything setup. We still have more work to do (a no-freeze water line to the barn, electricity to the barn, seeding the larger pasture, finishing the fencing in the larger pasture) so these expenses aren’t over but should be by next spring.
Our vet charges $38 for a farm visit and $35 per animal for the exam. We had him out for the first time at the beginning of the month when the weanling came home and needed her vaccinations. We had some concerns about the mare so we scheduled him to look at her as well. Total cost of the visit was $200. It included staining the mare’s eyes looking for scratches/ulcerations because her eyes were oozing yellow goop. When he ruled that out, he diagnosed “pink eye” and gave us meds for that. I’ve paid far more than that for one dog AT their vet’s office!
Overall, the expenses have not been as bad as I once feared. Obviously, a larger horse would have more expenses simply because they require more volume in many instances. Right now, these girls are our pets and we’re going to make decisions on what else we’ll do with them later on down the road. As these decisions are made, obviously different expenses will likely arise.
10. Jill “40 A Month” – I think it costs us approximately $40/month/mini to feed, deworm and vaccinate. We do our hoof trims ourselves and a lot of the vet situations I can also handle myself. Ours are all on dry lots so we feed hay 2x a day. The $40/mo is if everything goes smooth and nothing happens where the vet needs to come out. It does not include showing… that throws a huge variable into it when you factor in the distances to different shows, etc.
11. Sedeh “$375 just for feed yearly” –
I just took a peak at my books from last year…..I do wish you wouldn’t make me do that, I much prefer burying my head in the sand about costs! I have 13 minis and one big horse. I have 5 acres but don’t really have pasture but they do get something from it so for a few months I don’t feed as much. In the Spring I have to dry lot everyone and really watch that Spring grass for laminitis issues. My feed/supply bill which includes about $1,000 for vaccines which I self admin was right around $7,000. Taking into consideration the big horse, I think just the feed part for the minis was $375 yearly each. Farrier was another 1,200 and the vet was $1,000 for teeth and I think one gelding. Luckily haven’t had any “big” vet expenses but you have to be prepared for them.
She also asked about show fees and that so depends on what kind of shows you’re going to and how far away they are. I spend around $3,000 yearly for just my Oregon based Pinto shows. This includes entry and stall fees, camping site and food, and some show clothes. Tack on another $5,000 if I decide to go to the Pinto World show(and that’s with splitting gas/travel expenses)! If you have a trainer……well, the numbers keep going up! Of course there’s also registration and membership fees. Geez……I hope hubby doesn’t see this post!!
So as you can see it can vary greatly based on where you live. If you have your own land that is definitely the way to go. Building a small structure for your minis and putting up fence can be relatively cheap and you will save money over boarding over the years.
However where boarding helps is if you travel you don’t need help having someone watch your horses this has always been the biggest headache with us having horses. Luckily we have family that step up and also our boarders. But needless to say we don’t travel much but try to get away two weeks every year.
Where we live we are lucky with most horse expenses we have some of the best hay in the nation in upstate New York and land. We cut most of our locust posts for fencing right off the property. We don’t don’t hay our horses much during the summer months. The winter can be very tough with the snow and such. At the time of this writing this is actually the first time we have used round bales with our horses but we managed to get a good deal with some alfalfa bales.
Mini’s are amazing animals but they come with some headaches and if not taken care or brought up properly can be very hard to take care of.