The Cost of Keeping a Horse

Horseback riding forged its association with nobility and wealth millenia ago. Considered primarily a means of transportation and farming aid, owning and riding horses as a hobby was elitist and remains perceived that way nowadays.


Although society has evolved and equestrian sports have been adopted by different classes of society, from amateur horse enthusiasts, professional dressage riders to Olympian competitors; horse riding remains costly and highly valued. These costs obviously vary, depending on the area you live in, horse breed, age and even disciplines you compete in.


Despite the common preconception that horse owners and riders shall be rich, you’ll find that most riders and horse owners, professional or not, struggle to make ends meet and are actively searching for creative ways to keep their horses to standard care. 


To keep a horse, bear in mind that you need to cover the expenses of livery stable, food and supplements, health care and equipment which all come at a steep recurrent cost. Participating in events and entering the competing scene is another cost to consider. 



To ensure your horse’s well being, your first basic standard care is to provide them with nutrient filled and sufficient fresh food and water supply. The cost can vary depending on the horse’s  breed, bodyweight, age and the exercise regiment of the horse. Consider all extras encompassed like supplements and treats.



Certainly not all riders live on a farm or a ranch, or keep stables in their townhouse backyards for that matter. A comfortable and clean shelter that is daily mucked out and refreshed is an essential part of keeping a horse. There are different formulas that are cost sensitive and involve hiring a full or part time livery or, the ‘do it yourself livery’ which implies hours and days of work, which most riders can’t afford. Considering the cost of such care, riders often have day jobs not allowing them to solely focus on tending to their horses on a daily basis, and must resort to hired services. Needing to transport your horse to attend an event or for any other reason, is another costly point and requires safety measures and insurance cover to move the horse appropriately from one place to another.



In addition to regular yearly veterinarian check ups, there are obviously many achievable yet immoderate costs involved in ensuring your horse is healthy. Deworming, vaccinations,  and insurance are just a few of the yearly health care costs for keeping a horse. Unfortunately, random medical fees due to injuries or disease may arise, physiotherapy during competitions and dentist add ons must be considered in the overall health management of a horse.



From farriery to riding equipment, the accessories your horse is fitted with start with steep costs and require continuous maintenance. A horse is re-shod every 4 to 6 weeks, a saddle should be checked and adjusted at least twice a year… and what about the riders’ uniforms, boots, helmet and training equipment!! 



Training facilities, coaches and dressage professionals represent a large portion of the cost of riding and keeping horses. Reaching competing levels means participating in various events throughout the year and spending money on membership fees and show entries. 


Whether you decide to remain amateur horse enthusiast or pierce the equestrian events and compete at a professional level, keeping a horse is onerous. And as most horse lovers and riders will tell you, well above the financial challenges, the highest paid price is the sacrifice made in time and energy required to care for these beautiful creatures.


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