28 Oct 2010

How Much does a Horse Cost?

A $3000 horse can cost $100 000 to care for. When buying a horse, it is the maintenance cost which is important, not the price.
The price of a horse can range from nothing to millions, depending on the horse. However, most horses sell for around $3000 and cost about $100 000 to maintain. Unfortunately, many people buying a horse for the first time are unaware of the maintenance costs, not realizing that the financial commitment they are making is far greater than the purchase price.

The first implication of this is that if you are not willing to make a $100 00 commitment (over a number of years), you probably should not be buying a horse. Perhaps you should look at a different solution (e.g. 2 or more owners sharing a horse) or not having a horse at all.

The second implication is that since the purchase price is such a small amount of the actual cost, if you buy a horse you may want to consider spending more than you would otherwise. To illustrate:

- A $6000 horse is double the price of a $3000 horse.
- However, after factoring in maintenance costs, the comparison is between $106 000 and $103 000, a difference of less than 3%.
- From this perspective, one could argue that it is worth spending 3% more to get the horse of your dreams rather than just an ordinary horse.

Many people find it difficult to understand that a horse costs $100 000 (or more) to maintain. Following is an explanation of this figure, based on owning the horse for 20 years (although some breeds of horse can live far longer than this).

If your horse is stabled, you will likely have to pay a minimum of $250 per month, which is $3000 per year, or $60 000 over 20 years. However these are the prices well away from towns; nearer towns the cost can easily be double or more.

Even if you self-stable and do all the work yourself, there are still substantial costs. Straw and hay alone will run about $1000 per year. Add on salt, minerals, water, electricity and other incidentals for a further $500 per year.

In many countries, third part accidental insurance is a legal requirement. You may also want to ensure your horse against vet costs, death, theft, loss of function and so on. Basic cover starts at about $500 per year.

Even if your horse is insured, there are a number of vet costs which are probably not covered (such as inoculations, annual dental work). Depending on your policy, other costs may be only partly covered. In a good year you will likely spend $300 on vet costs, and if you have a serious uninsured illness (e.g. colic) you could easily spend several thousand dollars.

Your horse will need to have it hooves trimmed every 2 months, at a cost of $30 ($180 per year). If it has shoes, this will be an additional $180 per year. Allow another $50 for worming your horse three times per year.

The above covers most of the costs of keeping a horse. On top of this, if you use the horse there are a number of additional costs: saddle, tack, rugs, transport, training for the horse, training for you.

Add up all the above and you end up with about $4 500 per year ($100 000 over 20 years). In some case it will be lower (if you self-stable, do not insure, do not participate in shows or competitions). In other cases it will be higher (if you use a professional stable near town, train to professional standard and compete). The $100 000 is a figure between these two points. To calculate what your actual costs would be, for your region and use, try the online calculator listed below. 

Recado Para Orkut - Cavalos: 7

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