Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Costs of Owning a Horse, Part 1: January 2016

in summary

In part inspired by Karen's excellent series on her blog, Not So Speedy Dressage, but I have been thinking about putting this together for some time now.

Throughout 2016, I am going to track, monthly, every penny I spend on Tristan. It should give you an idea of what it costs to keep a horse in my specific circumstances.

So, for context, my circumstances are thusly: I keep one horse in central Vermont. He is boarded at what is for the area a higher-end facility. He has a stall and turnout during the day, hay and grain provided. The farm has an indoor, two outdoors, access to dirt roads and some trails, trailer storage, excellent full-time staff, and a choice of resident trainers that are all also excellent. I have access to a tack room and more or less unlimited storage (within reason, but I have two saddles, two bridle racks, a large tack trunk, etc.)

I am not charged extra for blanket changes, feeding supplements, giving basic medications, holding for the vet, holding for the farrier, etc. The barn schedules the farrier and routine vet appointments in conjunction with other horses who use those same professionals, but it's very much my choice to use those specific ones (the barn works with other vets and other farriers in the same way).

I am charged extra for extra shavings (only used when Tris was on stall rest after his surgery), barn-supplied medication (like Previcox), or more involved medical care like soaking his foot.

In terms of the horse, we'll describe Tristan as a senior horse in moderate work, with some health conditions that require ongoing medication, slightly more frequent than average veterinary care, and ongoing supplements that I've found do help him. He goes barefoot and is trimmed every 5 weeks.

In short, I totally and completely lucked out and have basically the best barn ever, because on top of all that, they're all awesome people.

What does all that cost? Here's January's breakdown.

Board: $550, base price
Farrier: $45
Medication: -
$109 - 1 50ml bottle of Pentosan (8-9 month supply)
$96.00 - 1 200mg container of Pergolide (6 month supply)
$6.75 - shipping
$69.95 - 1 8lb bucket of ReitHoof from Horsetech (60 day supply)
$125.95 - 1 25lb bucket of High Point Grass Pellets from HorseTech (60 day supply)

January 2016 total: $1,002.65
2016 total so far: $1,002.65


  1. I don't even want to track this. I'd rather underestimate my mental budget and pretend.

    1. Everyone's brain functions differently! If I didn't track, I would be in a constant state of anxiety.

  2. I can't get over what you pay for full board at a facility like yours. So not fair.

    1. Believe me I know exactly how stupid lucky I am! It does have its quirks, like anywhere would, but overall it is amazing.

  3. yea i don't even own but have zero interest in totally up my costs all the same... these horses ain't cheap...

    1. Nooooo they are not. His basic board cost is more than my mortgage. Sigh.

    2. Your mortgage is less than $550?!? That's insane.

    3. It is. That does not include property taxes, though, as we don't have an escrow account for those. The house needed work, and the real estate market here is still quite depressed.

  4. I don't want to look at mine (i just know I write a lot of checks!)

  5. I did a year's expense report one time for horse ownership, and it was a little terrifying. I have to say I'm kind of inspired to try it again though. This might be a bad thing...

  6. I keep a running spreadsheet that incorporates the horse related expenses along with our household budget (yes, horse is classified as a necessary expense mwahaha! Though it only incorporates the basics like tack and random stuff - that's comes out of my personal 'allowance') - if I didn't have everything budgeted out id definitely be in a constant state of anxiety about it. This could be a really good exercise for me too though - might help me cut some of my excess spend like that random bottle of cowboy magic I bought last week, and the extra buckets decided I needed... At the very least I need to do a side by side comprising come spring when I might be looking to change back to my old barn!


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