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So, You Want a Horse?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Taking care of an animal is a huge responsibility, and horses are no exception! Here is what the Equestrian Team tells kids at New Directions about the responsibility of owning a horse, when kids say they want their own.

“The first thing to consider is the cost of the horse, and horses can be pretty pricy. But even if you were to get a horse for free there are plenty of other things to keep in mind.

You’ll have to have somewhere for the horse to stay. If you can’t keep them on your own property, you will have to pay for boarding. Boarding a horse can range from $300 to $700 a month, depending on the services provided. At the lower end, you will have to feed and clean the stall of your horse and provide all the feed and hay needed. Plus, you will need sawdust for the horse’s stall too. You will need at least one bag of sawdust for a stall, and it might last a few days depending on how neat they are, or you may have to change out the sawdust everyday if they are messier. It’s roughly $2,555 for sawdust per year.

Approximate cost to board a horse $6,155 – $10,955 per year

After finding a place to stay, you need to feed your horse! The cost of feed for a horse depends on their needs. Grain for a horse can be $35 or more per 50 lb. bag and you’ll likely need two or more bags per month. If the horse needs supplements, it can cost upward of $2,000 a year. An average horse, even if they have access to a pasture in the summer, still needs roughly 250 square bales of hay a year. If they do not have access to a pasture, then they will need at least 100 more bales a year. Bales of hay can range from $4 to $10 each.

Approximate cost to feed a horse $3,840 – $6,340 per year

Horses require medical care and attention. Veterinary care depends on the horse, but they need shots once a year that cost around $150. They should also be visited by an equine dentist twice a year, which can be $200 or more each year. Additionally, you will have to worm a horse at least twice a year and each tube ranges from $10 to $20. Plus, you will need to put aside money for a farrier. It costs roughly $60 for a trim and up to $200 for shoes. This should be happening every six weeks, so it would cost about $480 for trimming and $1,600 for shoes in total per year. All of these costs do not include the possibility of the horse getting sick or hurt. Should that happen, and it does happen, it could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to get the horse treated.

Approximate cost of general health care $2,450 – $2,470 per year

All of these costs so far are only if you’d like to have a horse. If you’d like to ride it, there are additional costs you have to consider. If the horse you get is untrained, then you will have to pay for the horse to go through training. Having a horse receive training for 30 days can cost upward of $350. If you also have never ridden a horse, you’ll also have to take riding lessons which cost around $35 to $50 an hour and you’ll likely have to take two-hour lessons three times a week to start off. Plus, you need riding gear – helmets, boots, saddles, bits, bridles, lead ropes, etc. – which can cost you around $650 as well as grooming and cleaning supplies that can cost more than $130.

  Approximate riding and grooming costs $1,340 – $1,430+

Always remember that a free horse is never really free and in the end you must consider the cost of owning and being able to care for them properly before you take the leap and get a horse.”

It certainly requires a lot of responsibility to own a horse, but our passion for our equine companions and the comfort, experience, and opportunities they provide for the kids at New Directions well outweighs the cost of owning them.

Visit our Equestrian Page to learn more about our horses and the ways they provide enriching experiences for New Directions’ youth!

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