The Magazine Spring 2016

The real cost of keeping a horse

Posted 18th September 2017

Thinking about whether you can afford a horse or want to save money on your current costs? We’re looked into different types of livery to see how big a hole horses burn in our wallets.

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There’s no getting away from the fact that keeping a horse is expensive. But whenever anyone asks how much you actually spend, are you able to give them a real answer? Probably not. Most owners deal with how much their horse costs by burying their head in the sand and paying the bills as and when they arrive, without adding it all up – not a bad plan!

But in all seriousness, knowing the real cost of looking after a horse is important – although a little eye-watering – whether you’re looking to get your own horse and need to consider if you can afford it or already have one and could do with making sure how you keep him is cost-effective. We asked a series of horse owners who all keep their horses on different types of livery to get brave, add up their costs and let us know how much their beloved equines really cost them… 

DIY stabled livery

Sascha keeps her Thoroughbred mare, Grace, on DIY livery. Together they hack, attend Riding Club shows and showjump at affiliated level. Her livery includes field maintenance, but there isn’t an arena.

Average cost per month

Livery                                    £112.50

Bedding                                 £20.80

Hay                                         £30

Feed                                       £59.27

Supplements                        £0

Farrier                                  £56.70 (shod every six weeks)

Vaccinations                        £3.33 (annually)

Dentist                                   £6.25 (annually)

Worming (inc FWEC)        £5.48

Saddler                                  £14 (twice a year)

Physio                                    £10 (four times a year)

Insurance                              £50

Rug wash and repairs        £5.50

Total cost per month         £373.83

Total cost per year             £4,485.96

Important considerations

While DIY is cheaper than part or full livery, consider how much driving to and from the yard costs in fuel and wear-and-tear on your car. It may be that once you’ve included your fuel costs and considered how much time you’ll need to spend at the yard, it’s worth spending a bit more for part livery.

It’s also important to remember that hidden cost can always crop up on top of the basic cost of keeping a horse. Things you should think about include buying new equipment such as rugs and tack, facility hire, repairs to fencing, lost shoes, going to shows, grooming products and riding lessons to name just a few!

Check out more costs to consider, plus the real cost of keeping a horse at grass, part livery or full livery, only in the November issue of Horse&Rider, on sale 21 September.

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