how much does a horse cost

How Much Does A Horse Cost?

Owning a horse can be a rewarding experience – these animals provide their owners with endless hours of friendship and companionship.

However, owning one of these majestic beasts is also a significant long-term commitment of time and money. It takes careful financial planning to ensure your horse is cared for, healthy, and happy.

And, with some horses that, on average, live up to 30 years, you must sufficiently plan for their upkeep and maintenance.

In this article, we’ll look at all the costs associated with owning a horse and help you plan for the long-term care of your new companion.

The Costs Of Owning A Horse

There are several costs you’d have to keep in mind when buying a horse, including:

Initial costs

Inevitably, there are several costs you have to budget for before welcoming your new horse. These include:

Purchase price

One of the largest financial implications of owning a horse is their purchase price. Some horses can be relatively affordable, while others can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Several factors affect the purchase price of a horse:

  • Breed: Certain breeds, such as Arabian and Thoroughbreds, are sought after for their genetic superiority and athletic abilities and, therefore, cost more than other breeds.
  • Age: Older, more experienced horses are more expensive than younger horses.
  • Training: Horses with more training in specific disciplines – such as dressage, racing, or jumping – fetch a higher price tag than those with less training and experience.
  • Pedigree: You’ll pay more for an animal with a well-documented ancestry and desired bloodline.
  • Health: A healthy, physically sound horse will have a higher purchase price.

In the UK, you can expect to pay around the following amounts for a specific breed:

  • Cob: £1,500 – £5,000
  • Irish Sport Horse: £3,500 – £7,500
  • Connemara Pony: £3,000 – £7,000
  • Irish Draught: £3,000 – £6,000
  • New Forest Pony: £1,000 – £3,000
  • Clydesdale Horse: £2,500 – £8,000

Tack and equipment

Next, you’d also need to buy your horse’s tack and equipment. On average, you can expect to pay the following for your horse’s equipment:

  • Saddle: £200 to £1,000+
  • Bridle: £100 to £500+
  • Bit: £50 to £200+
  • Girth: £50 to £100+
  • Stirrups: £50 to £100+

The prices for riding and training equipment can vary, depending on the quality and brand you opt for.

You must also budget for and buy grooming supplies, hoof care tools, horseshoes, and blankets, leading to a further increase in equipment costs.

Ongoing Costs

Once you have signed on the dotted line, you have to keep the ongoing costs related to your horse’s daily maintenance and upkeep in mind.


Boarding is another significant expense of horse ownership.

If you house your new horse on your farm, this can save you significant amounts of money in the long run. However, if you house your animal in a stable or someone else’s farm, you’d have to pay for its boarding.

The overall monthly boarding fees are determined by:

  • Location: Horse boarding facilities in urban areas are typically more expensive than in rural areas.
  • Amenities: Boarding facilities with amenities like indoor arenas, heated stalls, and turnout will have a higher monthly fee.
  • Level of care: Monthly boarding fees also depend on the level of care and additional services you require. Full board services (including feeding, stall cleaning, and turnout) are more expensive than self-care boarding.

In the UK, most horse owners pay between £20 and £40 per week for their horse’s boarding. This amount, as mentioned, will vary depending on the type of facilities and amenities offered, the location of the stables, and the level of care provided.

Livery costs

Another option to house your horse is to rent a livery. Livery costs can vary, depending on the option you choose:

  • Grass livery: With a grass livery, owners are offered only grazing for their horses. Generally, a grass livery is the cheapest form of livery. However, it is limited in its amenities and may not include water and paddock access. Grass livery costs are, on average, around £30 to £40 per week.
  • Full livery: This option provides the most variation, with costs that fluctuate depending on the type of services and facilities you access. Full livery yards, generally, offer to clean your horse’s tack, regularly exercise the animal, replace stable bedding, and take care of the animal’s other daily needs. You can expect to pay £120 to £150 per week.
  • DIY stabled livery: This “do it yourself” option is generally the most economical option, with the services and facilities included in your livery costs varying from yard to yard. You can pay the livery yard staff to take care of all your horse’s daily needs or do some of the work yourself. You can expect to pay around £50 to £70 per week.
  • Assisted DIY livery: With this variation of DIY stabled livery, you pay the livery yard for optional services as and when needed. You can expect to pay a little extra for the additional services.
  • Part livery: With this option, the livery yard takes care of all your horse’s needs. However, you will have to exercise your horse yourself. Part liveries offer five or seven-day packages with their prices ranging accordingly.
  • Competition livery: This livery yard option is perfect for owners who want their horses fit and in shape. A trained professional rider regularly exercises your horse to keep it in competitive form.
  • Working livery: With this option, a riding school uses your stabled horse for riding lessons in return for a reduction in livery yard fees.


Owners also need to budget for their horse’s feed. On average, a horse’s hay, grain, and supplements can cost between £200 and £500 per month, depending on the animal’s health, age, breed, and overall activity level.

Veterinary care

Horses need regular visits by a veterinarian for their checkups and annual vaccinations. Your vet or equine dentist should also give your horse a regular dental checkup. Should your horse be treated for an unforeseen illness or injury, your vet bills can cost up to £2,000 per year.

Additional Expenses

Horses can prove to be high-maintenance and expensive to own. Except for the daily and monthly expenses, owners should also budget for the following expenses.

Farrier services

Horses’ hooves must be regularly trimmed, and their shoes regularly checked and replaced. Farrier services can cost between £50 and £100 per visit.

Training lessons

Lessons can vary between £50 and £100 per hour, depending on the discipline.

Shows and competitions

If competing in shows and competitions, you’d also need to budget for the varying entry fees and event-specific expenses such as travel and accommodation.


Should you regularly travel for shows and events, remember to budget for trailer rental or hauling fees.

Horse insurance

You can expect to pay between £200 and £500 annually for a good horse insurance policy. High-value horses or horses with complex health needs can cost several thousand pounds to insure.

Reducing Costs

There are several strategies you can use to reduce the overall amount you’ll spend on acquiring and owning a horse, including:

  • Buy a horse through a private sale or from a rescue organisation: Compared to buying your horse from an established dealer, this is a more affordable option.
  • Learn basic horse care skills: Grooming and feeding the animal yourself can help you save a significant amount of money.
  • Share costs with other owners: Co-owning or sharing boarding can help you cut your monthly horse care costs. Pasturing your horse on your farm can also save a lot of money.
  • Use free or low-cost resources: Attend free animal husbandry courses and workshops to learn new skills and reduce your monthly horse care bills.
  • Be a responsible horse owner: It’s advised that stabled horses must be regularly exercised to keep fit and help prevent injuries. Also, ensure the animal follows a proper diet and has access to preventive healthcare to minimise illnesses and veterinary expenses.


What determines the cost of my monthly horse insurance?

Your monthly horse insurance premium is determined by:

  • The horse’s age, breed, and market value: High-value horses cost more to insure.
  • The policy’s coverage level: More comprehensive policies (which include accidental injury, personal accident cover and third-party liability) will cost more than basic insurance policies.
  • Health history: Horses with pre-existing health conditions will have higher insurance premiums.
  • Location: Horses housed in urban areas – where the risk of theft is higher – will incur higher premiums.

Are there any government grants or financial assistance programs for horse owners in the UK?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any dedicated government grants or financial assistance programs for horse owners. Owners can, however, try to access rural payment schemes or apply for Land Funds or charitable organisation grants to secure funding for their horse and land purchases.


Owning a horse can bring animal lovers immense joy and companionship, but it’s crucial to understand the substantial financial commitment it requires.

Except for the initial purchase price, owners must also budget for other related expenses, such as riding equipment and tack. They also need to prepare and plan for daily expenses such as boarding, feeding, and the animal’s veterinary care.

Though it may seem financially daunting, with proper planning, you can provide your horse with the best care to live a healthy, productive life.

Consider all the above-mentioned factors – and the cost-savings strategies – to help in your decision-making and soon, you too, may be the proud owner of your own horse and life-long companion.

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