About four years ago, I wrote an article about how much it costs to keep a horse. Prices rarely drop, so what can we expect to pay to keep a horse over the next year. Hereís a look at some basic costs.
One of the biggest expenses horse owners face is buying hay. Again, hay prices can fluctuate wildly and a lot of different factors affect the price. A bad year for hay ó too wet or dry, can cause prices to skyrocket. You can expect the price of hay to at least double in midwinter, compared to the cost of the same hay bought off the field in summer. Gas prices affect hay so that affects the cost of harvesting and shipping.
The value of other crops affects hay prices. It may be more profitable for farmers to grow a different crop like corn, soy or canola, so supplies become more scarce. Milk prices can affect hay prices since the hay that is fed to dairy cattle is pretty much the same hay that horse owners value. Even demand from other countries can affect hay prices at home.
Small bales may be more costly than large bales because there is more handling involved. And, buying in one large quantity can be more cost effective than buying small amounts as you go through the year.
For those in the U.S. you have a good guideline for pricing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hay Reports break down the forage prices by state. Elsewhere, horse owners will have to ask growers their price. But, as an example, premium hay sells for about $200 USD per ton. Horse owners can expect to pay a bit more, especially if buying in small quantities. So you might expect a low average to be about $5 per small bale or around $30 to $40 for a large round bale. The price can easily be much higher, however. The hay harvest for the 2018 season has just started as I write this, and much will depend on what mother nature has in store for us over the summer months. But letís use the low average, feeding about a half a bale a day to our smallish pleasure riding horse. Thatís a cost of 2.50 per day.
Grain and Supplements
Like hay, grain prices can be affected by many factors. A bag of pelleted feed weighing just under 50lbs costs me about $30. How long it lasts depends on the amount fed of course, but letís say we are only feeding as a supplement, rather than to put on weight, increase stamina or for growth. A bag then will last about three weeks. That comes to about $38 a month.
Salt is still cheap. A simple bag or block can be bought for about $15 although youíll pay more for the fancy type. Basic mineral mixes can cost about $20 and last for months. If youíre feeding something like a hoof growth supplement, expect to pay a lot more.
Youíd have difficulty finding a farrier that will trim for less than $30 and many charge $50 or more. And shoeing fronts will cost at least $150. That means a low average for farrier work will cost you at least $30 every six or seven weeks but will easily cost more.
Iím hopping mad that where I live, you will not be able to buy deworming medication off of the shelf shortly. That cost was about $15 for a tube of deworming paste. Deworming will now be done under the supervision of a veterinarian ó and so far the cost is unknown. In the U.S. you can buy deworming paste for about $10 and youíll probably use it a minimum of 3 times a year.
Dental Work And Vaccines
Your horse will need dental work about once a year. Some need more. You can still count on about $150 for this service. The price of vaccinations hasnít gone up drastically recently. You can still count on about $125 a year for this.
So letís look at the totals using the lowest averages:
Hay (low average): $915
Grain and Supplements: $456
What do you think? Does this reflect what you are paying? Are you able to spend less? Or, are you faced with much higher costs?
When you buy a bag of textured or pelleted horse feed, none of the ingredients are easily recognizable. A bag of oats contains oats - and thatís easy to see. But often even the label on a bag of feed doesnít list the exact ingredi ...
A popular slogan amongst pet rescue groups is adopt, donít shop. As someone who has adopted several dogs, and is currently working to rehabilitate a badly abused puppy mill survivor, Iím inclined to agree with the sentiment. But w ...
The BLM is rounding up about sixty burros in the Bullhead City of Arizona area and shortly, these burros, or donkeys as many of us call them, will be up for adoption. But, who would want a donkey? Turns out, donkeys are not only c ...
Did you just take the perfect picture of your horse? While youíre probably inclined to share it on Instagram, or on your Facebook feed, you might consider entering it in a contest instead. There are many horse photo contests onlin ...
One aspect of the pregnancy check I watched a vet perform recently that really bothers me is the sedation. I hate seeing horses sedated. There is some internal fear that creeps in on me when I see a horse standing with its head dr ...
Chances are, if you are out shopping for a helmet, you may assume that the more money you spend, the more protection you will be getting. But, according to an independent test done by a Swedish insurance company, that might not be ...
Leading isnít walking ahead of your horse while pulling on the lead rope. It isnít tagging along as your horse drags you along. Rather, your horse should be trained to walk beside you with no tension on the rope at all. You may mo ...
The Calgary Stampede has just ended as I write this, and the controversies around the rights of the animals performing always swirl. Those controversies havenít seemed to dampen the spirits of the people who attended that Stampede ...