Cost of Owning a Horse: October 2019 Expense Report

How much do horses cost? Here’s my answer for October 2019.

what horses cost oct 2019

Summary Breakdown

These reports are intended to be a tool for horse enthusiasts who are considering buying (or leasing) a horse and want a transparent look at the real cost of horse ownership.

This month, we wrapped up our barn clinic season and monthly ranch riding series. (Spoiler alert: We won!) Thanks to some creative bartering (sign up for our email list to get 7 ways to barter for horse expenses), and not having a farrier visit this month, I came in way under budget. Yay!

(If you’re new to these expense reports, make sure to read the “reminders” section here for background on my finances.)

Cost of Owning a Horse This Month


  • $345 // Riding Lessons & Ranch Riding Class
    • Typically, I take 3 lessons per week (Western flatwork, jumping, and cow work). This month, I took 4 private Western lessons, 2 semi-private jumping lessons, and 1 cow working lesson
    • I also attended our barn’s Ranch Riding Finale, which was the culmination of our monthly series!
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for 4 lessons. Because I board at the barn, I also get a discounted rate on lessons.)
horse riding buckle

We won our barn’s ranch class finale!

  • $295 // Cow Working Clinic
    • My trainer held a 2-day cow working clinic, and it was our last event of the season.
    • (Adjustment: I traded marketing services in exchange for this clinic.) 

Learn how I manage my anxiety at competitions with my 33 Tips for Nervous Riders.



  • $1.99 // Discount Apples
    • Our grocery store puts bruised produce on a sale rack, and I always look for bags of apples. My horse certainly doesn’t mind a few bumps on his apples.


  • $90 // MDC Stirrups (Gift)
    • My jumping lesson partner and I went in on a pair of MDC stirrups for our instructor’s birthday.

Click to see MDC stirrups at Amazon

See why MDC stirrups made our list of the 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe).


  • $14.58 // Liability Insurance
    • I have a liability policy in case my horse ever (accidentally, of course!) causes injury or damage. My Equisure policy covers $300,000 per occurrence and $600,000 aggregate.
  • $57.50 // Mortality & Major Medical Insurance
    • I also have a mortality and major medical insurance policy through Northwest Equine Insurance. It covers up to $10,000 in major medical expenses and the cost of my horse if he were to die. (Note: He WILL live forever.)
  • $70.42 // Tow Vehicle Insurance (Progressive Commercial Policy)
  • $12.75 // Horse Trailer Insurance (Progressive Commercial Policy)
  • $12.42 // US Rider Equestrian Roadside Assistance Membership
    • Think of this like AAA when you’re hauling a horse trailer. (FYI, regular roadside assistance programs will NOT service or tow horse trailers if you breakdown.)
    • I have the Classic Membership Plan from US Rider.
    • Note: I initially forgot to include this expense on my January and February reports, but I went back and added it.


  • $460 // Board
    • Board includes outdoor paddock, feed, blanketing, turnout, deworming, and access to the facilities. Boarders also get a small discount on lessons.
    • (Adjustment: I bartered marketing services in exchange for board.)


  • $111.36 // Fuel for Barn Visits
    • This figure is an average. It’s calculated by taking the IRS mileage rate for 2019 (58 cents) x 4 visits per week x 4 weeks per month.

TOTAL (Before Adjustments) = $1,517.41

GRAND TOTAL (After Adjustments) = $582.41

(Under budget by $417.59)

Money Well Spent

What am I particularly glad I spent money on this month?

  • Though it was an expensive gift, I loved seeing the look on my trainer’s face when she opened her new MDC stirrups. She does so much for our barn family that it’s nice to spoil her every now and then 🙂
  • The monthly ranch riding series was new this year, and we made so much progress in our reining, cow work, and roping. (OK, we actually still suck at roping…but it’s better.) I was so proud of my horse for earning the championship buckle at the finale! 

Buyer’s Remorse

What do I regret spending money on?

  • I was really good about budgeting in October, so I don’t have any regrets.
  • Part of the reason I spent less on horse stuff was knowing I would be going Christmas shopping at the end of the month. (Yes, I go really early!) Having something else to save for kept me from making any frivolous equestrian purchases. 

Tips for Reining in Expenses (Pun Intended)

How could you save some money?

  • Barter, barter, barter: Periodically trading for things like board and lessons helps lower my bills a lot. Bartering is what allows me to take 3 lessons per week and ride in so many clinics. If you want to get 7 ideas for how you can trade for some of your expenses, subscribe to our email list!
  • Watch for price drops: If you have a product you use often, keep an eye out for sales on Amazon or in your local tack stores. Apps like Honey can help you do this automatically by applying coupon codes and checking prices for you. Click here to try Honey for free.
  • Compare costs before you buy: Most of the time, I make my horse-related purchases on Amazon. I love the selection, 2-day Prime shipping, and competitive prices.

On the Horizon

What’s on my wish list for the future?

  • (Still on my list) Compositi Eclipse Safety Stirrups: As I said in my Compositi Stirrups Review, I’m loving this brand’s products. After I purchased the Reflex stirrups, I discovered Compositi also makes a safety stirrup called the Eclipse (see it at State Line Tack). I still want them for my jumping saddle.
  • Twisted X Moccasins: Most days, I wear boots or Sketcher flats. This fall, I realized how handy it’d be to have an in-between type of shoe that I could wear around town, to the tack store, and out walking the dog. I’ve had my eye on these Twisted X loafers for months. They’d look great with jeans and be a solid 3-season shoe. 

Click to see Twisted X shoes at Amazon

Overall, I’m grateful to come in under budget this month. Between Christmas shopping and an upcoming farrier visit in early November, it’s nice to have a financial buffer right now.

Plus, I did get some fun new horse supplies this month — without needing to pay for them. SaddleBox sent me one of their equestrian subscription boxes to review, and it was such a blast to open all those gifts.

Happy Trails!

P.S. If you hate buyer’s remorse too, check out our Horse Rookie Must Haves on Amazon for equestrian gear that’s worth every penny!

P.P.S. Buying your first horse? Check out 60 Questions to Ask When Buying the Horse of Your Dreams and our Beginner’s Guide to the Best Equine Insurance

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7 Winning Tips to Keep Your Horse Happy

Just like dogs, cats, parrots, and other pets, horses are a very famous animal among the people. You know one can get so many health benefits. From ancient times, the horse is the best of friends for humans.

From your horse, you can reap so many benefits, and if you are suffering from a mental disorder, then Equine Horse Therapy can help a lot.

Not only you, but the horse also teaches so many things to your kids which may help them in turn learn life lessons.

Though you are getting many positive things, do you ever think about your horse like his health, his likes or dislikes, how to make the horse happy, and so on?

If you don’t know how to keep your horse happy, then here we offer you suggested guidelines about this. So, let’s have a look.


Here are 7 Winning Tips to Keep Your Horse Happy:

1) Regular Exercise:

We know exercise is an important part of being human. Just like us horses also need exercise to stay healthy and fit.

If your horse lived in American Barns then it is very easy for you to schedule exercise daily. Daily workout keeps your horse healthy and helps to reduce his stress. Not only this, but exercise allows them to release pent up energy.

2) Keep Vaccinations:

Vaccination is very important in animals as well as humans. Proper and timely vaccination helps you to keep your horse healthy and fit.

All the time when your horse is sick, it needs so much energy to recover. So, if you always give routine vaccinations to the horse then it will help your horse to easily recover against more serious diseases.

For regular vaccinations, you can ask your vet for a list of vaccines he suggests you give to your horse and which ones are most important for your horse. This is one of the best tips to keep your horse happy.

3) Select a Safe and Comfortable Environment for Your Horse: 

Your horse needs housing that not only keeps him safe but also makes him comfortable. If your horse lives in a barn, provide them a stall and protection.  If they live outdoors, they will need a way to get out of the sun – a run-in shed or shady trees can give them protection from the elements.

For a healthy and happy life, providing them a dry walking area, grass, rubber mats, and hoof care. This will aid in a happy horse.

4) Provide Them Good Nutrition:

You know that the digestive system of your horse is designed to process large amounts of fibrous foods regularly.

To keep the horse’s digestive health and increase their energy level, you should include grass or hay in their regular diet with some grains.

To provide perfect nutritious, include traditional minerals blocks with loose minerals and imperative minerals.

Don’t only concentrate on food; you must also provide fresh water.

5) Go for Regular Dental Checkup:

Your horse’s teeth are also important. Plan for a checkup about once a year. Teeth of the horse continue to grow and you do not want them damaged by opposing teeth.  The teeth to be filed regularly to ensure the horse is comfortable when he eats.

Without regular dental check-ups, your horse could develop problems that could lead to more serious problems like colic and choke.

6) Take Care of Their Hooves:

It is important to take care of the horse’s hooves, and for that, you should regularly trim it. Every horse is different and the growth of its hooves also vary from one horse to another.

Most of the time every horse hoof grows between 4 to 8 weeks and after that, you should trim it. So, keep an eye on the hooves of your horse and reduce the chance of discomfort and lameness.

7) Visit Your Horse Regularly:

For checking whether your horse is happy, you should visit your horse stable every day (if able). By visiting daily, the bond between you and the horse becomes very strong. So visit your horse and make your bond stronger! 🙂

Just like a human being has friends, horses also like the company of other horses. Make sure he has other equine friends around him.

I hope by reading this blog about “How to Keep Your Horse Happy” you will keep in mind the suggested list of tips on how to do this for your horse.

If you like this blog and you want to share it with your family and friends then you are most welcome to share it on your social media.

I think this blog is helpful if you are a horse lover. You can share your reviews about this blog below the comment box.


Author Bio

Emily Davis works at Cheval Liberte as a community manager. Cheval Liberté has been designing, developing and producing stalls, temporary stables, and stable equipment since 1995. Driven by their passion for horses, Cheval Liberté was founded by both riders and breeders. Since 2005, this passion has been implemented in the UK, with our North Wales company being the sole importer of Cheval Liberté products for distribution and erection throughout the UK & Ireland.

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Guest Appearance on Horse Rookie

I am very excited to share with you all that I have a featured article on Horse Rookie!  This website is awesome to find many articles related to the equine industry and are great for newbies or seasoned riders.  Please take a minute to check out my article, 4 Dressage Fashion Trends & Salute-Worthy Styles. Keep an eye out for more upcoming articles and collaborations with Horse Rookie at!

Click the photo below to visit the article.

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When can (and should) you start jumping a horse?

There are many opinions among equestrians about when you should start jumping a horse. Most of these discussions focus on when a horse is primarily physically, but also mentally, ready for a higher-impact activity, such as work over fences.

In general, a horse should have a solid foundation on the flat, over ground poles, cavelletti, and small crossrails before moving on to bigger fences. Most riders begin jumping before a horse is fully grown (5-7 years). With proper judgement, fitness, and horsemanship, schooling younger horses over starter fences is acceptable.

Equine growth and development

Horses mature at approximately the same rate, regardless of breed or type, and aren’t fully grown until five to seven years old. Growth plates, which begin as cartilage become bone over time, typically convert from the feet upwards.

Many riders wait until a horse’s knees close to begin heavy work, as it is easier to damage cartilage than bone.

Knees, however, are not the only growth plates in the horse’s body—the knee end of the horse’s radius is simply the last area of the leg to close. It’s also typically the area where a vet will x-ray to check growth plate progress.

The last structure to mature in a horse is the spine.

Similar to human anatomy, horses have cranial, thoracic, and lumbar vertebrae, and they mature from front to back.

Cranial vertebrae close by three years of age, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae by five to seven.1

As horses grow, they tend to develop in uneven spurts. They may grow taller in the hip, then the withers, then the hip again, before (hopefully) evening out at maturity.

This means their balance is constantly shifting.

A young horse may become capable of maintaining a balanced canter, then go through a growth spurt and begin to struggle once again with that same gait.

It is important to take these stages of growth into account when developing a training strategy for a growing horse.2

Most trainers and riders don’t wait until a horse is fully-grown at five to seven years old to start riding, let alone jumping. A big part of this is economics; many people can’t afford for horses to sit around until fully developed before starting their jobs.

Check out our 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe)

So what’s the “right” answer?

There is a happy medium, and like most things, it depends on the individual rider and horse.

After a solid foundation on the flat is developed, working over ground poles, cavelletti, and small crossrails is the natural progression. If you’re interested in jumping, these exercises are also a great way to keep your horse interested and engaged.

In a Practical Horseman article, Wilhelm Genn, a Grand-prix rider, says that incorporating jumping into a carefully planned training program can be perfectly safe at any age as long as good horsemanship and judgement are used.2

He emphasizes the importance of fitness and slowly building up a young horse’s strength and endurance. After a horse has a solid foundation of flatwork, jumping under saddle can begin.

That’s why it’s best to start small and slowly, with cavalletti and crossrails, and gradually work up.

He suggests it’s best to jump fewer fences multiple times a week than cramming in lots of jumps less frequently. As soon as a horse shows signs of tiring, it’s time to stop jumping.  

Check out our 10 Best Stirrups for Jumping Clear (and Staying Safe)

Advice in action

The horse below is balanced and is moving nicely on the flat. Professionals agree it is best to wait to begin jumping until your horse has a solid foundation on the flat.

hunter jumper rider and horse

Photo by Laila Klinsmann from Pexels

In contrast, the horse below is a Grand Prix jumper. You can see the strain on the its joints from a combination of fence height and a tight turn.

grand prix jumping horse

Photos from Pexels

This level of jumping is something to be worked up to gradually, after the horse is fully grown and experienced in lower levels.

When in doubt, take your time

There are many resources available on this topic. Some are rooted in fact, others in opinion or tradition.

An experienced trainer, in consultation with your veterinarian, can help you decide when your horse is ready to start jumping.

If you’re still not sure whether your horse is ready, patience is always a safe option. Take things slowly, and build up your horse’s fitness step by step.

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