Before buying a horse or pony it is important to consider the costs of owning one and this guide details the average regular costs involved in keeping a horse or pony.
Livery or field rent
Unless there is land available at home to keep a horse then it will be necessary to rent a field or look for a livery yard where the horse can be kept.
Farmers or others may have fields available to rent for horses and these are usually the lowest cost at around £10 per week. However, these usually have very few facilities available and horse owners may be responsible for the maintenance of the field and muck removal.
The choice for most horse owners is to keep their horse at a livery yard and these often have a range of facilities available including tack rooms, schooling arenas, muck heap, jumps, etc. Another advantage of keeping a horse at a livery yard is that the yard will fully maintain the fields used.
• Costs of keeping a horse on a livery yard vary depending on the type of livery offered.
• Grass Livery can be expected to cost in the region of £20-£25 per week.
• DIY Stabled Livery can be expected to cost around £30-£40 per week.
• Full livery can be expected to cost in the region of £100-£150 per week.
• Any care of the horse or duties carried out by staff at the livery yard will cost extra.
Hay, straw and shavings
For horses kept on grass livery hay is normally only required to be fed in winter when grass is scarce and how much is required will vary depending on the type and size of horse or pony.It should be expected that some hay will be needed to be fed for around 5 months of the year with up to £10 a week being added to the grass livery costs during the severest winter weeks when grass is totally unavailable.
For stabled horses hay is required all year round to compensate for the lack of access to grass whilst stabled and so can add around £10 a week to the livery costs throughout the year. Also some form of stable bedding is required, usually straw or shavings, and this can add a further £10-£20 per week to the livery costs throughout the year.
The amount of feed a horse will require will depend on the type and size of horse, its exercise routine and whether it is stabled or at grass. A hardy horse or pony living out all year and only receiving light exercise may need little additional feed, if any. However a horse receiving regular exercise may require some hard feed and a stabled horse, with regular strenuous exercise will most often need additional feed throughout the year at a cost of around £5-10 a week.
A horse’s feet continually grow and so even if unshod will require regular visits from the farrier for trimming. Whether should or not the horse will require attention from the farrier every 6 weeks and this can cost around £25-£30 for trimming and £50-£85 for shoeing per visit.
It is recommended that a horse has its teeth checked by a vet or equine dentist every year to ensure that there are no sharp edges or other tooth problems that may be the cause of discomfort to the horse. When problems occur more regular visits may be needed. A dentist visit costs around £50-£70 per visit.
Horses and ponies need to be regularly wormed whether stabled or at grass. A wormer costs around £10-£15 and the frequency required will vary depending on the type of wormer used and which worms the wormer targets.
Vet’s fees and insurance
A horse or pony requires annual inoculations against Influenza and Tetanus and this can be expected to cost in the region of £35 a year for the vaccination plus around £35 call out charge from the vet. Vet’s fees in cases of illness or accident can be costly, and rather than risk having to pay out several hundred or thousand pounds for an incident many owners prefer to insure their horse against such fees. The cost of insurance to cover vets fees will vary depending on the type of cover taken and the value of the horse or pony but should be expected to cost in the region £20-£40 per month or more.
Although the main regular costs of owning a horse are listed above there are always unexpected costs that occur such as when a horse casts a shoe and needs an extra farrier visit, an injury or illness requiring veterinary attention or stabling and feed whilst recovering. In addition it is often necessary to purchase medical products for minor cuts, shampoos, tack and rugs, etc may need repairing or replacing. All such costs can add to the cost of owning a horse over a year. Therefore it is always best to factor in at least £1,000 per annum for extras when calculating the cost of keeping a horse.
(Article source: Equine World UK)