The basic cost of owning a horse is about $2000 a year (if you self-stable) or $4000 a year if you use a professional stable. Over a working lifetime of 20 years, this is equal to $40,000 or $80,000, just for basic costs. These costs assume you live well out in the countryside; if you live in a more populated area these costs can be up to 3 times as high.

Exceptional costs such as vet costs for illness or injury can run from $200 to $8000 (e.g. severe colic, requiring surgery) per time.

Furthermore, if you exhibit or compete with the horse, there are additional associated costs. These include advanced training for you and the horse, horse trailer for transport, saddle, tack, riding clothes.

Following is a breakdown and explanation of these costs:

- Professional Stabling. Depending on where you live, a professional stable will charge between $250 and $1000 per month to stable a horse. This is $3000 to $12000 per year. Over 20 years, a grand total sixty thousand to a quarter million.

- Self-Stabling. Of course, if you have enough land, you can build a stall and keep the horse yourself. Although this is cheaper than professional stabling (as you do the work rather than pay someone else), you will need not only the stall but also storage facilities for hay, bedding, saddle, tack and miscellaneous items. You will also need to purchase bedding and hay, which will run you $100 or more per month. You will also need to purchase minerals and salt, as well as paying for water and electricity (allow another $40 per month). Finally, the work which would have been done by the professional stable (e.g. mucking out stables) will likely take you a half-hour per day just for the basic activities.

- Vet Costs. Your horses should be inoculated once per year, de-wormed 3 times per year, and have a dental checkup annually. These basic items will cost $200 to $300 per year. Should the horse become ill, medical costs can range from $200 to $8000 (e.g. for a case of colic requiring corrective surgery).

- Farrier. Horse hooves need to be trimmed every 2 months (cost $30 each time) and if shoes are required these cost about $30 additional. Shoes are usually required if you ride your horse out on a regular basis, so allow $360 per year farrier costs.

- Insurance. Third party accident insurance is a legal requirement in some countries. In addition to the legal requirements, you may wish to insure against other items (e.g. death, theft, incapacitating illness). Basic insurance costs about $40 per month.

- Equipment. To ride your horse you will need saddle, rugs, tack, and your own riding clothes. These will run you about $2000 to purchase a basis set, plus one must allow for repair or replacement costs if one rides frequently.

Miscellaneous. Horse sprays, fly sheets, cleaning solutions and so on can be expected to run a minimum of $200-$300 per year.

For the average horse owner, the cost of buying a horse ($3,000 is a typical price) is only a small fraction of the cost of caring for it ($100,000 is a typical cost over its lifetime). Consequently, when buying a horse, one needs to think not only of the purchase price, but more importantly of the costs of keeping and caring for it over a period of years. If these costs are too high, it may be worthwhile looking at alternatives (e.g. sharing a horse between two or more owners).

To replace these typical costs but the specific costs for your region, visit the horse cost calculator listed below.