The Costs You Will Want to Anticipate if You Want to Own a Horse Ranch

Owning and operating a horse ranch is a lofty endeavor. Have you ever asked yourself how much does a horse ranch cost? Obviously, owning a ranch will come with upfront costs related to the property costs, development fees, and taxes, but the endeavor will also require you to purchase horses and complete the steps to register your horse ranch as an accredited business. Most of the costs associated with owning a horse ranch will actually be associated with the cost of owning horses themselves. Therefore, below this guide will explore the various costs associated with purchasing and owning horses and how these costs factor into the overall operating costs of a horse ranch. 

The Cost of Owning Horses

Horses are expensive animals, and anyone who owns one knows exactly how expensive they can be. The most common costs associated with owning horses are: 

  • Purchasing costs 
  • Vet costs
  • Farrier costs
  • Feed/ board costs
  • Tack/equipment costs
  • Training costs

The first cost you will have to deal with when pursuing owning a horse is the overall purchasing cost of the horse itself. This cost will likely be determined by the breed of the horse, the age of the horse, and the horse’s bloodlines. Some species, such as a show level Hanovarian can cost upwards of $50,000. However, the standard riding horse costs between $3,000 and $5,000 on average. If you are able to foster a horse from a rehabilitation farm, you might be able to purchase a horse at a significant value. 

Vet and Farrier Costs

Once you own a horse, the next cost you will have to bargain with is the cost of vet and farrier visits. A horse vet is the professional that administers shots and vaccines to your horse and is the one responsible for caring for your horse in the event of sickness or injury. On the other hand, the farrier, is responsible for equipping your horse with horseshoes and trimming down their hooves when needed. 

The average horse vet charges between $50 and $75 for a farm visit and $200 to $350 for any necessary vaccinations. In the summer, your horse’s hooves will grow faster than in the winter. A standard visit from the farrier will cost you about $30 to $70 for a trim and about $50 to $200 for shoes. 

Feed and Board Costs

The majority of any horse’s diet will consist of hay and grass. Grass of course is free, but hay is not. The average square bay of hay will cost anywhere from $5 to $15. In addition to hay and grass, most horse diets will also need to be supplemented with grain to meet standard nutrition requirements. The average bag of grain will cost a horse owner anywhere from $15 to $50 depending on quality and size. 

Tack, Equipment, and Training Costs

Most likely, you want to purchase a horse so that you can ride it and learn more about the equestrian sport. If you do decide to ride your horse, tack, equipment, and training will all bring additional costs to the overall cost of owning your horse. In general, tack and equipment costs vary significantly dependent upon quality and age. On top of all this equipment, training will cost significantly more. The average price of a standard riding lesson can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. 

Summary: The Overall Cost of Owning a Horse

Owning just one horse can be a significant expense. This expense is only compounded if you own more than one. The average yearly cost of owning a horse is estimated at around $2,000 to $50,000 per year. Of course, this overall price will need to be adjusted if you are planning to board your horse at another horse ranch. However, if you own a horse ranch, at least you will not have to factor in boarding expenses into your answer to how much does it cost to buy a ranch.