We all know that owning a horse can be an expensive journey, but we also know that they’re also worth every penny which is why we offer a range of horse and equine insurance policies which can be tailor-made to your specific requirements. In this guide, we’ll break down the costs of owning a horse in the UK, and how to save some money too. Buying a horse in the UK could cost anywhere from £1500 to several thousand pounds depending on the breed, age and usage of the horse. Let’s have a look at other things you need to take into account when looking after your beloved equine.
Livery or Field Rent
Unless you have some land at home to turn out your horse, the chances are you will need to look for somewhere. This is where farmers’ fields can come in handy. They may have a space to rent and are usually the lowest cost, at around £10 per week. Though remember to check what is included such as field maintenance or muck removal.
Grass livery is perfect for hardy breeds such as Welsh Cobs, Haflingers, Quarter and Icelandic horses & ponies. Prices of grass livery can vary across the country, with some of the cheaper options being around £25-30 per week. Again, remember to check what is included with this, as it may not include a stable.
DIY / Part Livery
The next step up is DIY Livery, which is where you pay for a dedicated stable, but you are still responsible for the day-to-day care of your horse. This may mean visiting twice a day to feed, ride and rug your horse. The cost of this is around £50-75 per week.
Full / Competition Livery
With a full livery, the yard is responsible for your horse’s needs including stabling, exercising, feeding, and arranging field access. You can expect this to cost somewhere in the region of £100-150 per week. On top of this, there’s something called Competition Livery, which, as the name suggests, keeps your horse groomed, schooled and maintained up to competition standards. This means your horse will be in tip-top shape and ready to compete at any time. However, expect this level of service to set you back around £200+ per week, up to around £300 with more experienced staff.
Feed, Forage & Bedding
For horses that aren’t on full livery, their feed and bedding will come at a significant cost. hay/haylage costs around £15-20 per week depending on the season, price fluctuations and how often your horse is turned out. Horses kept inside will need hay all year round but those that are turned out may only need supplementing during the winter months.
A horse or pony receiving regular exercise may require some additional hard feed such as oats, corn or barley. This costs around £5-10 per week but may be more for specialised diets, supplements or medications.
Straw, Shavings, Etc.
Horses that are stabled will require bedding in the form of straw, paper, shavings, hemp and/or rubber mats. As you can imagine, straw is the cheapest at around £3-4 per bale, the downside being that it can cause coughs or your horse will eat it! In the long term, rubber mats and shavings are the most economical choice, even if it’s a larger upfront cost. Rubber mats are around £35 each, with shavings being £5-10 per bale.
Tack, Horse Boxes & Trailers
While a substantial initial cost, tack and rugs can last many years with adequate care and attention. To purchase a full set of tack (Saddle, Bridge, Reins, Bit, Martingale) it may cost around £300-400 depending on quality etc. A Western set may set you back over £900. Other parts such as headcollars and leads can be purchased for around £5 each.
Horse Boxes & Trailers
If you’re showing or eventing, you will most likely need a horse box or trailer, and/or a vehicle that can pull the trailer. A new box or trailer can easily cost a few thousand pounds but will be a fair bit lower if you buy second-hand. It’s important to get your Horse Box or Trailer insured so you are covered for roadside rescue and recovery, in the event of a breakdown or accident.
Vet, Dentist & Farrier
Horses’ hooves grow constantly, so you’ll need to pay for regular visits from the farrier. You can expect to pay around £30-40 for trimming and £100 for a new set of shoes. Worth remembering, that hardy breeds kept outside may not need shoes at all. Just check with your farrier if shodding is right for your horse.
Vets, Dentists & More
Accidents happen; if your horse gets sick or injured the vet fees can soon rack up. That aside, annual vaccinations, worming, dental checkups, clippings etc. can set you back a fair amount. It is suggested to plan for around £1000 per year in medical visits, with any chiropractor visits costing around £800 alone.
Due to the potential expense of vet fees and specialist procedures, it’s crucial to take out some Horse and Pony Insurance. As well as unexpected vet fees and emergencies, these policies can also cover theft, loss as well as third-party liability. The cost of equine insurance will depend on a combination of factors such as the horse’s age, breed, height, medical history and intended use. It can be tempting to go without insurance, but it’s a worthwhile investment for you, and the well-being of your horse.
This list isn’t exhaustive either – there are many other costs associated with keeping a horse, for example, if you use your horse for showing or eventing, there may be extra care and grooming costs involved as well as equipment and clothes for you, as the rider.
It can be estimated that keeping a horse or pony on Grass Livery or Field rent would be around £3,000 – 3,500 per year. In contrast, keeping your horse on Full Livery may cost around £7,000 – 10,000 per year. It’s also advised to keep around £1,000 per year back for unforeseen expenses.
Having insurance on your horse is a beneficial way to safeguard against unexpected costs. If you’re unsure about what insurance is best for you and your horse, you can contact us to find out more; we will be happy to help.