The expense of steed ownership starts with the expense of food

If you’ve spent any kind of length the time approximately horses, you understand they for sure love food and love eating. Lock spend many of your time top top pasture munching away – a whopping 16 come 20 hours a day. And also if lock stalled, they’ll constantly be prepared for a bite come eat. Near-constant usage of forage is crucial to keeping a healthy and balanced horse digestive device so there deserve to be fairly the sticker shock once you first dive into steed ownership.

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The cost to feeding a horse deserve to vary nice wildly based upon the separation, personal, instance horse and where girlfriend live. Forage, which is an essential to a horse’s health, can selection from $4 a bale to end $19 a bale. V so numerous factors it can be a struggle to generalize how much a person deserve to expect come pay. A steed that costs $730 a year to feeding in one place deserve to cost almost $3,000 a year in another place.

So exactly how do you number out what it’ll expense you?

Article quick Links hide
The cost of equine ownership starts v the price of food
typical Monthly cost to feed a equine
feed / serial
just how to feed a steed on a budget plan
frequently Asked questions
just how much must you feed a steed per day?
which hay is finest for horses?
What supplements does my horse need?
Parting thoughts

Average Monthly cost to feed a Horse


Hay is one of the most necessary parts of your horse’s diet. It can be tempting to feed much more grain in an effort to use much less hay, yet a steed really demands all that long-stem forage to remain healthy and also happy. Over there are many different species of grass and legume ~ above the market, and they all have their very own pros and also cons.

The expense of hay depends entirely on whereby you live and also who girlfriend buy from. In locations where hay is generally grown you have the right to spend as tiny as $5 every bale, yet if you take trip to areas where hay demands to it is in trucked in you can easily invest $19 because that the exact same bale. Certain species of hay likewise may be unavailable uneven you purchase it in another an ar and pay to have it delivered.

If you trying to number out exactly how much hay you have to feed your horse, over there is a quick and easy rule-of-thumb come follow.

Horses need to consume around 2% of their body load in forage per day, i beg your pardon is about 20 pounds that hay for a 1,000-pound horse.

Small square bales deserve to vary in weight, but the grass ones space often around 40-50 pounds each.


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If you perform some rapid math and also assume she getting around 45 pounds that hay per bale, then your average steed will eat a small over 3 bales per week. It is a tiny over 12 bales every month. Just how much will that run you? If friend can acquire nice, horse-quality hay for $5 a bale you’ll be paying almost $60 a month, but if you have to pay $19 a bale it’ll run you $228 a month. Yikes.

As you have the right to see, the cost to feed a horse really relies on where you live.

We have the right to use my mare together an example. She a 28-year-old mare that weighs about 1,000 pounds. She has actually some dental troubles due come age, so i feed her part really nice, soft orchardgrass hay. Oh, and also we live in north Carolina.

I pay $12 a bale, delivered and also stacked because I’m lazy, and also they weigh around 45 pounds each. She costs around $5 a job in hay, or $140 a month. My secret trick is the I have a wonderful, large pasture the supplies more than sufficient forage for a huge chunk of the year. Ns only finish up needing to purchase hay about from November v March. Due to this pasture, i only need to spend $750 a year for she hay, rather of $1,800.

This walk not encompass the expense of pasture maintenance, however. To keep a pasture in excellent condition you must repair the fence, mow and also trim approximately posts, cross-fence to control grazing zones, have actually the floor tested, and apply lime and fertilizer together needed. If you don’t keep the pasture you have it can quickly end up being overrun v weeds and the amount of nutrient the horses get will drop considerably. If this happens, you may need to buy hay all year regardless of having a pasture.

Keep in mind:

Pelleted feeds likewise may reduce the amount of hay your horse needs, just remember the your steed needs a lot of fiber transparent the work to keep her ship happy.Feed / Grain

Feed or grain is commonly fed to equines to carry out extra calories and also nutrients, depending upon the situation. While numerous horses under light work can acquire by just fine on hay and/or pasture, some equines really advantage from, or level out require, the extra nutrition that originates from a bag.

Pregnant or nursing mares blow with a most calories and also may battle to consume enough to maintain their body condition – an especially during lactation.

Supplemental feed can really aid them since they save on computer a higher calorie thickness as contrasted to forage. Farming foals, and horses that room doing more strenuous work, may likewise require supplemental feed to make certain they’re getting enough calories come burn and also nutrients to keep their bodies in tip top shape.


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Senior horses have actually wonderful feed choices these days, too. Plenty of manufacturers also make finish diets, i m sorry contain all of the forage the a equine needs in a convenient pellet shape. Steeds with bad teeth now have actually an option to continue to be fat and also sassy due to the fact that you can soak this diets and make a delicious, easy-to-eat mash.

While you need to avoid overfeeding your horse no matter their age, a complete feed can assist keep your an elderly in good condition.

Another team that may need supplemental feed is the hard-keepers. This horses have the right to stand over there eating luxury-quality hay all day and also night and still be skinny, so an extra rise is compelled to keep their body problem up. Countless companies have diets currently that room grain-free and high-fat that have the right to prevent your equine from getting hot and also spooky, i beg your pardon is wonderful news for part frustrated horse owners the end there.

The quantity of money you invest on feed will ultimately depend on exactly how much extra calories your equine needs.

Some lucky equine owners only need to provide a grasp a job to to convince them come eat your supplements. That course, other world are maxing out the quantity of concentrate a horse deserve to safely consume in order to store them indigenous looking like a skeleton.

If your horse has actually plenty that pasture and also hay you might opt to feeding a balancer. Balancers supply a details amount that vitamins and also minerals and are offered to “balance” a forage-based diet, or as soon as you are feeding below the “recommended amount” the feed per day. They frequently only call for a tiny amount per day – roughly 1 to 1.5 pounds because that the typical 1,000-pound horse. If a 50-pound bag of balancer prices you $35 you might only invest $0.70 per day, $4.90 a week, or $19.60 a month. No bad.


See feed balancers in ~ Amazon

Let’s again take it my mare for example. She 28 and has lacking teeth, for this reason she it s okay a mash of a complete an elderly diet. Her feed costs around $25 for a 50 pounds bag, i beg your pardon is a bit more than several of the various other brands. The recommended starting amount is 6 pounds per day, which I separation into two meals, so she gets around 8 days out of one bag. Sure, it just costs about $3 a work which is around the price that a little latte. It adds up, though, so that $3 a day is about $21 a week, or $84 a month. Merged with the hay over winter she expenses me $224 a month come feed.

Keep in mind:

Always monitor the direction on the feed.Not all equines “need” grain, therefore don’t feeling pressured right into feeding it if your calorie and also nutrient demands are being met with forage, or forage and a balancer.When in doubt call your veterinary or farming extension office for advice.Supplements

Supplements room all the rage for both humans and also animals, and you’ll be difficult pressed to uncover someone that doesn’t feeding their horse a tiny something extra. There space thousands of various equine supplements on the industry for all different reasons. Part are said to rise hoof health, others are calming, some defend the joints, others boost digestion, and assist with respiratory issues.


One that the most popular supplements is Equithrive because that joint health

Every customs of your horse’s body, it seems, inside and also out, has a supplement manufactured for it!

It deserve to be overwhelming as soon as you first start looking in ~ supplements, due to the fact that there are simply so numerous out there. So countless of them execute the exact same thing or are pretty similar, which renders it also tougher. The an excellent news is your equine likely might not need a supplement. If they obtain adequate nutrition and are a pretty normal, healthy horse, they most likely don’t require anything.


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Regardless, if you desire to rise their hoof health, or improve their skin and coat, or whatever reason you could have, there room supplements the end there for you. The price varies nice wildly so it have the right to be hard to calculate this cost without having actually a certain need in mind. Part supplements could only cost pennies a day to feeding (I’ve seen plenty of that are just $0.40 a day) or they could be ridiculously high-quality (like the $5 a day).

Using our example mare again – she gets a really nice an elderly supplement the supports she skin, coat, hooves, joints, and also tummy. I have actually it top top subscription, i beg your pardon reduces the overall cost, so it runs about $3.71 a day. It is $26 a week or $104 a month. Adding it all with each other now, i’m at $328 a month (during winter) for one horse. She’s worth every penny, though.

Keep in mind:

Not all supplements room alike and also they’re not well regulated. Do your homework and also buy from trustworthy sources.Supplements are tiny additions to your horse’s diet when they are lacking just a bit. It is a lot more important to make sure they get great quality forage and also an appropriate concentrate.Always communicate with her vet once it pertains to health worries or concerns. When a supplement could be just the thing you need, make certain to ascendancy out any medical worries if there was a sudden readjust in her horse.


Water is frequently overlooked once it involves equine nutrition, however it is very important. Horses need a the majority of water, an especially if it’s warm out or if they’re eating a the majority of dry forage and also feed.

A horse just chilling in a comfortable pasture may only need 6 gallons a day, but a mare the is education a foal might require 20 gallons.

Your horse’s water must be preserved cool and also clean come encourage drinking. In winter you may need to warmth the water a little bit to save it native freezing and also to help your steed to drink more. Since horses eat a lot more dry hay throughout the cold months, they will certainly need more water.

The price of water have the right to be challenging to calculate. We usage a well, so the only costs me around $0.06 a month to it is provided water for my horse, not including the cost to keep the well. If I lived in the adjacent city and also had city water, that would expense me about $4 for the meter and also $2.17 because that one unit (748 gallons). If you break it down, the 280 gallons every 28 job costs about $0.80, not consisting of the meter. Either way you’ll be paying nearly nothing for drinking water because that one horse.

Keep in mind:

If a equine doesn’t drink enough water, they space at risk from impaction colic.Keep your water troughs and buckets clean, due to the fact that old, stagnant water is gross, and your steed knows it. (Would you want to drink it?)

How to feeding a horse on a Budget

No issue what your case is, friend don’t desire to overpay come feed her horse.

If you’re on a budget, the finest thing you can do is pasture your horse as much as possible.

A well-maintained pasture can supply a large chunk of your horse’s nutrition, probably even every one of it. If you board, you might look right into pasture-board whereby they supply a ring bale together needed. Boarding in basic can assist save feeding money since big barns have the right to buy hay in bulk.

Of course, this brings us to the idea of purchase in bulk. While it calls for a lot an ext money up front, the can help reduce your overall feed costs. Trying come buy a few bales the hay in ~ a time will price you much more per pound than if you deserve to buy the whole truckload. Numerous feed stores additionally offer discounts if girlfriend buy a totality pallet that feed.

Supplement companies regularly offer deals if friend buy in bulk or sign up because that a subscription. Planning front is a an excellent way to stick come a budget, due to the fact that you have the right to be top top the lookout for a deal.

If you live somewhere that does not have great pasture and also hay is tough to find, you might really struggle to save the prices from gaining out that hand, though. Once your feed invoice is getting a bit too much you can shot to discover a cheaper form of hay and carry out a complement to cover the nutrition change.

Even if the hay is less expensive, it must still it is in horse-quality and safe. Check it because that mold, weeds, and other contaminants, due to the fact that the vet bills from poor hay have the right to really mess v your budget. And also no one wants to do their steed sick.

You should likewise avoid trying to skimp on hay quantity to conserve money, due to the fact that horses can build ulcers and behavioral issues. Saving money no worth your steed suffering from colic or starting to chew lumber or also crib. You’ll be much better off budgeting more for hay and also taking money indigenous something else, prefer the 50 saddle pads a month you suppose to buy (ha!).

Frequently inquiry Questions

How lot should you feeding a equine per day?

A horse should consume about 1.5-2% of your body weight in forage every day. If you made decision to feeding a concentrate, monitor the manufacturer’s directions and readjust amounts as essential to keep a great body condition. Always remember to weigh feed and hay and also not basic it top top volume or “flakes.”

Learn more about what horses eat.

Which hay is ideal for horses?

Horses require good, horse-quality hay. Lock are an ext sensitive than various other livestock, so no all hay is for sure for them. The hay you choose should be clean, smell nice, and also be totally free of mold, dust, weeds, and also other contaminants. The varieties in the hay varies, yet most steed hay is grass, prefer orchard or timothy. Friend may additionally use coastal, Kentucky bluegrass, or fescue depending on where you live. You also may feed a legume hay, prefer alfalfa or clover, relying on your horse’s nutritional needs.

Learn much more about different species of hay.

What supplements walk my equine need?

Your horse may or might not require supplements. A high-quality, well-balanced diet is perfectly adequate for most horses, yet if lock are doing not have in particular minerals you may need to supplement. Friend may likewise choose to uncover a complement to assist your horse’s mood or stress and anxiety response, support joint health because of their activity, or assistance their skin and immune solution if they’re perceptible to pest bites.

Parting Thoughts

Horses can be one of two people cheap or expensive come feed, depending upon your location and also your horse’s separation, personal, instance needs. If friend are simply casually considering a horse and also wondering what you have the right to expect to pay to feeding it this deserve to be quite frustrating. It is just one of the most necessary things to think about when deciding on whether or no you deserve to afford a horse, though, because great nutrition is the structure for health and also happiness.

If you desire to emphasis in on the expense to feeding a horse, you should talk to other steed owners approximately you. Uncover out exactly how they get hay, what the costs, exactly how they preserve their pastures, and where they purchase their feed and also supplements. If she planning top top boarding, call about to the different facilities to gain an idea of what you can expect to pay.

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Also think about that the steed you buy may have distinct needs or may at some point require a change in feeding end time. It is wise to budget plan for emergencies or collection your initial budget plan low to compensate for these unanticipated expenses. Owning a steed is wonderful, but make certain you have the right to afford it without spending all your time working, instead of riding.