Pros and Cons of Buying a Horse + Tips and Tricks for the Buying Process

What are the Average Costs to Board a Horse?

If you are looking to buy your first horse. You may wonder what are the average costs to board a horse. Boarding stables keep your horses if you don’t own land. Hence, you will need to pay a fee, making it one of the most expensive aspects of owning a horse. 

So what are the average costs to board a horse? The price for boarding a horse is between $350 to $400 per month. This price varies depending on your location, the preferred facilities, and the board type you would like. However, before you conclude that horse boarding is way too expensive, check out the boarding options that you can choose for your horse:

Full Care Board

This option might be the most famous option you can find. Most stables offer this option to plan the standard horse keeping and how to maintain the facilities. The cost is between $300 and $700 per month.

If you opt for a complete care board, the barn staff ensures that the daily horse needs are met. They include mucking the stall, turning out, feeding, and blanketing if necessary. 

Your horse will line in a booth, and for turnout, they get pasture. It is also suitable if you want your horse to have a stable with supervised or limited turnout. 

What Does Full Care Board Consist?

  • Use of facilities
  • Pasture and stall access
  • Stables providing generic feed twice a day
  • Horses are fed with hay or pasture
  • The stalls have water buckets and fields, which are regularly checked and filled.
  • Barn staff handles stabling and turnout
  • During the winters, horses get blanketing
  • Farrier and vet scheduling
  • Personal supplies and tack access

These are the services you will encounter if you choose to invest in this boarding option. Though it costs you too much per month, your horse is well cared for even if you are not around the stables. 

Advantages of Full Care Board

  • The daily needs of your horse are well taken care of
  • As a horse owner be sure that your horse’s needs are met even when you are not around the stables
  • Your horse access stalls that are suitable even for bad weather
  • You don’t have to pay for hay or feed
  • It is not up to you to schedule the farrier or the vet visits
  • Facilities access that the stable offers
  • Your horse stuff has a designated area

Disadvantages of Full Care Board

  • It’s one of the most expensive horse boarding options.

Though expensive, it’s perfect, especially if you can’t manage to go to the barns daily but want someone to take care of your horse. You are allowed to access the stall whenever you need it. In addition, you can be sure that your horse has sufficient space even for running in the pasture.

Most full-care board stalls give extra services for additional rates. They include applying the fly spray, pulling the mane, performing body clips, exercising your horse, and other similar services. 

Pasture Board

Pasture board has many positives yet is cheaper for new horse owners who need a place to keep their horses. It costs between $150 to $400 per month. If you opt for a pasture board, the barn staff will meet your horse’s daily needs. However, your horse will always be on pastures. It is a turn-off to most horse owners that would prefer stall access. 

But it’s a suitable boarding option since your horse will be closer to its feed and will freely move around the whole day. 

What Does Pasture Board Consist Of?

  • Your horse feeds on pasture with other horses.
  • There is adequate shelter in case of bad weather
  • Hay is out in the field
  • Checked and filled water tubs
  • Blanketing is offered if necessary
  • Facilities access
  • Farrier and vet scheduling
  • Your supplies and tack have a designated area

The pasture board also ensures your horse is well taken care of even when you are not around.

Advantages of Pasture Board

  • It is cheaper than a full care board
  • Your horse lives closer to its natural state
  • The daily needs of your horse are met
  • You don’t need to worry about your horse if you can’t manage to go to the stables.
  • It’s not your mandate to pay for hay or feed
  • Facilities access that the stables offer
  • All your horse stuff have a designated area

Disadvantages of Pasture Board

  • There is no stall for your horse

Though your horse can’t access a stall, in case of injury, competition night, or similar events, your horse will access accommodating boarding stables. Therefore, you need to talk with the barn manager about stall accommodation if the mentioned events happen.

Self-Care Board

A Self-care board is one of the budget-friendly you can find out there. It costs between $100 to $200 per month. The self-care board means you provide your horse’s care yourself. If you opt for this boarding option, you are just paying for the property your horse is staying in. Everything else like horse maintenance and daily care is up to you.

Self-care board isn’t as popular as the other board options, but you will find stables with the mentioned offers if you seek hard. Your horse depends on you to meet its daily needs. Though your horse lives on another persons’ land, you have to check and fill feed and water for your horse. In addition, you will have to pay for the hay in the pasture. Before choosing a self-care board, ensure you can cope with the required commitment.

What Does Self-Care Consist Of?

  • The land where your horse lives in
  • Use of possible facilities

Self-care board is simple; hence hard to get at high-end boarding stables. However, it is cheaper to pay for than the first two options.

Advantages of Self-Care Board

  • It is affordable
  • You get the experience needed for horse care

Disadvantages of Self-Care Board

  • You need to check every need of your horse
  • Probably you need to make several trips to the stable daily
  • It is your responsibility to schedule vet visits and farrier

Not everyone will embrace a self-care board, but most new horse owners find it working for them. It caters to your budget and allows you to meet other borders to help each other look after their horses. 

Partial-Board Care

Most horse owners prefer partial-board care due to its price. The cost is $3,600 to $5,400 annually. The package allows you to share your horse’s daily responsibility with the boarding stable. It is convenient for saving money and having enough time to spend with your horse. 

Partial-board care is suitable if you want to control your horse’s needs. You can also choose the best food quality for your horse. This program depends on the laid policies, but it is possible to make your preferred agreements. 

Most of the time, you need to purchase hay, feed, and the necessary supplements. As for the stable boarding staff, they are responsible for the housing and feeding schedule. 

What Does Partial-Board Care Comprise Of?

  • Professional and adequate stable staff to feed your horse
  • Enough space for storing horse equipment
  • Access to pasture where you can freely ride and train your horse
  • The boarding stable provides lights, electricity, and water buckets in the stalls

Horse Boarding at your Place

If you are a countryside resident, you probably have adequate space that you can use to take care of your horse. It is a great experience, especially if it is the first horse you own. Home boarding allows you to have complete control of your horse’s needs. It includes proper physical and health care and quality nutrition. The price for this option significantly varies.

Advantages of Home Horse Boarding

  • There is complete control of your horse’s well being
  • You are close to your horse, allowing you to spend quality time with your horse anytime.
  • Its possible to train your horse anytime.
  • You can create your feeding schedule, not relying on the timetable set by boarding stables.

Disadvantages of Home Horse Boarding

  • It is your responsibility to build and decorate the barn for your horse
  • You can’t be away for long unless there is someone to look after your horse
  • If none of your family members is interested in horses, you will have to ride your horse alone
  • You are responsible for the electricity and water bills

If you love horses and you own a ranch, it is better if you keep your horse. It is the best way to connect with your horse and make a relationship that will benefit you. 

Factors Increasing Boarding Fees

Most boarding stables have more services other than boarding. They can organize sales, daily activities, shows, lessons, training, tack, and grooming. In case of these extra services, expect the boarding fees to vary. 

Here are the annual prices for the extra boarding services:

  • Half bale hay daily – $1,460
  • Mineral supplements – $63
  • Salt blocks – $15
  • Concentrate – $365
  • Farrier – $35 per month
  • Deworming – $20 four times per year
  • Dentistry – $125
  • Vaccination – $95 twice per year

These factors will affect the boarding fees:


Training will cost an inexperienced rider approximately $200 as the boarding fees. The additional fee allows you to train in different sections. There is a possibility of making agreements with the boarding stable on the preferred lesson type. Private lessons may cost about $50 each.


Boarding stables can organize shows such as exhibitions, competitions, and humanitarian action. Prices vary depending on the type of event. 

Tack and Grooming

One of the reasons for purchasing a horse is to ride them. Thus, it would help if you had a bridle, lead, halter, bit, pad, and saddle, which some boarding stables provide. Some boarding stables also provide horse grooming services. 

Extra Expenses

Some horses need specific food, which tends to be more expensive. Consequently, this expense will increase the final annual fee. You also need to pay extra bills for calling a vet if your horse needs additional treatment or falls sick.


Fortunately, there are boarding options you can choose for your horse. It’s up to you to decide according to your budget and spare time. Though a boarding stable is reliable and convenient, having your horse at home gives you more freedom. However, the boarding option for your horse is your decision to make.