Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by Urska
Owning a horse is one of the most amazing experiences one could ever have. However, the average cost to board a horse can be a times a real financial burden. Luckily, there are different types of boarding services, that can match any level of budget.
To find out what type of boarding best suits you and your horse, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself, like: Do I want my horse to board in a stall or in a pasture? Do I want to keep my horse in a training environment? Do I plan to showcase my horse for competitive purposes?
What is the Average Cost to Board a Horse?
Many people choose to keep their horses at a boarding barn because keeping them there, will ensure that they’ll be fed, watered, the stalls will be cleaned daily, with many places offering turnout and training options. Nevertheless, the average cost of boarding a horse generally ranges from $300-$600 a month, however, depending on what you are looking for and where you are looking, you may end up paying more than that.
Location can play a big difference in how much you must pay for a boarding service. In urban areas, especially those closest to large cities, you will often have to pay more than you would in a rural area. This is because rural areas tend to have more access to trails and larger pastures than urban areas.
If you are planning on showcasing your horse, boarding them at a barn that competes at shows will be an ideal choice. Many show barns are based on either breeds or disciplines. As such, they often offer training, lessons, trailering to shows, schooling at shows, and show preparation.
What Does it Include?
While some barns generally cover daily hay, grain, water, and stall cleaning services, others also have turnout, blanketing, training, lessons, holding for vet or farrier, and tack storage services.
Barns often work together with their borders(horse owners) to create a specific care plan ideal for each horse.
Average Cost to Board a Horse: Pasture Boarding Service
Pasture boarding typically costs between $100-$300 a month, invariably making it the cheapest form of boarding service. In this form of boarding, your horse will be allowed to stay outside 24/7 with food, water, and often a run-in shed. Even though most horses on pasture boarding services don’t receive daily interaction with people, it is still a great choice for people whose horse’s are barn sick and don’t get ridden on a daily basis. However, it is important to note that horses who have been stalled before, usually don’t do well on 24/7 pasture boarding.
Average Cost to Board a Horse: Self-Care Boarding Service
Self-care boarding provides the facilities but leaves the rest of the care taking activities to the owner. Generally, this service often costs between $200-$400 a month. In this type of boarding service, the owner provides food, bedding, cleans the stalls, makes vet and farrier appointments. In a nutshell, the self-care boarding service isn’t really a great choice for those who won’t have the chance to visit the barn on a daily basis.
Average Cost to Board a Horse: Full Boarding Service
The full boarding service which typically cost between $300-$500 a month, provides a stall, feeding, watering, stall cleaning, turnout, and often training options. Some barns that provide this kind of boarding service, do not only schedule vet and farrier appointments, but holds them (your horse) for those appointments. A full boarding service is a popular form of boarding amongst horse owners, as your horse will be entitled to receiving full care without you being there every day.
Full board is also the most common form of boarding offered because it provides reliable care and upkeep for your horse.
Factors That Can Affect the Price
Many barns have the option of including training services for an additional monthly fee, which often ranges between $150-$400 on top of the boarding cost. Training can either be by breaking your horse to ride or drive, or having a trainer work your horse to keep them in shape. Many people who showcase their horses, often include the training option in their boarding services.
Lessons are offered at most boarding barns. Generally, lessons last for about thirty minutes to one hour, costing between $30-60. Some barns have options that include weekly lessons in the cost of board.
Showcasing horses is an exhilarating experience. There are several breeds or discipline-specific boarding barns that compete at horse shows. These barns commonly offer training, lessons, and preparation for shows.
And while at a show, you’d be expected to pay trailering fees, daily care fees, class fees, coaching fees, set-up fees, and grooming fees. However, if you’re planning to showcase your horse with the barn you are boarding with, make sure to discuss all the fees you will have to pay so you won’t be surprised when you get the bill.
Prices will vary for barns depending on the breeds, disciplines, and level of showing that are offered. Local shows and fun shows are often only one to two days long and generally, offer low-cost fees. On the other hand, state, regional, national, and world shows often cost significantly more than fun shows, and they usually last for three to ten days.
Some barns include fees for extra amenities. Extra fees may include turnout, blanketing, fans, trailering, supplements, clipping, and fly control. Each barn varies on what fees they have, and some barns include extra amenities in the cost of board.
Average Cost to Board a Horse: Finding the Right Barn
Once you’ve decided on what type of boarding services you want for your horse, it is important to research the barns available in your area, in order to know which one will be the best fit for you. Many barns offer a tour on their facilities for those interested in boarding with them, so you could decide on whether to visit them or not.
When making your choice, ensure that the barn you choose is fitting for both you and your horse. Thus, make sure the barn has all the amenities you want, and also discuss what additional fees you may have to pay. Many barns will have you sign a contract, agreeing to their terms and conditions.
In a nutshell, boarding your horse gives you the assurance that your horse is being well taken care of, even when you are not there. And the good part is, there are always a plethora of options available to match your budget and choice.
If you have any questions regarding boarding, please leave a comment!
What are the benefits of boarding a horse?
There are many benefits associated with boarding a horse, such as:
- availability of proper veterinary care
- convenience of boarding your horse at one facility; not having to drive to multiple locations
- boarding your horse somewhere else means you don't have to deal with things like mucking stalls or feeding
- boarding makes it easier to schedule all of your horse's veterinary appointments
- boarding fees can be cheaper than boarding at home, depending on where you live and the services provided by the boarding facility
- boarding is safer, as most facilities have an on-site staff that monitors horses 24 hours a day
- boarding facilities are often closer to roads and trails, which means that they're easier to access than your own farm
- boarding facilities provide socialization for your horse, something that's important for their physical and emotional health
- boarding facilities can offer additional services, such as boarding your horse overnight during a show, providing training services, or boarding horses that are for sale.
If you're considering boarding your horse, be sure to do your research and find a facility that meets your needs. Boarding a horse can be a great way to provide your animal with the care and attention they need while freeing up some of your time.
Is boarding horses profitable?
If you're boarding horses for fun, boarding fees are probably not enough to make profit. If you are boarding horses as a business, it can be very profitable if the boarding facility is well-run. But even boarding horses as a small business can cover its costs with boarding fees alone, especially if the facility is close to a major metropolitan area.
The boarding facility needs to have enough horses to cover the costs of feed, veterinary services, utilities, and staff. Most boarding facilities need at least 20 horses boarding there to cover these costs.
Boarding fees vary based on location, size of stalls, amenities provided (such as overnight boarding), and services offered (training).
What are the dowsides of keeping your horse at boarding facility?
There are a few downsides to boarding your horse as well.
- boarding horses can be expensive, depending on all of the factors mentioned above
- facility staff may not have as much experience with horses as their own farrier or veterinarian.
- boarding facilities may not have an experienced staff member responsible for looking after a specific horse's needs at any given time.
- boarding facilities may have limited supplies of certain items, which means that boarding your horse there for an extended time can become expensive if you need to purchase additional equipment or medications because your horse needed something the boarding facility doesn't have on site.
- boarding facilities are often away from home, so if your horse gets sick or injured, you may have to transport them a long distance for treatment.
- boarding facilities are often closed on weekends and holidays, so you may need to make arrangements to have someone else care for your horse if you're going to be away.
Be sure to ask the boarding facility questions about their policies and procedures before boarding your horse. Knowing what to expect can help prevent any surprises.