How much does it cost to maintain a recreational horse all year round?

Owning your own leisure horse is the dream of many enthusiasts, experienced riders or beginners. Between the insurance, the health of the horse, the shoe and the food, this can represent a more or less substantial budget, especially if you do not have a meadow because it is then necessary to opt for the pension. It is therefore better to make sure that you have enough resources before buying a horse.

Annual maintenance cost of a horse: what weighs in the balance

To assess the annual cost of maintaining a recreational horse, it is necessary to take into account the following points.

Horse boarding

Either the owner has a Park dedicated and it does not cost much, either the horse is put in pension in an associative club or in a stable for example. In the latter case, prices vary from simple to triple depending on the region. If in addition the horse stays in a work pension and that he is regularly trained by an instructor, the prices soar.

There remains the solution of commodat which is also called the au pair. This consists of signing a loan contract for the use of the horse which is boarded in an equestrian center. In exchange for the riding club taking over part of the maintenance costs or all of them according to the agreements made at the start, the horse is ridden by the clients, whoever they are. Au pairing is not recommended for young horses because the inexperience of some riders may lead the equine to adopt very bad habits.

The commodat can in any case be a solution very economical. Despite everything, many owners do not choose this mode of boarding because they do not appreciate at all not being able to dispose of their horse freely or – as is often the case – to choose their veterinarian. It is a very respectable point of view.

Be that as it may, the commodat has many benefits, among which :

  • Free (or at least partial coverage) of costs related to farriery, routine veterinary procedures, food,
  • The time devoted to the horse by the staff of the equestrian structure, which frees the owner who can only take care of it occasionally,
  • Free access for the owner of the horse to all the infrastructures of the equestrian center, even to riding lessons,
  • The priority for the owner during courses, outings and competitions.

Other possibilities are offered by some riding clubs and must always be stipulated in the contract, such as the right to ride another horse free of charge if his is recovering.

The insurance

The RCPE is none other than insurance Civil Liability of Equine Owners. In most cases, this liability can be included in home insurance. However, you should check with your company.

It is also necessary to integrate thehorse health insurance with a mutual animals which may include the death of the equine or its theft for example.

Horse food

Food and care vary depending on the age of the animal. For example, for an elderly leisure horse, vitamin foods are essential as well as some specific care that increases the score.

This is a very important point to which all breeders, studs and other professionals pay great attention. But individuals who have their own meadow and can also have their fodder do not find the food station so expensive.

It remains to be seen if the meadow is located in the north-western quarter of France or in the Hérault. Between these two geographical zones, the richness of the pastures is far from being the same everywhere … Thus, the meteorological conditions can impact the budget for feeding a horse. During a heat wave, when fresh grass is scarce, hay must be used in the middle of summer, whereas in normal times, it is food distributed to horses mainly during winter.

Horse health

We must take into account the consultations and the care regular, whatever the age of the horse, essential to keep his mount in good shape. This position includes:

  • Visits from a veterinarian or a hippiatrist,
  • Vaccines,
  • Dewormers,
  • Possible treatments (plugs, colic),
  • The control visit (optional but recommended) to the osteopath,
  • The dental check-up as well as the care required in the event of a problem.

It is also necessary to count the very first consultation to be carried out at the time of the purchase of the horse. In this regard, it is recommended that the buyer contact the veterinarian of his choice rather than opting for the one indicated by the seller.

The farrier

The farrier comes in about every two months whether for a fitting or a simple maintenance of the hooves, namely the trimming.

Cost of a horse for the year, per position

All these positions are the minimum to be taken into account. You can add a first aid kit to always have on hand, in which the essential products are of course to be renewed before the expiry date. It takes a good fifty euros.

In addition, when acquiring a horse, it is also necessary to invest in a saddle, a saddle pad, a blanket, a halter, a bit, reins, a lanyard, i.e. an expenditure of around € 1,500. if one is satisfied with a basic saddle but the amount can reach 3000 €.

Finally, in the event of a serious health problem, the owner of the sick horse must sometimes expect to spend several thousand euros. Having a small nest egg to cover unforeseen events is essential.

here are the annual average prices per item.

Horse pension

  • In a stable: in the meadow from 150 to 250 €, in box from 300 to 450 €
  • In a working stable: 800 to 1,300 €.

Horse food

We can estimate the annual cost of food for a boarding horse (outside the commodat) between € 1,000 and € 1,600, especially for an equine that receives flakes rather than pellets, knowing that the two have the same value. nutritious but that the flaked costs between three and four times more expensive than the granulate. The horse feed item may decrease in cost if the forage is of excellent quality. Indeed, some hay has a high energy value, which makes it possible to reduce food ration costs.


  • RCPE: around 35 €
  • Horse mutual insurance: from 40 € but the prices can go up according to the chosen formula. It is useful to request multiple quotes through one animal health insurance comparator.


  • Trimming € 250 and shoeing the four hooves between € 600 and € 700 each year

Horse health

  • Dewormers, vaccination: € 70
  • Dental: 80 €
  • Osteopathy: between 70 and 110 €

Various expenses

Obviously to all these expenses it is advisable to add the consumption of water, the electricity necessary for the box or the stable, the straw or other type of litter if the horse is not boarded in a club or a stable. Finally, if you really want to take everything into account, you can always have fun calculating the depreciation of the equipment (for the horse and the rider as well as the specific tools) and of the various installations intended for the animal as well as its purchase price.

We quickly realize that own pasture is highly preferable when owning a horse. On the one hand, this allows you to visit it at any time, to ride it without having to report, not having to share your mount with various riders who are perfectly unknown and likely to abuse the animal for lack of experience. … On the other hand, it considerably reduces the cost of maintenance throughout the year. Indeed, if you have your own meadow where the grass is abundant nine months out of twelve, the annual expenditure for food is extremely scaled down. However, it will always be necessary to finance the irreducible expenses for the health monitoring of his leisure horse, farrier, insurance and contingencies.