My posting on the real cost of raising a baby horse surprised a lot of people (including me). Here is my monthly/yearly breakdown of keeping a horse. For your backyard owners, we will have another installment of this.
There are tons of additional costs in getting set up to ride/train/travel, this list is only the basics.
1. Board. Board can range greatly in cost and there are many things to look for, I covered some of that here. I have a pretty sweet arrangement, but I live in a small city, so the costs can go up greatly (or be reduced) depending on where you live. I have self care board which means I clean. I turn horses out or in at least 5 days a week, so I am putting in a lot of hours just to keep my board bill low.
$150/month, $1,800 year
With 1,000 lb horse as average eating 2% of body weight in hay at $120/ton (again, I have seen it purchased for $65 up to $400-in Alaska, so prices vary. This is a little high for our area of the world), a horse eats 7,300 lbs (20lbs hay/day * 365) each year.
Every horse is different, some horses need more, some need less. Assuming your horse needs grain, lets figure 3lbs/day. At $12/bag (again varies). Each bag is 50lbs.
Horses need some shots 2x a year, some only 1x a year. You can administer your own shots (in some places), but if you are new, get a vet. It also is a good chance to get a good check-up from your vet. I took my horses to the vet clinic last year, it cost about $110 each. Add a barn call fee (the charge to come to your barn) of $40 (I've seen them as high as $100). For the 2nd round of shots and no exam, figure $100 including the call fee.
$20.83/month, $250 year
Some people only have barefoot horses, some wear shoes all the time. I do a combination of both, depending on the horse. When I don't shoe, I use booties, a good set of 4 can range in cost, mine were $250, about the same as having 3 sets of shoes done each year. With 6 visits a year, 4 trims ($25 each), 2 sets of shoes ($80 each), the cost would be $260.
$21.66/month, $260 year
I hopefully don't buy new blankets every year, but they do need to be cleaned. Usually just throwing them in your washing machine doesn't work so you have to find someone to clean them or visit a coin-op laundromat. You may also need repairs. My blankets last me about 3 years, original prices ranges, but average is $80. I spend $15-$25 a year on repairs. Extrapolated out over 3 years, the price works out to $40 year.
$3.33/month, $40 year
7. Gas to the barn
Why???? I go to the barn a lot. The closer my barn is, the less I spend on gas, but if your barn is an average of 10 miles from your house, you go 3x a week, it adds up. Using this example with a car that gets 20mpg, and gas at $2.25 a gallon (we are paying $2.79 today in Oregon) here is the cost:
$29.25/month, $351 year
Not all owners feed supplements, but the majority of the ones I know do. I feed garlic (for fly prevention) and vitamins. The horses also have salt blocks available to them. My mare gets Mare Magic.
$15/month, $180 year
Wormer every 8 weeks. $8-$12 each time.
$5/month, $60 year
So, being very conservative, I estimate the cost of having a horse in self-care boarding to be around $300 a month, $3,600 a year. For some people it will be much more, for some people less. Having a horse is a serious investment in not only time, but also in resources. Do you really have the resources?
Consider emergency vet calls, corrective shoeing, training, lessons, tack, clinics, grooming supplies, riding gear, helmets, increases in hay prices and think about the cost. Horses are expensive. Period.
If this doesn't scare you away, I'll post in the future on ways to change your life to make horses more affordable.