How Much Does It Cost To Board A Horse?

Old brown horse near a barn

Are you looking for the most cost-effective boarding options for your horse? Finding a boarding facility that provides horse care is one of the best ways to give your horse a comfortable shelter if you can’t afford to keep your horse at home. However, boarding can also be one of the most costly expenses in horse ownership. 

When boarding a horse, new owners often face various costs and factors to consider. In my case, the investment proved worthwhile as my horse thrived in a well-kept facility, reassuring me that my horse was being well cared for. Thus, the social aspect of boarding provided a supportive community of fellow equestrians, enriching my experience. These early experiences show that despite the cost, the benefits of professional care and a nurturing environment make it a worthwhile investment.

If you’re considering boarding a horse, one of the first questions on your mind is likely, “How much does it cost?” On average, monthly rates for horse boarding in the United States range from $300 to $700, depending on various factors such as the type of board selected, location, facilities provided, and additional services offered (American Horse Council, 2023). In this article, we’ll explore different boarding options tailored to meet your needs and help you navigate the costs associated with horse ownership. Let’s dive in!

Types of Horse Boarding and Their Average Cost

There are several boarding options available out there, and determining the advantages and drawbacks of each and their cost can help you find the most cost-effective solution. So, here’s a quick overview of different boarding arrangements offered by stables to boarders. 

Full- Care Board

Your horse’s daily needs will be met with a full-care boarding option. It’s a great choice if you don’t have enough time to visit the stables daily and care for your horse. The barn staff will feed your horse, handle turn-out, muck their stall, and put on your horse’s blanket when needed. It’s hassle-free, and you can rest assured that your horse’s needs are met even if you can’t visit it for weeks and months. Their services also included the following:

  • Feeding twice a day(provided by the stable)
  • Access the stall, facilities, particular riding areas, and pasture.
  • Hay or field for your horse
  • Checking and filling water buckets
  • Handling of the horse during visits to vet and farrier and turn-out to pasture
  • Blanketing when needed during winter months
  • Supplements may or may not be included, but will be fed when you provide supply
  • Lessons may be included or added as an extra

Pros of Full Boarding Option

  • The boarders will be taken care of, so you won’t have to worry even if you can’t make it to the stables long.
  • You don’t have to buy feed or hay.
  • Your horse has a comfortable shelter during the cold season and bad weather.
  • You can have access to the boarding facility and particular riding areas
  • The boarder’s stuff can be organized because it has a designated area

Cons of Full-Care Board

  • It’s the most costly boarding option.

Average Board Price Per Month: $300-$700

Partial Boarding

If you’re looking for an inexpensive option compared to a full-care board, you can opt for partial boarding. However, you will need to share your horse with another person to cut the cost of this option. The $600 monthly rate for a full horse care board will become $300 if someone uses your horse for simple pleasure riding or some lessons. Depending on your contract agreements, the other user may or may not bring his equipment and handle the vet and farrier services. It would be best to find a trustworthy and experienced rider with similar riding skills. You may have to spend some time with your horse, but you’ll have peace of mind if the other user is someone you know and trust. 

Pros of Partial Boarding

  • It’s cheaper compared to full-boarding
  • You can bond with your horse while spending time with it

Cons of Partial Boarding

  • You need to share the use of your horse with other people
  • Depending on the details on your contract, you might have to feed and clean the stall or provide hay

Average Monthly Rate: $150-$300

Pasture Board

This board option offers almost the same services as the full boarding but at a cheaper rate. If you choose this option, the barn staff will still look after your horse’s daily needs. The only drawback is that your horse will live in a pasture 24/7, providing no stall. It can be a major turn-off for many horse owners but can also be beneficial if you want your equine to be closer to moving around freely all day and be closer to its natural state of foraging. 

Pros of Pasture Board

  • Cheaper than full care board
  • There is no need for you to purchase feed or hay
  • The horse can live closer to its natural state
  • The daily needs are looked after by the barn staff
  • The facilities are accessible
  • There’s a designated area for your horse’s stuff
  • Scheduling of farrier and vet visits will be taken care off

Cons of Pasture Board

  • There’s no stall provided for your horse

Average Monthly Cost: $150-$400

Self-Care Board

It is the most affordable boarding option; the facility will be provided, and the daily needs and maintenance are up to you as an owner. It will require you to travel at least once a day to feed your horse, handle the turn-out, and muck out. You need to check if your horse has enough water and food, buy and provide hay in the pasture during winter, and arrange a visit with the vets and farriers. The self-care board also requires long-term commitment, but this boarding option will work out for hands-on horse owners who live close to the stable, and you will consider your schedule. 

Pros of Self-Care Board

  • Budget-friendly boarding cost
  • You have to bond and take care of your horse personally.

Cons of Self-Care Board

  • You are responsible for the whole horse care
  • You will need to buy your hay or feed
  • You must take multiple daily trips to the stable to feed your horse.
  • You have to schedule the veterinarian and farrier’s visit

Average Monthly Rate: $100-$200

Factors That May Affect The Cost of Boarding A Horse

Location of the boarding stable

Generally, if the boarding stable is closer to or located in an urban area, the boarding fees may be more expensive than the rural area where space is less limited and fodder is more comfortable. The competition in boarding in an urban area and the higher taxes and land costs can also send prices upward, reflecting the cost of boarding. Furthermore, stables in regions near or at the center of many horse shows and events are probably more costly than those located further away. 

Facilities and amenities available

If the stable offers more amenities and facilities like indoor arenas, trails, wash racks, jumps, new barns, and automatic waters or feeders, it can be more expensive since its equipment is costly to build and maintain.  

Services provided

The services offered in a stable vary depending on the levels of care you’d want to avail. If you have ample time for self-care, you can save more bucks. However, suppose you’ll get extra services like blanketing, lessons and coaching, supplementary feeds and supplements, and grooming. In that case, you’d likely pay additional fees on your regular bill. All the services included are outlined in the contract. 

So, that’s the estimated boarding cost for every boarding option offered in local stables. If you have the means and the budget, you can choose the most popular and costly horseboarding choice. But if you are a hands-on horse owner who loves spending time with your equine companion, self-care boarding suits you. If you have additional requests for your horse, it would be best to talk with your chosen boarding stable. Don’t forget to read the boarding contract to check if there are additional costs for some services before signing up. 

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