Horse Cost Case Study: February 2020

When it comes to horse ownership, it’s important to be able to handle the financial ups and downs. You won’t be able to predict a lot of your expenses, which is pretty evident in my February horse expense report.

Typically, this is the time of year my budget can actually breathe. Winter weather often means fewer lessons, and I don’t do as many “fun” extras until Spring. 

Unfortunately, I was over-budget this month again! Read on to find out why. The quick summary below for Savvy Horseman readers who want to continue following my budgeting journey.

You can read my full February 2020 horse expense report here

(If you haven’t seen my earlier Savvy Horsewoman article about this process, hop over there for additional context.)

How I Did This Month

My goal is to always keep monthly horse expenses under $1,000 after adjustments (e.g. trades). This month, I wasn’t even close.

Thanks a lot, dead truck battery.

In February, my horse expense was $1,784.42 BEFORE adjustments.

The chart below represents the total dollar VALUE of my equestrian expenses for 2020. 

It does not factor in any trades for products or services. In other words, if I didn’t trade for anything, this is how much money I’d be paying each month.

The next chart adjusts monthly expenses to account for the situations when I’m able to trade for products and services. 

These adjusted numbers are what I actually PAID OUT to support my horse habit per month. 

In February, my horse expense was $1,674.42 AFTER adjustments.

The chart below shows my monthly expenses (value) by spending category. 

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The travel category, which includes my truck and trailer expenses, was more than double typical monthly numbers for the second month in a row. 

See the average horse cost by state to get a sense of typical expenses in your area. 

See all the details in my February 2020 horse expense report.


January and February have me thinking hard about several types of expenses — shoeing and truck maintenance. 

Shoeing is costing me ~$200 every six weeks, and that’s $2,400 per year. Ouch. 

Since I have one horse, I can’t stop riding long enough to try getting him sound barefoot. (He has thin soles and needs wedges, so he’s always been shod.) Any other ideas?

When I purchased my truck and trailer in 2017, I thought I’d use it a lot more than I actually do. Currently, I haul about 5 times per year. I know, crazy.

But the “what ifs” of not having a way to move my horse myself (e.g. vet, events) made me hesitant to sell my rig. 

Now, after seeing things like my truck/trailer insurance ($1,200/year) and maintenance ($650 in the last two months alone) is a stark reminder that my reality may outweigh my “what ifs.”

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See all of my monthly horse expense reports.

Horse Rookie

After 25+ years in the saddle, I bought my first horse at 33. I love practicing dressage, eventing, stadium jumping, reining, trail riding, and cow work with my Quarter Horse in Montana, USA.

I started, an educational website, to help equestrians of all levels (especially rookies) answer common questions, make informed decisions, and have more fun with their horses.

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