Horse Cost Case Study: March 2020

So… that happened. Like many equestrians, I didn’t foresee the impact of Coronavirus on the United States — and Montana in particular. We’ve been sheltered in place for weeks, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be back to “normal” anytime soon. 

While this didn’t impact much of my March spending, I do expect future months to look different. I’m pausing non-essential horse purchases, and I’ve even temporarily moved my horse so I can visit him without a bunch of people around.

Looking back on March activity, I’m over-budget for the third month in a row. That was largely due to a big tack purchase made prior to #rona. The quick summary below for Savvy Horseman readers who want to continue following my budgeting journey.

You can read my full March 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 was over again — but not as much as last month.

After months of wavering, I pulled the trigger on a “new” used jump saddle. My hope is that it’ll fit my horse and me better. Specifically, it should shift less while I’m riding and keep me in a more uphill position.

In March, my horse expense was $1,832.42 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.

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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 $1,372.42 AFTER adjustments.

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

As you can see, the gear category made up the biggest jump this month. I had hoped to quickly resell my old jump saddle, but I imagine there won’t be demand for used tack for at least a few months due to the economy.

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

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


The past two months had me rethinking whether I really needed a truck and trailer of my own. Most of the year, the answer is definitely no. 

This month, though, I was actually glad I still had them. I moved my horse quickly when I learned our barn was closing to the public the following day for social distancing. I was able to go get all my tack and my horse and move to my friend’s house. 

Now, I use the trailer as my tack room and am grateful to have it. (Of course, I’ll be SO happy to get back to my normal barn once it’s safe to do so!)

Aside from that, I’m eager to at least post my old saddle on eBay. Even if it doesn’t move quickly, at least I can have it out there. 

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At the end of the day, I’m simply grateful for the health of my family and friends and my financial ability to continue caring for my horse during these tough times. I wish the best for all our horse and human friends around the world <3 #thistooshallpass

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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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