Horse Cost Case Study: May 2020

As we reopen further here in Montana, it’s meant more time at the barn riding. My horse is currently out of commission with a popped splint, and I’ve been borrowing horses to ride. Our clinic season has restarted, so thank goodness for friends with too many horses and too little time!

For the first time this year, I was finally able to stay under budget. Luckily, I sold my old jump saddle and was able to start bartering for board again.

The quick summary below for Savvy Horseman readers who want to continue following my budgeting journey.

You can read my full May 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 nearly $300 under budget. Hooray!

Reselling my old jump saddle helped a lot, as did being able to barter clinic management services for board costs and a ranch riding lesson. 

In May, my horse expenses were $1,085.31 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. 

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In February, my horse expense was $715.31 AFTER adjustments.

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

Once again, healthcare is my most expensive category with education in the number two spot. A single vet visit (this time for a popped splint) is enough to disrupt my budget plans, so I’m glad I have saved enough to handle unforeseen costs.

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

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


This month felt much more “normal,” even though much is still far from normal. Being able to work in a few lessons and clinics again has helped, and I’m really happy to finally offload a saddle that was sitting around for months. 

For those of you getting out more again these days, I hope it’s as refreshing for you as it has been for me. For those of you whose areas are recovering more slowly, remember that all forward motion counts. This isn’t forever, and you’ll be living, laughing, and loving your barn time once again — and sooner than you think!

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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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1 Comment

  1. Cheryl A Wood
    October 29, 2020 / 2:53 pm

    Love this site. I like the natural way to care for my horses I don’t like to use chemical solutions

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