The American Quarter Horse is among the most popular horse breeds worldwide, especially in the United States. Quarter horses are known for their gentle temperament and relatively easy upkeep and are a great fit for first-time horse owners. If you’re ready to buy your first American Quarter Horse, you’ll need to know how much it will cost to budget appropriately. In this article, we’ll cover the one-time, monthly, and occasional costs of owning an American Quarter Horse.
Bringing Home a New American Quarter Horse: One-Time Costs
The animal’s price is the most substantial one-time cost of bringing home an American Quarter Horse. You can also expect to pay for a vet check-up, somewhere for your horse to live if you don’t own your property, and a variety of horse gear, including tack, grooming supplies, and buckets.
If you have connections in the local horse community, you could potentially luck into getting an American Quarter Horse for free. Someone with a large stable may be looking for a retirement spot for an older animal. Remember, even if the horse doesn’t cost you anything, there are significant lifetime costs involved in taking care of them. There’s no such thing as a truly free horse!
Because of their popularity, quarter horses are often available for adoption through equine rescue groups. Adoption fees will vary based on such factors as the horse’s age, any health issues, and, most importantly, how well-trained they are.
Horses that need more training are usually cheaper, but unless you can complete the training yourself, you’re looking at extra costs for a trainer. Some rescue horses have experienced neglect and cruel handling. They may not be the best option for a first-time horse owner.
On average, American Quarter Horses are one of the most affordable breeds, which is part of why they’re so popular. However, the cost will be much higher if you purchase a horse with excellent bloodlines and advanced training or a stallion with a proven pedigree. Those quarter horses could cost as much as $100,000. Other factors that could impact the cost of the horse include the age and training level.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Unless you own land and a stable, the most urgent need for your American Quarter Horse is somewhere to live. Depending on how you plan to use your horse, you’ll need a variety of gear, including a saddle. Try to have your new horse examined by a vet and farrier as soon as possible.
List of American Quarter Horse Care Supplies and Costs
How Much Does an American Quarter Horse Cost Per Month?
$2,474–$12, 184 per month
The monthly costs of owning an American Quarter Horse are primarily related to providing them food and shelter. You’ll also have some expenses several times per year that you can average into a monthly expense. These costs can vary considerably depending on where your horse is housed (stable or pasture,) whether they wear shoes, and their level of training.
$112–$567 per month
$80–$100 per month
American Quarter Horses need access to either hay or grazing every day, with feed provided as a supplement. Monthly feed costs will vary depending on whether you need to pay for hay or not. Working horses need to eat more to fuel their activity, so they will be more expensive to feed. You may need to purchase supplements as well if recommended by your veterinarian.
$27–$167 per month
It would be best if you planned to have the farrier visit every couple of months to check and trim your American Quarter Horse’s hooves. If your horse also needs new shoes, the costs will increase. Your horse will also need their teeth floated once or twice per year. If you show your American Quarter Horse, you’ll need to budget for trimming or mane and tail braiding.
Medications and Vet Visits
$5–$300 per month
At a minimum, your American Quarter Horse will need to be dewormed regularly, usually every 3 months or so. Other vet costs will vary based on the age and health of your horse, as well as whether they’re at risk of injury from working. American Quarter Horses are generally considered sturdy and healthy animals, so their vet costs may be more reasonable than other breeds.
$250–$1,050 per month
$2,000–$10,000 per month
Depending on your experience level, you can expect to spend some money on a trainer for your American Quarter Horse. Buying an untrained horse can be cheaper upfront, but trainers can get expensive. If you want your horse to learn advanced skills, such as barrel racing, cutting, or racing, you’re looking at even more ongoing costs.
Training costs typically aren’t an issue if you purchase an older horse, and they may not be ongoing through the life of your horse either. However, not training your horse isn’t really an option either, so you’ll need to prepare for this cost as part of your budget.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning an American Quarter Horse
$2,474–$12,184 per month
As you can see, the monthly costs of owning an American Quarter Horse can vary considerably. Caring for a horse requires a significant monthly investment, even if you do it as cheaply as possible. The decision to purchase a horse should not be taken lightly for many reasons, including the cost involved.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Some additional monthly costs to consider when owning an American Quarter Horse include emergency veterinary care. Vets typically charge more for emergency visits, and if your horse needs complicated procedures, such as surgery, costs can add up quickly. Depending on where your horse is housed, you may also need to pay for manure removal.
You’ll pay for entry fees, hotels, travel, and specialized gear if you participate in horse sports or shows. If you don’t board your horse, you’ll need to hire someone to care for them if you go out of town.
Owning an American Quarter Horse On a Budget
One of the best ways to own a horse on a budget is to adopt or purchase a lower-cost animal. Older companion horses, for example, are usually available at low prices. You may not be able to ride them much, however.
As we mentioned, young and untrained horses usually cost less too. If you can train your horse or know someone who will do it for a reduced cost, this can be an excellent way to own an American Quarter Horse on a budget.
If you can avoid boarding and training costs, you’ll shave a considerable amount off your annual horse budget. Experienced horse owners can often handle training on their own. You won’t have to pay for boarding if you own a hobby farm or space to keep a horse.
Saving Money on American Quarter Horse Care
Some aspects of horse care, such as vet and farrier visits, can’t be compromised. However, you can compare rates to find the best value for each of these services.
If you have to board your horse, look to see what’s included in your monthly cost, such as feed, bedding, and stall care. You may be able to pay for these things on your own or take on some of your horse’s care personally. Keeping your horse at pasture will cut down on feed and possibly stall maintenance costs.
Unless you get your American Quarter Horse for free, you can expect to pay an average of $250-$10,000 to adopt or purchase one. Initial set-up costs could run from $1,149-$3,667. Once you have your American Quarter Horse at home, ongoing monthly costs could range from $2,474 to $12,184. While there are ways to save money on caring for your American Quarter Horse, there’s no denying that owning one of these animals isn’t cheap. Depending on the age of the horse you purchase, you could be looking at 10–20 years or more of care costs.
Featured Image Credit: Bernell MacDonald, Pixabay