Boarding A Horse: How Much It Costs

 

How Much Does it Cost to Board Your Horse?

If you’re about to purchase your first horse, you may be wondering how much does it cost to board a horse at a boarding stable?  A boarding stable is a facility where you can keep your horse for a monthly fee if you don’t have your own land. Your boarding fee will usually be one of the most expensive aspects of owning a horse.

So, how much does boarding a horse cost? The average cost for horse boarding is $350 to $400 a month. This number can fluctuate depending on where you live, the facilities you’re interested in, and the type of board you choose. Here are the most common boarding options you might consider for your horse:

  • Full Care Board ($300 – $700/month)
  • Pasture Board ($150 – $400/month)
  • Self-Care Board ($100 – $200/month)

 

Before you think that all hope is lost and boarding your horse is too expensive, keep reading. I’ll break down the different types of boarding options you can find and what each option encompasses.

Full Care Board

Average Monthly Rate: $300 – $700+

The full care boarding option for your horse is probably the most popular boarding option you’ll find out there. Many stables will only offer this option in order to hold a standard about how the horses are kept and how the facilities are maintained.

When you choose a full care boarding option, the barn staff will see to the daily need of your horse like feeding, turning out, mucking their stall, and blanketing if need be. Your horse will have a stall to stay in and pasture for turn-out. This is a great option for someone who doesn’t have the time to get out to the stables every day. This is also a great option for someone who likes to have a stall for their horse and limited or supervised turnout.

What Full Care Board Usually Includes:

  • Access to stall and pasture
  • Use of facilities 
  • Generic feed twice a day provided by the stables
  • Hay for your horse’s stall or pasture
  • Water buckets in the stall and pasture checked and filled
  • Handling of turn-out and stabling by barn staff
  • blanketing in the winter months
  • Scheduling of vet and farrier
  • Access to a personal tack and supplies box/area

 

These are the most common services you can expect when you invest in full care board. While you are paying more for board each month, you can rest assured that all your horse’s needs will be met even when you can’t make it out to the stables.

Pros of Full Care Board:

  • The horse’s daily needs are looked after
  • You can have faith that your horse is taken care of even when you can’t make it out to the stables
  • Your horse gets a stall they can go in during bad weather 
  • You don’t have to purchase feed or hay
  • You don’t have to worry about scheduling the farrier or routine vet visits
  • You have access to the facilities that the stables have to offer
  • There will be a designated area for all your horse stuff

 

Cons of Full Care Board:

  • Full care board is the most expensive boarding option for your horse

 

All in all, although more expensive, full care board would be the best option for you to choose if you can’t make it out to the barn every day and you want your horse looked after. You’ll get access to a stall when you need it and you can also trust that your horse has room to run in the pasture.

Many full care boarding stables may also offer extra services for an additional rate. These services may include exercising your horse, performing a body clip, pulling the mane, applying fly spray, and so on and so forth.

To learn more about choosing a boarding stable for your horse, check out our article Choosing a Boarding Stable Your Horse Will Love.

Pasture Board

Horse Grazing

Average Monthly Rate: $150 – $400

Pasture board is another popular option offered to people who need somewhere to keep their horse. This boarding has many of the same positives as full care board and it’s usually at a cheaper rate.

When you choose a pasture board option for your horse, the barn staff will still see to the daily needs of your horse; however, your horse will live in a pasture 24/7. This can be a turn-off to many horse owners who would like access to a stall for their equine, but it’s a great alternative option that allows your horse to closer to its natural state of foraging and being able to move around all day.

What Pasture Board Usually Includes:

  • Pasture for your horse (usually with other horses)
  • Adequate shelter from bad weather
  • Feed if necessary
  • Hay to be put out if the field doesn’t offer adequate forage
  • Water Tubs checked and filled
  • Blanketing if needed
  • Use of facilities
  • Scheduling of vet and farrier
  • Designated area for your tack and supplies

 

If you go with a pasture boarding option, you can still expect your horse to be cared for even when you can’t make it out to the stables.

Pros of Pasture Board:

  • A cheaper option compared to full care board
  • Allows your horse to live closest to its natural state 
  • The horse’s daily needs are looked after
  • You can have faith that your horse is taken care of even when you can’t make it out to the stables
  • You don’t have to purchase feed or hay
  • You don’t have to worry about scheduling the farrier or routine vet visits
  • You have access to the facilities that the stables have to offer
  • There will be a designated area for all your horse stuff

 

Cons of Pasture Board:

  • Your horse won’t have a stall

 

Even if your horse doesn’t have access to a stall, boarding stables are usually very accommodating for pasture horses that may need a stall in the event of injury, the night of competition, and things like that. If you want to pasture board your horse, have a talk with the barn manager to see how they may accommodate the mentioned situations.

Board is just one expense in a list of many when it comes to owning a horse. Check out our complete expense guide to horse ownership by clicking here.

Self-Care Board

Why Doesn't My Horse Like Me?

Average Monthly Rate: $100 – $200

Self-care board is probably the most budget-friendly boarding option you’ll find. Self-care board is exactly what it sounds like; you providing all the care for your horse yourself.

When you choose a self-care boarding option for your horse, you’re simply just paying to be able to keep them on the property. Everything else, like the daily care and maintenance of your horse, falls on you to oversee. This boarding option won’t be as popular as the other options, but if you look hard enough, you can find stables that offer this.

Your horse will rely on you to take care of it. While your horse may be kept on someone else’s land, you’ll still need to go out and check to make sure your horse has water and food. If your horse needs hay in the pasture for the winter, you’ll need to purchase it. Before you choose this boarding option, make sure you’re up for the commitment it requires.

What Self-Care Board Usually Includes

  • Land for your horse to stay on
  • Possible facilities to use

 

This is a very simplistic boarding option you probably won’t find at high-end boarding stables; however, it is a very cheap alternative to paying for full care or pasture board.

Pros of Self-Care Board

  • Usually very inexpensive
  • You get to experience all that really goes into caring for a horse

 

Cons of Self-Care Board

  • You are required to see to your horse’s every need
  • You will probably have to make multiple trips to the stable each day
  • You will have to buy your own feed and hay
  • You’ll have to schedule your own farrier and vet visits (usually)

 

The self-care boarding option isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found that it worked great for me. It catered to my budget and allowed me to meet some other boarders who all helped each other look after one another’s horses. I lived close to the stables so getting out to the barn a few times a day was no big deal. To learn more about budgeting for your horse, check out our article 16 Tips for Owning A Horse On a Budget.

Overall, you can most likely find a boarding option that fits in your budget; however, you need to make sure that what the boarding offers will meet the needs of both you and your horse. To find out more about what goes into owning a horse, check out our article 50 Tips for New Horse Owners: Everything You Need to Know.

P.S. Save this article to your “Horse Care” board!

Paying for Board for a horse



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