Average Cost to Board a Horse

Jessica McDaniel
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What is the Average Cost to Board a Horse ?

The average cost to board a horse varies by region, city, area, state, farm size, location, number of horses at the farm and type of facility.

Check with several farms to get a range of what is being charged for boarding a horse.

Be sure you understand the boarding contract, daily rates and any additional charges before you enter into contract with any boarder.


Before you look into the average cost of boarding a horse, it's important to consider where you're looking. Some horse boarding facilities are in areas with a high density of horses, that may put a dent in your wallet. People in urban and suburban areas usually carry a higher price tag as everyone wants to live near the equestrian center. Costs may be lower in rural areas with a lower density of horses, but the cost of land and labor to create or repair barns, trails and arenas may still be high.

Show Barns

Show barns usually draw in the equestrian rich where prize horses and show studs are aplenty.

These farms will usually have a few paddocks set aside for year-round boarding of horses. Paddocks are amenities aside from stalls, and they may include extra space for turnout, shelter and access to turn-out pastures. Added security through extra fencing or surrounding natural habitat may also be available.

The price of this type of living space will largely depend on the number of horses in the barn, how long-term the contract is, number of stallions and the location. If there’s demand, the price will go up.

What Does it Include?

The cost of boarding varies from barn to barn. The important thing to consider is whether the price includes hay, grain, and regular fresh water. It usually includes access to riding arenas and trails, although some boarders may be willing to share trails as long as you maintain the riding arenas.

Besides hay, grain, and water, you should also inquire as to whether it will include farrier visits. In most cases this will be included.

If the boarding facility doesn’t charge extra for hay, grain and fresh water, then the price should include these items.

Average Cost to Board a Horse: Pasture Boarding Service

Average Cost to Board a Horse: Self-Care Boarding Service

Average Cost to Board a Horse: Full Boarding Service

Factors That Can Affect the Price

Boarding prices for horses can range drastically from one facility to the next depending on many factors. Basic costs can vary based on boarding facility location, what a facility is willing and able to provide, the number of horses, arenas and miles of equestrian trails that are present, barn condition, access to open fields and/or riding arenas, staff size, qualifications, and any added facilities such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis, or exercise barns. Any of the above can change the price tremendously and to be completely honest this makes the average cost per night, per horse, hard to track.

First, a facilities location has a huge influence on the price. The farther away a facility is from your home the higher the price. This shouldn’t be too surprising as fuel costs go up as do labor costs. A lot of caretakers won’t want to make multiple trips in one day to a facility that is far away. This costs time and money that in effect gets passed along and is reflected in the price for you and your horse.


While a horse is kept for recreational purposes, it is a very costly hobby and you need to be prepared for the expense. The horse needs to be fed and groomed on a daily basis, and of course the rider needs to pay the trainer to teach the horse. Then, once the rider has achieved a level of competency on the horse, they pay to go to shows and events. All of this has to be paid for.

An average competitive rider may pay great amounts of money just on the horse alone, including regular shoeing, all competition shipping expenses for events, as well as travel costs to show in the area. Food, grooming, equipment and medical costs would also be factors in a team's costs.


Boarding fees can range depending on the region, quality of boarding stables and level of care that you and your horse’s boarder is seeking. Most boarding facilities will offer a choice of boxes (small rooms), stalls (large rooms) or pastures (grazing). Some places will partner with boarders and share feed, vet and farrier costs. So, the cost can vary greatly.

If you plan to board your horse at a facility that has lessons, you may be able to negotiate a fairer price for both lessons and board. Many boarders prefer a boarder that is involved in riding because it can take away some of the burden of care for the boarder and provide a needed riding companion for the boarder’s horse.


If you are a regular horse rider, going to weekly shows, or just riding for fun, you should be aware that shows and trail rides are not free. Although these types of activities are the ones that we most often associate with horses, the actual riding of the horse is not necessarily what has the biggest cost associated with it.

The biggest cost is the board and upkeep of the horse for the time that they are at the show or on the trail ride. Horse board costs vary with the facility and the trainer. Usually, the higher the trainer is in the pecking order, the more expensive they will be to board. The board is generally more expensive for the horse for every day that the horse is at the facility instead of at the owner’s home. There are also additional costs associated with these types of services such as veterinary expenses (routine and emergency care or treatment), farrier costs (horse hoof care), trailer handling costs (due to transporting the horses) and sometimes even tack storage.

Additional fees

Virtually all boarding facilities require an additional fee for medications, farrier work, and other incidentals that occur during the stay.

Average Cost to Board a Horse: Finding the Right Barn

The most common complaint for boarding is the high cost of keeping your horse in a barn or stable. For anyone who prefers having their horse in a stable, this comes as no surprise. The cost of a stall, board, feed, and the general upkeep can be a lot of money, but if you do it right, you can find a pretty good deal.

If you are looking to find the best deals in your area, visit barns and stables and ask them for a quote. Additionally, barns will often have specials on board for such occasions as Christmas, Summer vacations, and fall. At these times, boarding cost usually goes down. Don't be afraid to negotiate a deal to get the best price for your money. It's better to try and attempt to cut down on cost than to end up with a higher price than anticipated.