So, your daily feed for the care of one healthy 1100 lb. horse will average between .75
    and $4.80 per day for grain and will be around $4.40 per day for hay.  That total is
    $4.40 to $8.80 per day.  Multiply by 30 days per month, and your average cost to feed
    a healthy 15H horse is a minimum o f $132.00 and can easily go as high as $264.00.  
    That cost can increase easily depending on the amount of work your horse is in, as well
    as its breed. Thoroughbreds, for example, are known to need a much higher amount
    of feed in relation to their body weight than the average Quarter horse.

    These figures do not include the cost of farrier visits, which average approximately
    $40 for a pasture trim with no shoes and is necessary every 6 weeks, which calculates
    to a cost of $30.00 per month.  Deworming should be done every other month and
    you should rotate dewormers with Ivermectin and Strongid at a cost of approximately
    $5-$10 per dose, which would come out to approximately $7.00 per month.

    Hay = $303.00
    Grain = $22.50 - $144
    Farrier $30.00
    Deworming $7.00

    $362.50 to $484.00 per month for one horse

    Don't forget yearly vet visits for about $200 ($55 farm call plus vaccinations twice a
    year), and any veterinary care for illness or injuries, which averages to about $18.00
    /month not including emergencies, which you should keep a couple thousand put away
    in a savings account specifically for equine emergencies.  Add in a dental visit at $150
    per year if your horse has no tooth or mouth problems, for another $12.50/month.

    We have now brought our cost up to $375 - $500 per month for one average, healthy

    Of course, this does not include tack (bridle, bit, reins, saddle, girth, stirrups, saddle pad),
    supplies (halter, lead, buckets, deicers, salt block), fencing materials, barn or shelter and
    repairs to each, or any health supplements your horse may need.

Why is a program
like BITS needed?

*80% of first time horse owners
get rid of their horse within 5

*In just nine years (1997-05),
The equine population in the
United States has expanded from
6.9 million to 9.2 million horses,
an increase of 33%.

*Meanwhile, the number of horse
owners has risen from 1.9 million
to 2.0 million, a modest increase
of only about 5%.

*Most neglect and abuse cases
can be resolved through owner
education. Educational programs
using existing resources should
be developed and accessible to
all facets of society."— USDA

These facts and quotes are from
the site
Equine charities receive a large number of calls every month from horse owners seeking alternative
homes for their animals. There are milliond of horses and donkeys in the USA and the charitable
sector has limited space available and must prioritize welfare and rescue cases. Welfare organizations
simply do not have the resources to take in all the horses whose owners can no
longer afford to care for them.

BITS adapted this page with the intention of helping owners in difficult circumstances. This sheet
aims to help potential horse owners plan for the future and prepare them for the actual cost of
horse care. While owning a horse is one of the most rewarding experiences you may ever have,
not all of us can afford them. Please if you are interested in purchasing a horse in the near future,
do some research on the cost of owning and caring for a horse in your area.

The accompanying documents,
“Re-homing your horse”, “Cutting Costs without Compromising
Health’, and “Tips if you must take your horse to Auction”, outline the main options available if
you find that having a horse is an expense you can definitely no longer afford.
(The term horse is used to cover all domestic equine species, including horses, ponies, donkeys,
hinnies and mules).
Can You Afford a
First of all, an average 15H, 1100 pound saddle horse in
light work should be fed at least 2.5% of their body weight per day in forage, on
average. That can be a little less in summer, and a bit more in winter to keep them

Assuming that average 15H 1100 lb. horse eats 27.5
pounds of hay per day.  An average 2 twine, 50 lb. bale of Alfalfa hay, which is common
in Northern California, is around $8.00 picked up (add $1.00 or more per bale for
delivery, and add $2 or more per bale at the feed store).  That equals .16/lb.  27.5 lb. x
.16 = $4.40 per day for hay.
Grain averages between $12.00 and $18.00 for a 50 lb. bag.