How Much Does it Cost to Own a Racehorse?

Posted on 19th January 2022

While it may seem like a very attractive proposition to own a racehorse, with the winners attracting national and sometimes international acclaim, much of the hard work goes unseen and at quite the cost.

Owners must foot the bill for stabling, feeding, training, and veterinarian bills, with costs extending right down to the things we’ve covered previously, such as ‘Insuring Your Yard’. There’s then the consideration of race entry fees and transport to the venues; while the list isn’t endless, these are just some of the things that need to be taken into account.

However, before we jump a little further into those details, let’s look at the animals themselves because the cost to purchase a racehorse has multiple factors.

The racehorses

The price of a horse will change dependent on things such as its physique, lineage and if it has raced. These variations mean that a racehorse can cost between several thousand to tens of millions of pounds, with the record sale coming in at £53.7 million, according to the BBC. The reason for such variation is that a successful horse can reap a healthy return for its owner quickly if it’s successful. For example, Energumene could earn £500,000 if he’s to repeat this year’s victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2023, and it’s entirely possible as he’s the favourite in the current horse racing odds on Coral. But even that pales in comparison to the reported £1.5 million prize pot at the 2022 Epsom Derby, which even The Queen has her eyes on. It’s not difficult to get caught up in the prospect of a big win, but getting past the post first comes with a lot of hard work, dedication, and care. Therefore, let’s step off the track and look at some of those costs back in the yard.

Livery, hay, haylage and more

The primary costs for livery can be as little as around £1,000 per month; however, if you’re looking at the tip-top conditions, this can rise to around £14,000. If you’re lucky to keep your horse a little closer to home, it doesn’t mean it’s free, although the costs are significantly lower at around £2,600. On top of that, there are grooming costs; again, these rise with the amount of responsibility you’re giving others. Basic yard costs could be £400, but in somewhere closer to London, where green land is scarce, you could expect that to double to £800 per month. Professional costs can range from between £600 to well over £1,200.

For horses not on full livery such as those professional options above, haylage comes in at around £60 per month, depending on their needs. For example, stabled horses will need hay all year round, and they will also need bedding, such as straw, shavings and paper, while other options include rubber mats. The price here varies from £3.50 per month to £250 per month.

Hard feed is something else that horses will need, and on average, the cost would be £35 based on the type, size of the horse and its regime. This is without supplements that the animal may require.

Welfare

Worming treatment programmes are vitally important, and a targeted pack tailored to the horse’s needs will set the owner back around £50. We would expect shoeing to take place every four to six weeks, coming in at around £100, while trimming will be anything up to £30. Any remedial work such as dealing with stud holes will come at a cost, and of course, there’s the callout charge of the farrier on top of that.

Summary

These are basic costs; because things can crop up at any time as with any animal. While it can seem daunting, it’s entirely possible to ensure your racehorse has the finest care with the proper organisation and support, leaving you to head back onto the track and cheer your fantastic steed to victory.

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