The Friesian horse breed is believed to have originated in the province of Friesland in the northern Netherlands and has been traced back to the Middle Ages. Over the centuries Friesian horses have been used for a variety of purposes including war horses, carriage horses, and working horses. As demand for this breed declined it was in danger of extinction but thanks to the efforts of breeders and enthusiasts, the breed has been preserved and is highly sought after.
Before buying a horse, you should consider the total cost of ownership factoring in all the costs of keeping and caring for a horse. An average Friesian horse lives for 16 years, although some specimens will match the more typical lifespan of a horse of 25–30 years. So, buying a Friesian horse is a long-term commitment.
If you are thinking of buying a Friesian horse this article will help you to work out the potential costs and whether it is right for you.
Bringing Home a New Friesian Horse: One-Time Costs
How much a Friesian horse costs is going to depend on its pedigree, how old it is, and how much training the horse has had. Other factors such as whether the horse has been spayed or neutered and whether the horse is registered with a breed association will also affect the price. However you acquire your horse, there are going to be some fixed costs such as transporting it to its new home.
It is important for anyone considering purchasing a horse to understand the costs associated with owning and caring for one. After you bring a horse home, keeping it healthy and happy requires a lot of time, effort, and money.
There are many places where you can find horses that are free or almost free. Online classified sites and Craigslist may be a good place to start, while auction grounds may be a good place to look for deals. There are some adopters who find horses from nonprofit organizations or rescues, while others scout trainers for retired racehorses who need a change of pace.
Occasionally, owners may no longer be able to keep their horses due to changes in their lives and will look for a new home for their treasured animal. You also get what you pay for when you get a free horse. What you save in cost, you may lose in choice. Horses that come from poor homes often have physical or behavioral issues that you will have to pay to fix. Bear in mind that Friesians are rare so the chance of finding a suitable animal through one of these channels is low.
Unfortunately, many horses start in good homes but end up unwanted. Rescue homes such as the Humane Society and the network of responsible horse breeders they organize are good places to start. Anyone caring for and looking to re-home an unwanted horse is most concerned about finding a good fit for the horse and will look at the environment you plan to keep the horse in, the rider, and potentially your financial ability to care for it.
Typically, an adoption fee is charged which normally is only $200–$600, and is to cover the costs of looking after the animal, but if the horse has a good pedigree and is in demand the fee might be as high as $2,000.
Friesians are a rare breed with only about 8,000 horses in America. Everything from the Friesian breed to its age, color, training, pedigree, sex, breed registration, and beyond will affect the price of a purebred Friesian horse. Unbroken foals or young horses are cheaper and cost between $7,000 and $15,000. The most common Friesians on the market are geldings that spent at least 1–3 years in the saddle and are well trained. The average price for this horse is about $25,000 to $30,000. Stallions and breeding mares will be even more expensive.
Initial Setup and Supplies
If you have not owned a horse before then you will have to buy all the basic equipment to care for your new animal. Whilst not expensive it all adds up, and this is just the beginning of the ongoing costs of caring for your Friesian.
List of Friesian Horse Care Supplies and Costs
|$10 – $30
|$25 – $100
|$25 – $200
|$10 – $50
|$2 – $10
|Grooming Brush and Comb:
|$5 – $20
|$5 – $30
|$100 – $500
|Bridle and Bit:
|$50 – $250
|$20 – $100
|$10 – $30
|$50 – $150
|$25 – $50
How Much Does a Friesian Horse Cost Per Month?
Keeping a Friesian horse comes with its own set of costs. Not only do owners need to factor in the cost of food, bedding, and stables, but also other fees such as vet bills, medicines, and training. It’s important for potential owners to be aware of all these costs when considering whether or not a Friesian is the right breed for them. It’s essential to budget correctly for everything involved in keeping one of these beautiful animals so that you can enjoy their company without any financial strain.
Keeping a horse healthy is a full-time affair and requires planning and attention. Like any animal, the fundamental ingredient to health is a good diet that meets their needs. Preventative medicine through annual vaccines and regular deworming are also important to keep your horse healthy and happy. Below we highlight and break down the principal costs involved in keeping your horse healthy.
The cost of feeding a horse varies greatly depending on the price of hay in your area, the type of hay you feed, and the size of your horse. Hay costs which already vary greatly from region to region also fluctuate seasonally. In addition to hay, your horse will also need grain and a salt lick. For an average horse weighing about 1,000 pounds eating a diet rich in high-protein alfalfa hay will cost between $200 and $350 a month.
Your horse will require a regular visit from a farrier to trim your horse’s hooves or to regularly shoe your horse. You will want a farrier to attend to your horse once every 4 to 6 weeks. If your horse is unshod then trimming will cost you $300 to $800 per year. However, if you have to shoe your horses it can cost you from $950 to $2,750 per year.
The main ongoing medical care for your horse includes regular vet visits, vaccinations, deworming tablets, and dental checkups. All this can set you back $400–$600 a year.
Insurance prices will largely depend on the insured value of the horse as well as other factors. Good horse insurance will cover death, major medical and surgical costs, loss of use, and personal liability. The annual insurance cost for a horse valued at $15,000 is estimated at $400 to $1,000.
As you can imagine, boarding fees are high, but they also depend significantly on the facility and the level of care. The housing you choose should be based on the horse, its purpose and quality, and of course your budget. The options you have available to you will depend on the area where you live. This may include the option of full or partial care as well as other services such as feeding and cleaning. These are the price ranges for the different options:
|$400 – $750/month
|$250 – $500/month
|$200 – $300/month
|$100 – $300/month
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Friesian Horse
Owning a horse is expensive but if you plan ahead by calculating all the costs based on your area and circumstances before acquiring your Friesian horse you should be able to create a budget and manage your costs so that there are no big surprises.
Additional Costs to Factor In
Above are only the minimum costs for caring for a horse, but you probably didn’t buy a horse just to own it, you want to ride it. In this case, there are more costs involved that you should plan for.
Depending on the age of your horse, the amount of training it has already had, and how you intend to use it, all will affect the amount and cost of monthly training. If you board your horse, you can often get training included as part of a package. As an indication, a regular trainer will cost around $650 a month.
Horse Riding Lessons
Unless all you want to do is look at your horse, or you are already an accomplished rider, you will want to take riding lessons. Riding lessons start at around $35 per hour, while private lessons start at $50 per hour. One lesson a week for 50 weeks a year will cost you approximately $2,500.
Trailer and Equipment
If you intend to travel with your horse, then you will need a trailer or a truck. Your options are to buy or rent and which makes more sense will depend on where you are in the country, the distances traveled, and how often you use it. For reference, a new two-horse bumper costs between $15,000 and $30,000 whilst second-hand ones are about one-third of the price.
Every horse is different, and many horses go their entire lives without an emergency medical incident. But when a horse has a problem, it can be very expensive. If you have good horse insurance, you should be covered for most eventualities and not end up out of pocket. However, if you end up paying you should know that surgery can end up costing over $10,000. By comparison, horse insurance looks very cheap.
Owning a Friesian Horse on a Budget
If you are wondering how to own a Friesian horse, or any horse for that matter, on a budget, then maybe owning a horse is not for you. Whilst you can shop around for the best deals on the supplies and services needed to house and care for your horse, there are no shortcuts. Your biggest monthly costs are boarding and food so if you want to save money, focus on these two. For boarding look for options where you can do a lot of the physical work of caring for your horse every day yourself, so you are not paying for someone else’s labor.
For food shop around and carefully understand the nutrition and qualities of different foodstuffs to find the right balance between price and nutrients for your horse.
Saving Money on Friesian Horse Care
The cheapest care for your horse is prevention so if you want to save money in the long run don’t skimp on looking after your horse and keep a regular schedule for dental work, farriers, deworming, vaccinations, and vet check-ups. Good horse insurance is also a way to save money on the lifetime cost of caring for your Friesian.
Purchasing and owning a Friesian horse can be a very rewarding experience, but it is important to remember that it is also a considerable financial investment. Before buying such a rare and desirable animal, one should research the cost of purchase and the ongoing costs of care and maintenance to ensure one understands what is involved. Potential owners should invest time in researching and looking for the right horse.
Talking to reputable breeders will help you find a Friesian suited to your needs and budget.
Featured Image Credit: Makarova Viktoria, Shutterstock