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Lifetime cost of horse ownership is often 4 times higher than expected

dvm360dvm360 June 2023
Volume 54
Issue 6
Pages: 20

A Synchrony study finds the average cost range for an equine lifetime of care

Photo courtesy of Synchrony.

Photo courtesy of Synchrony.

Synchrony, a consumer financial services company, conducted a study, study, "Equine Lifetime of Care" and found that the cost of horse ownership ranges from $300,000 to $924,000 based on the role of the horse.1 The study, conducted on behalf of CareCredit, a Synchrony financing solution for veterinary care, investigated an exhaustive list of horse expenditures, including food and nutrition, boarding and grooming, farrier services, tack and gear, breeding, routine and emergency veterinary care, end of life care, and more, over a horse's lifetime, which is averaged at 25 years.

According to Synchrony's Equine Lifetime of Care report, costs vary depending on the horse's role:1

  • $575,000-$1,000,000 for competitive horses
  • $295,000-$400,000 for recreational horses
  • $215,000-$290,000 for backyard horses

On an annual basis, the all-in costs for owning a horse range from around $8,600 to $26,000 per year, not including events or operating expenses.

"Nearly all horse owners keep their horses for life – which can be as long as 25 years. Yet, the true cost of care is consistently underestimated, and many horse owners aren't financially prepared for care-related expenses," said Jonathan Wainberg, senior vice president and general manager, Pet, Synchrony in an organizatioanl release. "With the Synchrony Equine Lifetime of Care research, we aim to better educate, inform, and prepare horse owners for what to expect financially, so they have the tools they need to make that lifetime commitment and better provide their horses with the care they need."1

Synchrony also asked 1,231 horse owners if they feel prepared with horse care expenses with 83% responding yes. However, Synchrony found that the actual total lifetime cost is 3 to 4 times higher than what horse owners expect.1

“Many might expect experienced horse owners to be the most financially prepared for the lifetime commitment of raising a horse – whether it's a competitive, recreational, retired or backyard horse – but often that's not the case," said Mike Pownall, DVM, MBA, in the release. "Helping horse owners clearly understand the full financial commitment and the financing options they can rely on from the very beginning can give them peace of mind that they are ready to manage the cost of the lifelong care their horse needs, easing the financial stress for both the veterinarian and the owner."1


Synchrony study estimates the lifetime cost of horse ownership ranges from $300,000 TO $924,000. News release. Synchrony. April 26, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/synchrony-study-estimates-the-lifetime-cost-of-horse-ownership-ranges-from-300-000-to-924-000--301807322.html

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