The Costs Of Owning a Show Jumping Horse

The grace and precision displayed by both horse and rider as they negotiate their way through courses have made show jumping a popular sport. However, owning a show jumping horse is not just about the thrill of competition; it also involves significant financial commitments that potential owners must carefully consider before “taking the leap”.

Upfront Costs

The journey to owning a show jumping horse begins with the purchase price, which can vary greatly depending on factors such as the horse’s age, breeding, training level, and competition record. A well-trained, experienced show jumper can cost anywhere from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Some people might look to save money by going with less experience or buying a horse without thorough veterinary examinations. However, this is more akin to spinning the wheel on a live roulette table (click here to see that this, in fact, can be quite fun), but the stakes are a little too high here to be taking any chances.

Of course, it’s not just the horse either, but the equipment and tack, such as saddles, bridles, and protective gear, which can add a few thousand dollars to the initial expenses.

Before bringing a new horse home, there may be some veterinary and transportation costs to its new stable.

Ongoing Expenses

Owning a show jumping horse involves a range of ongoing expenses. These must be factored into the overall cost of ownership because they can often be greater than the upfront costs. One of the bigger things to consider is boarding and stabling. 

Depending on the location and amenities provided, monthly boarding fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. This covers the need to house the horse in a safe and suitable environment, as well as daily care and management.

Feed and supplements are another cost. This is where the cost of a show jumping horse can be higher than usual as they require high-quality feed than usual, and specialized supplements to maintain optimal health and performance. Owners can expect a few hundred dollars per month on feed and supplements, though this can depend on their workload.

Regular veterinary care and check-ups are important for maintaining the horse’s health. Issues need to be detected early on, and this can often save money in the long run. Annual vaccinations, dental care, and routine examinations add a few hundred or potentially thousands of dollars annually. Farrier services, which include regular hoof trimming and shoeing, cost around $100 to $200 per visit, with most horses requiring farrier care every 4-6 weeks.

Training and lessons are crucial for the ongoing development of both horse and rider. Professional training for the horse and coaching for the rider can range widely. This may be a couple of thousand dollars per month for intensive, high-quality training, but this is at the higher end. 

Show entry fees and travel expenses are some of the hidden costs that catch show jumpers out. These quickly add up, and it will depend on the level of competition and distance travelled.

Comparison to Owning a Non-Show Horse

While owning a show-jumping horse can be a significant financial undertaking, it is essential to recognize that the costs associated with owning a non-show horse are generally lower. Many will have a non-show horse, but it’s important to be clear about the differences in costs.

For those interested in pleasure riding or trail riding, the upfront costs of purchasing a horse can be considerably less. Less training hours have gone into them, so there’s a much smaller price tag.

Basic feed and hay may be sufficient for a pleasure horse, rather than the specialized, high-quality feed and supplements required for a show jumper. Non-show horses don’t need quite as many veterinary check-ups or specialized treatments either as they are not subject to the same physical demands.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, non-show horses generally require fewer specialized equipment and training requirements. While all horses need basic tack and grooming supplies, the additional costs of show jumps are greater by several orders of magnitude.

Conclusion

Owning a show jumping horse is a significant financial commitment that requires careful consideration. From the initial purchase price to ongoing expenses such as boarding, feed, veterinary care, and training, the costs can quickly accumulate. It’s important to not be fooled by the price of having a non-show horse, as the costs are wildly different. 

Over the span of a decade, a show horse will likely cost over a hundred thousand dollars, including the upfront costs. But for some, it will be much more.

Despite the substantial financial responsibilities, owning a show jumping horse can be an incredibly rewarding experience for those passionate about the sport. Whether it’s worth it or not will be down to the individual, their budget, and their passion for show jumping.