How much does it cost to keep a hunter?

  • Most hunting people have a rough idea of how much they spend each year on their horses, but how many have actually costed it out? Tessa Waugh looks at how it all adds up — from shoeing and forage, to bedding and rug cleaning.

    Shoeing — New set every four weeks while in work (July-March) at £80 plus trimming during the summer months, and callouts for lost shoes in between — approx £1000 per year.

    Forage — Hay at £5 per small bale generally lasts two days per horse or large, round bales of haylage at £35 each, which has higher protein levels than hay.

    Bedding — Large, round bales of straw at £20 per bale delivered or shavings at approximately £8 per bale.

    Hard feed — Two £7.50 bags of pre-mixed feed per week plus additional chaff, barley and any supplements.

    Teeth — Anthony Tory,  an equine dentist in the south of England, says: “An average hunter would be done once a year at a cost of £45, slightly less if there was more than one horse.”

    Rug cleaning — The Smelly Rug Company in the Scottish Borders charges £11 to clean a stable rug and £19 to wash and re-proof an outdoor rug so you are looking at roughly £50 per horse per year.

    Clipping — £40 every four weeks unless you do it yourself, at least three times per season amounts to £120.

    Worming — Twice per year comes to around £50.

    Insurance — Covering both horse and vehicle will set you back roughly £1,000.

    N.B Costs will vary between regions and feed prices depend whether you buy per bale, per tonne or per lorry load.

    Read the full article about the cost of a hunter — and ways to save without compromising care — in this week’s special hunting issue of Horse & Hound magazine (23 October 2014), which includes our full hunting directory

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