Economics of Horse Racing

The economics of horse racing is a broad topic that encompasses its impact on the global, country, state, and city economies. However, in this content, we will be focusing on the economics of horse racing for a horse owner.

There are several things to keep in mind while purchasing and setting a maintenance plan for a racehorse, especially if the horse will be competing in the 2022 Belmont stakes. Not only do we have to consider the initial outlay, which depends mainly on the breed and lineage of the animal, but we will also have to add food, veterinary, and training expenses.

The purchase and maintenance of a horse may seem like activity within reach of all pockets, but it’s further from reality. The economical amount necessary to keep a horse can cause us financial trouble if we are not prepared.

How Much Does A Horse Cost?

When buying a horse, the breed and physical characteristics must be taken into account, along with the ancestry and lineage. High-quality animals will always have a higher cost. The best thing in these cases is to look for our options in properly registered breeders, who must comply with the animal welfare law. It will ensure that you acquire a healthy, well-fed animal with specific qualities according to its breed.

As for the prices, the truth is that the amounts vary. It’s a market, and like most markets, it can fluctuate depending on various factors.

How Much Does Each Breed Of Horse Cost?

There are many breeds of horses with very defined characteristics. That is to say, while some breeds such as the English Thoroughbred are common in racing, others, such as the Andalusian horses, are usually more dedicated to dressage.

Today’s horses are the result of centuries of specialization. While many horses were used in agriculture for work or cavalry in a war in ancient times, today, some breeds stand out mainly for the sports categories in which they compete.

Some of the craziest prices that have had the most echo in the press have been mainly for racehorses. A discipline with a long tradition and in which a lot of money is also generated due to sports betting.

That’s why certain horses sold as competition horses command even higher prices since they have the ideal characteristics. Although the animal’s age also influences the price (horses have a relatively short sporting life) or if they are castrated or not (if the buyer wants to use it as a stud).

How lineage influences the price of a horse:

Acquiring a foal of a champion can skyrocket the price. And in fact, there are cases in which the offspring make a horse shoot up its value. A good example is Galileo, whose descendants are, for the most part, great champions in the highest category of horse racing.

Genetics and selective breeding play a crucial role in the horse world.

Fixed Costs Of Keeping A Horse


The most important expenditure in raising a horse is feeding. The amount of food and its quality are key factors for the health and performance of the horse.

The daily food intake that an adult horse needs to cover is at least between 1.5% and 2% of their body weight. However, pregnant and lactating mares and foals require around 2.5% of their body weight for proper health, as they need to cover special needs.

In this way, a normal horse with an average weight of 600 kilograms and an intense work discipline needs at least 9 kilograms of feed and 6 kilograms of forage per day. A good quality 20-kilogram bag of feed costs around 50 dollars.

Veterinary Care

Proper veterinary care means a good outlay for the owner of a horse. Vaccines and deworming are essential investments in acquiring and maintaining a horse. Diseases and parasites affecting a horse can lead to significant expenses in palliative treatments and veterinary care.

These treatments represent a fairly low economic amount if we compare them with the advantages it brings to the health of our animal. A vaccine costs around 35 dollars but does not need to be repeated throughout the year. For its part, deworming costs approx 30 dollars per year, so daily veterinary care is a good measure in terms of economic savings.

On the other hand, preventive yearly check-ups can be very suitable economically. An annual consultation or a dental check-up costs less than 100 dollars per year but can save a good amount of money.

The Stables

Horse maintenance requires a correctly built environment for rest and sleep, especially during the winter. The cost of a stable varies – although depending on the dimensions and the qualities of the materials used in the construction, they can be costly.

A fairly cheap option to house our horse could be a galvanized stable for just over 400 dollars. In addition to the shelter, it will be necessary to have a series of essential elements for hygiene and maintenance purposes. Daily exercise can mean around 50 dollars for the owner just in hardware every two months.

Horse Training

A horse destined for competition and dressage needs specific training that varies enormously depending on the region and the services that we desire. Basic training can range from 150 to 300 dollars per month.

In addition to all these expenses, including insurance when purchasing and maintaining a horse would be advisable. Civil liability insurance and accident insurance can avoid major scares in the event of a mishap.

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Author: Ben Burd

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Sports Economics