If you’re looking for a Clydesdale horse for sale, then the initial price that you’ll see for this majestic horse can be encouraging at first. Many sales listings offer a Clydesdale for $1,500 and sometimes for even less. Yet this is a tall breed of horse, originating from the farms of Clydesdale, Scotland, and the cost of caring for the horse must be included when determining if this breed is right for you.
How much do Clydesdale horses cost? Let’s take a look at all of the cost factors that need to be considered outside of the acquisition price.
How Much Do Clydesdale Horses Eat?
Although every horse is a little different in regards to their diet demands, all horses tend to eat the same foods. Clydesdales are not any different. They’ll eat the same food as smaller horses. They’re just going to each much more of it. The average horse is going to need about 2% of their body weight in food every day. This means a 1,000-pound horse is going to generally need 20 pounds of feed each day.
Since the Clydesdale horse is one of the tallest and heaviest breeds which exists today, you can expect to double that requirement at minimum. Some Clydesdales have been known to get close to 3,000 pounds, which would mean a requirement for 60 pounds of feed daily per horse.
If your Clydesdale horse is considered to be a “performance” horse, which means it is actively working for at least 6 hours per day, then you may need to double the increase in feed that is being offered to the horse. For the largest horses of this breed, that may mean 100 pounds of feed or more per day.
This type of feed will generally cost a minimum of $60 per horse, per month. For working horses, this cost doubles to about $120.
Hay is also part of the diet of the Clydesdale horse. If you have a large pasture for turn out, then this cost may be somewhat minimal. If you need to purchase hay, however, the cost will depend on availability. In areas where hay is not abundantly grown, the cost of hay per month for a Clydesdale could exceed $500. In areas of abundance, the cost may not be more than $100 at most.
At minimum, expect to be paying about $175 per month on food for a Clydesdale.
Does the Clydesdale Horse Need to Be Boarded?
Most people who seek to purchase a Clydesdale horse are going to have enough land to support it. For those who do not, then boarding at a stable or barn is the next best option. Most stables and barns will have the land support needed, trails to use, and an arena. Most boarding arrangements start for around $500 per month, but may be as high as $2,500 per month.
Many stable and barn arrangements do not include mucking out a stall, feeding the horse, or turning it out in the price. You may still need to do this on your own or pay an extra fee to have it done for you.
If you do own your own land, then managing the fences, paying for the additional utilities, and other miscellaneous costs of owning a horse may add up to $250 per month.
And let’s not forget the cost of a horse trailer – to transport the horse, you may be paying as much for a used trailer as you do for your new Clydesdale horse.
Will You Need to Have a Farrier for Your Clydesdale Horse?
The farrier is going to take care of the hooves of your Clydesdale. Like your fingernails continue to grow, the horse’s hooves need to be clipped so they can function properly. If you have your farrier take care of this task, then expect to pay about $25 per month for basic services. More extensive care needs may cause this cost to double or even triple, depending on what is going on with the horse.
Clydesdale horses also perform much better when wearing shoes. A full set of shoes will often cost about $150 for the average horse. Since this breed is larger and the shoes must match, you may find the price exceeds $200 per set for a Clydesdale. If for some reason corrective shoes are required for your horse, then the shoeing cost for that period of time may be up to $400 per set.
What About Tack and Grooming for Your Clydesdale Horse?
Riding a Clydesdale horse means living life at a more leisurely pace. They’re draft horses, not competition horses, but they do like a good little hike down a trail or out in the country with you. As long as the walk and the trot are well established, you’ll be able to likely have a successful riding experience.
That is assuming you can find the tack that you’ll need for a Clydesdale. Most Clydesdale owners find that the bits for their horses must be specially made. Finding reins can be especially difficult because of the size of the horse. Expect to pay double for your tack, which means several thousand dollars for everything. If the average horse can have a tack set cost break down to about $200 per month, for the Clydesdale, it is likely closer to $400 per month.
Grooming equipment, however, is one of the most affordable components of Clydesdale horse ownership. With the curry comb, brushes, hoof picks, mane combs, tail combs, and other scrapers and sponges that you’ll want to have, the annual cost is generally less than $100.
What About Health Care Costs for a Clydesdale Horse?
All horses need to see their local veterinarian at minimum once per year. This annual visit usually involves a vaccination update if needed, teeth cleaning, and continuing the deworming process. The cost of the veterinarian annual checkup is usually $250 or less, but there will always be an added cost if you need to bring the doctor to the horse instead of taking the horse to the doctor.
Health emergencies can happen at any time. Many emergencies will cost several thousand dollars to treat per instance. It’s a good idea to set aside some money each month to make sure that you can handle the cost of a health emergency with your Clydesdale should it occur.
There’s also the issue of the feathers around the feet of this breed. You’ll need to spend extra time cleaning these areas to make sure matting doesn’t occur, which can lead to rain rot and other skin health issues.
What About Training Costs for a Clydesdale Horse?
Although you won’t usually find a Clydesdale horse competing in shows, they are especially talented at dressage and some other precision events. Training is always optional, but if you’ve never ridden a Clydesdale before [or a horse before, for that matter], you’ll want to develop your skills in this area. Private riding lessons tend to be about $50 per hour and the final cost is up to you and how many lessons you want to have.
You may also discover that finding trainers that want to work with a Clydesdale may be few and far between in your community. The costs may be extra simply because of the size of this breed.
Many Clydesdales benefit from specialized training clinics that are held in many communities during the summer months. This helps them learn the basics of the work they’ll do, the shows you may want them to be in, or the other tasks of horse life that you’re going to be expecting from them. The cost of a clinic is usually somewhere in the $250-$500 range for the weekend of work.
Are You Ready to Own a Clydesdale Horse?
You may find that the initial purchase price of a Clydesdale horse is pretty affordable, but the ongoing care costs for this breed can be quite high compared to other horses. There are many variables to calculate in determining what your final cost is going to be, but in general you’ll want to budget at least $400 per month for the care of the horse and closer to $1,000 per month if you plan to have the horses boarded instead.
Many Clydesdale owners choose to let their horses be barefoot to help save on the cost of shoes and do the hoof trimming themselves to save on costs. If you do put on shoes, keep in mind that they will need to be reset every 6 weeks at maximum and that as an added cost from the farrier as well.
How much do Clydesdale horses cost? After you have the initial purchase price, tack expense if desired, and trailer cost, expect to pay about $15,000 to $20,000 per year in the care and upkeep for the horse. You’ll also want to keep a few thousand dollars in the bank to take care of any health emergencies that might arise and replenish that fund whenever it is spent almost immediately.