By Kimani Kuria
Horses have since time immemorial been a symbol of power, class, and grace. They are wild beasts whose taming has made them excellent pets but at a cost. People keep horses for various reasons such as engaging in various sports such as polo, horse racing, rodeo-barrel racing, combined driving, dressage, and show-jumping. Others tame them for lucrative entrepreneurial ventures, and some for their aesthetic and sentimental value. WoK explored the cost of horses in Kenya and the expenses incurred in their breeding.
Where are Horses Sourced From?
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Horse farmers in the country such as Anja du Toit from Malo Stables Kenya told a local daily that horses are mostly imported from Europe naming Denmark, Germany, and Holland as the best countries to source top dressage horses. Other countries to source horses from are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In countries such as Denmark, horse-riding is among the country’s top sports ranking just as highly as football. For this reason, these countries are more advanced in horse breeding and care, placing them as the best areas to source various horse breeds.
How Much? Horse Prices in Kenya
Horse prices in the country vary depending on an array of factors discussed below.
Horse breeds or pedigrees are categorized into three main groups identified as heavy horses, light horses, and ponies. There are however numerous breeds including the Arabian horse, Fresian horse, Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, Shire horse, Mustang, Haflinger, Percheron, Morgan horse, and Hanoverian horse among other breeds. Thoroughbred horses are considered the most expensive breed of horses given their almost assured win in all competitions. These horses can sell for over one million dollars.
Horses can be trained to mind blowing performance levels in competitions able to rake in millions for the owners. With the higher training given to a horse, the more o
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A horse at its prime age is worth a lot more than an older one. The prime-age is between seven and fourteen years old. Older horses may not be able to perform better on track in races and even in general activity.
- Health conditions
A healthy horse will attract far much more money than a sickly one. This is because they are able to perform at their optimum. Sickly ones or those with underlying conditions will attract heavy veterinary services.
The Price of Ponies
Ponies are used for races and although smaller than horses but cost so much more to maintain. In Kenya, these beasts cost Ksh 100,000 on the minimum.
The Price of Horses
Young ponies cost between Ksh 145,000 and Ksh 200,000. With horses, the cheaper ones end up being the expensive ones given the necessity of taking care of them over their lives. In an interview on Businessdaily, Anja said that thoroughbreds are the most common breeds in the country and are taken from racetrack.
“Those owners can sell a horse when they are old or don’t do well anymore. You can get the price down to about Sh200,000 depending on the quality, but it will likely be an injured or very difficult horse,” she told BD.
“Normally, a fully-grown one would probably go for about Sh500,000 and since it has been working really hard as athletes, it needs about six months to rest, recover its joints and muscles then you can start somewhat retraining it to get the racing out of their head. Some are even put on steroids and you need to get them off that. Often, they will surprise you and turn into the most wonderful animals.”
A fully grown broodmare on the other hand costs around Ksh 500,000 up to millions. Anja went on to add that imported horses can cost up to Ksh 5 million.
Collateral Costs After Purchase
After purchasing a horse, there are several other costs that come with taking care of it. Some of the expenses involved in horse maintenance are discussed below:
Since horses are mostly imported, there needs to be transportation costs considered in the full expenses. Onr must first source their registration followed by passport acquisition just like human beings when they travel. Anja from Malo Stables comments on this saying, “I was the first to import horses directly from Denmark. And that was the same with the horse semen. Nobody had ever imported semen to Kenya legally. So that took a long time and a lot of money to establish. Transport was 1.5 million shillings.”
Horses have to be fed and taken care of in dietary matters. They require salt, minerals, molasses, hay, grass, and grain mix. For those in fields, they require tracts of grazing land. For instance, each horse consumes four bags of 74kg horse meal each worth Ksh 2,200. Each horse also consumes one bucket of molasses each month.
According to Anja du Toit, the veterinary services accorded to horses are expensive. She said in an interview that it would take $1000 for a plane ticket, and between $2000 and $3000 dollars for fees and accommodation.
Horse-training takes hours of effort and skilled manpower. With the right training, horses can take part in lengthy track races, polo games, and can perform exciting-to-watch acts. The value in this gives well-trained horses much more money demand in the market.
Supplies and Equipment
Horses require supplies and equipment depending on the client’s needs. These include riding supplies such as stirrup leathers, riding saddles, grooming supplies, and regular horse shoe replacements. For riders and gamers, there needs to be costs obtained in sourcing riding pants, helmet, and boots.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Horse Riding?
Timothy Simiyu, a horse farmer from Karen’s Achi’s Stables says for one to be a good rider, it takes intentional practice and time-investment. Anja reiterates saying, “The more hours you put into your riding, the better you’ll get,” noting that it would take an adult a minimum of three months dedicated to daily training to be a good rider. In an interview with Pulse’s Inside The Hustle, she said that Malo Stables clients pay for a minimum of two sessions costing Ksh 11,000 for 2 hours.