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Personal Loans

Horse Loans: Find Equine Financing for Your Needs

Updated Jun 27, 2023   |   9-min read

If you are ready to buy a horse, but can’t afford the purchase with your money, you can consider horse loans as an equine financing option. You can find lenders that offer horse loans, as well as additional information that can help you with your purchase, below.

On this page:

Compare Horse Loans

LightStream logo

Best for Excellent Credit (660+)

  • Fixed-rate loans from 5.95%* APR with AutoPay and excellent credit
  • Funds available as soon as the same day
  • Minimum credit score of 660
Upgrade Personal Loans Logo

Best for Fair Credit (560+)

  • Fixed rates beginning at 7.99% APR
  • You can check rates without hurting your credit score
  • Quick funding
Upstart logo

Best for Thin Credit (no minimum)

  • Rates are typically between 8.41% and 35.99% APR1
  • Funds can be received in as fast as one business day
  • A minimum credit score of 600 in most states

Using Horse Loans to Finance Ownership

Horses are expensive, but that doesn’t stop people from owning them or getting creative about how to pay for them.

How Much Do Horses Cost?

Americans love horses, enough to provide nearly 4 million of them with their own private stalls. The vast majority of horses are owned for fun, kind of like having a 1,000-pound pet. Horses owned for simple recreational pleasure will set you back about $2,000 to $8,000.

But if you want to buy a horse for hunting, jumping, or showing, you can easily drop anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 — and that’s just for the horse. Horses worthy of breeding start at $100,000.

Most horse owners are wealthy, or at least highly affluent, fully capable of purchasing their horses with cash. For aspiring horse owners on a budget, coming up with $5,000 to $8,000 for the perfect horse can be a financial challenge. In addition, horses can live between 20 and 30 years, further increasing the costs of long-term ownership.

How Can You Pay for a Horse?

There are actually a few options people have to finance the purchase of a horse. They can try to engage the owner in an installment arrangement, making payments based on terms set out in an agreement; there is also the lease-to-own option, whereby you make lease payments that go toward the purchase price.

Personal loans through equine financing specialists are also available.

Lenders That Offer Horse Loans

Although lenders will issue a personal loan for just about any purpose, as long as the borrower is creditworthy, many lenders may be hesitant to do so for the purchase of a horse. A part of the problem is that horses depreciate in value over time.

The larger issue, which presents a greater risk to both lender and borrower, is that horses can become sick or injured, increasing the cost of care. Or, they can die prematurely, which puts the borrower on the hook for payments for something they no longer own.

That’s why personal loans are better for more predictable costs, such as a form of horse trailer financing. However, if you need financing quickly, using a personal loan to pay for a horse is a quick option for securing the money you need.

The following lenders offer loans you can use for equine financing.

LightStream (Best for excellent credit)

  • Rates (APR): 8.99% – 25.49%
  • Loan Amounts: $5,000 – $100,000
  • Credit Score: 660+

LightStream is our top-rated lender for excellent credit and offers a simple application and funding process that can have you with your new horse quickly. You’ll need to meet the eligibility requirements to qualify. Please note that the longer your repayment term is, the higher the APR you’ll face.

  • Credit score category: Excellent, good
  • Soft credit pull to check rates: Not available
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: 0%
  • Late fee: None
  • Discounts: 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months**

Upgrade (Best for fair credit)

  • Rates (APR): 8.49% – 35.99%
  • Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Credit Score: 580+

Upgrade doesn’t offer loans specifically for buying horses, but its loan amount maximum of $35,000 will cover all but the priciest of equines. Its credit requirements are also lower, making its loans more accessible. You can get a rate quote from Upgrade without affecting your credit score.

  • Credit score category: Fair, bad
  • Soft credit pull to check rates: Yes
  • Deposit time: As soon as the next day
  • Origination fee: 2.9% – 8%
  • Late fee: $10
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months

Upstart (Best for thin credit)

  • Rates (APR): 6.12% – 35.99%
  • Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $50,000
  • Credit Score: 580+

Upstart is an online lending platform that partners with banks to provide personal loans that can be used for almost anything. Upstart’s lending model considers education, employment, and other variables when determining eligibility.3 This model leads to 27% more approvals and 16% lower rates than traditional models.4

  • Credit score category: Fair, bad
  • Soft credit pull to check rates: Yes
  • Deposit time: As fast as one business day
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8%
  • Late fee: $15 or 5% of payment
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months

The Benefits of Using a Horse Loan

  • You won’t have to wait until you save thousands of dollars — loan funding is typically fast and can sometimes take place the same business day.
  • Borrowers with a range of credit histories can usually qualify.
  • Making on-time payments can help you build credit.
  • You’ll likely enjoy lower interest rates with a personal loan than you would when buying a horse with a credit card.
  • You can upgrade or expand an already-viable equine operation earlier than originally planned.

The Risks of Using a Horse Loan

  • You’re incurring debt for what is essentially a luxury purpose.
  • If you cannot make your monthly payments, you could lose your horse — along with all the money you invested in their care and training.
  • Your credit could take a huge hit if you end up defaulting on the loan.
  • If your credit score is on the lower end, you may end up paying a higher APR, which could increase your monthly payment amount.

Alternatives to Using a Equine Loan

If you have your heart set on owning a horse but don’t want the risks associated with a personal loan, you still have other options.

Ownership Sharing

Ownership sharing is when you own a horse jointly with another person who shares the cost of purchase and maintenance. The share of ownership depends on each person’s investment — if a horse costs $10,000, for example, and you each put in $5,000, you will have equal ownership.

Renting the Horse

If all you’re looking for is to be able to ride now and then, you may want to look into renting a horse. Many farms will allow you to rent their horses; in some cases, you will board and care for the horse yourself; in other situations, you will simply rent time with the horse at the farm where it lives.

Home Equity Loan

You could also look into a home equity loan or home equity line of credit for your horse purchase. These loan products typically have lower interest rates than what you’d get with a personal loan. The biggest drawback, however, is that it’s no longer the horse that’s at risk if you default — it’s your home.

Choosing the Horse Financing Plan That’s Right for You

Deciding to use a loan of any kind to purchase a horse is a big decision. Before choosing a lender, calculate both the upfront cost of the horse and the expense of caring for it over time. You’ll also want to compare loan offers so that you’re getting the best personal loan rates available and can easily afford the addition of another debt payment to your monthly budget.

If you’re unsure about going into debt for a horse, consider renting one or saving up the funds yourself over time. That way, you won’t be risking your credit score to spend time with an equine friend.

Didn’t know a personal loan could be used for financing a horse? Find out what else a personal loan can be used for.

*Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

**Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of three years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.

1The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application.

2Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.

3Although educational information is collected as part of Upstart’s rate check process, neither Upstart nor its bank partners have a minimum educational attainment requirement in order to be eligible for a loan.

4Approval numbers compare the 2020 loan approval rate by the Upstart model and a hypothetical traditional credit decision model. The APR calculation compares the two models based on the average APR offered to borrowers up to the same approval rate. The hypothetical traditional model used in Upstart’s analyses was developed in connection with the CFPB No Action Letter access-to-credit testing program, is trained on Upstart platform data, uses logistic regression and considers traditional application and credit file variables.