Your average horse might not be particularly expensive nowadays, but it will still fetch a decent price provided it is healthy and performs admirably for its age and breed. Still, some of the most expensive horse breeds in the world will set you back as much as a nice car. What makes these horses so sought-after, and why do these breeds automatically command a high price tag?
After all, no horse is guaranteed to win a competition, no matter its breed, and few of us would be willing to spend thousands or even millions of dollars on a horse and a hope. The truth is that some horse breeds are more inclined to succeed in various competitions than others. Moreover, many of these breeds have proven their strength and stamina time and time again over the years.
Your average draft horse will not fetch millions on the auction block anytime soon, but things are considerably different when a Thoroughbred or an Arabian comes into the picture. Today I’m going to talk about the most expensive horse breeds in the world, and I’m going to tell you exactly why each of these breeds is worth every penny.
I should note beforehand that the prices below might vary depending on the horse’s age, its health, location, and its seller.
All prices are sourced from a reputable horse marketplace named Equinenow. In order to get an estimate, I had a look at each breed individually and browsed through the ads in order to find the average and most expensive offerings. By the time you read this, the prices might have changed slightly, but they have most likely remained in the same ballpark.
10. Paint Horse ($1,000 – $5,000).
The American Paint Horse has one main trait that allows it to stand out from other breeds. I’m talking about its unique appearance, which blends the basic features of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. This eye-catching coat makes this horse relatively sought-after, which is why it costs a bit more than your average show horse.
The Paint Horse is currently being used in various equestrian disciplines, including show jumping and Western pleasure riding. The breed standards are kept in check by the American Paint Horse Association, and depending on the appearance of the horse and its fitness, one might sell for as much as $5,000.
That might not seem like a lot of money when compared to the other horses on this list, but when compared to your regular draft horse or pony, the Paint Horse can be considered quite pricey. Moreover, if you’re in the market for more than one, the costs can add up rather quickly.
9. Clydesdale ($2,500 – $15,000).
Even though it’s technically “just” a draft horse and not a racing horse, the Clydesdale is still one of the world’s most expensive horse breeds. Hailing from Scotland, this large and powerful horse is now mainly used for carriage pulling. However, it can still be ridden or driven in various parades.
The sad news about the Clydesdale is that its numbers have dwindled in the 1970s, which is when the breed was marked as vulnerable for extinction. During the following decades, the numbers have increased a bit, but the Clydesdale is still vulnerable to this day, and even at risk worldwide according to the DAD-IS.
The elevated price tags of Clydesdales is mostly justified by the horse’s power and willingness to work. You will find this breed at around $2,500 at the cheapest, while some exceptional Clydesdales might set you back as much as $15k.
8. Mustang ($3,000 – $12,500).
As one of the most recognizable symbols of the American West, the Mustang is a free-roaming horse that traces its origins to Colonial Spanish horses. While many would classify it as a wild horse, the Mustang is technically a feral horse because its descendants were domesticated.
More than half of all free-roaming mustangs in North America are located in Nevada, so it’s not wrong to say that that particular state is the de-facto home of the mustang in the US. The great news is that there is currently a thriving population of mustangs across the continent, so much so that various organizations are taking steps to keep their population in check. The most common method involves rounding up the excess horses and offering them up for adoption.
These horses were extremely popular in the past because of their incredible speed and stamina. They also have powerful legs, and they don’t injure easily. You will find Mustang horses for sale nowadays for anywhere between $3,000 and $12,500 in exceptional cases. The most common price for a mustang in today’s market is around $4,000, though.
7. Morgan ($3,000 – $15,000).
The Morgan is one of the very first horse breeds developed entirely in the United States. As such, this breed commands quite a bit of respect, and it boasts an impressive heritage. The foundation sire of the breed was a stallion named Figure, who was owned by famed horse breeder and composer Justin Morgan – hence the breed’s name.
During the 19th century, Morgans were being used as coach horses, racers, and cavalry horses for both sides of the conflict during the American Civil War. I’d say that the best word to describe this horse breed is “versatility.” The second best word would be “expensive,” as these horses sell for quite a bit nowadays. Similar to a Mustang in value, a Morgan would set you back around $3,000 to $15,000.
It’s definitely worth it, if you ask me, as the breed is known for its compact and refined build. Moreover, some Morgans are gaited, which means that they can perform an intermediate speed gait other than the trot. This can be either a foxtrot, pace, or rack.
6. Appaloosa ($5,000 – $15,000).
The Appaloosa is an incredibly beautiful horse – I am beside myself whenever I see one. Mainly known for its colorful spotted pattern, the Appaloosa has been influenced by numerous horse breeds throughout its history, and it has borrowed their best traits. Today, this horse is used in a variety of Western riding disciplines, but it can fill in other roles that are not related to showmanship.
Appaloosas often participate in endurance type events, as well as in casual trail riding. As for racing, they participate in medium-distance races between 350 yards and 0.5 miles.
The preferred coat for the Appaloosa breed is a leopard complex-spotted coat. As such, horses displaying this preferred appearance tend to cost more when compared to those that offer a more forgettable look. As one of the most expensive horse breeds in the world, these equines will set you back between $5k and $15k on average.
5. Dutch Warmblood (up to $25,000).
The Dutch Warmblood or the Dutch Riding Horse is a warmblood that was developed through a breeding program in the 1960s. Today, these are some of the healthiest and most long-lived horses, as breeding programs are very selective with both mares and stallions. For instance, a Dutch Warmblood will not be allowed to breed if it has congenital eye defects, over- or underbite, or if it has any issues with movement or balance.
At first, the breed was mostly used for casual riding and riding-type competitions, but it is now mostly focused on dressage and jumping. Actually, in 2010, the Dutch Warmblood was ranked no.1 in jumping by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH).
As for pricing, it starts off at around $8,000 for a gelding, but it will quickly go up to $12,000 for a nice stallion. I’ve seen offers for $25,000 for Dutch Warmbloods, which means that this breed is definitely valued for its strength, resilience, and inclination towards showmanship.
4. Friesian (up to $50,000).
Few horses are more elegant than the Freisian is. It probably has something to do with its rich mane or its beautiful black coat. This breed originated in Friesland, in the Netherlands, and it was present in Europe as far back as the 4th century. Even though it’s a rather large horse at 15 to 17 hands, the Friesian is agile and nimble for its size. Back in the Middle Ages, it was a very popular warhorse thanks to its ability to carry a knight in full armor.
Still, this breed was mostly used in agriculture, at least until mechanization rendered most horses obsolete. Afterward, the Friesian became more popular as a recreational horse. Today, many Friesians take part in dressage, and they also pull vintage carriages at ceremonial events.
Price-wise, this horse is generally worth between $25,000 to $30,000, but a very young one such as a weanling could cost as little as $8,000 or $10,000. I have seen offerings for $50k, but those were rare and the buyer probably ended up paying less in the end. Pricing is also influenced by the horse’s lineage, so keep that in mind if you’re in the market for one. One thing’s for sure: the Friesian is one of the most expensive horse breeds worldwide, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
3. Thoroughbred (up to $50,000).
Agile, quick, and with a love for running, Thoroughbreds are some of the most famous horse breeds in the world, and also some of the most expensive. While they can’t quite reach the speeds of Quarter horses, Thoroughbreds make up for this with incredible stamina levels.
In the equine world, these horses are widely regarded as the best for endurance races, and they often participate in such competitions each year. This horse breed was developed in England during the 17th and 18th centuries, and by the 19th century, the breed had already earned worldwide renown. While not the oldest breed out there, the Thoroughbred’s bloodline is present in many modern horse breeds, including some ponies.
These horses are available for different prices depending on their purity and lineage. At most, I’ve seen such a horse listed for $50,000, but it is much more common to see them listed for $20k or $25k.
2. Arabian ($20,000 – $50,000).
The Arabian is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world, as well as one of the most beautiful and the most resilient. However, while other publications will claim that these horses go for about $1 million, the truth is that the average Arabian is considerably cheaper.
I’ve stumbled across offers ranging from $20,000 up to $50,000, which is definitely not a small sum. Paying $50k for a horse is quite a commitment, and I definitely don’t want to undersell the exquisiteness of this horse breed. Furthermore, this is also one of the oldest breeds of horses that have survived to this day.
The Arabian often takes part in endurance-type events. The breed is well-known for its outstanding stamina and resilience, which definitely weighs in when it comes to pricing. I’ve never owned one of these horses myself, but I have ridden one. All I can say is that they are definitely unique in the best of ways.
1. Quarter Horse (up to $100,000).
While Arabians and Thoroughbreds are famed for their ability to gallop over long distances, Quarter Horses are renowned sprinters. The Quarter Horse is the go-to breed if you’re looking for a horse that’s quick off the finish line. Indeed, these horses will tire out relatively quickly when compared to others, but they will cover that quarter-mile faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
Quarter horses can reach top speeds of up to 55 mph, and many agree that they are some of the fastest equines in the world. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that some owners charge up to $100,000 for one.
These are relatively rare occurrences, however, as most quarter horses I’ve seen are usually around the $50k to $60k mark. It’s also worth noting that the Quarter Horse is currently the most popular horse breed in the United States.
Some horse breeds can be incredibly expensive, but they’re not as ridiculously priced as some might have you believe. True, there have been exceptional cases in which horses from certain breeds were sold for millions of dollars, but that doesn’t mean that each individual of the breed is worth that much.
I hope that you now have a better understanding of horse breed prices. My goal is to always provide accurate and useful information, so if you see anything that looks out of place or doesn’t sound right, just let me know and I’ll address it asap.