I'm an avid horse lover who owns a pony in the UK on the slightly older side.
If you are trying to get a general ballpark figure on how much a horse costs, there are many different factors to consider. This post aims to include a range of these factors to get a good general overview and insight into how much you should be paying. Plus, we will get into where you can go to carry out some research to make sure you’re getting the best possible price.
That said, if you are wanting a general guideline—they can cost anywhere from £500 to £50,000. There are a lot of different factors at play, with the average (median) continuing to increase but you can expect somewhere as a ballpark figure around the £3,000 range. As we say though, it can vary a lot. The general market is always changing, so it’s important to do your due diligence and get a general idea of general sentiment and demand for horses and ponies. We have got some tips below on how to do just this.
Age of the Horse
The age of the horse is a big factor to consider. A foal or under 3-year-old doesn’t have as much experience as a 6-year-old should have, making the 6-year-old more expensive. Horses usually get broken in at 3-4 years old and then the price of the horse will dramatically increase, as a lot of time and money is spent on breaking them in.
As a horse is ridden more and gains more experience throughout its riding career, it increases in price. They should gain more confidence, more jumping knowledge, have more competition experience, etc.—all working to increase the price of this particular horse. Once a horse reaches around 15+ or sometimes lower depending on its career, a horse can fall back down in price as they are getting older and as with humans, will take a little more care and money.
The breed of the horse is a huge contributor to the price of the horse. There are tons and tons of breeds out there, all reaching different price points. For example, connemaras are a very popular children’s pony, so they are in high demand, increasing the price point. There are some rarer breeds like knabstruppers which aren't as common, therefore they are hard to get hold of and this can increase the price. Larger breeds tend to be more expensive than smaller breeds too as you are basically buying more horses.
Experience is a key factor in determining how much a horse is worth. If they are unbroken they will have less experience than a top eventer that can do dressage, show jumping, and cross country. Experience should be a decision made early on regardless of price.
If you think you need more confidence, then an older more experienced horse would be your best choice. If you fancy a challenge and want to see the horse develop and learn, then a younger horse may be the choice to go. Experience a lot of the time determines the price of the horse.
The Health of the Horse
The health of the horse can decrease the horse’s price dramatically, as this is something you will need to consider once owning the horse too, as it could lead to further health problems with more money having to be spent. The biggest factor is doing your research and knowing the extent of the health condition.
Something like wind sucking can be a manageable health condition, along with sweet itch or laminitis. If managed properly these don't have to be deal-breaker problems. Health issues to do with joints or respiratory issues for example could be a little more serious. It is always advised to do a five-stage vetting before purchasing anyways, using a different vet to the owners. This is very important when wanting to buy a horse.
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Who are the parents? If your horse comes from a reputable family that is known for its good health, experience, and good nature, chances are that’s going to have a higher impact on the price. It works the opposite way too though if their parents aren’t well known or haven’t had much of a career; this can devalue the horse (at least from an economic sense).
Where Can You Go to Research to Find Out General Pricing?
Luckily, with the internet available, you have a lot of different avenues that you can undertake to carry out your own due diligence. One of the best things to do is get an idea of the type of your horse you’re after based on some of the factors we have mentioned above, such as breed, age, experience, and so on.
You now have a good base to set on with your search. Simply looking for sites under “horses for sale” can give you an indication of where to look. A few of our favourite websites to take a browse and general idea are the following:
- Horse and Hound
- Horse Quest
If you have any other websites that you think are worth looking through, then it would be great to hear your thoughts, and if you could list them in the comments as well, be sure to check them out.
However, once you have had a browse on the above sites, it should give you a much better footing as to the price and what you’re able to get for your money. It might then be worth doing some of the offline avenues and getting in touch with specific horse breeders and asking around if there are other horse owners looking to sell a certain type of horse. Venture out to livery yards, give calls to horse breeders, and so on.
Carrying out this research will allow you to get a much better footing as to what the general market sentiment is like and you will be able to quickly identify what’s a good and bad deal.
Ongoing Horse Costs
Of course, we shouldn’t just consider the initial cost of the horse, but there are other ongoing aspects to consider. Let’s break some of these down in a checklist form:
- Feed: What type of horse you get will have an impact on the type of food they eat as well as how much.
- Insurance: The above factors will have influence a higher potential cost with a more expensive breed as well as their past health, plus the general activities you will be carrying out on the horse.
- Livery: Will you have to rent a spot at a livery to keep your horse? Will you be looking after it all yourself or are you getting fully livery?
- Farrier costs: Your horse is going to need a new set of shoes every 6 weeks or so that can set you back around £30-£50 each time depending on what your horse needs.
- Worming, dentist, and vet fees: This is a little harder to predict but chances are that your horse or pony is going to need some sort of health care that can constitute an ongoing cost.
- Equine supplies: There are many different products you might need here, such as fly sprays, lotions, and supplements that you might need to keep your horse happy and in good health.
Of course, if you can think of any other factors that might influence a horse's overall price and cost, we would love to hear about them. Please, just reach out to us in the comments section below and we will respond with any type of query you might have. Plus, if you have any recent purchases you have made of horses, we’d love to hear that too.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Carlyn Hayes