I’m sure that every horse lover has thought of getting their own horse. Whether you work with horses or have been looking to get your own, it is no secret that these animals can rack up some very high prices. Luckily, finding a quality and affordable horse is just as possible. So, which are the 15 cheapest horse breeds in the world?
The cheapest horses tend to be grade and crossbred horses. The cheapest breeds are Mustangs, Miniature horses, Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, Arabians, Quarter horses, Appaloosas, Tennessee Walking horses, Australian Stock horses, Paint horses, Gypsy Vanners, Andalusian crosses, and Friesians.
Although horse breeds aren’t often the determining factor in the price of a horse, some breeds can generally be found at lower prices depending on certain conditions. It is crucial to understand the qualities you want in a horse, where to look, and the possible issues that can appear when buying a horse.
15 Cheapest Horse Breeds In The World
Unless the horse is of a rare or novel breed, how much it costs will rely on a combination of other factors. These include age, bloodline, looks, health, training, discipline, and temperament.
Sometimes the same breed can be both among the cheapest and the most expensive horses due to the wide range of qualities used to determine their worth. Still, several breeds can often be found at the lower end of the price spectrum.
Bear in mind that no horse is truly ‘cheap.’ Buying a horse is not a solitary purchase but a financial investment. You must be prepared to cover housing, equipment, food, training, veterinary costs, and more. Thus, the maintenance of the horse is likely to be the same despite the initial cost of a horse.
Factors Influencing The Price Of A Horse
Taking pedigree out of the equation, most horses are worth very little between birth and three years old. Furthermore, a horse’s worth can also decrease as it gets older due to reduced athleticism and a higher risk of health issues.
As a general rule, common breeds in a country will be significantly cheaper than relatively rare breeds. Horses with a large population are worth less than those harder to come by. Moreover, a novel breed can fetch higher prices.
As expected, horses from certain bloodlines, particularly high-performing competitive horses, will be a lot more costly.
Horses are often valued for their appearance; thus, a horse with a rare or unusual color will be valued at a higher price, regardless of their health, temperament, or conformation are substandard.
As you may guess, a horse who can pass rigorous vetting is going to be worth much more than one who fails. Further, any horse with a chronic condition is limited in the extent of work it can do – they can be less than half the price they would command they were healthy.
If a horse cannot be ridden but is still suitable for breeding, it will be worth more than one which cannot be used for either.
Conformation evaluates a horse’s bone and muscle structure and its body proportions. A horse’s performance can be limited by undesirable conformation. Thus, the better the horse’s conformation, the more suited they are to perform well for the buyer’s purpose, giving them a higher market value.
The level of training a horse has – or the more titles and wins – will undoubtedly add to their value. Untrained horses, disregarding bloodline, are often among the cheapest despite their age.
If a horse excels at a specific discipline, it will command a higher price. The better the horse is at the discipline, the higher its value. The most expensive disciplines are racing, dressage, showjumping, and reigning.
For amateur riders, a horse with more of a kind, gentle, and safe personality and temperament will cost more than a complicated or difficult horse. This is because these riders are not equipped to deal with a problematic horse.
However, when coming to elite horses, their temperament does not have much of an effect on their price. Professionals often deal with these horses who can manage a complicated character.
What To Look For When Buying A Horse
If you are looking to buy a horse on a budget, it is best to understand how horse pricing works so you can weigh the relative factors that may raise or lower a horse’s price. Determining a horse’s realistic price independent of what has been advertised can help you avoid scams.
Unfortunately, there are many cases of “too good to be true” horses. These horses are often falsely presented as better than they really are. They can come at low prices, making you think you found a bargain, or they can be a little more expensive and lead you to believe you got a winner.
Furthermore, remember that cheap horses are priced that way for a reason. These horses can often have poor health, lack training, or a difficult temperament. All these problems run the risk of excess expenses in areas such as loss of rider confidence, rider injuries, and more vet bills. Thus, a lot of them are not ideal for amateur owners.
Assess what you need from this horse and what you intend to use it for. This will narrow down which factors are most important, possibly bringing down the price from qualities you are not looking for.
Needless to say, when buying a horse, you must do research into why the horse is priced where it is. Horses can be cheap because they are of a common breed, unregistered, green, injured, young, old, or have behavioral issues. It could also be a rescue or a retired racehorse.
Some things to do when checking a horse:
- Bring a fellow equestrian when viewing the horse.
- Ask someone to ride the horse before taking it for a test drive yourself.
- Bring a vet in to check for lameness or health problems.
- Get a written contract with the seller, including representations and warranties they made.
1. Grade Horse
Grade horses can be bought for between $2,000 – $ 7,000 or less.
The term ‘Grade horse’ simply means that a percentage of its breeding is unknown, or its paperwork has been lost. Though this is technically not a horse breed, a Grade horse or pony can be bought for a lot less than a registered horse.
Be careful not to underestimate these horses just because they may not carry the name of a specific breed. In the 1950’s a Grade horse named Snowman was bought for less than $1,000 in today’s money. Amazingly, Snowman rose to fame and entered the showjumping hall of fame.
Crossbreds can be bought for less than $3,000.
Though a crossbred horse is not a single breed, some of these horses are rising in popularity, like; the Morab (Morgan and Arabian) and the Walkaloosa (Tennessee Walking Horse and Appaloosa). The prices of crossbreds rely on the lineage of their registered parent. This makes them ideal for people wanting to know a horse’s pedigree but not worried about its breed.
Wild mustangs can be adopted for $100 – $200.
Mustangs are generally overlooked when people think about buying a horse, as many owners are put off by their ‘wild’ nature. However, that is one of the characteristics that makes them such a versatile breed. The amount of work, training and veterinary care a Mustang typically requires makes them better suited for experienced equestrians.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holds an annual adoption auction where they sell several Mustangs and use the fund for the remaining herd’s upkeep. Untrained horses are sold at the beginning price of $25, and horses with training begin at $125. The BLM even runs an incentive program where you pay the $25 adoption fee, and they pay you $500 within 60 days of the adoption and an additional $500 within 60 days of titling.
4. Miniature Horse
Miniature horses can be bought for as low as $200 – $500.
While these smaller horses require the same amount of care and attention as regular-sized horses, minis tend to be a little easier to keep after basic training. Miniature horses provide the same family experience as a regular-sized horse or pony, but at a fraction of the price. Due to the combination of their small size, the fact they cannot be ridden, and that they don’t require expensive training, these horses tend to be very budget-friendly.
An off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) can be sold for less than or between $1,000 – $5,000.
Thoroughbreds are mainly recognized for their racing potential, resulting in them being regularly bred, which has led to an overabundance of these horses. Only a select few Thoroughbreds will become successful racehorses, leaving the rest to end up in rescues or other facilities.
Most OTTB’s sold are still young and are full of potential, in addition to probably having undergone some form of training. Whether you plan on keeping a Thoroughbred for casual riding or hope to enter it into the showjumping, dressage, or eventing disciplines is up to you.
Standardbreds can be sold for less than $3,000.
Like with Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds are popular racehorses, leaving a majority who don’t make it onto the track to be sold. Just because your horse didn’t make it to the racetrack doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any other uses. Apart from being just a riding horse, Standardbreds are versatile and can compete in the roadster, western, showjumping, endurance, driving, and more disciplines.
7. Arabian Horse
It is possible to find Arabians costing $1,000 or less.
As successful endurance racers, Arabians can fetch a moderately high selling price. These horses are elegant and have often been associated with wealth and royalty but rarely have the price tag to match. A few factors outside the standard elements affect the Arabian’s cost values.
Not only are Arabians are widely available and bred for endurance racing, which is not considered a money sport, but many adult riders find their gaits uncomfortable due to the breeds’ small size. Moreover, these breeds are difficult to work with, which isn’t true for most Arabians.
8. American Quarter Horse
Quarter horses can easily be found for $1,000 – $3,000 or less.
The American Quarter horse is a popular breed for its incredible speed and potential for success in various sports. Their popularity has caused the market to be flooded with Quarter horses, leading to their availability at low prices. This breed is often cheaper in America than in other parts of the world.
Appaloosa’s can be sold for $1,000 or less.
The Appaloosa is another popular breed, loved for its speed, stamina, versatility, and beautiful patterned and colored coats. Though horses of a strong and prestigious lineage can fetch tens of thousands of dollars, most can be bought for a lot less than you may have expected.
10. Tennessee Walking Horse
The lowest costs of Tennessee Walking horses are $500 – $1,000.
Like any other horse, champion bloodlines can rack up quite a hefty price. Despite their superstar capacity in the show ring, many Tennessee Walking horses don’t end up in competitions, and those who do retire to rescues or other facilities where they can be adopted. Further, their price is lowered for their different conformation and unique running walk, which many riders or owners find off-putting.
11. Australian Stock Horse
Prices for Australian Stock horses can range from $1,500 – $3,000.
The stock horse is used in many competitive disciplines, including polo, dressage, showjumping, eventing, and endurance riding. These horses are incredibly hardy and considered amongst the finest cavalry mounts in the world. For a good bloodline and well-trained horse, Australian Stock horses can sell for $30,000.
12. American Paint Horse
Some American Paint Horses can be sold for $5,000 or less.
Paint horses are highly sought after for their beautiful coats and their popularity as show horses. The athleticism and agility of these horses allow them to excel at both western and English disciplines. Though top horses can sell for over $20,000, great Paint horses can be found for a lot less and make brilliant work and pleasure horses.
13. Gypsy Vanner
Gypsy Vanners regularly sell for around $5,000.
Gypsy horses have always been bred for their strength and hardiness over their coloring. This started at the beginning of their creation in a time where multi-colored horses were sold for less than solid-colored horses – making it more affordable to breed these horses. Despite a love for different colors and patterns emerging in the equestrian world, the price of Gypsy Vanners remains low.
14. Andalusian Crosses
Crossbred Andalusians can cost up to $3,000.
While pure and high-end Andalusians can range from $15,000 – $50,000, this horse’s value drops significantly when bred with a different breed. Crossbred horses are less expensive than fully registered or pure breeds, making an Andalusian cross the perfect opportunity to obtain those sought after Andalusian qualities without worrying about the usual price tag.
The average price for Friesians is approximately $5,000.
A strong Friesian bloodline can cost upwards of $100,000 as they are considered top-quality and invaluable. Nevertheless, like with any other breed, many factors determine the value of each horse.
However, it is essential to note that the money you save on the initial cost of a Friesian can come back in another manner. The maintenance of this breed is more costly due to their susceptibility to genetic diseases – the treatments required are expensive.
Horse Maintenance Requirements And Costs
Once you have bought a horse, a slew of maintenance costs follow.
Having your own property where you can shelter for your horse may work out a lot cheaper than having to shelter it elsewhere. However, owning this kind of property is not viable for most.
Where or how you choose to board your horse can vary in cost. Keeping your horse in a pasture will have minimal fees, especially compared to keeping your horse in a full-service stall. Depending on where you live, stalls like this can cost $400 – $2500 monthly.
Moreover, depending on your location, your horse may need additional bedding. Straw bedding can total to an annual $400.
On average, horses need to eat 15 – 20 lbs of food daily, in addition to a well-mixed diet. A balanced diet can cost $850 annually and consists of grain mix, grass hay, and salt and minerals. You may also choose to supplement your horse to aid their digestion and improve their health and performance.
Although the size and breed of your horse can affect their diet and how much food they need.
Horses need standard checks with a veterinarian, in addition to physicals, vaccinations, deworming, and getting their health certificates. These vet services cost roughly $250 – $500 a year. This is assuming that your horse is in perfect health.
Emergency visits and disabled or sick horses will run more of a bill. Furthermore, if you choose to breed your horse, there are an increased number of necessary health checks and post-natal care.
Horses also need dental floating. An equine dentist must check their oral hygiene and teeth on a routine basis. Your horse’s teeth may need to be filed down.
Even if your horse doesn’t need shoes, its hooves need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks. Some see trimming as a cost-effective alternative to shoes. The rate of farrier services will differ depending on where you live. Typically it will cost $390 a year.
Equipment costs will vary regarding how you will use your horse. The standard equipment to purchase if you own a horse is riding equipment, training equipment, grooming equipment, manure spreader, arena drag, utility vehicle, horse trailer, etc.
The equipment cost will vary greatly depending on the preference, use, and brand.
- Other Costs
There are still a number of additional costs to owning a horse. These come in the form of training, upkeep, repairs, insurance, taxes, and interests – depending on where you keep your horse.
If you choose to keep your horse on your own land, not only must you cover the upkeep of your land, but it will be necessary for you to provide maintenance and repairs on your fences, barn, and equipment. You must also maintain your pasture, water tub, and other horse-related equipment. These costs can significantly vary, depending on where you live and the size of your property.
Assuming the horse lives on your property, maintaining a healthy horse is an average annual cost of $2,500 – $3,800. It may be more if you are renting a stall.
Where To Find Inexpensive Horses
Some of the guaranteed places to find budget-friendly horses are:
The internet is used for marketing and selling all kinds of things, including horses. Many websites specifically made to advertise horses, such as; Dream Horse, Equine Now, and Equine.com. Further, many barns will post their sale of a horse on their own website or social media accounts.
Many sellers will include all necessary information about the horse, along with videos of the horse in action so you can see its capabilities. However, be cautious of any inconsistencies which may suggest that the seller is lying about the horse’s true abilities.
Horse auctions are a great place to find horses sold at low prices. Oftentimes these horses are very dependable and friendly, but some of these horses can have behavioral or health problems. It is also common for horses sold at auctions to have little to no training. Thus, it can be quite the gamble when you purchase a horse from an auction.
Bring another equestrian or a trainer along for a second opinion when attending an auction. It is also recommended to have a trainer you can work with if your horse needs additional training.
A rescue is an excellent place to find horses up for adoption at relatively low prices. While it is possible to find some great horses, bear in mind that being a rescue, these horses may come with their fair share of problems. From merely needing additional training to being victims of abuse or neglect, these horses need a lot of time and patience.
- Fellow Equestrians
Never underestimate the power of your local equestrian community. Try putting the word out of what kind of horse you are looking for; the chances are that there will be an owner willing to sell a good horse at a low price to a friend. This also ensures you can get an accurate history of the horse.
Though no horse is truly ever cheap due to all the maintenance requirements, it is possible to get a horse of amazing quality for a budget-friendly price. Not every good horse will break the bank.
Knowing where to look, what possible issues to keep an eye out for, and the specific qualities you need in a horse are all you need to start your search for the perfect companion.