Are horses really this high?

I occasionally like to window shop for trail horses on sites like Dreamhorse and Equine Now. I have to say that I’m sort of shocked at the prices of some of these horses. A trail horse, nice but nothing really special, asking prices are $10k-15k. Add a little more training and some chrome and the price goes up to $25-35k. IIRC, these same type horses were going for maybe $2-8k a few years ago. Are horses really selling for those prices or is this just wishful thinking on the part of the advertisers?


I wonder the same thing. It seems like all levels are thousands higher than in previous years.

A little of both in my neck of the woods. SoCal always has high prices due to the cost of living but horse prices have shot way up in the past year. Due to the pandemic, a lot of people in my state turned to horseback riding as barns were one of the first things to open back up after the first wave (and have remained open since). Anything “ridable” with 3 working legs is going for at least a couple thousand and nearly FB horse ad I see gets a plethora of comments asking if inexperienced/timid/children/elderly can ride said horse.

That being said, Dreamhorse and Equine Now always have a ton of well-groomed trail horse ads for oodles of money. When I was looking, this same out of state dealer frequently reposted the same horse for sale in a bunch of different states (ie horse lives in WY but has multiple identical ads marked for CA, NV, AZ, MT, etc.). Also would see a lot of pretty stock-type horses “for sale” with no price listed because they were being sold via various upcoming auctions. A lot were nothing special; just had a nice ad, well groomed, and/or a pretty color. One sold at auction for more than $15k (I wanna say somewhere between 20-30k) only to pop up for sale locally for about $10k due to not clicking with the owner or something on those lines.


Yep! That’s why I had to go with a yearling to get my horsey fix. If prices come down over the next year or so then I might be able to pick up something rideable. But when 20-22y.o. nothing special, showing age horses are being listed for 5k … Nope, can’t do it.


Agree with this. These high-end auctions sell what are essentially fancy trail horses for up to $40K. Apparently people are willing to pay for something flashy that you can ride through the mountains and also throw a rope off of. (Note: Rope not included with purchase). :laughing:

In Arizona I’d say $10K is average starting price for anything that is attractive and rideable. And the term “rideable” is open to interpretation.

My “honey hole” has turned out to be larger scale AQHA and Paint breeders/trainers. Their babies get shown in halter, longe line and in-hand trail, so they’ve been hauled around. Eventually they’re started under saddle, and if they aren’t going to be winners in the show pen-- maybe too small, too quick legged or not a great mover-- they sell them pretty cheap. You just have to network among those professionals and be willing to work with a green horse.

It seems high but honestly, if you want an actual good trail horse, it needs to be sound, good minded, good conformation, like going places, sure footed, right blend of laid back, forward, stamina. And with miles. If you want to do back country trail riding out for 5 hour days and enjoy it, there’s a lot of things you don’t want. I have one, not 100 per cent sure on her stamina for multi day adventures. But otherwise the pieces mostly come together.


I’m not sure it’s legal for horses to smoke…

Just kidding. Ok - yes, I think that horse prices are high, but in truth, I think we’re seeing a bump that we hadn’t seen in awhile based on inflation. Everything is high. House prices are high. Car prices are high. Hay prices are high. Grain prices are high.

When I was running a barn last in the midwest, hay prices were $3.50 a small square bale. Now they are $6.50. Grain was $12/bag, now it’s $25-30. Land prices are still very high.

It’s expensive to raise them. It’s expensive to train them. Doesn’t shock me that the end result has gone up. The one I can’t figure out right now is trailer prices, but that’s demand as well with a shortage on the front end for new trailers.


Adding to this, I think decent horses that are moderately priced are getting snapped up quick via word of mouth, in barn sale, etc


Yes, all horse prices are high, there’s several threads about this from the last few months I believe.

A few months ago I saw a young horse going 2’6’’, can’t remember if he’d even shown yet or not, listed for $125k. He was a very lovely guy with popular warmblood lines but, seriously?


The market is INSANE right now.

I had a leaser on my undocumented PtHA Reservation Mustang filly. Just turned 4 and is still on the green side. Rides well though. She wanted to buy her but knew she wasn’t for sale and in her words “didn’t have the $5k she’s worth.” My home broke 4 year old Rez Mustang with undocumented papers is worth $5K???


The price of horses is finally rising to meet the cost of breeding, training and care.


I saw a post going around on FB where a breeder opined that this is simply a long overdue market correction. The prices of everything involved with horses has been going up and up and up, yet until recently the price of the horse itself had not moved much.


I’m sort of surprised seeing as how just a few years ago they were pretty cheap. I’m also surprised that prices have gone up considering that people lost jobs and wages during the pandemic. Do you thing those horses bought during the pandemic will be hitting the market soon as things get back to normal. Also gotta say, the prices are making me think about selling mine.


This is why I’m keeping my old mare riding-sound for as long as possible. We are not able to do as much as we were in the past, and each trail riding season is a little less satisfying than the last. I’d actually considered retiring her, around the time COVID hit, and buying another horse. I’m not necessarily opposed to higher prices, but my choices right now would be buying a youngster and boarding it, or buying sight-unseen because what I want is selling so fast.

(Or a combination of both – BTDT, don’t want to do it again. That one was a great family-friendly suckling Morgan filly, but by the time I actually got to spend any significant amount of time with her, it was clear that we just did not “click.” She has a great home now and is doing Western Dressage and trail riding.)


But people who might have been able to afford a horse – I am thinking white-collar professionals, at least in my area – actually benefited from the pandemic, for the most part. Remote work means way more free time, expenses related to commuting/work clothes/etc. are way down, for those who have money in investments, the stock market has been doing well, etc. Those who kept their jobs and didn’t get severe COVID or have a family member get it are probably way ahead compared to February 2020.


This is exactly what I am looking for but haven’t seen or found anywhere! I am in Arizona and having a heck of a time.

Are you down south? I’m up in the Prescott area.

Try contacting trainers through the Arizona Paint Horse Association. Make some calls and let them know what you’re looking for. For example, I know of a big, handsome tobiano Paint gelding (about a dozen rides under saddle) that was just not fancy enough to do the western pleasure. He sold about a week ago for $3,500. And he vetted clean. He wasn’t advertised on Dreamhorse or any other website that I know of. It was all word of mouth. So don’t give up!


As our sheep and cattle slooooowly have been dying off (we stopped breeding a few years ago) I just kept adopting rescue horses from Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and training them … then i found how easy it was to acquire some really beautiful mustangs and adopted/purchased a bunch of them, and now i have 19 horses. I’ve found it incredibly easy to acquire a horse…a good horse, for next to nothing. And they are all pretty darn nice looking too…if i don’t find them beautiful, i pass. Every time i haul to the barn where i take dressage lessons, with yet another horse, i usually get an inquiry. I tell them they too can adopt a rescue or a mustang and they just want mine instead. LOL…flattering, but i’m telling you, there are some really really nice horses available for not much money. I think the ‘adoption’ price varies …but Longmeadow Rescue Ranch (in Union MO) has provided me some slammin equines!


That may be true @eightpondfarm, but rescues may have issues and adopting mustangs has it’s own set of problems. Not everyone has the skills or desire to deal with these.


Imo, it’s market correction due to:

  1. 95% of buyers needing something that only 1% of horses actually are.

  2. The reality that it is a helluva lot harder to make up a safe trail horse than it is a low level competition horse or even a schoolie.