Horse market and inflation?

Just curious - I think those with budgets over $50K or whatever for a horse likely don’t feel the brunt of the economy, but what do the non-1% think will happen with the horse market given fuel prices and the impact on all other things? Will horse prices go down as some people step out of the market, as the cost to keep a horse deters some folks from buying right now?

I keep saying this, as somebody who has been shopping for a while. I still see the same overpriced horses for sale that were for sale the end of the summer. So with the economy and the prices and everything else going up, at some point you imagine they’re going to have to making adjustment. It will be interesting to watch.
There is a horse dealer in the midwest that responded to my in search of ad, with info on their horse. They only bothered to put a one minute video for a middle five figure green horse. I commented that I thought the horse was a little high for minimal training it had and if they had a better video I would like to see it. They told me the horse market was so hot and they didn’t need to make another video. Needless to say that horse is still for sale and this is been about 4 months now.


I’m seeing a bit of this too - with hearing how hot the market is, when I see that the same horse has been listed for awhile, I question, “What’s wrong with it?” It’s like housing- is there something actually wrong, or just overpriced, or what? But yes, hoping sellers that NEED to sell adjust prices as I’m also just starting to shop. Thankfully no agenda to need a horse for a certain goal, so if waiting a few months means better prices, or even more horses coming on the market - great for me. Like, maybe some people have “back burner” horses they were wanting to develop, but want to cut horse keeping costs in this economy… It does worry me for the poor horses that could end up in a bad situation due to economic hardship:(


been through this a few times but a Good horse will always be expensive it’s the common horse that is going to become, well common,

We as a country are still feeling the effects of the $10 trillion dollar infusion that has put a lot of money into hands of a few. Now with a 10% plus inflation (might be heading to 20% for some who depend upon heating oil and gasoline)things are going to just cost more than many have funds for.

I know that I am watching every penny once again (well after all pennies before 1982 are of 95% copper and copper is now at $4.81 per pound, its takes 181 pennies to make a pound so that is a 260% gain)


I’m really curious about this, too, as someone who is looking to buy a youngin in the next 8-12 mos. I agree that I’ve seen a few overpriced horses not moving, but I guess I personally attributed it to the horse not being advertised honestly, as in, there was another issue brewing other than the price. I also agree that sellers have gotten lazier about really selling their horse.

Do we think we will see less shipping of horses? Less showing with gas prices up? Or are the people doing that so ultra wealthy that it doesn’t matter to them anyways?


I’m “only” 40 yet this is the third time in my life I’ve gone through this cycle.

What goes up must come down. :woman_shrugging:

The bottom is absolutely going to fall out of the horse market. It always does. Fuel prices, hay prices, grain prices— they are already high with the potential to keep jumping into the stratosphere.

But here’s the thing: the ultra rich will still buy expensive horses as they wish. Backyard breeders will still be producing garbage flooding the low end auction houses or withering away on the back 40.

What always suffers is the middle, where most of us exist.

I think the trick to survival is staying comfortably within your means with horse expenses. Can I afford to light this money on fire? If the answer is no, then maybe don’t invest it in a horse right now.

Side note: I’m getting jittery about hay for next winter. It has been DRY here. With fertilizer and fuel at record high prices, the last thing we need is the weather to screw us over, too.


A farrier who was here yesterday said he was told we should expect $15.00 a bale hay here for small squares. It was $7.00 last year. He is not a hysterical person and usually has good information. I hope he’s wrong.


When people have less money to spend on Non Essentials (horses- buying a new horse) people who have a horse they need to sell will drop the price “eventually” when the costs of keeping that horse start to rise.

With fuel going out of control, as well as fertilizer and eventually grain prices ,that will make horse keeping much more expensive for all of us.

Hay costs, grain costs will mean board rates will increase and most likely dramatically. You may find a steal of a deal if you look hard enough.


Absolutely. 2008-2009, when I first owned my mare, saw a lot of “mid range” barns closing. The land they are on is just too valuable – well into 6 figures PER ACRE in some places, if it’s zoned for McMansions.

Once again, it’s barns closing to boarders (or closing entirely.) There are a lot of new horse owners and really not enough spots for them, and not a lot of middle ground type barns. A recent barn closing was 35 stalls and a 60-day notice, and the boarders really had to scramble to find places for that many horses. I heard (but cannot confirm) that a couple were sent down to Virginia for retirement pasture board.

All this is one of many reasons why I am keeping my mare where she is, even though she is retired and we don’t really need a lot of the fancy stuff. It’s expensive, but the care is fantastic.


I imagine when folks start having to feed double priced hay, we’ll see the bottom fall out of horse prices.


Here in California we haven’t had appreciable rain since early January with none in sight. We’re already starting to thin our Sring calving herd of cattle. There isn’t enough grass to sustain them. The oat hay seedlings are dying in the fields which means no winter feed. Hay is going to be hard to find and extremely expensive. A nearby hay dealer is selling cow hay for $14/bale. I wouldn’t be surprised at double priced hay. $50 a bale is going to be an extreme hardship for a lot of folks. I may have to sell my youngster if that happens.


Fuel prices could potentially affect a lot of things pertaining to the equine industry- showing, bagged feed, hay prices, service prices- vet, farrier, trainers that come to you.

Add in outrageous fertilizer prices that will affect hay and feed prices on top of fuel.

Horse prices has been ridiculous for the last 15-18 months. When I say ridiculous I see unregistered horses that you cannot accurately verify breeding, training, age, etc. are selling for $20K and up. I am a trail rider, and while great trail horses are worth every penny, the current market for “trail horses” has been downright stupid.

I buy decent quality youngsters and send them to a quality trainer for 60-90 days. He puts a good start on them, and then I put mileage on them. I can still get nice horses for far less than 5 figures.

Will this work for everyone? No. I am lucky enough to have ample pasture and only feed hay 3-4 months out of the year. I also have the ability to feed very nice quality round bales that we store inside. I don’t mind riding green horses, as long as I know they are good minded and not out to actively kill me, but again that is not for everyone.

The market will drop. There will be some nice horses for reasonable prices once again. Wait until fall when people cannot afford to put away enough hay for the winter.

That being said, be ready to buy.


I saw this on an old meme, I’m sure plenty of other people did as well:

Most people don’t need a $30,000 horse.
They need a $1,000 horse and $29,000 worth of lessons.

I don’t share that to belittle anyone at all! Thanks to the racing industry, overbreeding of QHs and other breeds, mustangs, etc., we are never going to be without “cheap” horses, many of whom are extremely useable, even for competition.

For the middle class horse person on a budget, I wish they wouldn’t over extend themselves just because the market is crazy. With a good trainer and some flexibility and patience, you can save a ton and still get a quality horse.

I think a savvy trainer could probably make a pretty good business model doing some sort of “ride my horse while I train yours” package deal catering to people buying “cheap” purchase price horses that need training. Because not being able to ride is often the limiting factor, especially when you have to pay board or have a one horse budget.


Good one. never heard that before, but it rings-true to me.


I am starting to see an uptick in ads for backyard type horses being sold because of hay/fuel prices. The ones that have been sitting, have the bare minimum of training, don’t have a lot of marketable points…but prices haven’t dropped much yet.

The $500 mostly feral long yearling I just bought in January would have been more like $150, if that, just a few years ago. I am thankful that I learned how to bring up and start young horses way back when, and that I can turn these low end horses into something useful. Says I, as I gird my loins to go pay $25 a bale for hay this weekend. :roll_eyes:


in S. Florida our 3 string 2nd cut timothy bales went from $37 a bale to $55


I don’t know. There is a lowish end auction north of me in Alabama. Last month a draft cross trail horse type sold for $34,000. Nothing special but hey he walks, trots and canters under saddle and he was at least brushed clean in his pics. The next best seller was 18k for another western trail horse type. I am kind of baffled at who is paying that much for trail horses that do not have any specialized training. The up side is most horses are being priced out of the slaughter market, at least at that sale anyway. We had a really wet summer last year so that even if hay is in short supply grass is abundant so maybe pastured horses are cheap to maintain and grain prices do not affect their cost of upkeep much. I am waiting for the bubble to burst. The expensive horses do not seem to be falling in price and I guess the upper one percent will not be that affected by increasing fuel prices and the other increases due to fuel increases.


Ouch!!! I generally buy OG hay from Tennessee in Spring and western hay in the Fall. I had better be putting back more money in savings to make hay purchases. Got to start liking beans and rice more I guess. Luckily I have very good pasture here that keeps the air ferns fat.


Question: how many pounds, roughly, in a 2 string vs 3 string hay bale? 2-string first cut grass seems to be around $11 where I am, for roughly 45 pounds, but I think that’s by the bale rather than a big order. Definitely up.

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At least where I’m at, 2 string bales of grass-type hay can generally weigh from 45 to 85lb, sometimes you’ll see 2 string alfalfa bales that are more like 90-100. A 3 string bale of grass, here, is generally in the 100-140lb range. My neighbor puts up stubby 3 string bales that are more like 90lb, and are impossible to stack normally due to the weird dimensions.