Horse sale price

Hi all! Some of you may have seen my posts a while ago. I’ve been looking at horses for months, and think I’ve found one I want to put an offer on—I’m so excited but nervous!

Just curious what you think a horse in this description should be priced at. I have a number in my head, the seller has one in theirs. No offer made yet, just getting a feel because the horse market is a confusing place!

11yo, ottb gelding. Bay.
16 hands
29 starts
2 bone chips. Not career limiting or causing any issue.
After the track he did trails. He sold to his owner last year and gets ridden once a week in the ring. A little pushy on the ground.
Quiet and not nervous. Requires a lot of leg. Good brain.
No show experience. Jumping small cross rails on occasion. No dressage experience.

Thanks in advance!

Ok. So a lot will depend on how inherently nice he is as a horse.

How long did he race and when did he retire? With the history of track to trails to light arena riding, it sounds like he fits the category of “broke but green.” That is, he has enough miles on him to be relatively safe but he doesn’t know anything or have a career.

You can pop any OTTB over low jumps. I doubt he knows anything much about adjusting distance, and I doubt he has flying changes. He may be dull to the aids from trail riding. Likely pushy just because he’s had idiot owners that didn’t do ground work.

He’s 11 and you don’t know whether he will take to training. You will need to start from the beginning.

Because horse prices have gone so insane the past couple of years he might be a $5000 horse but when I think in pre COVID dollars I’m thinking more like $3000.


Great questions and points. He came off the track in 2017. 29 starts. No flying changes.

When I say nice I mean he’s quiet, kind, low maintenance, kick ride type. He is green, for sure. And through some internet investigations, his owner only bought him in May but doesn’t have the time to ride him.

I think $5k sounds great, but they’re asking for a few grand more than that and he was originally listed in May (though I don’t know sale price) at mid-high 4 fig budget.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I don’t want to insult anyone with a lowball, and I tend to lean towards frugal, so I appreciate all opinions on price. :blush:

Here’s some context from my area:

Flashy OTTBs that are a little younger are going for $12k-$18k after just a few rides. If it jumps around with a change, easily $15k+, no matter how green.

Older warhorse types that are a few rides off the track are going for $8.5k-$12k, depending on build and type.

The $5k and under crowd is a wild variety of still racing, pro-ride or questionably sound horses, or desperate sellers. There are deals, but I would say things have doubled in price, generally, from pre-covid times.

Honestly though, it really depends. Depends on the build, type of mover, disposition/type of ride, seller’s situation, track jewelry, and location. It can also depend on if horse is clipped and had its mane pulled :woman_shrugging:t3:.

Edited because I went back and read for comprehension. If they’re asking, say $6500, I’d be very comfortable offering $5k for what sounds like a greenie with no proven record of soundness and some manners issues. I’d also vet him thoroughly.


5k max.


They are currently asking 9k. Is offering $5k insulting? Or $5500?

Oof. Obviously without seeing the horse, I can’t say if it’s a fair offer. IIWM I’d ask if they’re negotiable at all, since based on your description, I’d think that $9k is a bit steep. Also he hasn’t moved since they listed him in May (when the market was MUCH hotter), I’m going to say it’s a high price.

IME I’ve gotten people down a good bit ($8000 to $5000, $7500 to $4000 once) by saying “my budget is X but I really like the horse, and can have the vet out this week for a PPE. I’ll come with my trailer so if everything is in order I can take him home then. Would $X work for you?”. It really really depends. If you’ve already vetted, or aren’t vetting, and can go get the horse tomorrow, you may get a great deal.

Not enough info here to really say if it’s an insulting offer tbh


An 11 year-old with that background who is relatively green to real work sounds overpriced to me at $9K. It sounds like he was purchased off the track and was just hacked around by casual riders, but has a good brain. But his level of training to me sounds more like what I’d expect of a 7 year-old OTTB versus 11.

Also, although he’s sound and trail work is certainly way better than say, ending up in a bad lesson barn and getting over-jumped, issues might surface if he’s put in more real work. It’s an unknown.

If he’s been sitting unsold that long, I don’t think it’s insulting to offer $5K.


Reading thru all this, first thing that jumps at me is the 2 bone chips. Where are they? And how does anyone know they are “not a problem” - until they are. This owner has only had the horse since May? That’s not even a year. What was their plan for him? Saying “I don’t have the time” might be legit or a cop out because the horse actually isn’t as advertised. Only ridden on trails or light arena could be he’s not as sound as they say, OR could just be backyard ammy owner with no interest in anything else.
It’s hard to say. I think 9k is ridiculous for this situation. If you like the horse I think I’d approach with a request for a PPE and depending on the findings, make an offer or walk away.


Set aside any bashfulness about an “insulting” offer. If it boosts your confidence, talk about comps, as you would in real estate.

“This similarly aged and size horse, also from the track, is advertised at 10. But according to her description she is in regular work; has ribboned in low hunters; and ships, clips and shoes without fuss.” … “This horse is 6, was started but is still very green and has been turned out for the past year and is advertised at $5,000.”


2 bone chips? Under $3k imo. Market is crazy but I would be hesitant to take that on.


IMO - don’t do this, wayyy too many words and info.

If someone is insulted by an offer, that’s their issue. It’s business, not personal. They are free to say “no” and continue footing the bill and go on their merry way.


Especially since the owner has only had him a year and rides him once a week. I could understand someone who has put long, hard work into restarting a horse and putting show miles on him getting insulted by an offer, but $9K on a casually ridden and managed backyard horse almost sounds like, “well, I don’t mind holding onto him, but if someone’s willing to pay that, I wouldn’t mind letting him go.”

A friend said no to a horse based on one bone chip FWIW! It’s possible the “needs a lot of leg to go forward” could also be an issue.

There are lots of “ifs” with this horse.


Kind of a big lowball, near 50% off :persevere:
IIWM, I’d tell seller I like the horse, but budget tops at $5K (& be prepared to up by $500)
Ask to be called if price can be negotiated nearer your top #.

In my part of the Midwest - QH Land - your # might be acceptable for the “offbrand”.

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3500 max 11 yo horse with no real training and not currently in work so not in athletic fitness. Sounds potentially balky if he needs a lot of leg to go forward. You will spend the first month or so building condition before you can assess what kind of training is indie, I suspect very little

soundness cannot be assessed in this situation. How can they say the bone chips are not an issue if the horse goes for a walk once a week.

Like others have said, you could buy any number of nice QH or appendix for 5000 - 10000.


I think price is very personal. I’d sure look into those bone chips though.

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I plan to. Waiting on the X-rays they currently have and if I move forward, more will be taken.


Is it wrong for me to point out that my trainer friend and I would pick up very similar TBs-- complete with the bone chips-- for $1,500 to $3,500? Granted, her father-in-law worked at Santa Anita racetrack, so there was an inside connection. But still…

11 years old and green, with bone chips that may or may not be an issue with regular work, affects the horse’s selling price. After putting a couple years worth of riding and training into him, he’ll be a teenager with bone chips. Is this a lifelong commitment to this horse or do you think you’ll eventually want to resell? Plus, what if the chips do eventually cause an issue? Are you willing to do surgery to remove them? Xrays, to determine if that’s even a possibility, are definitely important. All things to thoughtfully consider.

Ultimately, providing you like the horse and your vet is optimistic, in my opinion I’d say it’s a $3,500 to $5,000 horse. But I could be wrong.


Do not take price advice from people who do not live in your general area. The difference in “reasonable” price between different areas is huge.

Do not take price advice from people who haven’t been in the market recently. The difference in “reasonable” price pre-COVID, during COVID, and post-COVID can be huge.

Do not take price advice from people who do not share or understand your personal goals. The value of a horse is, in part, a function of what you, as a rider, need in a horse. Certain qualities in a horse might be difficult to find and be very valuable to me, yet have no value at all to a different rider with different goals and needs.

Disregard random advice from internet strangers about the importance of those bone chips. Instead, consult a good equine vet, who can knowledgeably assess the likelihood of those bone chips becoming a future problem.

If the horse is priced at $9000, yes, offering $5,000 or even $5,500 is insulting unless you have some concrete reason to justify the offering. I think it’s kind of funny that people are telling you to offer a lot less or telling the seller you can only afford $5K, because every time the subject of selling horses come up, people here express their anger over buyers who can’t afford their horse wasting their time by coming out to look at it and then saying, “I can only afford $X, will you take that?”


Thank you all for this insight!

Not looking for a resale project, looking for a heart horse. Waiting on getting their X-rays from may now. Will share with my vet and my trainer, as well as my trainers vet.

If all looks positive, I might make a low offer. But I’m actually so relieved to see you mostly all agree that this horse isn’t a 9k horse.