Why is the dressage horse sales market so hot?

I feel like I have a moderate budget that a year ago would have secured exactly what I’m looking for, but now…no luck. Additionally, horses are selling before they are advertised or within a week of being advertised. What do you think is causing this? COVID is allowing everyone to have more riding time?

I’m curious about this, too. My search is a little different, as I’m looking at non-warmblood prospects that are younger and have dressage potential. During my search though, I have noticed higher-priced dressage horses are selling fast. It totally baffles me. I thought as COVID impacted employment more people would be selling and prices would be lower. That doesn’t seem to be the case at all. I would guess people who have resources have not been impacted financially by the pandemic.

One thing I have noticed though is there have been higher priced ponies that have been on the market for ages and haven’t sold. I’ll take that to mean they are overpriced.

People working from home have both money and time. A re-evaluation of the work-life balance is very common and a lot of people will nolonger be going into the office daily even when the pandemic is under control. Horses become available in terms of both time and money. However, in 2008, with the financial crash a lot of people stopped breeding so there is a gap in the 8 - 12 year old cohort, pretty much the age in which people look for a horse with training and competition form. There is a similar bounce in horse prices here in the UK.


There is also a distinct falling in outlets for discretionary spending. No more big vacations, very little eating out, all the theatres and movie complexes closed. If you are lucky enough to have kept your job, then an 8 months reduction in those expenses could very easily have built up a nest-egg situation, opening up another level or two “price wise” for some purchasers.

The cost of keeping a $200 horse and a $20,000 horse can be identical - which one you buy is often highly influenced by how much cash you got in the bank. Sellers seeing more and more “serious” buyers will raise their prices as high as they can and still move their stock.


I have wondered about this myself. You would think that with so much uncertainty there would be a smaller pool of buyers. Not so. Even the lower end horses are getting snapped up. I can’t believe the price point for some of the local horses I have known for years. They just aren’t worth the $25,000 price tag. And yet, that is what they are selling at.

I see buyers at my barn all the time, trying out horses I have known for years. Buyers are lined up.


Lots of professionals are suddenly able to telework in the longer-term and have reduced work travel. So sell an expensive property, move out of town and spend some of that extra money for a horse. A friend just sold a house in Vermont - there were like 20 showings the weekend it was listed, they shutdown showings and had multiple offers and sold for cash.

1 Like

Horses are flying right now. We’re planning to list my schoolmaster next week, and trainer is hopeful he’ll move within the month. So for once, it might benefit me. That said, I also bought a horse over the summer and paid top dollar to do so.

People who are able to work from home have tons of disposable income because there is not much they can spend it on right now. They also have more time to devote since everything else is canceled, and they most likely aren’t spend 1-3 hours per day commuting.

I did just sell one (schooling third level) and she went pretty fast. However, she was priced fairly and there was tons of interest. I didn’t want a long drawn-out process because it was hard decision for me to sell. Now that I’m looking, it’s been crazy trying to find something of the same quality but green. It seems when I’m not looking there are so many available. Strange how that works.


IdahoRider, you hit the magic number regarding price! Everything I like is 25k or higher. It’s also been shocking to inquire about dressage ponies that are priced at 20k+ and have some soundness or behavior issues. Ponies are my niche market and the prices are astronomical now compared to when I bought my first GRP 13 years ago.

1 Like

This!! It’s not just dressage horses either. 25k is the new 10k. For everything, even that green 6yr old who is a bit “meh” and really should be 8-10k at most.

It’s an absolutely crazy market right now. I’m glad I decided to lease for the year instead of buying.


Oh, the irony. I just spoke with the vet who did a pre-purchase on a horse for me. She told me she is running ragged doing pre-purchase exams and horses are selling unbelievably fast and for high prices. Never in her many years of practice has she seen this happen. She was also curious about why it’s happening during a pandemic. We discussed many of the possibilities discussed on this thread. We now know it’s a seller’s market.

Despite this, I got lucky will have a new horse!


Interesting. I have been thinking about selling my unicorn but was resisting because I didn’t think the market would support what I think he is worth. It sounds like maybe I could get my price. I’ll be curious to see what prices are like in Wellington this winter.


What joiedevie99 said.

In the USA, people lower down the economic scale in services and retail and restaurants are really suffering. But people in professional jobs are all working from home, which means no commute and perhaps flexible time. And they don’t need to spend on transportation, dining out, clothes, or travel, or entertainment. Plus the stock market is doing fine, if you’re an investor.

There are multiple economies and realities in North America, operating side by side. Lots of people are getting through Covid just fine financially.


It’s not just dressage horses. My neighbor is one of the top “used car salesman” in the reining world. He has had horses selling like hotcakes and in the high 5 to low 6 figure range. Most of those I see driving up to look, try and often vet out and purchase all in one day are middle age to older women and older men. My guess is (like myself) that they are still working and have been forced to reduce expenses which has provided them means and time to pursue their interests closer to home. I added on to my herd simply because I had built up some cash from not being able to go anywhere or do anything and needed a project to keep me from going insane (despite having a solid second level/starting third level horse at home and the bomb of a trail horse for friends to ride). I am one of those fortunate enough to not have to deal with Covid issues ‘at the barn’ since I keep mine at home.


It’s also eventers and hunter/jumpers. I’ve been shopping for an eventer for 6 months and $50k is going to get me a green WB who might have been to one show if I am lucky, or a horse with serious issues.

So crazy that 50k is the new 20k.

1 Like

In my experience, the whole market is hot.

It kind of makes me sick. So many people are suffering right now and the horse market is somehow thriving. I know I’m slightly part of that group (although so far from an elite.) I honestly feel guilty sometimes. Obviously still trying to do my part. I’m far far from wealthy but trying to do what I can to support small business, donate what I can. I used to volunteer but not right now with Covid.


It’s not just horses. Anything that is more desirable given the Covid situation has a hot market. It’s especially clear in the housing market. Single family houses with some private outdoors space are getting bid up.

I’m not in the market to buy or sell a horse, but I’m being very cautious with Covid and only allow myself out of the house for grocery shopping, to ride, and a few other super essential tasks. Riding is the one recreational, restorative activity I have left.

Also, people who in other years would have bought in Europe are buying at home now.

Are prices in Europe lower due to the buyers from North America staying home?


It will be interesting if things are more normal next year and people aren’t working from home as much. I wonder if we will see more horses for sale after some people realize they don’t have as much time anymore?


There are a lot of low wage workers in the horse industry whose employment has been stable because the industry as a whole is stable.