It is no secret that buying a horse can be expensive! Horse prices vary greatly and can reach $10,000 or more. Many of us may not have this kind of money to spend, but thankfully there are several horse breeds that are often on the cheaper side!
The cheapest horse breeds tend to be Quarter Horses, Arabians, Thoroughbreds and wild Mustangs. Although you can usually find cheaper horses within each of these breeds, you will need to keep a few things in mind.
There are special considerations that need to be taken with most inexpensive horses. Some new horse owners may get lucky and come across a great horse at an exceptionally cheap price, but not everyone is so fortunate.
The key is to know what qualities you are looking for, what issues to keep an eye out for and to understand that you may need to put a lot of work or extra care into a cheaper horse. The following information will help you be better prepared to find the right horse for you at the lowest price possible.
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What breeds tend to be the cheapest?
For various reasons, certain horse breeds have a lot of available horses on the cheaper end of the price spectrum. While some of their prices can reach astronomical heights, there are many great horses of these same breeds that can be found for relatively low prices.
Understand that some low-cost horses will need extensive training or additional care and they may or may not come with registration papers, hence their cheap price.
If you are willing to train a horse yourself and possibly ignore their lack of papers, then a low-cost horse may be perfect for you.
Thoroughbred horses are most often bred for their racing potential. Horse racing is a lucrative sport and Thoroughbreds are the prized horses in the game. Since it is so lucrative, many current and aspiring racehorse owners breed their horses regularly, resulting in an overabundance of Thoroughbreds.
A select few of these horses will go on to be worth hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars. However, many more of them will not make successful racehorses and are eventually sold or sent to Thoroughbred rescues.
These horses are often still rather young and have excellent potential as solid riding horses for the everyday equestrian. Many of these horses can be found with ex-racehorse rescues or through trainers who help prepare these horses for a post-racing lifestyle.
While they do not tend to be in the six figures as often as Thoroughbreds, some Arabians can cost $20,000 or more, but typically they are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Sometimes, you can even find Arabian horses costing $1,000 or less depending on their skill, age, and temperament. Arabians are often referred to as ‘hot-blooded’, meaning active, athletic riding horses.
Quarter Horses are a very popular breed in the equestrian world. These horses make ideal all-around horses and can be successful in a variety of sports. They also make very good trail horses, casual riding horses and are equally capable of being a child’s horse as a competitive athlete.
While some Quarter Horses can cost $20,000 or more, it is possible to find a high-quality Quarter Horse for a relatively low price. Many times, you can find a good Quarter Horse for less than $1,000.
Adopting a wild Mustang is often cheap, usually around $100-$200. These horses typically have no training and will need a lot of work and probably veterinary care. They are only a suitable choice for experienced equestrians.
This may or may not be a horse that you could ever ride, but that depends on the horse’s age and temperament. With the right training and a lot of commitment, many horse owners find that they can train a wild Mustang to be both a beloved companion and a great riding horse.
Places to find inexpensive horses
Finding horses online is often one of the easiest ways to find a cheap horse, but pay close attention. Look for any inconsistencies in the ads, or overselling. You want a seller that is honest about the horse’s true abilities.
Many sellers now include videos of the horse being ridden and worked with so that you can see its capabilities. You can often search for the breed you want, age range, and price that you are willing to pay.
One great way to find a cheap horse is to put out some feelers with your fellow equestrians. Let them know what breed you are looking for, and what qualities you want in a horse. Often, they will know of someone looking to sell a great horse at a low price to a friend. This can be the best way to be sure you get an accurate history of a cheap horse.
Horses are often sold for very cheap prices at horse auctions. Be aware that many horses sold at horse auctions are often there for a few reasons, including that they may be extremely difficult to handle or have health issues.
However, this is not always the case, and often very dependable and friendly horses are sold for very cheap prices at auctions. Just know that you are taking a chance when purchasing a horse at an auction, but also that trainers can do a lot with some of the most untrained horses.
Many horse auctions are even handled online nowadays while others you have to be physically there to purchase.
Wild Mustang Sales
There are some wild mustang sales done periodically to sell and re-home wild Mustangs. Some of them are halter and saddle trained, while others will need extensive training.
There are online wild Mustang sales including the Wild Horse and Burro Online Corral. These sales are done periodically and require applications in order to bid on available horses.
There are several rescues in every state that offer horses for adoption at relatively cheap prices, sometimes only a couple hundred dollars. Some of them are fit to ride while others either need additional training or are too injured or elderly to be ridden.
Rescues can be great places to find a cheap and friendly companion horse for your current horses.
Things to Watch Out For
If you are not an experienced rider, consider taking a trainer you trust with you for support and advice. They will able to spot issues and injuries quicker than you can.
While many great horses are sold for cheap prices every day, keep in mind that some unruly or injured horses are sold for cheap prices as well. You should always have your antenna up and be on the lookout for any signs of deceit.
Attitude and Demeanor
Pay attention to how the horse acts around you, and its current owners. Be wary of horses that are skittish or seem to be unfriendly to people or other horses.
While this is not necessarily a deal-breaker, you may simply be unready to deal with a willful horse or a horse that is difficult to handle.
Be suspicious if a horse is overly lethargic and does not show any energy or interest in its surroundings. While it is not common practice, some sellers will give a difficult horse a calming medicine so that they act quieter when a buyer arrives. You could take the same horse home and find out hours later that it has more energy than you can handle!
If you are riding the horse or watching it being ridden or walked, pay close attention to its gait, or leg movement. You will be looking for signs of a limp or misstep that could indicate lameness. Again, while it is not common practice, some sellers will medicate a lame horse to make them appear to have less of a problem than they do.
If a horse is advertised as a good riding horse, make sure that you can ride the horse before you purchase. A seller could advertise the horse as a broke horse that is good for riding, but if you should always see the horse being ridden.
It is advised that you ride the horse yourself if possible, or if you are uncomfortable, bring a more experienced rider with you to test out the horse for you.
The cheapest horse breeds tend to be Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Quarter Horses, and wild Mustangs. While all of these breeds include some high-profile bloodlines that can be worth thousands and even hundreds of thousands, it is still very possible to find a number of horses at cheap prices that you can afford. The trick is to know what you are looking for and to keep an eye out for any warning signs that you should avoid!