As any horse owner, racer, or breeder will tell you, the upkeep of these animals is incredibly expensive. With costs running into the thousands and sometimes millions just for the purchase of a horse, it’s no wonder that this is a hobby favored by the richer amongst us.
The cost of a horse and its upkeep often varies widely depending on the breed, history, bloodlines, training, and dozens of other factors. It also depends on the type of horse you want, as a racing horse will cost far more than a working one.
But say money is no object for you, and you are willing to pay whatever the price to find the perfect mount. Well here’s the list for you. Going from most to least expensive we’ll show you the most expensive breeds in the world, and why they fetch such a high price.
1. Akhal Teke – $100,000+
- Country Of Origin: Turkmenistan
- Average Height: 15hh or 60 inches
- Color: Any solid color with a metallic-like sheen
One of the oldest and rarest breeds in the world it’s easy to see how this horse ended up on this list. With only 8,000 purebreds in the world, an Akhal Teke with valid registration papers and proof of heritage can go for well above $100,000.
The desert environment of their home may be the cause behind their characteristic speed and stamina. Though once used for raids by the tribesmen of the area, these skills are now perfect for long-distance racing, showjumping, and dressage.
Coming from this environment also makes them easy to keep as the harsh conditions they once lived in means that they can survive on very little food and water. They also make wonderful companions and are often said to be ‘one-person horses’ due to their loyalty to their keeper.
2. Thoroughbred – $70,000 +
- Country Of Origin: UK
- Average Height: 16hh (hands high) or 64 inches
- Color: Brown, chestnut, black, gray
In the horse world, almost everyone agrees that the Thoroughbred is one the most expensive mounts money can buy. Bred exclusively for racing – it is capable of running at speeds of 40mph – this hot-blooded breed is known for its speed and agility.
With short legs to help them deliver longer strides, they’re able to run with stability and balance. With high stamina on top of that, it’s no surprise that the majority of horse racing world records are held by the Thoroughbred.
Although it’s what they were designed to do, the racing career of a Thoroughbred is usually a short one, meaning you need to invest during their prime years. The costs to buy and maintain this breed are often extortionate, but if done correctly your horse could win you a lot more money in the races.
The most expensive Thoroughbred ever sold was Fusaichi Pegasus who sold for a record-breaking $70 million.
If you can’t afford this expense however you could buy an OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) for around $30,000.
This is a horse that has either reached the end of its racing career or never raced in the first place. While the horse is no longer able to race at this point it still would make a nice, albeit expensive pet.
3. Arabian – $30,000 – $160,000
- Country Of Origin: Arabian Peninsula
- Average Height: 14.3hh or 57 inches
- Color: Black, gray, brown
One of the world’s oldest domesticated horse breeds, these horses have become a popular choice in equestrian sports due to their speed and endurance. Their elegant look and grace have also made them a favored choice for breeding, raising their price.
Although they are often used in sports these horses are also highly favored for their friendliness and calm manner, making them a great choice for a recreational mount. Sill, the right training is needed to bring out the best in the Arabian horse, a cost that can run into the thousands.
The price of an Arabian horse varies depending on many factors. A well-trained horse can fetch prices of up to $100,000 and above. The most expensive Arabian horse ever sold went for $1.6 million in 2015 due to its success in the Polish National Championship.
Other factors like the bloodline of the horse, some of which can be traced back hundreds of years, also raise the price. If you’re not that bothered about pure bloodlines however some breeds or crosses of the Arabian horse fetch a low price of $1000-$2000.
4. Friesian – $5,000 – $100,000 Depending On Quality
- Country Of Origin: The Netherlands
- Average Height: 15.3hh or 63 inches
- Color: Famous for their black coat but also come in chestnut and bay.
Dating back to as early as the 11th century, the Friesian is one of Europe’s most ancient breeds. Originally bred as war horses they were once used as the mounts for the knight of the Crusades.
They have an iconic look, with their solid black coat, long necks, and their tails often reaching the floor. Through breeding, the Friesian grew in muscle mass and stature, but despite this, they’re still a nimble and athletic breed.
Their high speed, stamina, and gracefulness combined make them a popular choice in dressage competitions. They’re also incredibly intelligent and seem keen to learn making training them much easier than other breeds.
The Friesian has a calm and friendly temperament, making them a popular choice of pet for some people.
5. Dutch Warmblood – $5,000 – $75,000
- Country Of Origin: The Netherlands
- Average Height: 16hh or 64 inches
- Color: Chestnut, brown, black, gray
Developed in the 1960s this relatively new breed combines the blood of native Dutch breeds like the Gelderlander with that of the Thoroughbred.
It now ranks as one of the top three most successful breeds by the World Breeding Federation for Sports Horses (WBFSH), even though it was originally bred for agricultural purposes. Now this breed is a popular choice for dressage events due to its size, gait, and demeanor.
The Dutch Warmblood is difficult to price as a large factor is whether they’re trained for competition. Though the average price for a racehorse is around $75,000, horses have been known to go for as much as £13 million in some cases.
A big draw to the Dutch Warmblood is that they’re a very healthy breed and often live to old age. This is because horses are disqualified from breeding if they have too many medical conditions.
In theory, this means while you’ll be paying thousands of dollars for the training of the horse, at least you won’t have to worry too much about medical expenses.
6. Selle Francis – $2,000 – $40,000
- Country Of Origin: France
- Average Height: 15.1hh or 61 inches
- Color: Chestnut is the most popular but any color is allowed
Another new breed developed in the late 1950, the Selle Francis is a mix of many pre-existing French breeds and is an offshoot of the Thoroughbred breed. Best known for its success in show-jumping competitions, its athleticism is a big draw for buyers.
The breeds intelligence, and gentle friendly nature, makes them easy to train for competitions. They also enjoy the company of people, making them a good horse for beginners and professionals alike.
Like all breeds, there have been a few instances where the Selle Francis has gone for millions of dollars. In 2013 one was sold for around $15 million.
But like other breeds, the price varies depending on the individual horses themselves, and for a well-trained horse, you’ll be looking at a lower figure of around $40,000.
7. Standardbred – $1000 – £20,000
- Country Of Origin: USA
- Average Height: 15hh or 60 inches
- Color: Black, brown, chestnut
Bred specifically as a harness racing horse, the Standardbred is said to be the best trotting horse in the world.
Developed in North America but able to trace some of their bloodlines back to 18th-Century-England, this breed is now recognized worldwide due to its success in competitions.
There are two types of Standardbred, the trotter used for harness racing, and the pacer which is raced in saddle trot competitions. Despite these differences both regularly fetch the same price of between $1000 – $20,000.
Though able to trace some of the roots back to Thoroughbreds, the Standardbred has longer, muscular bodies and is heavier than their ancestors.
Their placid dispositions make them easy to train and control, and they are considered people-orientated, making them good companions.