Thoroughbred Horses: How Much Do They Cost?

Thoroughbred horses are the equine version of elite athletes, the VIP of horses that are often referred to as the best breed of them all. This is because thoroughbred horses are the breed of professional racing horses, with unmatched qualities when it comes to racing, show jumping, dressage, polo, and many other types of training. 

Thoroughbred horses are fast, agile, and have plenty of spirits, often called hot-blooded. They are also tall and slim, flexible, and highly capable. However, all of these extra refined qualities don’t come without a price, as thoroughbred horses require a lot of extra care and maintenance compared to other horse breeds. 

Also, thoroughbred horses are expensive. They can get seriously pricey, and it’s not surprising given their elite athlete qualities! But how much do they cost exactly? 

They’re expensive to buy, and expensive to upkeep, so if you’re thinking of getting one you definitely need some in-depth information on the different costs. So let’s get right into it!

How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Thoroughbred Horse?

Before we tell you the average cost of buying a thoroughbred horse, we will mention that they are one of the most expensive breeds of horses in the world, so don’t be shocked at the price! 

On average, buying a thoroughbred horse costs between $100,000 and $300,000. However, they can get even more expensive than that. 

It’s actually quite hard to work out an average price for thoroughbreds, as usually they are sold at auctions, and it depends on their reputation and profession. (Picture it as an auction for world-famous soccer players, and that’s pretty much the vibe!) 

Back in 2006, a 2-year old thoroughbred horse was sold for a staggering $16000,000! So yeah, they are one hell of an investment!

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Thoroughbred Horse?

If you think that thoroughbred horses are a one-off payment, you’re wrong. They require a lot of extra care and maintenance compared to other horse breeds, and this means that they are not only one of the most expensive horses to buy, but also to upkeep. 

In fact, as a general estimate, the upkeep and maintenance of a thoroughbred horse will cost you between $40,000 and $60,000. 

This might seem like a lot of money for taking care of a horse, but with thoroughbreds, there are many different aspects to consider, and they all add up to the final price. To help you understand the huge cost, we’ve broken down the main maintenance expenses:

Medical Costs

Medical costs are uncertain and can vary from horse to horse, depending on if there are any conditions, illnesses, or injuries to treat. It could be that you barely ever need to cover any medical costs, but it is something you need to be prepared for just in case. 

The truth is, thoroughbred horses get sick quite easily, and they need a lot of supplements. It is also common for them to suffer from tissue damage, and if they are professional racers or jumpers, they are at risk of suffering from injuries. 

The Jockey Fee

If you want your thoroughbred horse to run in a race, you’re going to have to hire a professional jockey. On average, they charge around $100 per race. 

The Shoe Cost

In the same way, as racing cars need more expensive tires that need changing often, racehorses need special horseshoes. These can get pretty pricey, so you should account for around $5000 of cost on this!

The Training Cost

Thoroughbred horses are the elite of athletics, and they truly are incredibly capable and impressive. However, like all skills and natural talent, they need training. And trust us, horse trainers have a pricey fee. As a general rule, you can expect to pay around $35000 per year in order to train your thoroughbred horse!

Commission Fee

Because thoroughbred horses are so expensive to buy, they are usually bought with the use of brokers, which then charge a commission of around 5% to 10%. You need to take it into account as part of the regular cost afterward. (That is unless you are able to outright buy the horse without brokers!) 

Sales Tax

Every state has its own rules about the sales tax, but usually, you can expect to pay a minimum of 10% of the total price of the horse. Make sure to check this beforehand!

The Legal Fee

As thoroughbred horses, especially professional ones, are so high-class and expensive, there are usually legal fees to pay for during the buying process. This includes the contract and other transactions. 


With the amount of money that you’re already going to be spending on a thoroughbred horse, it is 100% recommended that you also get insurance so that you’re covered if unforeseen events take place. For this, you should compare different insurance companies to get the best price. 

There are, of course, many other costs involved in the maintenance of a thoroughbred horse, but we have covered the ones specific to the breed. Other costs include food, equipment, stables and staff, daily grooming and care, and many other things!

What Is The Average Cost Of Owning A Partial Share Of A Thoroughbred Horse?

Because thoroughbred horses are so expensive, it is pretty common to share the ownership amongst different people. So perhaps you could have a partial share, investing a percentage of money, and you get back that percentage of earnings from races, competitions, and others. 

On average, the partial share of a thoroughbred horse is around 5%, and this means you pay around $10,000. 

Factors That Can Determine The Cost Of A Thoroughbred Horse

It is hard to create an estimated cost for a thoroughbred horse, because each specimen is different, and there are many factors to take into account. 

Here are some of the main factors that can determine the price of a thoroughbred horse:


A horse in the peak of age to race and compete is far more expensive than a horse past its prime, or a young horse that is still in need of training and experience. 


Pedigree is one of the most important factors that determine the price of a thoroughbred horse. With thoroughbreds, it is all about genetics, and having the best genes that make it easier to become a top racer. In fact, people pay thousands and thousands of dollars to get horses bred by champions!

Racing Record

The more races a horse wins, the more expensive the horse will be. It’s pretty straightforward really, as it is proof of the horse’s capabilities and chances of winning even more races. 


Reputation can go a very long way in the equine world. So not only does winning races count, but also the image and reputation for behavior, training, and potential. Oh, and a family name helps too, so if a horse is sired by a world-famous stallion, the reputation goes up by a lot. 

Whether It Is Trained Or Not

Training a thoroughbred is one of the biggest costs, and it gets really expensive. So a horse that is already trained will be a lot pricier than a horse that still needs to go through a lot of training. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Thoroughbreds So Expensive?

With the number of different horse breeds that there are in the world, you might be wondering why thoroughbreds are so expensive. The reason is simple: they make the best racehorses, due to their natural speed, agility, and trainability. 

And within the equine world, money is made in racing, as it is an elite sport with lots of rich people investing large sums of money. 

Essentially, thoroughbred horses are more likely to win the big races, and therefore win money, so they cost a lot more right off the bat, as they are considered to be an investment. 


In conclusion, thoroughbred horses are expensive to buy, and expensive to maintain. Known as the elite athletes of the equine world, on average they cost between $100,000 to $300,000 to buy, and between $40,000 to $60,000 to upkeep. 

If the thoroughbred horse in question is sold at auction and is a well-known professional, it will cost even more! With the most expensive thoroughbred in history having cost $70 million!

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