Whether you’re in the market for a horse or already own one, the question of how much you can expect to pay (or ask) is an important one.

We’ve seen a lot of horse sale transactions in our day—all kinds of horses, from quiet trail bosses to polo ponies to show jumpers. How much is a horse worth? First, remember that the value of anything marketplace item is, ultimately, “What someone is willing to pay for it.” Because buying and selling horses is often an emotional process, it isn’t cut and dry at all.

Nonetheless, the timeless economic laws of supply and demand apply to the horse world just as they do anywhere else. This means that if there aren’t many horses for sale in a given region and lots of people looking to buy, the price of each horse likely rises. The converse—too many horses and too few buyers—means lower prices.

As a luxury/sport/leisure provider of sorts, the horse industry is especially sensitive to the larger realities of the economy, both local and global. Definitely not recession-proof! If the economy is in the dumps, horses are one of the first things to go, because they carry not only an initial purchase cost, but also a pretty hefty monthly upkeep price tag—especially if you compare owning a horse to a cat or a dog!

Because horse valuations fluctuate with the market so much, buying a horse could be likened to buying real estate: buy low and sell high. But it’s not that simple because you don’t necessarily get measurable “equity” for your monthly board payment; you merely get the unbridled joy of horse ownership, the physical and mental benefits of riding, vitamin D from time in the sunshine, etc. Like we said, horses are a luxury item. Not like a fancy sports car, which loses value the minute you drive it off the lot, but still…

So yeah, horse valuation is probably more art than science. It’s dependent upon location, economic factors, emotions, dreams and lots of nebulous other stuff. That said, there are a few factors that—in some combination—directly impact the value of a horse:

  • Age
  • Breed & bloodlines
  • Training & use (i.e. show record)
  • Suitability to sport, conformation & athleticism
  • Soundness/maintenance required
  • Appearance
  • Market forces
  • Location

In our next blog, we’ll talk about the simple-but-important factor of a horse’s age and how it impacts value.

Photo credit: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/17309480255