The difficulties with pricing a horse
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The difficulties with pricing a horse

Published by: Lisa Wright (4)
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Buying a horse is an exciting prospect, but knowing what to pay for a decent horse can be difficult. 
The pricing of horses is so arbitrary – so how do we really know if we are paying the right price or being taken for a ride?
The short answer is that we don’t.  Even with an expert eye and a thorough vetting you might think you have just purchased your next Grade B show jumper, but how can you be sure that you have paid a fair price and that the animal is truly worth its value?
Buying cars is easier. There are many resources out there that allow buyers to select certain criteria (such as model, age and mileage) and from that you will be given the car’s market value or potential worth.  Horses are different, because in a sense they are worth exactly what the seller wants to sell them for and what the buyer is prepared to pay for them.  Each buyer will rate the importance of individual criteria differently.  As an amateur rider I would always state that “temperament is priceless” - by that I mean a horse with a level head, solid and - un-spooky yet that “sort of temperament” will be less attractive to a professional or more serious competitor who will want the sharper, trickier horses that I wouldn’t entertain.  Neither temperament is intrinsically less valuable – they each appeal to a different type of rider.
 While we can’t take all the uncertainty out of horse prices, has taken a step toward helping you, the buyer, find out whether the price you’re being asked to pay is reasonable and in line with prices for other horses of the same general type.  We have taken our database of over 20,000 ads, extracted prices for breed, age, height and gender and turned it into a useful tool you can use to
look up average prices.  While we can’t claim that the average horse price is true “market value” we can provide a prospective buyer with a guide of what they should be prepared to spend on a
certain type of horse. This tool should only be used as a guide and it is based on the average advertised price.  We do not have any data on the actual sales price. 
Again as a buyer if you are looking for a rock solid horse that is bomb proof and of a docile nature, this quality is going to be worth more to you than say someone who is looking for a higher performance horse. In general there are certain characteristics that can drive up the value and price of a horse, these include:
Genetics and breeding – having high performing ancestors that are proven and well known
Actual winnings - financial winnings, prestigious events and awards
Entire horse (High performing stallion or mare)
Good solid conformation
In good condition (shiny coat, fit, well shod, well groomed etc)
In general these factors will lower the value of a horse:
Behavioural problems
Gender – Often mares are less sought after
Age – older horses because they are more prone to illness and young horses because they are unproven
Previous injuries
Any vices
Mare in foal (if a broodmare is not what you are after)
Poor conformation (cow hocks, pigeon toes, low heels)
Horses also aren’t immune to the general rules of supply and demand.  Thoroughbred horses are an
example where they are a lot on the market and generally their average advertised price is a reflection of over-supply.  Like anything else, people’s tastes and preferences change.  And it’s very much
“horses for courses” as the type of job you need your horse to do and at what level will determine how important certain things like temperament are (does he have the right attitude for the job in hand?), will his conformation stand up to what is being asked of him?  And most importantly, some riders connect with some horses better than others and it’s whether a bond can be established that is so often the crucial part of a successful relationship.
However if you’re interested in obtaining the average advertised price for a certain type of horse.
Lisa Wright - About the Author:
Lisa Wright is one of the founders of is the Uk's 1st Equestrian search engine that brings together horse advertisements from the main UK publications into one convenient place.  Currently has over 15,000 horses for sale.  Registering with will allow you to save your searches and your favourite horses so that you can re-visit at a later date if required.
Lisa Wright has over twenty years experience of working with horses.  She currently owns a couple of horses and regularly completes at local and county shows
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