20 Aug How Much Does An Arabian Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide
What Does it Cost to Buy an Arabian Horse?
Arabians are one of the most recognizable horse breeds in the world and are prized for both their beauty and their athleticism. If you’re interested in this breed, you’ll likely want to know how much you can expect to pay for one.
How much does an Arabian horse cost? It is not uncommon to find a sound, healthy Arabian horse for $5,000 – $10,000 or less. Arabians excel in several disciplines and are a hardy breed, but they are one of the most easily found breeds in the world and are, therefore, fairly budget-friendly. Of course, you can spend six digits on an Arabian of elite breeding, and the most expensive Arabian ever sold was purchased for $11 million.
Arabian horses are versatile, being used for endurance riding, lesson programs, and even western dressage. They would be a great addition to any stable! In this article, I’m going to deep-dive into the financial aspects of purchasing an Arabian, as well as where you can purchase them.
The Average Cost Of An Arabian Horse
The average cost of a well-trained Arabian horse is $5000. Registered Arabians with good bloodlines can sell for four times that…but then again, I’ve also seen registered Arabians with good bloodlines in kill pens, where you can save them for as little as $1500.
The cost of an Arabian horse drastically varies compared to most other breeds. The large population of Arabians in America and the world means you can find them relatively cheap. Another aspect that plays into this is that, for some reason, Arabians have a reputation in the horse world.
I find that those who love Arabians will usually pay top dollar for them, also looking for ones that have good pedigrees and status. These people drive the higher prices on Arabians.
On the other hand, there are some people in the horse community who despise Arabians and will refuse to even work with them. Some of their reasoning is that they don’t like the selective breeding over time that has caused the dished faces of the Arabians. Another excuse I have heard is that Arabians are too sensitive.
Whatever the reason for disdain, I don’t understand it, and it’s not like the horse can help it! This reputation that certain people have built around the Arabian tends to drive down demand for this breed. This has left a high supply of Arabians but somewhat of a low demand.
Why Arabians Are Cheaper Than Most Horses
Though the first Arabian horse came to the United States in the year 1725, they remained a rare and “exotic” breed until the 1980s when they really came into fashion. They quickly rose to fame as somewhat of a status symbol and were bred not just for show, but also as beautiful lawn ornaments. In a 1986 Sports Illustrated article, author E.M. Swift said, “If there is one animal perfectly suited to the American tastes in the ‘80s – costly, elegant, ostentatious and imported – it is the Arabian horse.”
Around this same time, breeders discovered a unique loophole that allowed them to utilize their farms as tax shelters. This loophole, along with the sudden demand for Arabians, led to an explosion in Arabian breeding and an over-inflated market. Arabians were making their breeders a lot of money, and so more Arabians were being bred…you can probably see where this is going.
In 1986 a tax reform bill was passed, and the loophole that allowed horse breeders their tax shelter status closed. This was so significant that many breeders went into bankruptcy. Sadly, there was such an oversaturation of Arabians in the market at that time that some went to public auctions and even to kill pens.
Because there were so many Arabians on the market, they lost their “status symbol” appeal. This led to decreased sales, decreased prices, and an abundance of Arabians. Arabians are especially long-lived, and many of these horses are still around and have produced even more Arabian offspring.
This means that though the demand has fallen since the 1980s, there is still an abundant supply, and as wonderful as these horses are, they can often be purchased for a bargain. The Arabian horse registry opened in 1908 and has registered over 650,000 Arabians since that time. It is estimated that today about 450,000 of those are still alive.
Where To Find An Inexpensive Arabian Horse
If you would like to purchase an Arabian and you don’t need an elite show horse, you can likely find one locally in the online horse advertisements in your area. Arabians are generally hardy and long-lived, and you may be able to find a sound and rideable horse in his late teens or twenties that needs a new home. You may also find a young Arabian this way that needs some training and, therefore, will sell for a lower price.
It is also worth looking at local or online auctions for an Arabian. Horses enter auctions for a wide variety of reasons, and there are plenty of gems that can be found this way. Some of these gems are even purebred.
Lastly, many Arabians end up in kill pens. I had a Quarab (Quarter Horse X Arabian) mare who had been pulled from a kill lot for just a few hundred dollars. She had excellent breeding and ended up there when she was just two years old. Pulling a horse from a kill pen costs, at most, a few thousand dollars.
To learn more about pulling Arabians from kill pens, check out my article How to Rescue a Horse: All You Need to Know.
In Which Disciplines Do Arabians Excel?
Arabians excel in a variety of disciplines, both Western and English. They are perhaps best known for their outstanding endurance. To put their endurance into perspective, Thoroughbreds, the famous racehorses, are able to gallop in races of up to a mile and a half long. Thoroughbreds have become dominant in these races because of their stamina and their ability to maintain a gallop at this distance. Arabians, on the other hand, often race in the Middle East for up to two and a half miles. Overall, the Arabian is known to have one of the most impressive shows of stamina in the world.
While Arabians are used for many different sports, they are more often kept for recreational purposes, including trail riding. A survey of Arabian owners in 2003 found that exactly ⅔ of Arabians in the United States are owned for just that – as pets or trail riding partners instead of as show horses. The high number of available Arabians on the market means that virtually anyone, at any level of riding ability, can attain an Arabian if desired. This is not dissimilar to other popular and plentiful breeds in the United States, like the Quarter Horse and the Paint.
Million-Dollar Arabian Horses
At the height of the Arabian craze, there were a couple of record-setting horses that made headlines. While million-dollar horse sales are typically centered around the Thoroughbred market, Arabians have had their share of the limelight as well.
NH Love Potion: sold for $2.55 million
One of these Arabians was the mare named NH Love Potion, who was sold at an auction in Scottsdale in 1984 for $2.55 million. These auctions had become such extravagant affairs that Sammy Davis Jr. had performed at this very auction before the bidding for horses began. Breeders were known to outdo themselves at these auctions, even using fog machines and special lighting effects to increase the excitement for the beautiful Arabians.
Padron: sold for $11 million
NH Love Potion probably felt pretty special selling for over $2 million, but that price tag was nothing when compared to Padron, the Arabian stallion who sold to a syndicate in the US for $11 million in the 1980s. Padron was born in Holland in 1977 and won his first show before he was even weaned. He then went on to create even more winners – he has sired more than 700 Arabian foals, including 50 national champions and 12 international champions.
Marwan Al Shaqab: the “most valuable” Arabian
While Padron holds the record for the most expensive Arabian ever sold, that record could have gone to the infamous Marwan Al Shaqab, a bay Arabian from Qatar. The stallion was owned and beloved by his royal owners, and when they were offered a serious offer of $20 million, they did not even consider selling him. Marwan Al Shaqab has won a large number of international championships and has sired many champions as well. He spends his summers in Texas with Michael Byatt Arabians. Said Byatt in a 2017 ABC article, “For the rest of the time he lives here, [the goal is] to treat him like a horse, not treat him like a pampered poodle. I want him rolling in the mud.”
Do you know the most expensive horses ever sold? To get the complete list, visit my article The 10 Most Expensive Horses Ever Sold.
The Value Of An Arabian Horse
Oxford defines the word value as “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” What does that mean for the Arabian? On one hand, you can find a purebred Arabian for a more-than-reasonable price. On the other hand, this is through no fault of the breed itself. Arabians were overbred because their value was considered to be so high.
At this point, the monetary worth of the breed has fallen considerably in the last several decades, but the innate value of the animal has not. Arabians are hardy, healthy, strong, athletic, and beautiful. They are also spirited, trainable, and friendly. Arabians are excellent horses, whether you are looking for a trail horse or for your next champion. You’ve heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” In the case of Arabians, however, you often get much more than that.
If you’re looking for other cheap horse breeds, visit my article Cheap Horses: 10 Cheap Breeds & Where to Find Them.
I’m a lifelong horse trainer and horseback rider who’s passionate about teaching others about the things I’ve learned. I grew up competing in numerous English horseback riding disciplines and am now a certified equine massage therapist. I currently own three horses.