What Does it Cost to Buy a Percheron Horse?
Since I was a little girl playing with my favorite dapple-gray Breyer horse, I’ve had a special place in my heart for Percherons. These are large, heavy draft horses with gentle temperaments and a willingness to work. If you are particularly interested in this breed, you may be curious to know how much it can cost to acquire one of these beauties.
How much does a Percheron Horse cost in 2023? The purchase price of a Percheron can vary greatly. In general, you can expect to spend between $7,000 and $10,000 on a well-trained Percheron in good physical condition. However, you can usually find a retired or rehabilitated Percheron for significantly less than that from a rescue agency, especially if you are looking for a companion-only horse.
Percherons are mostly known as driving horses; however, they can also be used for riding and as therapy horses. If you are a larger rider or you’re looking for a sane horse for your husband, a Percheron may be a good option. To learn more about purchasing a Percheron, read on!
Average Purchase Price of a Percheron Horse
The demand for draft horses in our industrialized era has been significantly reduced since the advent of tractors and large trucks. While there are still breeders out there focusing on the preservation of these larger horses, the supply is limited, and that will be reflected in the purchase price.
At the same time, though Percherons make lovely trail and riding companions, they are not bringing in large sums of money through racetracks or other sports, so while the supply is limited, their prices are not particularly over-inflated. Depending on where you live, you can expect to spend between $7,000 and $10,000 on a broke-to-ride or drive Percheron in his prime. If you live in an area with far fewer Percherons, like the West Coast, you will pay even more than that.
All that said, there are Percherons across the country found in horse rescues and kill pens for much cheaper than the average cost. Unfortunately, many draft breeds end up in places like this since they are more expensive to take care of and get discarded when they can no longer pull wagons.
Adopting A Percheron From A Rescue
Many horse rescues take in, rehabilitate, and rehome Percherons. The adoption fees for a workable Percheron can cost between $1,000 – $3,500. A companion-only Percheron can have fees of less than $1,000.
There are many benefits to adopting a horse from a rescue:
- You will receive an honest assessment of the horse’s health, temperament, and abilities.
- You will spend significantly less than you would if purchasing from a private owner.
- You can provide a loving home to a horse that may have had a rough background.
Many rescues, like Gentle Giants Draft Rescue in Maryland, also post pictures and information about their adoptable horses on their websites, including horses suitable for riding and companion-only horses.
Buying A Percheron From A Kill Pen
Purchasing a Percheron from a kill pen costs around $2,500.
I can’t write about purchasing a draft horse without including information on the unfortunate practice of sending draft horses to kill pens. There are a few reasons draft horses disproportionately end up in kill pens. One is that their size brings in more profit and level of meat production. The other reason is that traditional communities heavily use them for their agricultural needs. When they are no longer able to work, they are sold at auction, where kill buyers can get them at a cheaper price.
Out of the draft horses in kill pens, the majority are Belgians and Percherons. I have a friend who has rescued horses of both breeds from these facilities, and they were wonderful, gentle, kind animals who were malnourished and had overgrown hooves upon arrival at their new home. Before pulling a horse out of a kill pen, you need to be aware that there is going to be much more financial requirement involved than just the purchase price. These horses may need thousands of dollars of rehabilitation in vet, farrier, and feed costs.
What to Know Before Purchasing a Percheron
Percherons are docile, gentle horses that can add joy to any farm; however, you need to be prepared for a draft horse before you purchase one! Here are some things to consider before going all in:
Best Fencing for Percheron Horses
The average height of a Percheron Horse is 17 hh, and the average weight is 2,000 lbs…now that’s big! It’s understandable that average horse fencing may not be enough to contain these guys. While some Percherons will do just fine in a four-board wooden fence, others may require electric fencing to keep them from pushing and breaking against the boards. Before you purchase a Percheron, make sure you have adequate fencing!
Feeding a Percheron Horse
Horses can eat up to 2% of their body weight a day; that means if a Percheron weighs 2,000 lbs, it can eat up to 40 lbs a day! Even if a draft horse is out on a lush grass pasture, they still may need additional feed to supplement their diet. As draft horses age and it becomes harder for them to keep weight, they will require more and more feed. It could cost you a few hundred dollars a month in grain prices to feed your Percheron.
Health Problems of Percheron Horses
As such big animals, draft horses are prone to numerous health problems. As they age, they can develop arthritis and soreness. Percherons are also susceptible to equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM). While Percherons can develop certain health issues, they still live an average lifespan of 25-30 years.
Finding a Farrier for a Percheron Horse
Draft horses have a notoriously hard time balancing when getting their feet worked on. It can be very difficult for farriers to work on draft horses, and many of these horses require stocks to be able to get their feet done. A stock is like a narrow chute the horse goes in that can help them balance, or it can be used to tie the horse’s feet up for the farrier to do the work. If you get a Percheron, you’ll need to potentially purchase stocks and find a farrier willing to work with a draft horse.
How Popular Are Percherons?
Like almost all draft breeds, there are far fewer Percherons today than there were 100 years ago. These horses have historically been bred and used to work, whether that be plowing fields, pulling stage coaches, or hauling timber. Outside of niche markets, tractors and automobiles have largely replaced the use of horses, and they have greatly declined in number over the decades.
That said, conservation efforts have been successful by dedicated groups and breeders, particularly in North America and France. Percherons reached their peak in the United States in the early 1900s, at which time the breed made up 70% of the population of draft horses in the country. Numbers declined from there, however, and in 1954, only 85 new individuals were registered. The breed made a slow but steady progression after that, with 1,088 registrations in 1988 and 2,257 registrations in 1998. Today, there are believed to be between 32,000 and 40,000 Percherons in the United States.
Buying A Percheron Today
Buying a Percheron today may not be as easy as it was a hundred years ago, but they are still popular among drafts in the United States. Most Percheron breeders and rescues are in the Midwest and the Northeast, and if you live in one of these regions, you may have success finding a trained and sound Percheron from a private owner or breeder.
It would also be worth looking into rescue facilities that specialize in draft horses and, if you are so inclined, at kill pens as well. If you are in another region, like the West Coast, you may find it harder to find a Percheron locally, but there are many individuals and companies who will transport horses across the country for a fee.
Like most draft breeds, Percherons are very gentle, sweet, and willing horses, and while they may not be as easy to adopt as a Quarter Horse, they are well worth the extra effort.
Want to know the price of other popular horse breeds in 2023? Check out these articles:
- How Much Does an Arabian Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide
- How Much Does a Quarter Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide
- How Much Does a Pony Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide