28 Dec Top 15 Most Expensive Horse Breeds In The World
What Are the Most Expensive Horse Breeds?
Horses are not inexpensive pets. Aside from the cost to maintain them, the cost to attain them is also high. This cost varies, though, with some horses available for a few thousand dollars, and others available for a few hundred thousand (or more!).
What are the most expensive horse breeds in the world? The most expensive horse ever sold was a Thoroughbred racehorse named Fusaichi Pegasus, who sold for $70 million in 2001. While the price of horses will vary greatly depending on the horse’s training and show prospects, the most expensive horse breeds on average are as follows:
- Gypsy Vanner
- American Standardbred
- American Quarter Horse
- Dutch Warmblood
- Selle Francais
Now, while any well-trained horse with a good pedigree from any breed can be expensive, the breeds mentioned above excel in either looks or discipline, making them extremely valuable to the horse riders in their particular niche. To learn the average price of the horses in each of these breeds, read on!
Shire horses are big, beautiful draft horses, originally bred for farm work. Though large, they are uniquely athletic, and the use of Shires has expanded to pleasure riding, police work, and dressage as well. They also have gentle and calm temperaments, adding to their popularity.
You may be able to find a horse of this breed for as little as a few thousand dollars, but expect to pay at least $10,000 to $15,000 for a well-trained Shire.
Holsteiners are not as common as some of the other breeds on this list but are rivals in the equestrian sporting world. Holsteiners are natural athletes with muscular builds, and they are known for their winning personalities as well.
Holsteiners will typically cost at least $10,000 to $30,000 – or more, depending on bloodlines and career prospects. You will not see as many Holsteiners sold as pets, as most are bred specifically for show jumping, dressage, and eventing.
The Gypsy Vanner, known as the “people-sized draft horse” is a beautiful horse bred to pull Gypsy wagons in Great Britain. Gypsy Vanners are known for their beautiful looks and their sweet disposition.
Gypsy Vanners are now used for pleasure riding as well as dressage and cart-pulling. If interested in a Gypsy Vanner, expect to pay at least $10,000, with many costing as much as $30,000 or more.
The Andalusian is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world and is so much more than the beautiful horse that you have seen depicted in painting (and even cave drawings). Andalusians are dramatic show-stoppers. They are used to compete in dressage, dancing, bullfighting, and other sports. They are of Spanish heritage, and while not rare, they are less common than many other breeds.
You might pay as little as $5,000 for an Andalusian, but for a show-quality horse, you should expect to pay $60,000 or more.
Friesians are known for their characteristic wavy manes, feathered feet, and usually solid black coloring. While Friesians are used in some areas for light farm work, they are better known for dressage, or for their appearances in movies! If you are looking for a Friesian to keep as a pet or for pleasure riding, expect to pay at least $5,000 to $10,000. If you are looking for a well-trained Friesian to compete with, you will have to expand your budget, to at least $40,000 to $60,000.
To learn more about Friesian horses, visit my article What Friesian Horses Are Used For: Ultimate Guide.
Oldenburgs are compact, strong horses with deep chests and large hooves – used mostly for showjumping and high-level dressage. While bred as war horses centuries ago, the Oldenburg gained popularity in later years as an elegant riding and carriage horse.
Oldenburgs are typically from elite bloodlines, and you should expect to pay at least $10,000 to $15,000 if you are interested in this breed. Top competitors, however, will cost upwards of $150,000 or more.
The Akhal-Teke is a rare breed that dominates in endurance sports. Akhal-Teke horses are known for their speed and agility, making them great competitors in endurance racing, show jumping, and eventing, as well as for dressage and pleasure riding.
Because the Akhal-Teke is more difficult to find, you should expect to pay at least $10,000 for a horse of this breed in the United States, or $40,000+ for a top competitor. Interestingly, the Akhal-Teke is even more expensive outside of the US, fetching prices of up to $100,000 globally.
The Trakehner is a true jack of all trades, bred for its strong, muscular build and bold personality. Trakehners are used for fox hunting, driving, racing, show jumping, dressage, and eventing. They were also once used as cavalry mounts.
Trakehners are not very common, and if you are looking for this breed, expect to pay at least $5,000 to $7,500. If looking for a well-trained show horse, raise that budget to at least $20,000. In 2018, Trakehner stallion Kattenau sold for $314,000.
The American Standardbred is a horse that was developed in the United States in the 19th century. These horses were bred to harness race, and they dominate in this sport. While you can purchase an American Standardbred for as little as a few thousand dollars, you will spend much more than that for a racing prospect. In 2019, Maverick, an American Standardbred colt, broke records by selling for $1.1 million without ever having competed. On this same night, the American Standardbred Damien sold for $1 million.
While most of us think of Thoroughbreds when we imagine racehorses, harness racing is more popular a sport than mounted racing in all locales except the UK. Harness racing may not garner as much attention as mounted racing due to the speed at which mounted racehorses gallop, while harness racehorses race at either a trot or pace.
Arabians are a relatively common breed, and you can likely purchase one for as little as $1,000 to $3,000. Arabians with remarkable bloodlines, however, can sell for up to $150,000. The most expensive Arabian on record, Pepita, sold for just under $2 million in 2015.
Arabians are athletic and graceful, known for their stamina and their ability to excel in a number of disciplines. Arabians can dominate in dressage, cutting, polo, endurance racing, and more.
American Quarter Horse
Quarter Horses are known for their athletic prowess and stocky build – allowing them to excel at sports like cutting, reining, barrel racing, and roping. The American Quarter Horse is truly the horse of the West.
The Quarter Horse is the most populous horse breed in the United States. Because it is so popular and widely available, you can purchase a Quarter Horse for pleasure riding for as little as $3,000 to $5,000. For a well-bred competition horse, you should expect to pay quite a bit more – at least $20,000.
The most expensive American Quarter Horse sold on record was Moonin The Eagle, which sold for $2.1 million in 2018. Sadly, Moonin The Eagle died just three years later at the young age of 9, having been euthanized for undisclosed reasons.
Hanoverians are large, adaptable horses. They have been bred for hunting, dressage, and show jumping, but are just as happy when used for leisure and trail riding.
If looking for a trail partner, you can expect to pay at least $5,000 for a Hanoverian. If looking for a Hanoverian to bring into the show ring, however, expect to pay closer to $15,000 or more.
The most expensive Hanoverian on record, named Dante, sold for $3.25 million in 2014.
Dutch Warmbloods are big, athletic horses known for their prowess in jumping and dressage. You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 on your “average” Dutch Warmblood, with the price of showing prospects increasing into millions of dollars.
Arguably the greatest champion in dressage history, Totilas, a Dutch Warmblood, sold for $12 million in 2010.
The Selle Francais is a relatively new breed, originating from France. This horse is extremely athletic and while used mostly for show jumping, is also known to excel at dressage, driving, and competitive trail riding.
If you would like to purchase a Selle Francais, expect to pay at least $15,000, with show prospects selling in the millions. The most expensive Selle Francais on record, Palloubet d’Halong, sold for $15 million in 2013. This makes Palloubet d’Halong the most expensive show jumping horse on record.
The Thoroughbred is one of the most populous horse breeds in the world, and can also be the most expensive. While you can purchase an off-the-track Thoroughbred (called an OTTB) for as little as a few thousand dollars, you can expect to pay $100,000 or more for a Thoroughbred with good bloodlines and a promising racing career ahead.
The most expensive horse in history, Fusaichi Pegasus, was sold for $70 million in 2001. Fusaichi Pegasus was the Kentucky Derby the year prior. While Fusaichi Pegasus’s career was a short one, he was valued at such a high price because of his potential to sire exceptional offspring.
If you’re interested in getting an off-the-track Thoroughbred, check out my article Should I Get An Off-The-Track-Thoroughbred? Read Before Buying.
Great Bloodlines Come At A Great Cost
While there is no such thing as a “cheap” horse, especially when considering maintenance costs, there is definitely a wide range of purchase prices out there depending on the breed you are looking for and the prospects you are willing to pay for. If you are looking for a horse to show, you will understandably have to spend more money than if you are looking for a pasture pet.
With over 400 existing horse breeds, there are so many interesting horses throughout the world! To learn more about unique horses, visit my article Fantastic Horse Breeds and Where to Find Them.
P.S. Save this to your “Amazing Horses” board!
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.