The equestrian industry is a multi-billion dollar market, and it continues to excite and inspire many generations to get involved, whether it's owning a dressage horse or starting up a riding school.
Just like those champions of soccer and basketball who switch clubs for incredibly high sums of money, many horses have been sold to other trainers to help them progress in their school or simply to enjoy for their own benefit.
What are some of the most expensive horses that have been sold in the world thus far? Which breeds tend to be the most expensive?
In this guide, we'll look at ways the price can be affected when it comes to the sale of a horse, as well as some of the most expensive horse breeds and racehorses to be sold in history.
Factors That Affect the Price of Horses
When it comes to some of the most expensive horses, what are the main factors that tend to influence the price? Some of the most expensive dressage horse breeds will often have a higher price due to their performance in competitions. That alone is not the only variable that ends up influencing their cost, other important factors include:
- Bloodline - The genetic history of horses can determine their value. Some champion horses will often pass on their winning genes to their offspring, meaning they have a higher chance of achieving more success during their career. A champion horse being sold will often be more expensive.
- Location - The location of the horse is an important one because there may be certain breeders deemed more reputable and known for their experience in breeding pedigree horses. If the horse needs to be shipped, this can also add to the price you pay in total.
- Experience - The age and experience the breed has had in its lifetime so far can influence the price. If it's had a successful career and a great track record of wins, then the horse may go for a lot more money as a result. Age can be a big one because just like professionals in the sports world, everything has an expiry date.
- Training - The genetic makeup of the horse is not the only thing that can influence its price but the training it receives too. With some horses getting better training than others, this can affect the price positively.
- Physical features - If a horse looks more unique in its appearance, this can often be an attractive selling point for those looking to buy them. Certain breeds fair more favourably when it comes to their looks, making them more expensive.
So whilst one horse might have good genes from their bloodline, its price could be impacted by a lack of training or experience on the track or showground.
7 Most Expensive Horse Breeds in the World
To date, there are over 350 different breeds of horses and ponies. Whittling them down to the most expensive horses in the world is certainly challenging, but we've listed several of the most expensive horse breeds that you'll ever come across.
Thoroughbreds are likely the most expensive when it comes to their price tag because they're purebred and of high pedigree. This English breed is known for its speed and is mainly used in horse racing.
One of the most expensive horses ever sold was a Thoroughbred named Fusaichi Pegasus. Whilst his stud fee decreased in price, he remains one of the most expensive horses in history. Typically, an off-the-track Thoroughbred would cost around $30,000 to purchase nowadays.
From Friesian breeding, the Oldenburg is considered one of the old boys when it comes to horse breeding. The name itself comes from Count von Oldenburg. He was a very prominent member of the House of Oldenburg back in the 16th century.
Known by many for breeding horses and gifting them as war animals, he enjoyed the Oldenburg breed because of their sophisticated temperament and strong stature. Oldenburg would typically use his own horses for riding or carriage drawing.
Depending on their bloodline and training, you can expect an Oldenburg to cost around $4,000 all the way up to an eye-watering $100,000.
The Dutch Warmblood is a horse that follows closely behind the Thoroughbreds when it comes to racing horses. These animals are also highly rated within dressage, as well as for jumping or simply riding for pleasure.
The species is available in abundance due to its high rate of breeding and cross-breeding. They are great for human companionship and easy when it comes to training. Training and age can often influence the price of these warmbloods and therefore vary between $4,000 and $25,000.
The Andalusian has an interesting background and history. A beautiful animal in appearance, this horse was bred initially for the purpose of battle. Nowadays, it's one that specializes in dressage, jumping, and trail riding.
It's known for having some of the most interesting features in terms of its mane, colouring, and temperament. Those that purchase these animals would typically do so for a relaxed lifestyle or to use them in a beauty competition, thanks to their beautiful appearance.
Depending on their training, you can often find an Andalusian to cost anywhere from $3,000 up to $50,000.
Another deserving horse breed that can cost you a small fortune is the Arabian. With classic features that look majestic in appearance, they are a pretty popular breed in North America. They can also adapt well to long-distance racing due to their naturally higher endurance ability.
The Arabian horse can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $100,000, depending on its bloodline.
As one of the rarest horses, the Akhal Teke is the national horse of Turkmenistan and is seen by the people of this country to be a heavenly horse. So much so that the Akhal Teke appears on the country's coat of arms, as well as their currency.
When you see the Akhal Teke in the flesh, you certainly notice its unique appearance. The golden-coloured horses with light-coloured eyes make for a sought-after animal by many.
Bred to be elite in stamina, they're a natural for racing but can also be used within dressage due to their good looks.
The price is impacted by their rarity, with only a global population of around 8,000. A purebred Akhal Teke will set you back by around $100,000.
The Hanoverian is a warm-blooded breed from Germany. Used originally for war, they are linked to Thoroughbreds which also makes them great for show jumping.
With one of the best-kept records for bloodline and lineage, they are a wonderful horse breed that many will pay between $7,000 up to $100,000 for. Their price is often influenced by their experience in shows and their lineage.
8 Most Expensive Racehorses and Showhorses In The World
For those most interested in racehorses, there have been some mammoth sales that have led to a record-breaking price or two. From Thoroughbreds to Irish Sport horses, here are eight of the most expensive racehorses and showhorses in the world:
Fusaichi Pegasus - $60-70 million
As a racing thoroughbred, Fusaichi Pegasus remains perhaps the most expensive horse ever sold. At 60-70 million dollars, purchased back in 2000, he had an impressive racing record that certainly bumped up his worth over time.
Not only did he win the Kentucky Derby in 2000, but his offspring would also go on to win another seventy-five stake races. His breeding services also heavily influenced his worth to buyers.
Shareef Dancer - $40 million
An American-bred and British-trained horse, Shareef Dancer remains one of the top sales for horses despite his modest performance in racing.
However, it's his performance in breeding that became more worthwhile to Emir of Dubai who made the purchase back in 1983. A hefty $40 million, to be exact.
Justify- $60 million
Thoroughbred Justify is considered one of the most expensive racehorses to ever grace the racing world. He began his racing career back when he was just three years old and became an undefeated winner of the Triple Crown; the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, and the Preakness Stakes.
His breeding rights were sold to Coolmore for $60 million, and this was combined with his winnings of $15 million. With a total value of $75 million, Justify is one of the most expensive horses in the world.
The Green Monkey - $16 million
A Thoroughbred racehorse that was perhaps the biggest waste to investors when it comes to expensive racehorses, The Green Monkey was initially sold for $16 million. Despite being descended from the famous Northern Dancer, he failed to make much prize money during his racing career.
His eventual downfall was the laminitis that he developed, causing inflammation and extreme pain to the hoof, which then led to being euthanized.
Annihilator - $19 million
Considered to be another costly disappointment, Annihilator was bought for $19 million but only won around $3,000. Since then, there have been no reports of success from his offspring, which is likely an indication that they too didn't make back much of the $19 million spent!
Palloubet D'Halong - $15 million
A 10-year-old Selle Francais, Jan Tops was responsible for spending $15 million on the specialized jumping horse. Tops is part of an international riding school and competitive showjumping team owner.
Palloubet D'Halong went on to compete in four Olympics and won gold in the team jumping event in 1992.
MHS Going Global - $13.5 million
Athina Onassis purchased the 10-year-old Irish Sports Horse, and he competed in ten international teams. Onassis, a well-known showjumper and Greek heiress, would go on to be a good team together with MHS Going Global.
After being purchased for $13.5 million, they've since performed together in a number of shows.
Snaafi Dancer – $10.2 million
As a Thoroughbred racehorse, it made history as one of the first yearlings to sell for over $10 million. Whilst he never raced, he instead retired and became a stud. However, that also didn't go as planned, as he was discovered to be quite infertile, and the four foals he eventually sired ended up having limited racing careers.
Why Pay More For Rare Horse Breeds?
For most, personal riding may not warrant splurging so much. But for those wanting to use the horse for a competition such as horse racing or dressage, spending that much more is likely a worthwhile investment. Not just for the current horse you're buying but for any offspring that they may have in the future.
With an industry that's worth billions, owning some of the most expensive horses in the world is a great way to spend your money for the benefit of investment. For others, it's just a great way to enjoy one's passion!