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7 Most Expensive Horse Breeds in 2021 (with Pictures)

Oliver Jones

Since the beginning of civilization, these majestic creatures have been man’s companions, and this relationship continues to thrive even today. Commonly associated with the affluent lifestyle, purchasing and taking care of a horse will cost you an arm and a leg.

However, owning a horse is expensive. Factors such as the breed, age, performance level, and capability influence the horse’s price. Thus, racehorses fetch a higher price due to the potential earnings they may earn in the future. With some breeds going for millions of dollars, prices vary even within the same breed.

Before you go shopping for your next horse, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most expensive horse breeds and what determines their value.

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7 Most Expensive Horse Breeds in 2021

1. Thoroughbred

Thoroughbred Horse
Image Credit: alessandro ceccucci, Pixabay

Purely bred for racing, this “hot-blooded” breed is well known for its speed and agility. Some of the most expensive horses sold are Thoroughbreds.

The most expensive horse of all time, a Thoroughbred – Fusaichi Pegasus, sold at a whopping $70 million. Another famous one, the retired British champion – Frankel, was once valued at over $100 million.

A good race track record or promising potential of a horse attracts buyers from all over the world who put in thousands of dollars and even millions for a good horse.

The racing career of a Thoroughbred is often short hence the need to invest in one during its prime years. It will cost you a lot of dollars to not only buy but maintain this breed. Several maintenance costs are involved, such as trainer fees, cleaners, food, stables, and transportation.

If you can’t afford to buy one of these, don’t fret, you can easily get an OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) at $30,000 or less. These are the types of horses that have either retired or never ran. Once a Thoroughbred retires from racing, you can still use it for dressage and jumping rings.

Population

Originally from the UK, this breed is the most popular globally. The population is estimated at around 500,000. Due to their stamina and agility in the multi-billion race business, rampant inbreeding increases the risk of genetic diversity loss due to rampant inbreeding.

Habitat

Thoroughbred is a perfect backyard animal and mostly lives in human-related habitats such as pastures and farmlands.


2. Arabian

Arabian horse
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

As an exotic breed, the Arabian breed is one rare horse. Originally from the Arabian Peninsula, it’s known for its power and distinct facial structure. Their speed and endurance make them perfect for equestrian sports.

Apart from being one of the world’s oldest horses, its elegance attracts well-heeled buyers. Combining all these features makes it a popular choice for breeding other varieties, significantly increasing its value in the horse market.

Arabian horses can fetch up to $100,000 above for a well-trained horse or a good broodmare. However, you can still get some Arabian breeds or crosses at $1000 – $2000. One of the most expensive horses sold under this breed – Pepita, went for just under $2 million at the Pride of Poland Arabian Horse auction in 2015.

Population

There are over 1 million Arabian horse breeds in over 60 countries globally. Originating in the Arabian Peninsula, the breed is common in the United States, Canada, and Qatar.

Habitat

Well-known for its hardiness, the Arabian horse is already used to desert conditions. This horse adapts well in long-distance activities and works well with a human companion.


3. Dutch Warmbloods

Dutch Warmblood horse
Image Credit: Remy Overkempe, Wikimedia Commons

Originally from The Netherlands, this breed is rated as an exceptional competition horse. The Dutch Warmblood is rated as one of the most expensive varieties coming second to the Thoroughbred in the racehorse breeds. It excels in activities such as dressage, pleasure riding, and jumping.

The most famous Dutch Warmblood – Totilas was revered as one of the most formidable dressage horses ever. It was once sold at $13 million due to its stellar competition exploits. Depending on the horse’s training level and age, you can get one at a cheaper price ranging from $4,000–$25,000.

Population

The Warmbloods are large in numbers globally due to the combined breeding. Over the years, the crossbreeds keep growing. Currently, the population is estimated at around 840,000.

Habitat

This breed is primarily kept for competition activities and dressage. Therefore, they enjoy human companionship as they have to be trained. You will find Warmbloods in European nations such as Belgium and The Netherlands.


4. Akhal Teke

Akhal Teke horse
Image Credit: Ulruppelt, Wikimedia Commons

The national horse of Turkmenistan, the Akhal Teke, is one of the world’s rarest breeds. Often referred to as “heavenly horses,” their images are imprinted on the banknotes, stamps, and even the coat of arms. It’s most known for its beautiful coating with a shiny metallic sheen, making it distinctive.

The tribesmen rared this breed for their athleticism and stamina, which was essential for their raids. In today’s world, they are used for long-distance running, showjumping, and dressage.

If you were to purchase this breed, the cost would depend on the level of training and breeding. For a pure breed Akhal Teke horse, the price may go up to $100,000. The rarity of this breed makes it very expensive.

Population

The numbers of Akhal Teke are pretty low, fewer than 8,000 pure breeds worldwide. Most of these horses are found in countries such as Russia and Turkmenistan. However, there is quite a number of them in North America.

Habitat

Akhal Teke originated in a desert area where they survived with little water and food. They are well adapted to living under extreme hot or cold conditions. They live in areas where they can feed on hay and grass.


5. Selle Francais

Selle Francais horse
Image Credit: Karlyne, Wikimedia Commons

The Selle Francais is a crossbreed warmblood horse. Originally from France, they are ranked highly in showjumping competitions, making them expensive. The most expensive Selle Francais breed known as the Palloubet d’Halong was sold for nearly $15 million.

However, if you are looking for a cheaper option, you can still get a well-trained horse within a range of $2,000 – $40,000.

By breeding other stoic varieties such as the Thoroughbred, this breed has evolved to be a very athletic horse. It continues to excel in Olympics jumping arenas.

Population

Initially bred in France, this breed has been exported to other regions such as the UK and the US. Their numbers are about 60,000 in different nations.

Habitat

This breed is very gentle and friendly and very intelligent. As a result, they are suitable for beginners. The need for a human companion, especially for training, means that they should be kept in stables. They also need proper care to prepare them for jumping competitions and protect them from injuries.


6. Andalusian

Andalusian Horse
Image Credit: EvitaS, Pixabay

This Iberian Peninsula breed is a unique horse variety originally from Spain. Initially bred for wars and the battlefield, the breed has now evolved and is used for trail riding, dressage, and jumping.

Andalusian is well known for its elegant mane and high energy. They display athleticism, stamina making them an excellent choice for long-distance running events.

Andalusian crosses can fetch up to $3,000. But if you plan to get a high-end breed imported from Spain, the cost can range from $15,000 – $50,000.

Population

Starting from Spain, this breed has grown globally. However, the numbers are still not so high and are estimated at approximately 200,000 worldwide.

Habitat

Andalusian is a hardy breed since it played a significant role in Spanish war history. You can keep them in your farmland stables due to their calmness. They also survive well with human companions as they get ready for competing events.


7. Friesian

Friesian Horse
Image Credit: Larissa Allen, Wikimedia Commons

A reliable Friesian bloodline horse can fetch up to $100,000 and above. These are considered top-quality and invaluable studs. The starting price for this breed is approximately $5,000. Originating in the Netherlands, it’s one of Europe’s oldest horses.

Physically, the Friesian has a long flowing mane, black coat, and an elegant gait that makes it very appealing to any horse lover. These characteristics make this breed a favorite for dressage and circus shows.

Maintenance of this breed is also costly. This is because they are susceptible to genetic diseases which are expensive to treat. Therefore, if this is your breed of choice, plan your finances well.

Population

The Friesian has been in existence for around 500 years. Although there are more common in the Netherlands, they are spread globally, with about 8,000 horses registered in the US.

Habitat

In terms of temperament, they are calm and friendly. They are popular for entertainment purposes and are kept on small farms.

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Summary

Horses are an expensive affair. The cost of owning one varies widely depending on the breed, length of training, and age. Racehorses go for premium prices and need more investment. Before selecting the breed to buy, it’s best to ensure that the money is worth it.

It’s also essential to note that expensive costs do not necessarily translate to good results for competition horses. Therefore, analyze all your risks before making a splurge to get one of these high-end horse breeds.

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Featured Image: Makarova Viktoria, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.