Putting the best hoof forward
For some people, horses are far more than just pets – they can be highly valuable, with price tags in excess of tens of thousands of pounds
If you’ve got any kind of furry companion in your household, you’ll know that purebred animals don’t come cheap. Horses, however, can take this to a whole new level: the equestrian industry is a very valuable one, and regardless of whether you’re looking for the next Grand National winner or a child’s pony, you should expect a price tag that goes into the four-figure region and beyond.
Choosing the right animal is vital, but it’s equally important for sellers to find the ideal home for their horse too. Fortunately, there are plenty of professionals and websites to help, such as Right Horse Right Home. ‘Right Horse Right Home, through the questions it asks, both of buyers and sellers, helps to provide a more robust framework where both parties are much more accountable for the information they provide,’ explains chief executive Rebecca Evans. ‘What job the horse can do will ultimately dictate its price. Age also plays a part, as do other factors, such as how long the horse has been with its current owner.’
A horse’s breed will also dictate its value, with ‘well-bred’ horses typically costing more, and its conformation will have an influence too. Prices for horses can vary drastically and there’s no such thing as a typical price to pay, but if one seems ‘cheap’, it’s important to ask why – it may well be due to factors like a highly-strung temperament, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t give it the perfect home if you’ve got the right experience.
If you’re looking for a skilled competition horse, prices will quickly soar to hundreds of thousands of pounds due to the prospect of coveted titles on offer. However, if you’re thinking of buying a horse as a financial investment, Rebecca recommends proceeding with caution. ‘So many things can go wrong with horses that are outside of our control, such as injuries and illness,’ she warns.
The world of horse racing, though, is a different story altogether. It is hugely lucrative, with top racehorse trainers, owners and jockeys competing for staggering prize money. ‘To put it in perspective, the European thoroughbred sector has an annual economic impact of almost £11 billion and directly employs 155,000 people in a variety of roles,’ explains Joe Callan, who is nominations manager at the world-famous National Stud in Newmarket. The racehorses themselves can be worth millions, such as Fusaichi Pegasus, who is thought to have sold for between $60 and $70 million in 2000. You can also pay to breed a foal through putting a mare with a stallion at a stud, which involves a so-called ‘stud fee’. This varies between stallions and is dependent on a number of factors; the National Stud currently has various exciting, top-class stallions, with stud fees ranging from £4,500 to £25,000.
Horses can be incredibly valuable, and if you’re looking to get to the very top level of the sport, you’ll need a substantial budget at your disposal. Ultimately, though, the horse’s welfare is paramount and it’s crucial to make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. As Joe says: ‘It’s for the love of the horses and the sport.’