Most Expensive Horses in The World

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: December 14, 2021
Image Credit horsemen/Shutterstock.com
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The horse has been a majestic companion of humankind for as long as civilization needed to get from point A to B. Despite all the advancements in transportation, that relationship is as strong as ever. Many owners will happily tell you the joy of riding is immeasurable!

However, the privilege of having a horse is a challenging one. First off, they can be relatively expensive. Everything from age, breed, and performance levels impact the cost. Racehorses snatch higher prices because of their potential future earnings.

The benefits of owning a horse mean a more active social life, developing a positive sense of sportsmanship, physical activity out in the open, and an enhanced sense of commitment and responsibility. Not to mention the improvement of mental health as the interaction decreases stress, reducing the growth of stress-related hormones and blood pressure levels.

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There are over seven million horse owners in this country and we’re pretty sure they’d attest to how much fun they’re having. Yes, the venture can be cost-prohibitive, but the rewards far outdistance that obstacle.

We’ll say if you are thinking about getting a horse, you need to go in with an understanding of how to prepare financially. Read on to discover what are the most expensive horses in the world and the most expensive racehorses of all time. We’ll discuss price, stud fees, and critical factors in deciding, like breeds.

Factors That Affect the Price

A variety of factors impact the cost of a horse. They include but are not limited to:

  • Breed / Breeding / Breeder
  • Age
  • Performance
  • Experience
  • Parentage
  • Reputation
  • Region
  • Earning potential

What specifically affects the price is going to be the horse’s pedigree. Price is also bound to see an impact based on buying a horse outright or attending a private sale or auction. Research is crucial. You want to understand why an Arabian horse is going to cost you more than a Quarter horse.

8 Most Expensive Horses in the World

Before you hit the market, let’s look at expensive horse breeds and how their value’s determined.

#8 Oldenburg

Most expensive horses - Oldenburg
Oldenburgers are tall sport horses with excellent gaits and jumping ability.

Alexia Khruscheva/Shutterstock.com

The Oldenburg has Friesian breeding. Its name comes from Count von Oldenburg, a prominent member of the House of Oldenburg in the 16th century. He bred these horses and gifted them as war animals. He loved their sophistication and stature and used the Oldenburg for carriage and pleasure riding.

The estimated price of the Oldenburg is between $4,000 and $100,000.

#7 Friesian

Most Expensive Horses - Friesian
Friesians are described as being mischievous, loving, and playful. Horse lovers often describe them as being majestic with a commanding presence.

Makarova Viktoria/Shutterstock.com

The Friesian horse has a striking mane and black coat with a gait of elegance. Borne out of the Netherlands, the Fresian is on the list of Europe’s oldest horses. Calm and friendly, they deserve small farm life. Considered to have high-end and invaluable qualities, breeders happily pay top stud fees.

The average Friesian price is around $5,000. A quality pedigree can go as high as $100,000 and beyond. Check out more on the Fresian here.

#6 Andalusian

Most Expensive Horses - Andalusian
Over its centuries of development, the Andalusian breed has been selected for athleticism and stamina.

pirita/Shutterstock.com

The Andalusian is a beautiful animal initially bred for battle. Today, it specializes in dressage, trail riding, and jumping. The horse is high-energy, peaceful, and deserves a calm life on farmland with stables. There are somewhere in the vicinity of 200,000 Andalusians, numbers not considered high.

Most Andalusians fetch a price of $3,000. A high-end breed trained and imported will push the price from $15,000 to $50,000.

#5 Selle Francais

Most Expensive Horses - Selle Francais
The Selle Français, developed out of the combination of several very different breeds, which lends it a hardiness and well-rounded athleticism prized by owners.

Jean / Creative Commons – License

A crossbreed of the Warmblood, the Selle Francais is a highly-respected Olympic showjumper. Originally bred in France, the Selle Francais has numbers in the United Kingdom and the States. These are stable-bound horses and appreciate human companionship. The animal is gentle and friendly, making it an excellent starter horse.

You can find a Selle Francais for as low as $2,000 and up to $40,000.

#4 Akhal Teke

Most Expensive Horses - Akhal Teke
The Akhal Teke has been renowned as cavalry mounts and racehorses for some 3,000 years.

SunnyMoon/Shutterstock.com

The Akhal Teke is rare. The national horse of Turkmenistan, where they refer to it as “heavenly horse,” the Akhal Teke image is on stamps, banknotes, and coats of arms. Bred for stamina and athleticism, the horse was originally used in raids and combat. A reason for the expense is the breed’s numbers are low with a global populace of 8,000.

A purebred Akhal Teke will cost up to $100,000.

#3 Dutch Warmblood

Most Expensive Horses - Dutch Warmblood
Warmblood horses are utilitarian, athletic, and true performers – they excel in equestrian sports such as dressage, showjumping, three-day-eventing, and combined driving.

Zuzule/Shutterstock.com

A noted competition animal, the Warmblood comes second to Thoroughbreds in racehorses. The animal’s highly rated for jumping, pleasure riding, and dressage. The species has large numbers thanks to breeding and cross-breeding. They take easily to human companionship as the creatures spend a lot of time training.

Training and age play a big part in the price. That’s why the Warmblood’s available at $4,000–$25,000.

#2 Arabian Horse

Most Expensive Horses - Arabian Horse
Arabian horses are one of the oldest breeds that are known. It is often considered to be the first domesticated breed of horse and is recognized as being over 5,000 years old.

Olga_i/Shutterstock.com

The Arabian horse has classic features and great power. Endurance and speed make them expensive, but well-heeled buyers come for the majesty. You’ll find over one million breeds in over 60 countries with common species in Canada, the United States, and Qatar. The animal adapts quickly to long-distance activities.

With the Arabian horse, breeds affect the price. Some breeds or crosses go for $2,000 or less. A top-of-the-line animal may challenge you at $100,000.

#1 Thoroughbred

Most Expensive Horses - Thoroughbred
These horses can reach speeds of around 40 miles per hour. Their back legs are particularly long, which amplifies thrust as they gallop.

Anaite/Shutterstock.com

Whether you race it or not, you pay for the privilege to call a Thoroughbred your own. One of the most expensive animals ever sold was a Thoroughbred (more on Fusaichi Pegasus later). As a racer, this horse has a short career span so, if we exclude stud fees, you invest in a Thoroughbred in its prime.

For companionship, get an off-the-track Thoroughbred for around $30,000 or less.

8 Most Expensive Racehorses in History

Expensive racehorses become valued based on the kind of money they’re likely to earn in the future. Once retired, investors and breeders happily pay deep stud fees hoping to birth the next champion.

These animals are more investment than companions and, unless retired, are for big investors only.

To get a better idea of what kind of moola gets thrown around, check out these top-selling racehorses in the history of the sport.

# 8 Meydan City ($11.7 million)

Not surprisingly, the first to hit the list is a Thoroughbred. It commanded that more than $11 million price tag as a yearling. In its first race, the animal took third and won second in its next race. After his career, he did go on to earn substantial stud fees.

# 7 Seattle Dancer ($13.1 million)

Seattle Dancer became the highest-priced public auction sold yearling in 1985. He only raced five times and took first in two of the competitions. A popular stud, he sired almost 40 stakes race winners.

# 6 Moorland’s Totilas ($15 million)

Moorland’s Totilas (or Toto) is a Dutch Warmblood and the only dressage horse on the list. Besides being a winner on the track, they list the horse as the best dressage horse in history. Toto was the first horse to get dressage scores above 90.

# 5 Palloubet D’Halong ($15 million)

Palloubet D’Halong is the sole showjumper that lands on a list of history’s most expensive horses. The Selle Francaise was a 10-year-old gelding when he sold for the then record-breaking price.

# 4 The Green Monkey ($16 million)

Unfortunately, the Green Monkey was a grave disappointment for investors and the sport. Despite capturing that exorbitant price, the Thoroughbred ended up returning less than $11,000. He’s still called the biggest waste of money on a horse ever.

# 3 Annihilator ($19 million)

Another great disappointment, Annihilator (reportedly) came in at $19 million and only won about $3,000 in purses. There are no reports on his offspring. So either there is none of their careers didn’t impress.

# 2 Shareef Dancer ($40 million)

American bred and British trained, Shareef Dancer had five starts. He failed to place in his fifth race. He pushed to second in one and, in three of the races, finished first. He was sired by Northern Dancer.

# 1 Fusaichi Pegasus ($70 million)

Fusaichi Pegasus brought home almost $2 million. The Thoroughbred expensive racehorse won 2000’s Kentucky Derby. After retirement, he sired over 75 global stakes winners. Still, Fusaichi Pegasus remains labeled a disappointment considering the initial investment.

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

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