The Highs and Lows of Working with Expensive Horse Breeds

October 11, 2022 4 min read

The Highs and Lows of Working with Expensive Horse Breeds

Expensive horse breeds are often treated like the Holy Grail among horse people: it’s a lifelong dream to own one, no matter how hard we have to work towards it. Our love of horses gives us the urge to not only meet one of these majestic creatures, but to also have the privilege of caring for them. Thing is, working with one of these rare horses isn’t as simple as “owning the horse of my dreams”; there are a lot of highs and lows when it comes to being the owner of an expensive steed.

In fact, many of the people riding horses whose values run into the high thousands—sometimes even millions—will tell you that owning an expensive horse can be an incredibly complicated situation, especially at the beginning. There are some complexities involved that don’t come with average horses, and it can give you a lot to think about. All of them agree, however, that it’s always worth any trouble that comes along. 

In this article, you’ll read about the different highs and lows of owning an expensive horse breed, including:

If you’re thinking about getting an expensive horse to call your very own, make sure you keep all these in mind while making your decision.

 

HIGH – They’re worth it

There are few thrills greater than having the horse of your dreams in your very own stable. Expensive horse breeds cost a hefty sum of money because of their rarity and performance ability—even more so if they’ve got a good pedigree. 

The Thoroughbred, for example, is one of the priciest breeds available because they were bred specifically for racing; in fact, they’re considered the fastest horse breed by many experts. They’re also bred under strict guidelines to ensure the strength of their genetic stock, as well as to limit the global population of Thoroughbreds. The steep price tag on these horses comes from that combination of high demand and low supply, plus the costs that come with breeding them in the first place.

Owning one, however, is an absolute delight. You can feel the power behind every step they take, and their majestic stance makes them pretty easy on the eyes, too. Getting to work with expensive horses like Thoroughbreds feels more like a privilege than a duty. After all, it’s always special to know you can actually say, “I’m riding the horse of my dreams,” and mean it.

 

LOW – Some of them come with a HUGE responsibility 

Because they demand such high prices, working with the most expensive horse breeds might feel a little intimidating. A lot of money was put into acquiring the horse, and you don’t want to let that investment go to waste by making mistakes with their care. 

At the same time, some of these horse breeds are rare because they actually belong to endangered species. The Sorraia Horse, for instance, is estimated to have a global population of just 200 individuals. They’re only occasionally sold by private breeders in Portugal and, even then, it’s usually just a handful of stallions being sold; the mares generally aren’t traded because they’re too crucial to the survival of the species.

If you really want to own a rare horse with a vulnerable population, you need to do the legwork of sourcing one from an ethical breeder. Your purchase will usually go towards the preservation of these rare breeds, and so it also becomes your responsibility to give your horse the very best care possible.


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You could say that Thoroughbreds really do take after their name, being thoroughly bred!

 

HIGH – You get more people to learn about these wonderful breeds

One of the biggest reasons why people pay a fortune for expensive breeds is their wow factor—these horses simply stand out from the rest of the herd. Few people in the United States have ever seen a rare Shire Horse in person, and their massive size is bound to make jaws drop.

One fantastic side effect of all this is that it gets people to learn more about these rare, sometimes endangered breeds. Not only do you get to inspire someone’s love of horses all over again, but you also get to expand their world through these uncommon breeds.

At the same time, you also get to be an ambassador for their preservation. The Shire Horse, for example, almost went extinct during the Industrial Revolution, and it was only because there was enough public interest in the 1970s that they continue to exist today. The more we learn about a breed’s history, the more we understand why we need to make sure future generations of horse people get to meet them in person.

It’s important to keep these things in mind if you’re considering buying a rare horse. They’re rare for very serious reasons, and they’re expensive because of the delicate situation many of them come from. Buying a real horse should be a commitment, and not something you do on a whim. Remember that owning one is a promise to be part of the solution that keeps them around.

 

LOW – Settling them in can take a while

Many of these expensive horse breeds are shipped in from overseas, and just like people, some of them need time to adjust to their new environments. This isn’t simply a matter of getting used to the scenery, either—they need to adjust to a whole new world of bacteria and weather conditions.

Their digestive systems, for example, have evolved to resist the bacteria in their homelands. In some cases, this means that they haven’t developed a resistance to the bacteria in your hometown. The food and water you give them might result in some digestive issues as their tummies work on getting used to all the changes.

Some horses might also be more used to different climates. Cold-weather breeds, for example, might need extra cooling during the summer, whereas warm-weather breeds might need shelters that provide more efficient heat retention during winter. These adjustments could range anywhere from finding horse feed with higher moisture content, to making some modifications to your ranch that accommodate your new horse’s needs.


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The endangered Sorraia horse is known for having a convex profile and a dun coat with primitive markings.

 

HIGH – They can be amazing companions

Outside of their appearance and performance ability, another factor that adds to a rare horse breed’s value is their temperament. Many horse people invest in expensive breeds not because they want to win races or excel in dressage, but because they are wonderful companions for someone with a love of horses.

One great example is the Andalusian Horse, which many regard to be the perfect horse for beginners despite their price tag. They were bred as war horses and as riding horses, making them both exceedingly brave and remarkably intelligent. Their calm demeanor makes them easy to approach, while their natural smarts make them a breeze to train. Combine this with their eagerness to please, and it’s no wonder why the Andalusian is a great horse to grow old with.

If you take the time to form a strong bond with a rare horse, you’ll find that investing in them is worth every penny—whether or not you choose to join competitions. They, like every real horse, are loyal creatures who deserve every bit of love we can give them.

 

LOW – There’s a learning curve

While any horse can become a good companion with the right leadership, some breeds have a steeper learning curve than others. Rare breeds naturally have fewer trainers experienced with them, which means that their temperaments might not be something you’re entirely used to, yet.

The Akhal-Teke, for instance, is widely regarded to be a one-person horse, meaning that they tend to be loyal to just one rider. There have been cases where an Akhal-Teke has actually refused to let anyone but their owners ride them. It’s believed that they developed this temperament because they were originally bred for raiding, which required them to be fiercely loyal to their riders. 


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The Akhal-Teke are known for their endurance, speed, intelligence, and their metallic golden sheen.

At the end of the day, we form relationships with each of our horses, and it’s up to us to make sure that these bonds are fulfilling for both sides. It might take a little extra work to understand the psychology of some expensive horse breeds, but it’s always worth it. There’s nothing more rewarding than winning the friendship of a real horse that makes you feel extra-special just for knowing it.

Working with expensive horse breeds can be a roller coaster of emotion, but it’s exactly that same thrill that makes us want to start this ride in the first place. As horse people, we understand that every horse comes with a set of responsibilities, and that’s all part of the package of owning a real horse.

Knowing that you’re giving your horse the best life possible is its own reward, and for some of us, that feeling is deeper when we’re caring for a rare horse. After all, their health and safety are in our hands, and having a rare horse thrive under our care just means that we’re doing a good job at expressing our love of horses. If you want to help give your horse the best life you can, feel free to go through our collection of expertly designed saddle pads and bit accessories.

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