Owning a horse for the first time is truly exciting and for many people, like our in-house horse insurance experts, it will be the beginning of an experience that will last many years. It is often true that the initial purchase price of a horse will be far out-shadowed by the day in, day out costs of looking after him and keeping him fit and healthy, but the purchase price is likely to be a significant sum of money for the new owner.

If you are taking a first foray into the idea of buying a horse, it can often be difficult to make sense of how much the horse will cost to buy. Online and magazine advertisements regularly have pages and pages of horses for sale, with prices ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds.

Factors such as the horse’s age, experience, breed and soundness will all play a big part in how much he costs.

How will a horse’s age affect his cost? A horse reaches his prime of life between the ages of around 7 – 10. This is likely to be the age-range at which he will reach his peak value. A horse that is under 7-years-old will often be seen as possibly being a bit ‘green’, or inexperienced - and as such not suitable for a first-time horse owner. Often, for a first-time horse owner, a horse entering his teens may be likely to be suitable. Once a horse is 13 or 14, he is likely to be well used to being ridden and less excitable than a younger horse and as such suitable for a less experienced rider.

How will a horse’s experience affect his cost? Experience can be closely linked to age, but this is not always the case. For a first-time buyer, the horse’s experience will be a big part of his value. If the buyer is wanting to compete in showjumping classes - having a horse that has been to many showjumping shows, knows the routine and will jump steady clear rounds to build up rider confidence and technique – can be crucial, and in some instances something that will be worth paying a premium for.

How will a horse’s soundness affect his cost? On the flip-side of experience, comes soundness – or longevity – of the horse in his ridden career. Even the best-bred horses will start to have the odd ache and pain – much like humans – as they get older. Often this is linked to how active the horse has been during his life. A horse with some minor niggles will generally cost less than one that comes with a clean set of x-rays. An experienced veterinarian will be able to carry out a pre-purchase examination on the horse to assess his soundness and general health. In order to get horse insurance for his value - a veterinary certificate will often be required.

How will a horse’s breed affect his cost? Some breeds of horse are more popular than others. This often goes in cycles. People often recommend Irish bred horses for their temperaments, native bred ponies for their hardiness and warm-blood sport horses for their jumping and dressage prowess. Of each breed – or type – of horse, one that is very ‘true to type’ – in other words a great example of the breed is likely to cost more than one that has traits that differ from what is expected.

About SEIB

SEIB have been providing insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen. If you’d like advice on your insurance please call us on 01708 850000.