Asking for the price is usually the first thing I get to hear from a potential buyer. The question of “How much does an American Miniature Horse cost?” seems to be more important that the quality or level of training. Many people just want to make a bargain and very few are willing to pay a realistic price for a product (in our case a good quality and well bred Miniature horse) that not even closely meets our investment in that particular product. That‘s why I want to explain what the actual costs for the mini horses offered for sale are.
Please keep in mind that we are not a professional stud farm and only do this in our spare time. We never charge anything for our time and only counted what we actually have to pay for (like hay, horse feed, the vet and farrier and so on).
Breeding for quality, not quantity
First thing we need is – of course – the mare. No mare, no foal! For a good quality AMHA and/or AMHR mare, sound and healthy (and you won‘t breed with anything else) you will have to pay around 5.000 Euro – sometimes less, sometimes much more. Let‘s just say we were lucky and found our mare for the 5.000 Euro and she will have ten foals during her breeding career. That makes 500 Euro for each foal until you have back your money‘s worth for that mare. We have to add a certain amount for swabbing, ultrasounding and vet checks which can easily up to several hundreds of Euro. We are very optimistic (as always) and only write that down with 100 Euro.
Our mare wants a roof over her head and food in her trough every day, perhaps even special feed for pregnant mares. Good thing is we have our own barn and miniature horses don’t eat that much. Add things like bedding, farrier, insurance, maintenance of stable and pastures etc. and we are at 600 Euro per year and horse.
Now on to another necessary part: the stallion! Stud fees for AMHA and/or AMHR stallions in Europe vary between 500 and 3.000 Euro. Let‘s take the lowest figure and go with only 500 Euro. We will have to add the transport of our mare to the stallion and back, also at minimum a few weeks of boarding there. This can add up to quite a lot of money but again, we are optimistic and say 250 Euro should be enough.
Even the unborn foal is a big investment
Let‘s face it: we already invested close to 2.000 Euro in a foal that isn‘t even born yet! In our little breeding example the birth goes according to the book, so – thank God! – no additional costs for the vet or even the hospital. Miniature horses are prone to difficult births, so don’t assume this will always be the case. Every breeder has had their share of things gone horribly wrong and even the loss of both mare and foal. But let’s assume we were lucky and everything went well. Our cute little foal needs to spend the next several months with it‘s dam. It needs regular deworming, get it‘s little hoofs trimmed and perhaps needs also special feed for young foals. And it needs to be registered and get a passport which costs more money … so we add another 250 Euro to our already long list of costs.
Everything added together (and no cheating!), we now have about 2.250 Euro invested in our pretty weanling foal. Keep in mind that this calculation does not include our own time and work: not for the daily chores around the barn, not for handling the foal etc. And still everything adds up to an amount that keeps many potential buyers away. And it does even more so if the horse offered for sale is a weanling colt.
For a miniature horse that has been in show or driving training, our calculation looks even worse. Monthly training fees start around 350 Euro. Add to this the costs of showing (appr. 300 Euro per show), you soon reach a five-digit sum. Rare is the buyer who will honor this and actually pay what has been invested in the horse.
So, the next time you are looking at horses for sale, please keep in mind the investments that a breeder has to make to present you a well-bred, healthy and well-trained horse, no matter how big or small. Quality is never cheap but worth every cent. And the sale price of a horse will be the least amount of what this horse is going to cost you for his entire life.