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How Much Do Clydesdales Cost?

Clydesdales horse

It’s a mystery how horses pulling restored beer wagons appeal to so many people, even today. Incredibly, Budweiser aces the test every time at the Super Bowl.

Nonetheless, the show is one of the best exhibitions of the Clydesdale horse. A charming dear with the most friendly temperament, the Scottish horse is as versatile as they come. Indeed, Clydesdales are common members of royal stables and presidential escorts. They are also show-ring masters. 

The best part? You can find one for as little as $3,500. Read on to discover typical going rates, where to look, and how to care for your Clydesdale.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

A Clydesdale horse costs $1,000 to $5,000, on average. However, the prices vary widely, depending on the bloodline, age, and training (type and level). For instance, you can find younger equines for less than $1,000. Meanwhile, award-winning veterans cost $20,000+. 

Clydesdale Horse History and Origin 

Clydesdales are native to the tiny Scottish city of Lanarkshire. It’s a long story with many twists and turns. But it generally began in the early 1800s on the shores of river Clyde when the Duke of Hamilton began importing Flemish stallions to cross with local mares to provide his people with larger, stronger horses to haul coal and agricultural produce.

The results were fantastic! The new draft horse excelled at carriage and riding. It was also a fantastic show-ring performer. Locals named the new breed the Clydesdale in 1826. 

The modern Clydesdale arrived in the US as part of Scotland’s aggressive exportation program in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Read: Paso fino price.

Clydesdale Horse Characteristics 

Clydesdales are easy to identify if you’re a horse enthusiast. The bulging face and bowed neck stand out, with the shoulders inclined and the tails and lower legs feathery. Mature mares are at least 163 cm (16 hands), while stallions can reach 183 cm (18 hands). But a few can be taller. For example, Digger, who formed part of Quen Elizabeth’s Cavalry in 2010, was an incredible 19.3 hands. 

The other defining characteristics are as follows;

  • Weight: Clydesdales are powerful, muscular horses weighing 1,600 to 2,200 pounds. That’s almost twice the weight of the average horse. 
  • Height: The modern Clydesdale is taller than the average horse. 16-18 hands is the typical height. But some stallions reach 19 and others 20 hands. 
  • Color: Bay Clydesdales with white markings on the face and legs are the most common. But you can also find chestnut, gray, and black Clydesdales easily. Unfortunately, sabinos are rare. 

Why Buy a Clydesdale Horse Breed? 

Many horse owners, especially farmers, warm up to Clydesdales for their size and strength. They pull heavy loads with ease. But that’s just the start. Here are a few additional reasons to add a Clydesdale to your 2024 wishlist;

  • Appearance

The Clydesdale’s muscular build, flowing mane, and long tail make it the perfect showpiece. Moreover, you can find a Clydesdale in nearly any horse color. 

  • Temperament 

The bigger horses are often unpredictable. But not the Clydesdale breed. They are calm, gentle, and easy to handle. Thus, the breed is ideal for beginners and children. 

  • Shows and competition potential

Are you considering signing up for a few equine shows and events in 2024? Few breeds have greater show potential than the Clydesdale. The best part is that the breed is highly trainable. 

  • Others 

The Clydesdale’s rich history and versatility are other reasons horse lovers are keen on the breed. They’re the true draft horses, with a rich history in the two world wars and the Industrial Revolution. The Clydesdale is also a wonderful riding horse and a great pet.

How Much Does A Clydesdale Horse Cost in 2024? 

A Clydesdale can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. The prices are higher than in 2023 due to inflation. But you should still bag a healthy, mature mare or stallion for $3,500 to $5,000. 

Prices depend on the horse’s age, health, training, and unique qualities. Young foals are very affordable. For instance, you can find a 2-year-old at an auction for under $1,000. Younger ones cost even less, often under $700. 

Unfortunately, healthy mature Clydesdales between 7-13 years are highly-prized, thus expensive. You’d be lucky to find one under $3,000. But feel free to try your luck at auctions. Healthy, mature ones with show potential cost $7,000+ at local breeders, while Championship geldings cost $200,000+.

Meanwhile, older legends past 20 years cost $1,000 to $10,000+, depending on their health and pedigree. For instance, retired championship or event winners easily cost $30,000+ even past 25 years. 

Unique qualities include desirable coat patterns, championship bloodlines, and breeding potential. For instance, Clydesdale breeders are constantly looking for superior bloodlines and are willing to pay a fortune as the return on investment is massive. 

Most Expensive Clydesdale Horse in History

The most expensive Clydesdale horse in history was sold for $212,500. The stallion’s pictures appear in the Drought Horse Journal of 2011. But adjusting for inflation, the Baron of Buchlyvie, sold for $9,700 in 1911, is the most expensive Clydesdale. The price translates to $288,000+ in 2024. 

Breaking Down the Cost of Owning a Clydesdale Horse Breed 

Unfortunately, horses are expensive to keep. You’re looking at thousands of dollars yearly between boarding, feeding, and vet care. The following is a summary of the common costs to help you plan properly;

Purchase Price

According to the Clydesdale Breeders Association of the USA, the average Clydesdale horse costs $1,000 to $5,000. The price depends on many factors, including the horse’s physical qualities, health condition, and training. 

Depending on your location, you may also pay more (or less). For instance, prices are higher to the north, where the Clydesdale is scarcer. Meanwhile, you may find a similar one for a fraction of the price in Delaware or Missouri. 

Boarding Costs

Boarding is one of the biggest expenses for horse owners. Most owners lack enough space for the horse to run around. Therefore, commercial boarding facilities are the only solution. Unfortunately, commercial boarding facilities can be very expensive. 

Full-board facilities charge as much as $2,000/month, translating to $24,000/year. Even cheaper ones charge $500+/month, translating to $6,000+/year. 

You can opt for self-care or pasture boarding programs. But they aren’t cheap either. For example, many self-care boarding facilities demand at least $150/month ($1,800/year). But the costs are as high as $400/month in many states. Pasture board programs cost $100-$400/month. 

Keeping your horses in a barn on your property is the most cost-effective approach if you have enough space. The upfront costs are discouraging. But you can save thousands over the horse’s life.

Feeding Costs 

The Clydesdale is among the largest horse breeds. Therefore, it consumes plenty of food, resulting in high feeding costs. Worse still, feed costs are on the rise. So, you often end up spending beyond your budget.

Nonetheless, consider budgeting for 25-50 pounds of hay daily. Additionally, your horse requires at least two pounds of commercial feed daily. The feeding records will tell you the exact requirements. A 50-pound bale of hay costs about $7 in most states. Thus, 25-50 pounds daily translates to $3.5 to $7.0 worth of hay daily or $1,277.5 to $2,555 annually. 

Meanwhile, premium commercial horse feed costs $20 per 50-pound bag. That’s $2/day at 5.0 pounds/day, or $1,825/year. 

You can save significantly by growing forage. But it’s a big ask. Moreover, you must first determine whether the horse feeds on pasture, hay, or a combination of the two. If pasture is fine, you need two acres per horse. Maintaining an acre of pasture yearly costs $50 to $150. So, that’s $100-$300 per horse. 

Equipment and Supplies

Equipment and supply costs break most owners’ backs, especially if you’re new to horses. You must buy multiple items to take the best care of your horse. It’s even worse if you operate a self-care or pasture board program. The costs pile up fast. 

For instance, you need harness equipment comprising a breastplate, girth, bridle, crupper, and martingale. Additionally, you need a saddle, saddle bags, and blankets. A bridle costs $25-$75, while saddles cost $100 to $1,000. Meanwhile, a saddle bag costs $50 to $100. 

Feed buckets, water troughs, toys, and treats are other necessities. Also, you need grooming supplies, including brushes, hoof picks, and sweat scrapers. A trailer ($750-$1,000) and a First Aid kit ($100-$200) are also necessary, as is a safe fence for the stable. 

Finally, every horse rider needs safety gear, including a helmet, gloves, and boots. Depending on the quality, these can cost the owner $200 to $400. 

Medical Expenses 

Clydesdales are hardy horses that don’t fall sick often. But you must plan for their hygiene, routine care, and the occasional illness. Again, this can be expensive.

For instance, the local vet will charge you $300 to $600 for an annual checkup. Meanwhile, farriers charge $25-$40/visit and often check on the horse every two months. That’s $150 to $240 yearly. Lame horses or those with painful hooves require special care that costs much more. 

Additionally, you must plan for regular deworming, dental care, and vaccinations. Deworming costs $15-$30/month, routine teeth floats cost $50 to $150, and extra dental care costs between $100 and $1,000. Meanwhile, vaccination costs vary by region as the risk of associated diseases depends on the location. Nonetheless, a $75-$150 budget is necessary. 

Many breeders and horse owners also appreciate the benefits of equine insurance. If you’re interested, costs start at $100/year but can be as high as $1,500/year. 

Additional Costs 

There are many additional costs to consider. For example, suppose you wish to enter a draft horse show or related event. Registration fees often cost at least $200/event. Besides registration, you must purchase the show costume.

Additional training for the event or show also costs extra. Special equine trainers charge $20+/day. Also, you must budget for transportation. 

Association memberships cost money, too. For instance, nearly every Clydesdale owner in the US is a member of the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA, which charges $50/year or $200 for a lifetime membership. Meanwhile, foal registration costs $75 for members and $150 for non-members. 

Finally, even healthy Clydesdales only live to 30-35 years. So, you must plan for the burial expenses. The costs vary by state. But you’ll likely spend $100-$400 to bury the corpse on your property. Alternatively, a rendering service can bury your horse at a cemetery or landfill for $100-$500. Or you can opt for cremation at $1,000-$1,200. 

Factors Affecting Clydesdale Horse Price 

Every seller asks for top dollar for their equine. But that doesn’t mean you should pay the asking price. Instead, consider the following factors to determine the horse’s accurate value;

  • Reason for buying: Why do you need a horse? Are you a breeder? Do you want one for hunting? Are you looking for a pet? Buy according to your needs. For instance, you don’t need an overly expensive pet horse. 
  • Bloodline: Superior bloodlines are highly attractive. But they are also extremely expensive. For instance, stallions from a family of championship winners may cost a bomb. So, revisit your goals. 
  • Age and Gender: Age and gender directly impact the cost of buying a Clydesdale. Generally, mature geldings at their peak are the most expensive. To save costs, start with a foal or opt for older horses. 
  • Availability: Though the Clydesdale is one of the most popular horses in the US, you will only sometimes readily find your preferred type and pedigree. Moreover, the best Clydesdals are in high demand and thus more expensive. 
  • Training Type and Level: Clydesdale horses excel in riding, saddle work, and driving. They also make wonderful racing horses. The type of discipline directly impacts the selling price, as does the horse’s proficiency. 
  • Show Records: Show records are a testament to superiority. It’s the ultimate evidence of a special horse breed and a ticket to demand more from buyers. But the return on investment is near-guaranteed as breeders constantly seek superior breeds.  

Best Places to Find Clydesdale for Sale 

The first place to check when shopping for a Clydesdale horse is the Clydesdale Breeders of the USA. The association unites thousands of Clydesdale breeders in the US, making it easy to find the best Clydesdales in your location. Consider the Clydesdale Horse Society and Clydesdale Cross-Sport Horse Association too.

Besides the three associations, check out local and online horse auctions. They are full of rough diamonds. Social media communities are another worthwhile resource. 

Clydesdale Horse Care and Ownership Tips 

Getting the horse is only the first step. Now, you must take great care of your investment for maximum reward. Consider the following;

  1. Feed your horses hay and grain in the morning and evening
  2. Clean and refill the watering buckets every morning 
  3. Clydesdales have larger hoofs. So, make special shoeing arrangements
  4. Spray your horses with insect repellant every morning and evening 
  5. The horse requires regular exercise for several hours a week

FAQs 

What are the Budweiser Clydesdales Worth?

A Budweiser Clydesdale is worth at least $15,000 as they’re highly trained horses with a rich history. According to the owner, the team has “very stringent requirements to be a Budweiser Clydesdale.” Therefore, only a few make it. Those who fail the test are sold off for $5,000. 

How Much Food Does a Clydesdale Consume Daily?

A mature Clydesdale consumes 25-50 pounds of hay daily. Additionally, you should provide 20-25 quarts of whole grains, vitamins, and minerals. Above all, the large draft horses require 30 gallons of water per day. That’s about twice as much as a regular horse breed. 

How Much Weight Can a Clydesdale Horse Pull or Carry?

The average Clydesdale can comfortably carry 2,000 to 2,500 pounds. That’s about the weight of a small car. However, stronger Clydesdales easily carry more. The pulling strength is even greater. For instance, in draft horse pulling competitions, Clydesdales pull one tonne on a sleigh and up to four tonnes on wheels. 

How Much Does it Cost to Feed a Clydesdale Horse?

Clydesdale feeding costs range from $150/month for young foals to $300/month for mature load-pulling stallions. You need 50 pounds of hay at roughly $7 and $2 worth of commercial feeds daily. That’s $9/day on feed, translating to $270/month for the average horse. 

How Much is a Black Clydesdale?

The average Clydesdale costs $1,000 to $5,000, including black ones. However, scarcity may drive up the prices. So, a black one may cost more. It also depends on the age, health, and pedigree of the black Clydesdale. A stellar show record can easily push the price past $20,000. 

Summary 

Clydesdales are expensive to buy and keep due to their pedigree and massive sizes. Typically, you’ll spend $3,500 to $5,000 to purchase a mature mare or stallion. Then, you need up to $12,000/year (or more) for regular upkeep. 

Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq, a seasoned veterinarian with a DVM from ARID University and an MPhil in Animal Nutrition from UVAS, specializes in equine health. His deep passion for horse nutrition and well-being drives his work, offering invaluable advice for horse owners. Dr. Tariq's expertise ensures horses lead vibrant, healthy lives.
You can read my full bio here

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How Much Do Clydesdales Cost?