The Morgan horse is one of North America’s most popular horse breeds. It’s a strong, refined, and highly adaptable chestnut breed. More importantly, it’s a cooperative family horse with a calm temperament, perfect for beginners and children.
Unfortunately, the Morgan breed doesn’t come cheap. Even young foals can set you back several thousand dollars. This guide explains typical Morgan horse costs and how to find a bargain.
How Much Does a Morgan Horse Cost in 2024?
A Morgan horse costs anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000. You’ll likely pay less for very young ones and slightly more for highly-trained broke-to-ride Morgan.
For instance, an AMHA-registered Morgan between 2-5 years costs around $3,500 before breaking. But the price goes up by $2,000-3,000 as soon as it goes through the breaking phase. Meanwhile, older ones typically cost much less. For example, a 20-year-old black stallion was recently auctioned for $1,500 in New Paris, IN.
So, the outlay depends on your needs and preferences. A breeder looking for a young Morgan to add to their stock can easily find a good one for under $3,000. But older or more experienced riders must pay $5,000 or more to find a mature Morgan between 9 12 years.
Besides age, the bloodline is critical. Morgans descended from a single sire known as the Justin Morgan. However, the breeds have multiplied. Today, there are four main bloodlines: Brunk, Lippitt, Government, and the Western Working Family.
Government Morgans are the most common and, thus, most affordable. They are fairly strong, athletic, and versatile horses with good temperaments. Meanwhile, Lippitt Morgans are the rarest, thus the most expensive breed. But it’s a high-percentage breed with close ties to the foundation sire. So, it’s a great find when shopping for a strong harness horse.
The other two are middle-of-the-park bloodlines that provide unique qualities without burning a hole in your pocket. For instance, Brunk Morgans are athletic, showy individuals with exceptional temperament. Meanwhile, Western Working Morgans are “cow-savvy” horses ideal for farms and ranches.
Finally, the training greatly impacts horse prices. Young Morgans are the most affordable while a dressage Morgan is the most expensive. Indeed, you may pay double for a well-trained horse.
Most breeders forego this cost by buying younger horses. Fortunately, morgans are naturally calm-tempered and very friendly, even to children. So they are easy to train at home.
Morgan Horse Breed Price Breakdown
Morgan horses are among the easiest to keep. But you may still spend a few thousand every year to take the best care of your horse. Here’s a cost breakdown to help you plan accordingly.
The average price of a Morgan horse is $5,000. But the actual cost varies widely, depending on the bloodline, age, health, and many other factors. Consider a young foal if you’re buying on a budget. A good one costs around $3,000 unless you’re interested in a superior race. In that case, you’ll spend around $7,500 for a one-year-old that matures to 14.5H.
Old horses are also cheaper while offering immediate benefits like quality time on the saddle without unpredictable quirks. You can get one for $5,000 or less. Sadly, you may only have the horse for a short while as they rarely live beyond 30 years.
Finally, if you’re into harness racing and other competitions, you need a superior breed. Such Morgans cost up to $50,000.
Ownership costs vary widely, depending on the quality of care and day-to-day routines. For example, equipment alone can set you back $2,000 per year. But you can significantly cut costs by reusing rugs, clothes, and saddles.
Similarly, horse insurance costs at least $1,000 per year. But you can avoid insurance and work harder to ensure the health and safety of your horse. Transportation costs, training sessions, and riding lessons cost thousands over a year.
Livery is much cheaper if you have enough land. You only need $80 to $200 per month ($960 to $2,400 yearly). Unfortunately, most horse owners only own an acre at most. If so, you must plan for boarding costs.
The cheapest horseboarding plan costs about $2,500 per year. These are often partial boarding plans that require significant owner input. For a full-board plan, you need as much as $4,800 in most states and $9,000+ in others.
Feeding costs depend on whether your Morgan lives on grass or stable. If they feed exclusively on hay, you must budget $480 to $360 worth of feeds yearly. Meanwhile, you only need winter’s hay if your horse feeds on grass.
Remember that stable bedding costs extra, typically $20 to $30 weekly. This translates to $1,500+ per year. You may also require hard feeds for special diets. These can cost $500+ yearly.
Vetting and medical bills can eat up a chunk of your monthly income. For instance, vetting (immediately after purchase) costs $80 to $120. But the prices can rise to $250+, depending on the horse’s health condition.
Meanwhile, annual horse vaccinations cost at least $40, while deworming costs $15+. You must also budget for dental work, clippings, injuries, and occasional sicknesses. A $2,000 annual medical budget should cover most of these needs.
Factors to Consider When Buying A Morgan Horse In 2023
Finding the “right” Morgan horse takes substantial effort. The following considerations can serve as a starting point for a successful search;
- Age and gender: Morgan horses have an average lifespan of 35 years. How old is the one you’re looking at? Also, is it a mare or stallion? And, if male, is it castrated? A gelding is slightly more expensive as the process costs $200 to $300.
- Physical attributes: The average Morgan horse’s height is 14.2 to 15.2 hands. So, shop within this range if you prefer a mature horse. The color is also important. Less common colors, such as palomino, silver, and grey, have a higher demand.
- Suitability to your needs: List your objectives and find a Morgan that ticks most boxes. Otherwise, the horse may never fulfill its “potential.”
- Training: Has the horse undergone basic training? Does it have any training in the desired discipline? You must find out early. Otherwise, you may spend a fortune on training. Ask for the training records and competition documents if necessary.
Best Places to Buy an American Morgan Horse
There are many places to find Morgan horses for sale. Always begin by asking family and friends for referrals. If that fails, consider the following;
- The American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA)
Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a membership organization for Morgan horse owners and breeders. It’s headquartered in Kentucky but can help anyone within the US find and take good care of Morgans.
Therefore, it’s one of the best resources for a Morgan horse. The association will list your area’s Morgan owners, breeders, and trainers. It can also point you to state and county-level Morgan horse resources.
Shows and competitions provide the perfect opportunity to see the best Morgan horses in action. More importantly, you’ll meet owners and trainers. If a competing horse catches your eye, approach the owners and talk to the trainer.
However, remember that not all shows and competitions are the same. Therefore, the first horse in a particular competition isn’t necessarily the best one among the lot. Indeed, a versatile Morgan is more desirable.
There are three types of Morgan horse sales, production, consignment, and dispersal. Consignment sales are the most common but also the trickiest. For instance, some sellers are trying to get rid of problem horses. So, you must be extremely careful. Ideally, bring a veterinarian to help. Experienced trainers can help too.
Dispersal sales are less risky. The owners are typically going out of business. So, they’re trying to get rid of valuable stock. However, production sales are the safest as the owners use the opportunity to promote stock they’re proud of.
- Digital resources
The fast-expanding digital world offers many avenues to shop for Morgan horses. First, consider relevant social media communities in your locality. These include Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and Reddit forums.
Alternatively, go to Google and search “Morgan Horses (+ your location).” You’ll find many blogs, websites, and ads with valuable information.
How to Buy a Morgan Horse on a Bargain
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend over the odds to find a great Morgan. The following insider tips can help you pick up a good buy without burning a hole in your pocket.
Buy a young foal
Young Morgans are the least expensive. For instance, a 7-9-year-old Morgan costs under $1,500 in most markets. You may even find one for under $750.
The average prices jump by a thousand dollars or more every year until the youngling peaks. For instance, whereas a 1-year-old Morgan typically costs less than $1,500, a 2-year-old one is rarely cheaper than $2,500.
Buy a senior equine
Senior Morgans are more expensive than younger ones, depending mainly on the discipline and level of training. Nonetheless, they are more affordable than Morgans in their prime. For example, you can find a 20-year-old gem at less than $5,000.
Thankfully, Morgan horses often live beyond 30 years. So, you can get more than 10 year’s worth of service from a 20-year-old.
Projects are cheaper
A project knows little or nothing about a specific discipline. For example, many riding horses know very little about saddle work. Similarly, a Tennessee walking horse may know nothing about competitive racing.
But the upside is the purchase price is typically lower if Morgan knows nothing about the desired discipline. This explains why younglings are cheap.
Registration is mandatory to participate in breed-specific equestrian activities. Also, professional breeders must register their Morgans. The registration documents help buyers and the authorities trace the horse’s origin and characteristics.
Unfortunately, registration costs money, often up to $200, which the seller transfers to the buyer. So, buying an unregistered one can save you a few hundred.
American Morgan Horse Breed vs. Similar Horse Breeds
Many owners compare the Morgan horse to the American Quarter horse. Both are small, strong, compact horses. Also, they are friendly horses with the right temperament for beginners and kids. But how do a quarter horse and Morgan horse prices compare?
Unfortunately, the Morgan is slightly more expensive than the American quarter horse. While you can find a fully grown American quarter horse in good health for $1,750 or less, a similar Morgan costs about twice as much.
How much does a black Morgan horse cost?
Black Morgans range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. It depends on factors such as the breeding history, whether the horse is trained for a specific task and the show record. Expect to pay $1,000 to $5,000 on average. However, racing Morgans and superior bloodlines can cost $10,000+.
Are Morgan horses profitable to breed?
Unfortunately, no. Though horse breeding is attractive, it’s extremely difficult to make long-term profits with horses, given the many hidden costs. Indeed, the most successful breeders are happy to break even. Nonetheless, with a good business plan, you can run a rewarding business breeding horses.
Are Morgan horses expensive?
Yes, Morgan horses are expensive. A healthy foal costs $1,500, while a mature gelding can cost $7,500+. This is almost twice the average cost of a regular horse, which ranges from $1,500 to $1,300. However, the Morgan is cheaper than thoroughbreds such as the Fusaichi Pegasus. A thoroughbred racing horse costs hundreds of thousands.
At what age is a Morgan horse fully grown?
Morgan horses reach their full height at 3-4 years. However, a few may take longer. For instance, some Morgan horses only reach full height at 7-8 years. Interestingly, some breeders list their Morgans as ponies if they fail to reach the desired height after five years.
How long does a modern Morgan horse live?
Morgan horses live for 20-30 years on average. But some live much longer, often up to 35+ years. It all comes down to ancestry and quality of care. Notably, Morgan horses have relatively fewer health concerns as they grow older. This makes them a worthwhile investment.
Are Morgan horses good for beginners?
Yes, Morgan horses are excellent for beginners, including children. Like the popular American quarter horses, Morgan horses exhibit a gentle temperament, making them perfect for beginners. They are also extremely friendly horses. Above all, they are versatile horses that easily adapt to multiple disciplines.
The cost of a Morgan horse ranges from $750 for a 6-12-month youngling to $10,000+ for highly trained mature Morgans excelling in specific disciplines. However, you don’t have to spend over the odds to find a great one. For instance, you can find a gem under $3,000 at a consignment sale. Always bring your vet and an experienced trainer to help you choose the right horse.