So now that I've started Dressage, I've been looking at horses for sale to see what the market is like and the prices of Dressage horses at certain levels.  Some of them are all over the place, but I'd like to know the "average" price of a Dressage horse showing 1st Level/2nd Level, if there is one.  Just curious on how much I'd have to fork out for one, whenever and if I was allowed to buy a horse! :) 
Oh, and in addition to the price, what would you look for in a horse that is showing 1st/2nd Level?
Thanks in advance!  I hope this is the correct place to post this.

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Well...it all depends on what you want to do with the horse. Show it lower level at local shows? 3rd or 4th level at regional shows? FEI level at national shows?

A dressage horse that will be competitive at the lower levels at the schooling shows can be any breed and perhaps a few thousand dollars. It goes up up UP from there!!!
Wow, Taylor, that's a huge question!

As Barbara says, your goals will affect the quality of horse and gaits you need, which will likely affect the price.

However, it's not always that simple. If you are willing to look "outside the box", in other words, if you are willing to consider schooled horses which are not WB or perhaps imports, the prices can be much more reasonable. While it's true that many OTTB's (or TB's which didn't race), TB/Arab crosses (Anglo-Arabs), TB or Arab/QH crosses, etc., are not best suited for dressage careers there are exceptions, and for the most part their breeding works against them in the pricing stakes, so you can often purchase quality schooled horses of those types of breeding for much less than the average WB. One of the most talented and generous horses I've ever worked with was a Hungarian/Irish Draught mare, who made it to competitive GP, and I have to tell you that she was not an expensive horse early on!

Also, a horse "showing" at First or Second Level is not the same thing as a horse winning or placing well at those levels - many, many horses "show" at levels far beyond their level of training and competence, so that's not an accurate barometer of training. The strength of competition varies across Canada, and in the US. In more rural areas the competition tends to be less strong, so a horse's performance could/should be considered in that light, while horses competing at bigger (but similarly rated) competitions with much more strength in the levels should perhaps be considered differently. If there are only 1 or 2 horses competing in a level then reporting that your horse always wins first or second carries less weight than if there are 25 horses competing in that level at that competition. Also, the level of the judges adjudicated should sometimes be considered.

Price is often, but not always, affected by geography. A horse in a remote area is likely to be priced lower than a horse in an urban area, which is easier to access and evaluate. Horses with very strong competitive backgrounds are usually priced (but not always) higher than those without. Sometimes price is affected by other factors, such as a vendor's desire to place a horse in a particular type of home, or rule out a specific purchasing vector.

Really, there is no "average" price for a horse competing at First or Second Level, as there are too many variables entering into individual pricing decisions.
Thanks for the replies, they were very helpful!
I can give you some ideas about the Pricing in Germany:

For a 4year old average talented horse you will pay around US$ 10.000. If you look at a 4 year old basic quality for FEI level you will see prices starting from US$30.000. That will go up higher if you want the winner of the Bundeschampionat this weekend. There are no limits.

For a 7-8 year old on medium level dressage with average quality prices will be at US$ 20.000 - $50.000

For a 10year old Grand Prix horse that will take you to around 65% scores you will have to pay around US$100.000, maybe up to 200.00. If you want more than that, well, lately one of the German top riders paid an unspecified several million Euros for a 7year old grand prix hopeful.

A good indicator is the average price of the annual auctions of the breeding accociations for the 3-4 year old newcommers. Prices will go from US$8.000 to US$20.000 on average.

Last march I met a guy from Canada at one of the events. He comes every year to buy 3 or 4 horses, takes them back to Canada and sell them there at a good margin.



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