How Much Does a Shire Horse Cost? (Purchase & Keep Expenses)

How much does a shire horse cost?

If you have ever wanted to own one of these gentle giants, then you have probably asked yourself that question at least once.

Here, I will explain how much shire horses cost, give an overview of the factors that determine their price, and let you know where you can purchase one if you would like one of your own.  

READ MORE: How many horse types are there?

How Much Does a Shire Horse Cost to Buy/Purchase?

How much do shire horses cost? Like most horses, Shires are a big purchase and you want to make sure you have enough saved.  

Shire horses can cost anywhere between $2000 and $20,000 to purchase. The average Shire horse price is anywhere from $5000 to $10,000.   

Here is a video that explains more about this cold-blooded draft breed and its history:  

How Much Does a Baby Shire Horse Cost?

Shire foals are in the same average price range as adult horses, with prices changing based on bloodlines.  

What Factors Determine Shire Horse Price?

How much money does a horse cost, particularly a Shire? Shire horse price varies based on a variety of factors, not just bloodlines. The price of a shire horse depends on:  

1- Bloodlines 

The better genetics and breeding a shire horse has, the more expensive they will be. People who want to own and breed Shire horses will seek out the best bloodlines, if they can afford them, to start their own string of horses with.  

The goal of any rider in choosing a horse is to find a partner that will have success in the riding discipline they wish to do, as well as to possess the defining characteristics of their breed.  

Shire horses are known for their strength, well-built bodies designed to pull heavy loads, and the feathering on their legs.  

2- Training 

With Shires as with other horse breeds, the more training, and experience a horse has, the more expensive it will be.

A yearling with no under saddle experience is going to sell for far less than a five-year-old with schooling training with some level of dressage.  

Training a horse properly takes a lot of skill and time on the part of the horse trainer, so they want to be paid sufficiently for the time they put into the horse they are selling.  

3- A Winning Show Record

Many people purchase horses with the sole intention of competing with them or adding them to a breeding program to continue the success of a line.  

As a result, the more successful a horse is in the show ring, whether at breed-specific or discipline-specific shows, it will cost more.  

For example, a Shire horse that is being sold as the 2022 4-year-old champion at the National Shire Horse Show, is going to list for more than a ten-year-old with 10-second place wins.

Check out these beautiful showing Shire horses in this video.

4- Color 

All horse breeds have a breed standard, for colors, markings, and features that they should have to be included in their breed registry.   

The Shire Horse Society’s accepted breed standard is as follows. (1) Shire horse colors allowed include black, bay, brown, or grey.

No shire should have large patches of white across their coat, but some white markings are accepted.   Mares can have roan coloring while stallions cannot.

The closer a Shire horse’s coloring is to their breed standard, the higher its price will be.   

For example, a chestnut Shire horse will be listed for much less than a grey one because chestnut is not the desired color according to the breed registry.  

5- Conformation

shire horse with large built

A horse’s conformation, or build and body characteristics, plays a sizable role in determining its price. Better conformation means that a horse has a higher chance of staying sound throughout its lifetime.  

According to the Shire Horse Society, the ideal Shire Horse should be at least 17 hands high. They should have a long and lean head with a long neck proportional to the body, and large and well-set eyes.

Other preferred characteristics are a Roman nose, long ears, a wide chest, and a deep and oblique shoulder. Shire horses that match these specifications closely will be priced higher than those that do not.  

6- Age 

Unfortunately, most people looking to buy horses will tend to look at younger or middle-aged horses, rather than senior horses.

Shire horses are considered to be the fittest for work when they are between 5-14 years old, and they will be sold at a higher price at this age, and less if they are older than this.  

Where to Buy a Shire Horse

Shire horses are a rare breed, so it is not likely that you will find them easily. Nevertheless, it is possible that some are still being sold. Here are all of the places where you could buy a shire horse.  

1. Shire Breeding Facilities 

Shire breeding studs, like Jenson Shires, will post on their website when they have foals and adult horses available for purchase. (2) Kohler Farms is another reputable breeder. (3)  

2. Shire Adoptions 

You can also adopt a Shire that needs a home from a rescue center Some well know rescues that help draft horses like shires are Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue (4) and CT Draft Horse Rescue. (5)  

What Are the Upkeep Expenses of Shire Horses?

shire horse on the ground

As an equestrian, I know that finding the right horse and purchasing them is only half the battle when it comes to horse ownership.

Once you have the horse, it is your responsibility to keep them healthy and happy. The upkeep costs for shire horses are as follows:  

Estimated Cost
Tack $500
FeedThe average Shire eats about 25-50 pounds of hay daily.
Farrier  More expensive than a standard-sized horse
Boarding  Less expensive than a full stable board
Vet Care Annual vaccinations and regular checkups

1. Tack

Because Shire horses are heavy draft breeds, typically manufactured saddles, saddle pads, and other horse tacks will not fit them. They will need larger or custom tack. Prepare to spend at least $500 on this.  

2. Feed

Since shires are some of the largest horses, they will need more food than the average horse to keep themselves full.

The average Shire eats about 25-50 pounds of hay daily, as well as 5 pounds of grain.  

3. Farrier 

The cost for a hoof trim and shoeing if desired will be more expensive than a standard-sized horse because shires have huge hooves. It will also take the farrier more time to complete their job.  

4. Boarding 

Unless you have a big enough property with enough land for your Shire horse to graze on, you will have to board it.

A pasture board is less expensive than a full stable board, although each facility sets its own rates for boarding.  

5. Vet Care

Your shire will need their annual vaccinations, as well as regular checkups with a vet to make sure they stay in good health.   

You will also need an emergency fund to use in the event of medical emergencies.   These are the main costs of horse ownership.

Other costs you may incur include trailer fees, dewormer, and additional training if you need extra help with your horse.  

FAQs

How much does a Shire horse weigh?

shire horse

Shire horses can range in weight from 1870 to 2430 pounds. Stallions and geldings have more bodyweight than mares. Shires are one of the most popular large horse breeds for riding.  

Are Shire horses rare?

Shire horses are considered rare because the breed population decreased in the Industrial Revolution when cars and heavy machinery began to replace the draught horse.  

What is the cheapest horse breed?

Mustangs are considered the cheapest horse breed because they are sold at auctions as wild horses, and brought home by horse trainers to learn the skills they need to be riding horses. Learn more about mustang horse cost.  

Conclusion

How much does a Shire horse cost? Shire horses can cost anywhere from $2000 to $20,000 depending on their coloring, age, training, conformation, show record, and bloodlines.

Shire horses are heavy horses that excel at pulling carts, horseback riding, or just being a close friend.  

tall shire horse

What do you think of Shire horses? Let us know below!

References  

  • Breed Standard & Points of the Horse – the Shire Horse Society. www.shire-horse.org.uk/about-us/the-shire-horse/breed-standard-points-of-the-horse/.
  • 2 “Shires for Sale.” JENSON SHIRES, www.jensonshire.com/shires-for-sale.html. Accessed 28 May 2022. 3 “Kohler Farms-A Shire Horse Breeder.” Www.facebook.com, www.facebook.com/KohlerFarmsAShireHorseBreeder/. Accessed 28 May 2022.
  • 4 “Gentle Giants.” Gentle Giants, www.gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.org/. Accessed 28 May 2022.
  • 5 “CT Draft Horse Rescue.” Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue, www.ctdraftrescue.org/. Accessed 28 May 2022.
Bryanna Tanase
Bryanna Tanase

Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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