Well-schooled, seasoned stock-type geldings like my homebred Jack used to pull a premium price, but what’s he worth today?

Photo: Michelle Anderson

When I was 8 years old I went to ride a cowboy’s pony gelding named Beaver. After the handsome little POA babysat me for an hour as I rode him around and around the house, we untacked and turned him out. “A horse is worth $100 a roll,” the cowboy said. Beaver grunted, bent down on his knees, and hit the dirt for two and a half rolls. “Two-hundred-fifty dollars, and he’s yours!” the cowboy proclaimed. We shook on the deal.

That’s the easiest formula I’ve ever seen for pricing horses. Beaver, who carried me through trail rides, game shows, and to saddle club championships, set his own price much too low. In my eyes, a safe pony like that is worth more than his weight in gold.

Later, in my teens, a trainer told me his methodology for pricing a horse. For him any sound, papered horse standing in a pasture was worth $1,000. A pretty coat color tacked on an extra $1,000. A gelding? Add a $500 premium. A horse that could go forward, turn left and right, and back up was worth another $500. If it could side pass left and right and jog and lope slow on a loose rein, he’d get another $500. That gave any of his pretty, solid geldings a $3,500 price tag–$2,500 for bay, chestnut, or brown models.

The U.S. horse m