Here's my take on this -
I have two lovely, young (10 and 11, 7 and 8 when I got them) nice looking QH pleasure horses in my pasture. One is the designated husband/child/guest horse, one is my horse. My horse requires an assertive, reasonably experienced rider. The other can be ridden by just about anybody.
They were both free to me. Free to me, I've come to learn, is different than free to anybody. The folks who gave me these horses had seen my place and knew what kind of home I could offer, knew what kind of care they would receive and knew I could manage whatever issues arose.
My next door neighbor paid $2000. for a 12 year old beginner and husband safe horse. She's a wonderful horsekeeper, but not as experienced an all around horseperson, and needed to have something *safe*. It was money well spent.
All that said, I can't believe the market is that much different in Ohio than it is in central Virginia. Nice, basic trail broke horses are going for nothing or next to nothing. Very safe and experienced horses are going in the 2000 - 3500. range,