We paid $2000 for my BLM Mustang (yes, a BLM Mustang!) and he is the best horse I have ever ridden. Trained wonderfully, he was a pack, trail, and heel horse before I got him. Worth EVERY penny and anyone can ride him. I think he would take care of a sack of potatoes if you let him.
It seems like the truly polished trail horses are at least $2500 and up in my area. However, you can still find some bargains. A friend and I each bought a Fox Trotter mare for $500 and $800 each just over a year ago. And gaited horses often bring more out west. But they are slightly rough around the edges, good for an experienced rider but I don't know if I would call them husband safe (my mare is perfect with another horse but is excitable when riding alone).