I just have to say that Ive almost always gotten my horses free. I have a WONDERFUL well built lil QH mare thats broke to ride and I can jump on her bareback with nothing on her in the pasture. Fast as heck too. I got her when she was 7 and is now probably almost 11.
I also have a very sweet 7y/o appendix qh gelding. He's an old show horse and also loves the trails. The lady that gave him to me SPLIT the transportation fees to bring him to his new home as I didn't have a trailer at that time. I think we've had him getting close to a year.
I've had several others that people gave me to work with them just tuning them up that I could find homes for in the past as well. All depends on the horse and the people owning them. There's a lot people will do just to see their beloved pet go to a place they think is best for them.
Plenty of people cant afford to feed their horses right now so nows a great time to look for a horse that NEEDS a good home just to be fed and such. I'm in WA and the auction I went to earlier this month had decent family horses going for $20-100 and most went to the meat buyers to hopefully have been rescued after.
Just because a horse is free, doesn't make them any less of a horse. You can spend that extra money you save and put it aside for unexpected vet fees or horsey goodies. It also works both ways. Horses that have a hefty price tag can also end up to have plenty of problems as well. I know a lady that bought a friesian filly for a good sized fortune from a breeder just to have the filly at 4 y/o get diagnosed with a bad case of arthritis that wont even have the chance to be ridden. From the sounds of it she'll have trouble walking by the time shes an adult. Tens of thousands of $$$ and she wont even get to ride. Good luck with all of your ponies!