IF you have the skills or can pay the monthly training fees, you can get a real nice horse for not much money. That's my preferred way to go. I like to buy not older than yearlings, bring them home and do groundwork with them for a year and then send them out to my friend/trainer who starts all my horses. He or his daughter get them going doing the Walk, Trot, Lope, Back Up thing and while doing that they chase cows and round them up, throw a rope on slow cows and then go to ropings and get ridden around, go to shows and get ridden around or if they're really good minded, put in at least walk/trot classes in some division. At the end of 60 days he'll tell me if the horse is one I will want to keep or one to put up and sell before I have too much into him.
We do the horses I've bred the same way. Give them 60 days, get them to the point where they can do a video of them in the big roping arena doing easy slow circles at all the gaits, then take them out in the cows & horses and walk through all that commotion, gather the cows and bring them up, go through water, cross bridges, go over logs, whatever the ranch gives them. Put them up for sale once we have some good pics and a video, price them fairly for a green/prospect horse and so far this year, I've sold 3 that way, in less than 24 hours each. Asking price on each horse was $3500 and I got it. These were 2 year olds and they had probably 50 good rides on them, they already had the "Siamese Cat" temperament that most of my babies have and nothing phased them. The trainer is very sad that I'm not breeding much anymore. He loved having those easy babies and their new owners have loved having them because they're so willing. Those horses were also double and triple registered to make it easy to go show in breed shows if the new owner desired. Or, they can just be trail ponies and ride around our local lakes and trails, it all takes a good minded, good hearted horse.