latest newsletter - read
Women & Horses Newsletter - June/July 2004
for Selling Horses
Mary D. Midkiff
I have become very familiar with buying and selling horses for
clients and from my own perspective. I think it is important
to share what I have observed to be beneficial and point out
the practices not so helpful in buying and selling your horse.
newsletter I discussed what to expect when buying a horse. I
would like to add to that as well as turn the tables and discuss
tips to consider when selling.
the decision to sell your horse can be a very hard. It is the
first step in making a commitment to your horse that you will
do everything you can to find him or her the best possible home
in a reasonable amount of time, fairly priced and with reasonable
you have decided that selling is the right thing to do for you
and for your horse you need to decide how much you are willing
to sell him/her for and how you are going to market him or her
your asking price by reviewing what similar horses are selling
for, evaluating his/her experience and training, age, specialty
areas, achievements in competition and what you need to make
you feel comfortable about the deal.
sure you have some decent photos to use in advertising. I have
seen so many bad photos of horses and this just sends a potential
buyer looking elsewhere. Present your horse the best way possible
in a photo either standing square in hand with ears pricked
forward and head alert or with you or a nicely dressed rider
mounted on your horse in motion or just standing. But make the
photo positive and in focus!
sit down and write out the attributes and vital information
about your horse for the ad.
want to know:
sex, height, weight, color, breed (even if there is a cross
or mix, list them)
the horse is trained to do: All around horse, dressage (list
highest level of accomplishment), jumping (list height accomplishment),
western disciplines (list talented areas), safe trail horse,
equitation, saddleseat, endurance, driving...
is the horse suitable for: All riders, juniors, young riders,
adult amateurs, professionals, small children, advanced riders
any special talents and stable manners: Loads quietly, safe
for children, clips easily, bombproof, won championships,
exceptionally fast times, high scores, no vices, sound...
asking price. Unless the horse is extremely expensive I think
it is only fair to list the asking price. You may add obo
(or best offer) if you are flexible with your price and a
motivated seller. If you have a very expensive horse to advertise
you may want to list the price as private treaty only, serious
inquiries only, or contact representative for price.
If you feel your horse has special qualities you want to make
mention of please do! Such as beautiful, fancy, elegant mover,
lovely head, sparkling coat, perfectly conditioned, etc.
information. At the end of the ad make sure you have included
a phone number and an email contact if possible. You may also
include a website for further information, photos, etc. (I
always look for websites because they usually have multiple
listings of horses for sale and you can get a good idea of
what is selling in the marketplace. They also include good
you have composed your ad or ads, determine where to place them.
The web is the most popular outlet for advertising horses
these days as you expand your exposure 1000 fold. A few good
sites are dreamhorse.com, agdirect.com, warmbloodsforsale.com.
For a narrower approach, you may also type in the name of
a breed on google or any search engine and go to their national,
state or local sites to advertise.
newspapers, magazines and newsletters. I have found these
ad placements (with a photo) to be very helpful and inexpensive
and necessary to reach as many horsepeople as possible.
Create a flier with the horse's photo(s)and place at tack
and feed stores, barn bulletin boards, coffee shops and keep
a pile with you in your car to pass to anyone who might be
of mouth. Still number one in trustworthy information. Tell
everyone you know you are selling your horse. Send all of
your friends an email with the flier attached and ask them
to distribute them.
you have your horse out on the market what happens next?
either get a call or an email with an inquiry about your horse.
Answer their questions up front, be positive but honest and
try to set up an appointment to come and see your horse.
have the appointment set do the following:
up at least a half an hour to an hour before your scheduled
appointment time. This will give you time to get organized.
You should be nicely dressed, (remember you and your horse
are reflections of each other, you are marketing yourself
as a horseperson and caretaker or caregiver) ready to ride,
have any pertinent papers with you such as veterinary notes,
vaccination, worming and shoeing schedules and pedigree, and
your cell phone at hand in case they call for directions or
your horse thoroughly cleaned and looking beautiful when they
show up. Your horse should be shiny, mane and tail combed
out, and feet oiled to look their best. Keep them naked to
show off the horse's conformation to the potential buyer.
Your tack and saddle pad should be clean and easily accessible.
the buyer shows up greet them and introduce yourself and then
offer to introduce them to your horse. I have had people say
to me, "Well there he is," and stand outside the stall and
watch me go in and greet the unfamiliar horse. I would much
prefer if the seller would go into the stall and bring the
horse around to meet me and introduce us properly. If the
horse lives outside, bring him or her in to a protected area
where the buyer can take a good look at them. You should have
your horse ready for inspection when the buyer arrives.
the buyer does not ask, then you may say "do you have any
questions or is there anything you would like to know about
my horse?" Answer any questions positively but honestly and
if you are not sure tell them you will get back to them with
the answer. For example, if it is a veterinary related question
and you would rather the vet provide a response.
buyer still has nothing to say, you can take charge of the
meeting and offer to tell them a few good points about your
horse. Most people want to know why you are selling your horse
and this should be answered honestly. Buyers understand all
of the reasons to sell a horse, even if it is "we just don't
get along and he deserves a more suitable partner."
the buyer to watch you tack up your horse. Unless the buyer
says differently, you should always ride your horse first
and offer a few explanations as to what you are trying to
achieve with your excercises.
should always sign a liability waiver and wear protective
headgear before they mount your horse. The initial ride should
take place in an enclosed area until you and the buyer feel
comfortable about taking the horse out into the open.
can be a real problem in selling horses because the horse's
saddle may not fit the potential buyer for the test ride.
If possible, have a few different sizes of saddles available
that will work for the horse and rider. This will circumvent
it makes you feel comfortable or if you are concerned there
may be a safety issue, give the buyer a few riding tips on
how to control or manage your horse. Explain that it is purely
for safety's sake. Watch the ride and make suggestions if
they seem appropriate.
the ride time is getting too long and you are concerned about
your horse's fitness level, the heat, the cold, tell the buyer
you believe that is enough riding time. They should honor
the ride, offer to answer any questions and begin the process
of cooling your horse out.
like your horse, the process will evolve to a point where you
discuss money. If the buyer asks you if your price is firm you
may say yes and explain why the price you set is fair. Or you
may say there is some negotiating room if you are willing to
be flexible within a couple of hundred or thousand dollars.
must make an offer for you to consider for the sales process
to begin. You may accept the offer and begin discussing the
pre-purchase exam or you may say you would like to think about
it and get back to them tomorrow with an answer. The ball is
in your court once the first offer has been made. You may go
back and forth several times until a final price is agreed upon
and that final price is payable only if the horse passes the
pre-purchase veterinary exam.
As I mentioned
before, I highly recommend a pre-purchase exam.
typically pays for the pre-purchase, however, I know of one
horse person that says he will pay if the horse is sound and
if the horse is found to have a problem, the seller must pay
and will keep all of the X-rays and veterinary reports.
pre-purchase exam is negative, your horse passes, you may then
ask for payment. You may want all of the money at that time
or you may want to offer the buyer terms. You should not release
the horse to them or the shipper until you have the cash or
their check has cleared the bank. You should create a bill of
sale and/or a letter of agreement transfering ownership of the
horse and all of his/her papers to the new owner. I like to
include the horse's bridle and blankets with the deal as a bonus.
should make all of the shipping arrangements and be responsible
for all shipping charges. Once the horse gets in the trailer
it is their responsibility.
extras that you can offer are to go out on the trails with them
on your horse and you riding a borrowed horse; set up another
appointment and give them a free riding lesson on your horse;
provide references for them to contact who can provide further
support of your horse's worthiness; offer to take them to lunch
or have coffee to discuss horses.
additional notes for you buyers...Make sure you know the fitness
level of the horse you are buying. I have had several students
that bought a super quiet horse who had been on pasture only
to find that with a little work and grain the horse was way
too much for them to handle. Know what you are getting at the
time. Horses can be very different when they are fit and feeling
when you meet the horse if they are depressed or happy. If they
stand at the back of the stall when you arrive and don't even
look at you (or even worse turn their back to you) or the owner
when you enter the stall, it's usually a sign that the horse
is unhappy, in pain or wants little to do with humans. I have
met several of these horses and have been able to recover them
but it takes a great deal of time, money and commitment to bring
them around to a happy, pain-free state of living.
that are happy will be munching hay, or napping and turn to
look at you, or even step forward to greet you, put their head
in your lap, ears forward, and have an open feeling about them.
If they were a person you would see their hand extended out
to you waiting to shake yours.
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