The Stables

On The Market

Everyone it seems has a horse or pony for sale, but when you are looking to buy it seems that nothing is suitable.  So …. how do you produce an animal that is suitable for sale and that will stand out amidst everything else that is available?  

There are a multitude of reasons for needing to sell a horse or pony. Circumstances change, the pony could be outgrown, or it could simply be that you have bred a foal, or bought a youngster to sell on. Whatever your motivation for selling, it is important that he goes to a suitable and loving home. If you are producing to sell having one of your horses being successful with its new owner is a great advert for you and will bring you repeat business.

One of the best ways of letting people know that your horse is for sale is through word of mouth. Tell your friends and acquaintances that you are selling, it may turn out that one of your friends or a member of their families is looking for a new horse. The benefit of selling to someone you know is that you will be certain of where your horse will be going and know that they will be cared for properly.

You could also advertise your horse for sale in local feed and tack shops, most of these will have a bulletin board where you can post adverts. Make up a flyer on your computer, or neatly by hand. Print out a flattering photo to go with it. Make it so your phone number is easy to tear off and take away.  Alternatively, advertise in local horse magazines and newspapers.

Internet advertising is very popular and there are a multitude of horse classified sites. These sites are searchable and reach a very wide number of people. However internet advertising can be tricky too and you may find that you attract a large number of replies from people who are obviously trying to scam you.  You many also find that you attract replies from time wasters people who just like to dream, look at pictures and ask questions. But however, there are also many sales made through the internet, including some producers who sell exclusively through this medium.

Another route would be to contact a reputable dealer. They may be able to find a good home for your horse while giving you a reasonable price.  

Your classified listing is the most important part of the selling process. List your horse’s bloodlines. Bloodlines can give a prospective buyer an idea of how athletic your horse or to judge the potential that is in the family. Make sure you give all of the relevant information in the ad including the horse or pony’s height, age, its level of training and the price. Make sure that you are completely honest and don’t over-estimate your animal’s capabilities or potential in the advert. Don’t market him as a potential Olympic eventer if he would be better suited to hacking around! It will only make the sale process more difficult if you try to sell your horse to the wrong audience. If your horse is of good breeding, then it may also be worth including bloodline details.  Provide good, clear quality photographs, showing the horse’s full conformation and build.  Make sure he has his ears pricked, standing against a plain background, the stable wall or in a field with nothing to distract the attention away from the horse. He should stand squarely on all four legs, with the legs furthest away from the camera visible.  You should also have a picture of the horse in action either at a show, or loose jumping if he is young.  Online videos will sell your horse a lot faster and also make it easier for potential customers to assess your horse.  Modern technology makes it simple to make a short video which you can email to potential buyers if they request it. Make sure you advise potential buyers of any problems the horse has.  Buyers have to be notified of certain problems, such as windsucking and weaving. It is in your best interests to advise customers of any handling problems the animal has, such as being difficult to show, clip or load.

When someone comes to see the horse remember first impressions really do count, obviously that of the horse, but also your own appearance and that of the yard. Presentation is of great importance as most buyers will not see the potential in a thin, dirty animal.  The horse should be as well turned out as possible, clean and well groomed with a neatly pulled mane.

Buyers want a well mannered horse with good manners, so make sure that you put in the work with the animal when he is a foal. Teach him to lead properly and to load and to have good stable manners.  There are so many good animals available that no one wants to buy something with a problem or temperament issue when they can just as easily buy one which is easier to handle. When the prospective buyer arrives, have your horse waiting in the stable or in the field so that the buyer can see how the horse behaves when he or she is caught and tacked up. Bring the horse outside and let the buyer have a good look at him. Walk the horse away from them and trot back, giving the buyer chance to have a look at his paces.

Put on the saddle and bridle and bring the horse into the field or arena to carry out a short riding demonstration working at the walk, trot and canter. Pop over a couple of jumps if the horse has the appropriate level of experience.  Most buyers will want to see how the horse reacts when it is ridden outside of the arena, in the open countryside and on roads. After you have worked the horse the buyer will hopefully be impressed enough to want to try the horse for themselves and the selling process can begin!

by Jacqui Broderick of Lavender & White Publishing