A horse can be an expensive investment, and if you find yourself in the position to sell one, it can be a challenge to find an appropriate buyer willing to pay a suitable price. How can you be sure you are selling your horse to a good owner while receiving a fair price?
10 Must-Do Tips for Selling Your Horse
Once you decide to sell a horse, it helps to…
- Keep the Horse Healthy
Even before you place the first advertisement to sell your horse, you should take every possible step to be sure the animal is in excellent health. Get all vaccinations updated and take care of any dental or hoof care needs. Deworming is a good precaution, and you should have your veterinarian provide updated records of the horse’s condition to help reassure buyers.
- Use Multiple Advertising Resources
Don’t rely only on local classifieds or a single magazine for advertising your horse for sale. Check regional and national magazines, farm-related newspapers or newsletters, websites, message boards and even bulletin boards at local stables. And be sure to let your circle of horse-affiliated friends know you have an animal for sale – word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool for finding the best buyer.
- Groom Beautifully
A beautiful horse will sell more quickly and for a higher price than one with a muddy coat, dull hooves and a tangled mane. Keep the horse clean and brushed, detangle and trim the mane and tail, polish the hooves and take other steps so the horse will show off all its best features whenever it is seen, even if a buyer arrives on short notice. New shoes and well cared for tack can also be helpful to show the horse to its best advantage.
- Provide Good Imagery
No one will buy a horse if they don’t see it, and the photos and video you provide with your advertisement are a buyer’s first look at the animal. Be sure the horse is in good condition and take pictures on a sunny day and in a clean, uncluttered area. Multiple photos are a must – a standing shot, action shot, and head shot are the bare minimum. In a video, show the horse’s action in different gaits and circumstances, such as show footage as well as more casual footage. Videos should be 3-5 minutes long so as not to overwhelm viewers.
- Describe the Animal Honestly
Honest descriptions are a necessity when selling a horse. Not only should you accurately describe the animal’s age, condition, health concerns and behavior, but also note any positive or negative traits that may stand out, such as “gentle-mouthed” or “needs experienced rider” – this information will help more thoroughly describe the horse to the right buyer.
- Share the Horse’s Accomplishments
Your advertisement should share all the accomplishments your horse has achieved. This may include training milestones, breeding history, show honors, work history and key behavioral traits that may interest a potential buyer. If possible, include photos of the animal at championship events or other key images that illustrate notable accomplishments.
- Keep Paperwork Handy
A serious buyer will be interested in all a horse’s paperwork, from its registration and ownership records to veterinary records, awards, genetic certification and more. Keep copies of all these documents readily accessible to show potential buyers whenever it may be requested.
- Set a Fair Price
Setting a price can be challenging, but it may help to consult with local buyers and to investigate other recent horse sales to get an idea of what a suitable price may be. Take the horse’s age, condition, behavior, training, size and general appearance into consideration when setting a price, but allow some room for price negotiation if the right buyer comes along.
- Include Accessories
If your horse has particular equipment it is partial to, it can help a sale to include that equipment as part of the purchase. A saddle, bridle, blanket, helmet or other gear can help make a sale progress more smoothly, and including it with the sale of the horse can help you get rid of unnecessary items you may not need once you no longer have the horse.
- Make a Good First Impression
When you meet with a buyer, it is essential to make a good first impression. Not only should the horse be clean and groomed, but the stall or corral should also be in good condition. Your appearance should also help impress the buyer and let them know you are a serious horse seller. Be ready to show the horse’s paces or offer a test ride if possible, and you may be closer to a sale than you realize.
It can take time to sell a horse, and even when you have an interested buyer, you may want to do a credit check, ask about their preferred veterinarian or investigate where the horse will live before you agree to a sale. By properly preparing your horse and seeking a fair deal, however, you can sell your horse to the right person for the right price for you, your buyer and the horse.