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Horse Selling and Marketing

This post is for those who need to sell their horse. Whether you are having to part with a long time companion or just selling a project horse, it is important to know where to advertise, how to present your horse for sale and what to expect from the whole process in general.

The first step is to go on a website like dreamhorse.com or equine.com and search for a horse similar to yours in your area. Use the prices of other horses available to make sure that you price your horse reasonably. After you have decided on a price the next step is to get all the information together for your horse, write an honest description on his talents, abilities, and limitations. You want to be honest in your description otherwise you will just waste your own time showing him to buyers that are not going to be a good fit. Next get your horse cleaned up – well groomed, clipped, mane pulled, etc, and take a few pictures and a short video. Remember to keep your pictures professional, have the rider neatly dressed, with plain tack and a neutral colored saddle pad on the horse so as not to distract from your horse’s appearance. I would recommend taking pictures of your horse both with and without tack. The video should be short and to the point so that potential buyers do not get bored watching it. Five minutes should be the maximum length.

The best form of advertising is word of mouth so start by calling your horse friends or sending an email out with pictures and information. Next, put your horse up on as many classified websites as possible. I will usually pay for a photo ad on dreamhorse ($20), and then use the many free sites available such as horseclicks.com, equinenow.com, and craigslist to name a few. When you receive questions answer them promptly and honestly, with a phone call whenever the buyer gives you a number.

Now, what to do during buyer appointments. Most importantly, have the horse easily accessible, clean, and ready to show. Once again, answer questions honestly – trying to hide problems will only come back to bite you. I always have potential buyers sign a release form to protect myself from liability. And use good sense, if you have a difficult or green horse, be careful who you allow to ride. You may find that next the potential buyer will ask for a trial. My personal policy is that I need to know the person, their trainer, or see the farm before I allow a horse out on trial and I ask for full purchase price up front as well as write up a detailed contract. Everyone has different policies here, but be careful, this is a grey area with horse sales. If you have any reservations about the buyer ask for vet references and find out where they are going to board your horse.  If everything goes well, and you and your buyer can agree on a price then the last step is to complete the sale and write up a bill of sale for you both to sign. There are many examples online of bill of sale contracts. I just like to make sure that my contact always has some wording that states the seller does not guarantee the behavior, health, and soundness of the horse. I always stand behind my horse sales, but this protects you as the seller if a buyer makes an unreasonable claim (like the horse gets an abscess two months later and they blame you! Yes, I have had this happen!).

Just be honest, tell it how it is, and be prepared when people come out, and you will find your horse an excellent new home!

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