Equine Acquisitions and Sales: The Series

picture of horse and ladyStep 1: Deciding to Sell

by Kimberly Shogren, Equine Marketing Specialist

Dancer has been the best first horse anyone could ask for. Quiet on the trails, patient in the ring and he’s the babysitter for your kids that climb aimlessly over his back. He’s the quiet listener all those nights when a friend was what you need. And a smile comes across your face when remembering your very first correct lead change together. Ahhh….all those memories, and yet, something just isn’t right.

You’ve been riding for several years now, and your instructor has let you know that you’re ready to progress out of the training levels. Try as he might, Dancer’s only frustrated and tired after every lesson. The vet and farrier come out, only to report a perfectly sound older horse. 

After discussing with your instructor, she advises you that the time has come…to sell Dancer. Sure it would be great to find a new partner that could better suit your riding needs, but can you part with him? Could you possibly afford two horses? What should you do?

First of all, remember that this is your horse. Others may have an opinion or idea of what you should do, but ultimately, this is your horse and your money. Faced with making such an emotional decision, getting a second opinion is a good idea. There are services available that can give you a price range that you could expect to receive from your horse based on a set of criteria. Some of the criteria could include age, gender, condition, breed, training, temperament, suitability, show experience, among other questions. This is the best option, and can give you realistic expectations. However, you should keep in mind that this is only an opinion, albeit a professional marketing opinion, and not a guarantee on sales. If the outcome is good, you can use that professional opinion as a sales tactic to aid in your rationale for pricing. Ask if the service provides a write up on the evaluation of the horse, it’ll be worth the investment later. 

Next, spend some time to think about your options. Some questions to consider include:

Could you afford the investment and upkeep of a second horse?

Can you replace the current horse for a next step horse without investing?

How much money can you afford to invest in upgrading if you are unable to buy your next horse equally by selling your last?

Is the home the horse is going to more important than the money you’d be able to get for him?

Once you’ve answered those and your own questions and you’ve decided to sell your horse, you’ll need to prepare your horse for the sales process. The actual process will be covered in issues to come, but first you’ll need to be certain that you’re actually prepared for the emotional turmoil selling a loved horse can involve. 

Imagine your horse winning at the next show, that great ride on the trail or just the down time in the stall grooming. Can you picture your horse with another human? Also, will you be able to emotionally handle a potential buyer’s criticism of your horse? Those types of items should be thought through since many sellers aren’t used to that kind of activity and may choose to back out of selling a horse due to possible challenges that go along with the process. 

For the buyer, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding that perfect new equine addition, only to have the seller decide not to sell. It’s not the countless hours spent online browsing ads, cell phone minutes lost in conversations or even the dollars used for those pesky pre-purchase exams. It’s the heartache.

If you’re anything like me, you have a picture of that great new prospect as the screensaver on your phone, your home computer AND the one at work. You’ve emailed your friends, family and the guy two cubes down the YouTube link that you’ve been drooling over for weeks. And on your only day off in who knows how long, you drove all the way across town to pick up that new blanket for her first night home. For Pete’s sake it WAS supposed to be cold!

There’s no bitterness. Ok, maybe there is. This occurrence actually happens more often than you think, and no “Sales Agreement” can protect emotions! Traditionally, it’s the seller that has to worry about buyers reneging on a deal, and there are usually safeguards for them. 

So where’s the breakdown? What’s happening? It’s all about communication and honesty. As sellers, we have the responsibility to not only be honest in terms of the horse, but to some extent our reasoning and rationale on selling the horse. There are as many reasons for selling a horse as there are horses out there. In this tough equine sales market, some sellers of top equines have actually been more tempted to keep their best stock in hopes of making more profit as the economy recovers. Others just get emotional and all of a sudden just can’t part with their “pet,” that only minutes ago was only a horse. For some, it’s really about the bottom line. Many times sellers really are in a financial hardship, and let’s face it, for most of us the horse is a luxury and is most times the first thing to go. 

In the end, just make sure you’re ready for what it means to actually see Dancer load up into someone else’s trailer for a destiny with someone else. After all, it’s not just you that’s selling Dancer. Dancer’s finding a new home, and your future buyer is finding a new best friend. All things to consider.

kimberly shogrenAbout the author: She is also the managing partner for Vintage Andalusian Farm, specializing in the promotion of top quality black PRE Andalusians.

Donna’s Tip: You’ve decided to sell a horse because you know you must sell, you should sell, you have to sell … but it’s still difficult?

Make a list of 6 positive actions that will happen when you sell the horse. Write them down and place them by your phone and computer. Whenever anyone contacts you about selling the horse, look at that list and focus on it.


Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

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