Poorly written ads or leaving out critical information can make all the difference between finding several interested buyers and finding none.
When you’re selling your horse you’re ideally looking to get the ad in front of as many people as possible, so that you can find the right buyer from among them.
Keep it simple
Write an ad that is easy to read and gives the reader all the important information they want right off the bat.
The more accurately you describe your horse, the more likely it will be that you’ll find a suitable buyer faster.
The ad should draw attention to anything that makes your horse special – colour, skills, temperament etc. If your horse has a famous or successful sire (father) or dam sire (maternal grandfather), it’s a good idea to mention that as it can attract buyers.
Basic information to include in your for sale ad:
- Telephone numbers
- The area where the horse is located
You could also consider including the following information:
- Colour and markings
- Level of fitness and training
- Competition results/winnings
- Name of trainer/rider if famous
- Breeding & registry papers
- Reason for sale
- Veterinary status & recent treatments (last 12-24 months)
- Vices & quirks
Decide on the asking price of your horse first
A serious buyer has a budget and many will be put off if the price is not given or it says Price on Application (PAO).
There is no point in you speaking to a buyer who can’t afford your horse.
Writing “substantial price required” is code for expensive horse and this is a way to weed out the buyers who aren’t looking to buy a performance horse.
Also, leaving the price out entirely means that your advert will be excluded from online searches for horses in a certain price range (something that serious buyers will do in order to not waste time looking at horses they don’t want or can’t afford).
To decide how much to ask for your horse, check out the ads for similar horses for sale in your area
Keep in mind that most prices are asking prices which means that you should expect the buyer to haggle.
To ensure the best chance of getting what you want, give a range. I’d decide how much I want for my horse at the very least, add a bit on top of it and turn that into a range.
So, for example, if I want to get at least £5,000 for my horse, I’d write £5,600–6,800 in the ad. This way if I start haggling at the top price, I have a better chance of ending up above my minimum. Even should I begin haggling at my lowest given price, I’ll still have a bit of wiggle room before hitting the minimum acceptable price.
Keep in mind, that one of the most common reasons horses take a long time to sell or don’t sell at all, is because the initial asking price is too high. It’s not a great look if you end up having to put an ad with a reduced price, because buyers may think that there’s something wrong with your horse.
If you really want your horse to go to a good home, set the price right the first time and don’t drag the sale out. If you need the sale to go through urgently, don’t be too greedy and be willing to drop the price for a committed buyer.
If you’re including any tack in the sale – such as saddle, bridle, rugs etc. – or are offering them to be bought separately, mention this in the ad too.
Writing the horse for sale advert
Writing the title for your horse sale ad
When I work with a piece of text, I usually like to write the body first and then write the title last.
This way I first work through what I want to say and then in the end I can sum it up more easily in the headline.
Because the basic information is going to be listed in the ad itself anyway, why waste precious space in the title to say the same things over again?
The title needs to be descriptive to make your horse stand out. Think about what your favourite thing about the horse is and consider getting that into the title or think who the ideal buyer is and get that in. If you can get in both, all the better!
- “Dressage horse for sale” –> “Eager to please dressage horse with elevated paces”
- “Pony for children” -> “Calm & experienced pony for young beginner rider”
- “Small competition horse” -> “Energetic competition horse for small rider”
Writing the description for the sale advert
After the title, I’d lead with the basic facts:
“Eager to please dressage horse with elevated paces
16.1 hh, 5 yrs, Warmblood bay mare with 3 floaty, showy paces. Trained in…. Competition achievements… Good to hack out… Good in traffic… Ridden for x years by… “
You get the idea. You want to keep it descriptive but efficient so that the reader can get as much information from the ad as possible.
If you start rambling on, people won’t read it. I’d start with the most pertinent information at the top and move down the list in order of importance.
I think you could also finish it off with what her ideal rider/home would be, you know, to leave that last thing resonating in the mind of your perfect buyer.
So, for instance, if selling a pony for kids, you could end it with something along the lines of, “Sweet-natured pony searching for a young rider to teach and have fun with” or, if I go with the dressage example from above, “Forward-thinking and eager to please mare, looking for an experienced rider who can challenge her to develop“.
I know that this sounds a little date ad-ish, but if the description fits you or someone you know perfectly, you’re more likely to go “Hey, I know who this horse would be perfect for!” and act on it.
What else to put in your horse sale ad?
- If the horse is registered with a breed society, mention this.
- Include details of what the horse has done in the past and how it has been trained.
- Give details of what level of work/competition the horse is currently doing and the disciplines the horse is most suitable for.
- Mention what kind of rider would suit this horse the best, e.g. novice, experienced, nervous etc.
- Mention the biggest or most recent competitive achievements and winnings.
- State if the horse is good for hacking (trail riding) and whether it can be ridden out alone or if it needs another horse for company. Also mention how it behaves in open fields and in traffic.
- Be honest about vices or health issues – the right person will buy it regardless of issues – and you will avoid legal action later by being honest upfront.
- Mention how it is to catch and how it loads into a trailer, has it/can it be clipped, when was it last wormed, how is it with the farrier and when was the last farrier visit – if you leave any of the basic stuff out the buyer may simply assume it isn’t good at them.
- List any tack or equipment included or available to purchase.
How many pictures do you need to put in a horse sale ad?
The more, the merrier. But don’t just slap any old pictures up, only choose those that give the buyer the information they need and shows the horse at it’s best.
Keep in mind, that if you’ve had your horse photographed by a professional photographer, you need the photographer’s permission to use the photos for anything other than personal use (unless stated otherwise in your contract).
To get tips on how to photograph your horse for selling, I recommend How to photograph your horse for selling.