When you’ve decided to sell your horse, there’s a lot you can do to make your horse look attractive to potential buyers and to make the selling process as stress-free as possible – both for you and your horse.
In addition to writing an ad that attracts the right kind of buyer and taking photographs and video to showcase the best of your horse, you should also prepare your horse for the transition.
Tip#1: Get your horse used to different riders and handlers
If your horse has only ever been ridden and handled by a few familiar people, it’s a really good idea to get your horse used to strangers riding and handling him.
You don’t want your horse to get flighty or start spooking simply because someone new is handling him. Keep in mind that first impressions count when you want to sell your horse.
Tip #2: Make sure your horse is easy to lunge and trot-up in hand
You never know what a buyer is going to want to see. Even if you’ve made no mention of lunging your horse, a buyer may want to see how he’ll take to a new situation.
Even if you horse hasn’t been lunged regularly, having him be familiar with the situation and have a general idea of what’s being requested of him is a good idea.
Trotting him up in hand is something that any knowledgeable buyer will ask to see because they’ll want to assess how he moves. Find a good spot to lead your horse in a walk and a trot and make sure that he won’t get too pushy simply because one direction leads back to the stable.
Tip #3: Make sure your horse loads and unloads easily
Even if you’re not selling your horse, this is just a basic skill that every horse should have.
But especially when you’ve said in the sale advert that your horse loads well, keen buyers may ask to see if this is true.
Plus, you can almost guarantee that if your horse has only ever loaded onto a trailer, the buyer is gonna show up with a lorry to pick it up and vice versa.
Tip #4: Make sure that your horse can stand still for mounting
Every horse needs to be able to stand still and be well mannered while the rider mounts him. Again, this is just basic stuff that every horse should know.
If you’re selling a green horse, make sure that you mention this in the sale advert and mention it again when the buyers call to enquire about the horse.
A fidgety or pushy horse can put off a potential buyer.
Tip #5: Check your horse’s skills before writing the advert
Take your horse through all the motions to see how he behaves in traffic, when loading, when shoeing, how he reacts to the vet and deworming and so on.
If he’s never been clipped, mention it in the ad. If he’s fidgety with the farrier, mention it in the ad. If he’s not good in traffic alone and needs another horse to hack out with, mention it in the ad.
If he’s good with kids, try to include a picture of him being tacked up, groomed or ridden by a child.
The right buyer won’t be scared off by a horse that doesn’t know everything. If you know that your horse is green and needs a lot of work, mention it in the ad that only experienced buyers should consider him.
Tip #6: First impressions matter
Before people come to see your horse, take some time to make him presentable.
Make sure that he’s been recently shod and that he’s groomed to look his best. If there is a typical way the breed should look, make him look like that.
Clean any tack you’re going to be using or showing and make sure it’s in good condition without any tears or breakage anywhere.
If your horse is over- or underweight, take some time to get him up to scruff before posting ads for selling him – or mention his condition if you don’t have to time to wait.
Make sure you and any rider you ask to come, to turn up to the occasion smartly dressed in clean clothes. This includes washing excess muck off riding boots!
Tip #7: Have the relevant papers at hand
A serious buyer will ask to see the relevant papers, such as passport and registration papers.
Make sure that you’ve got them near at hand, so that you can present them at a moment’s notice.
Tip #8: Show your horse in a nice environment
If you have very limited facilities at your barn, it’s a bit run down or if it’s someone’s backyard and doesn’t have enough space to show the horse, find someplace more suitable to show your horse.
Find a nearby place with an arena, indoor arena or cross-country course where you can put the horse through it’s paces.
If you need to travel with your horse to meet the buyer at a different location, make sure to get there early so that your horse has 10 minutes to calm down and take a break before beginning the viewing.
Tip #9: When selling a youngster, teach him the basics
A young horse isn’t expected to know much in terms of riding or within a certain discipline, but the buyer will expect to be able to handle their new horse so that they can train them further.
Make sure that your horse is used to being touched everywhere, having his mouth inspected and his feet picked up and held.
Get different people to stroke, touch and examine your horse so that he’s familiar with the standard procedures.
Groom him and get him used to having his hooves picked. Lead him in many different areas to make sure that he’s happy to take your lead and follow you wherever you go.
In the end, the more you prepare your horse, the smoother the sale will be. The ideal sale is where you can find the right buyer quickly, rather than spend a lot of time talking to people who aren’t serious buyers.
By preparing your horse ahead of time and doing a good job with your sale advert, you and your horse can focus on finding the right home and the right owner rather on distracting issues that won’t progress the sale.