Selling Your Horse…Now and Then.


I don’t have time for him anymore.

I have too many of them.

I’ve outgrown him.

I can’t afford him.

These are just a few of the many reasons fellow private equestrians finally decide to sell their horse.  In the past, traditional/print media was the only option to advertise your “Horse for Sale.”  Local newspapers, regional/national equine publications and newsletters of equine/horse organizations were the best locations to place your listing but with it meant costly insertion fees (even for a classified). Although traditional advertising is still used, Social Media has drastically changed how “horses for sale” are listed, viewed and ultimately sold.

So, you’ve decided to sell “Buddy.”  You gather his stats, take some pictures, shoot a video and start your campaign.

Writing his ad. Be completely honest about Buddy or any other horse you’re selling. Include his required equine stats (age, sex, height, breed, color/markings, etc.) and any other pertinent facts. Describe his personality and recommend to the potential buyer who and what career he would best fit. You can include his price if preferred but today with online sales occurring nationally, his physical location is also a must.  For Sale: “Buddy” 9 yr old gelding,15.2 hand, Quarterhorse (has papers), bay with white star.  Nice mover, safe with kids, proven Hunter-Jumper show ring veteran. Excellent on trail too. Buddy excels with young riders over fences. He is UTD on shots and has No vices. Asking $4,500 and he lives in Concord, NH.

Take Buddy pictures to share. Bathe and groom Buddy until he shines. Properly stand him up, (in a bridle or nice halter) and photograph some details as well as his overall body.  You may not use them all, but while he is polished, it is a perfect time to create a small group of images (saddle/harness on or off) from which to pull (e.g. Head/face, front, rear, near (left) side, off (right) side).

Create Buddy’s online video. More importantly nowadays is the creation of Buddy’s video. Up until just a few years ago, filming your horse was a laborious venture, that may have involved the hiring of a  video-photographer or a friend with a film based video camera.  Video editing/duplicating was limited, costly and time-consuming. So you snail-mailed the precious video back and forth to prospective buyers basically “as is.”

However, with today’s hand-held/digital technology that process has become extremely efficient. Videos can be taken and retaken at will, deleted, edited and with very little expertise. This could be a liability unless you have a plan before taking your video. Decide what imagery would best help sell Buddy and then gather help (e.g. a rider) as needed. Include highlights first and then if time/space allows add other video tidbits buyers may find of general interest. For example, properly stand up Buddy and walk around him with the camera…then record all his gaits in each direction (coming and going too) and most importantly his walk. Then capture him enjoying his discipline of choice and/or something to portray his personality.

When editing the final video, keep each segment as short as possible but without compromising Buddy’s story/sales pitch. Did you know YouTube offers video editing?  Without worrying about file formats, you can combine videos, trim their lengths, add a sound track and customize the whole video with special tools and effects on YouTube (a must-have location for his video). The average video length on YouTube is 4+ minutes (Sysomos.com, 2010).  Keep this in mind because interested buyers want to see your horse but not its life story.  Open up a YouTube account (if you don’t have one) and upload/edit his video.  You can then link to his video’s URL from any other ad placement online or share it from YouTube.

An important note about your image background/lighting. Whether photographing or videotaping any horse, please make a note of the background and available light.  This is very important. The background should be simple and free of “stuff.”  You want to highlight the subject matter (aka Buddy) and not have it get lost.  A good presentation and first impressions go a long way, so avoid multiple fence lines (horizontal rails), indoor arenas (vertical boards/metal) out-buildings, vehicles, etc.  Try to locate your horse in a field or some place outside (best light option) with a simple unified back drop unless showing him over fences where a ring/indoor are required.  Check out Crystal’s sample photographs and further photo tips at Rideandsee.com.

Today advertising a “horse of sale” is easy, costs very little and most online placements are free.  Now that you have your Buddy sales materials readied…1). Research your best placement options, 2). Prioritize your list of options (use this to eventually keep track of your placements/responses), 3). place Buddy’s materials accordingly and; 4). Follow up on all leads.

Sample ad: http://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-644059

Photo Source: Horsebreedsinfo.org

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6 thoughts on “Selling Your Horse…Now and Then.

  1. Hi Kristie,
    I loved your blog! My younger sister has been riding horses since she was 3 (now 22). In 2000, my mom decided if she was serious about this hobby she would buy her a horse. My sister trained at a primarily Morgan horse farm and the trainer was insistent that to stay my sister would need a young Morgan. I don’t remember the details but I do know my mom had to make a ton of phone calls to lots of farms to see what horses they had for sale. Needless to say, social media would have made this process so much easier. We took trips to Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Canada–from Connecticut to check out potential horses. There was nothing worse than flying all the way to Texas to find out the horse someone told us about was already sold or did not match the basic needs of my sister. Without being able to see the horse or its details we had to guess. We wasted time and money traveling to look at one horse that could have been ruled out online. She did finally find a horse (on the second trip to Canada!) that she was excited about. He brought her to grand nationals and college and is still the love of her life.
    Another point I find really interesting about the equestrian field directly is how social media has improved the show scene. Now you don’t even have to travel to see the classes you want, you can watch the live feed. Show results are updated instantly via Facebook and Twitter and their are even show employees there to tweet everything that happens live. I’ve seen this help to sell horses as well. Once one wins something, the bids can start online!

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Hannah,
      Wow…buying a horse…the other side of the story!!! Same issues apply. Your Mom and sister were committed to their search, so they were able to find the right “love match.” Congratulations on your sisters success, VERY exciting! Live streaming online of equestrian events is about the only way we “horse-crazys” get to see anything. None of the major networks usually carry horse sports. The Summer Olympics was a prime example. A very limited amount of equestrian events were televised…if I saw one more swimming pool, I was going to scream. I have one blog I follow, that I love and they have all the latest scoop, even international. It is called http://www.horsejunkiesunited.com/ Right now they are live chatting the Washington International Horse Show. Pass this along to your sister, she’ll love it. Ride on and thanks for following the “Heard.” ko

  2. Kristie,

    Fantastic blog post. I know nothing about selling horses or have any interest in selling horses, however, I found your post to be very informative. Your step-by-step approach was easy to understand and clear to follow. The conversational manner allowed for an enjoyable flow. The inclusion of pictures, links, examples, and references made it very easy to connect to relevant information. Additionally, what I found most useful is the fact that this post can easily be adapted as a how-to for selling anything online.

    Great job!

    • Michael,
      Thanks for your reply! I never thought about how it would read with another product for sale instead of the horse…mmmmmm, very interesting. I’ll have to reread the post and ponder the possibilities. Glad you liked my second blog attempt, now if I could only figure out how to get in and out of WordPress from Blackboard! SO frustrating! Thanks for following the “Heard.” ko

  3. I love all the details and advice you give to owners who need to sell their horse. I’m sure this will definitely help to get some horses sold and off to another good life. The sample ad and video you gave was great and really helps show how you should go about selling a horse. My brother owned a horse shortly after he graduated from high school. He was young and loved horses but eventually he realized he didn’t have enough time – or money – to keep her. It was a little hard for him to find a buyer but he eventually did. If social media had been around back then, I’m sure the process would have been a little easier for him.

    • Cheryl,
      The process is SO much easier now. Back then it was mostly by word of mouth (who you knew) and classified ads. Unlike a car, it is always difficult to sell and find a good home for your cherished horse. There is a lot of selling going on right around High School graduation and “off to college.” Time gets tight and riders move on with their lives. Thanks for your comments and for following the “Heard.” See you online. Ko

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