I think this topic has been done half to death on various blogs and discussion boards. However, since I realize that our PSA buddies are some of the more dedicated readers of this blog, I will do my good deed for the year and offer up a little advice. It seems one of them has fallen upon hard times and has to reduce her
hoard herd. As a result, several of her little darlings for sale. So far, it would seem she hasn’t had a lot of luck moving them other than people wanting to rescue them from her (more on that anon). Since the ads for the horses were helpfully linked for me, I took a look. Somebody needs a little help with how to market a horse properly. As of right now, I’m not going to out this person. If she wants to identify herself and have somebody put contact info for her horses in the comments, I have no problem with that. I also won’t be holding my breath.
One of the more important things in selling a horse is to be realistic about what your horse is. Don’t advertise him as a jumper and then show a picture of him hurling himself over a makeshift jump with somebody in a western saddle. That is insulting to the people who take a lot of time and effort to properly train their horses for that discipline. Almost any horse can hop over small obstacles, but that does not a jumper make. Please don’t false advertise. It pisses potential buyers off and makes them realize you are an idiot. More importantly, the potential buyer will realize you don’t know wtf you are talking about and think you’re lying about everything else Instead, call the horse what it is. If he’s just been a good bomb-proof saddle horse, then say just that. Your horse has a far better chance at finding a happy home when he is not misrepresented.
Presentation. Presentation. Presentation. This one gets tougher for some people. Present your horse properly in your adds. Maybe you’re not into pulling manes, but at least trim a bridle path and comb the knots out. Stand the horse up properly and take your pictures at a flattering angle. Make people want to meet this horse in person. It doesn’t take any money or much effort to clean the horse up and take proper pictures. At least stand the horse on level ground and have him put his ears up. Now that we have digital photography there is just no excuse to have a bad advertisement picture. Which of these two horses would you want to go look at?
If you are selling more than one horse, do more than one ad. Each horse should have its own ad and its own price. Otherwise it is just going to appear this is a junk sale. Even if none of your horses are world beaters, they all have their own perks and quirks. SELL them by giving each of them their own write- up. Putting out an ad like this doesn’t exactly draw the buyer in:
We are closing our barn and need to sell a couple of great horses
We have 2 mares and the rest are geldings.
$800 or an offer on all horses.
All are broke to ride…………..
Price your horse according to what you want to get for him. If you put a one price fits all as above, then don’t be offended when somebody low-balls the crap out of you. Buyers like a little wiggle room, but they also want to think they’re getting something of value. When you have an ad like the one above, you probably shouldn’t whine when somebody offers you next to nothing for one of your horses. If you have priced them like a grab bag, this is exactly the sort of response you have invited.
Lastly, do NOT go on public message boards and mock your potential buyers. You never know who is watching and you just come off as some vile hick. If you have a pen full of undernourished horses, then you can expect people are going to offer to `rescue’ them. There is a large difference between having a hay belly and a worm or malnourished belly. Which one of these horses is a fatty and which one is malnourished?
Another important thing about selling horses is where you advertise. In general, if you put a horse on Craigslist sandwiched in between ads for chicken wire and flower pots, you aren’t going to be attracting people wanting to spend much money. There are a myriad of websites out there dedicated to selling horses of all shapes and sizes. If you are selling on the low-end, making up a flyer and posting at the local tack and feed store can attract buyers as well. Think about who would likely be interested in your horse and make sure they see your ads. Craigslist and overnight auctions are playgrounds for kill buyers. Of course if you are a PSA, that probably doesn’t bother you as much as it does the rest of us.
While this is an abbreviated look at selling a horse, it is important. There is no crime in selling a horse and it is often the responsible thing to do. The extreme view of never selling another horse is strictly a PSA battle cry. Many of us have our `lifers’ and that’s fine too. At least if you find yourself in a situation where you have to sell, make sure you give your horse every chance at finding the best home possible. If you present your horse like a broken down nag, do not be surprised if the only interest you get is from rescues or very unsuitable owners. The better and more honestly you advertise, the better chance that horse has in staying out of the slaughter pipeline and finding a good home.