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How can I sell my horse in this economy?

Updated on August 28, 2011

Some things to consider...

Let's face it. The economy stinks, and it doesn't look like it's going to get better fast. As with everything else, mid-range to cheap horses circa 2005 are now going for very cheap to PLEASE TAKE IT FOR FREE, and the high end horses are still going for high end prices. Let's put it this way - people who could previously afford let's say a Toyota (not a super expensive car, but not cheap either) are now looking at buying a Hyundai instead. Cheaper, good gas mileage, good warranty, and heck - still a foreign car! But people who were buying Porsche's and Ferrari's are sitll looking at buying those cars and you're still going to be seeing them on the streets.

Well let's start off by answering...

  1. What breed of horse are you trying to sell?
  2. How old is the horse?
  3. Does the horse have any health issues or previous health issues that a potential owner should be concerned about?
  4. Does the horse require any special medications, shoeing, supplements, injections, etc?
  5. Is the horse registered?
  6. What disciplines does the horse currently know or could be trained to do?
  7. Has the horse ever shown and what types of accomplishments does the horse have?

Now here are some harder questions:

  1. Why are you wanting to sell this horse?
  2. How quickly do you want to sell this horse?
  3. What is the bottom line price that you are willing to sell the horse for?


So, what kind of horses are still selling anyway?

I have owned MANY different breeds of horses, but the quarter horse has and always will be my favorite breed. They are America's most popular breed (over 3 million registered quarter horses in America alone), they are the most versitile breed, and thus, they are also the most widely available and most variable in price breed. Pricing depends on a lot of factors. But in my experience with buying and selling horses, I have found some denominators:

  1. Good bloodlines don't necessarily mean more money, in any breed.
  2. A truly broke horse in any discipline will almost always sell before a green broke horse that has greater potential than that broke horse.
  3. Unfortunately, color still remains a big selling point, and so does crome (white markings - not necessarily on a paint - I am talking about 4 whites and a blaze). A pretty colored horse that is less broke than its more plainly colored, more broke counterpart will usually sell quicker and for more money.
  4. Certain breeds trained for certain disciplines will sell for more money. A dressage trained quarter horse is not going to sell for nearly what a dressage trained warmblood will sell for. And a western trained Friesian is not going to sell for what a Friesian trained in dressage is going to sell for.
  5. Horses who have already have accomplished show records are AWLAYS easier to sell than their non-shown counterparts.
  6. Horses that are gentle and trained well enough for children or beginners to ride are usually easier to sell.
  7. Registered horses will always sell for more money and will usually sell quicker!

In conclusion

So, after reading everything above, we go back to the main title of this blog. "What can I do to sell my horse in this economy?"

Well, here is a step-by-step list of things that I have done to help sell horses in ANY economy:

  1. Advertise! The internent is obvsiouly one of the best sources for advertising. Sites like,, and are all major sites where many people post their horses for sale. Many of these sites also provie a function to print off fliers so that you don't even have to go into Word to make one up to post at your local feed stores.
  2. TAKE GOOD PHOTOS!!! I can't stress this one enough. It definitely is the most important piece of advice I can give. I have purchased many horses over the internet without seeing them in person based on just photos. I have also sold a few horses that potential buyers have seen just a photo, and although the horse isn't necessarily what they were looking for once they tried it out, they have already fallen in love with the photo and the deal is sealed. One bad photo can ruin a sale, so I would advise the use of a professional who has equine experience. They will know the best lighting, the best location to set up your horse, and should be able to photoshop out blemishes or unsightly background objects like manure. All of the photos that I have posted on this page are of horses I have owned and the pictures were all taken by a professional. Trust me, it's worth the investment.
  3. Take the time to make sure your horse is spotless and neatly clipped for the photos, and for when people come out to see him. You dont' know how many photos I won't even look at if the horse is really hairy or gross with manure stains, and I can't even count the number of times I've seen a horse in person who was disgusting. If you are expecting someone to pay up to thousands of dollars for something, you should have enough respect for the buyer, and for the horse to clean it up.
  4. With the wide use of youtube and the availability of cheap video cameras, get a decent video of the horse. Most people today looking are going to want to see one, so make sure the horse is again CLEAN, make sure your tack is CLEAN and neat, and definitely make sure YOU are clean and dressed neatly for whatever discipline you are riding your horse in. If you are trying to advertise your horse as a third level dressage horse, don't wear jeans and t-shirt with half chaps and your hair down with your horse's mane not pulled or braided and wearing a pink saddle pad and jump saddle! Wear a clean top (preferably white) with breeches, boots, a helmet, a white saddle pad, proper dressage tack with your horses's face clipped and mane pulled or braided. Get the horse going at all gaits in all directions, and try to exclude unncessary commentary by the person video taping and make edits only when necessary.
  5. Let's be realistic about price. You aren't going to get the same price for a dressage warmblood in an obscure, rural town in Oklahoma that you would for the same horse that's located in Wellington, FL. Location does play a role in price so please take that into consideration. Also, just because you bought "Precious" 5 years ago for $7,000 and you've spent thousands of dollars in medical bills and feed and board, etc. does not make her now worth $50,000! If you aren't sure what a competitive price would be to list her at, do some research online at what other, similar horses are priced at first, then talk to a few professionals in your area who have seen your horse and ask their opinion. Remember though, an opinion is just that. But take everything into consideration. Also, remember that buyers are going to haggle, so be prepared to expect some haggling. A rule of thumb is half of the asking price. If you have "Johnny" priced at $2,000, expect someone to offer you half, or even less, especially in today's economy. Don't take it as an insult, just be prepared with an answer. I have turned down many offers, but never take anything personally. We all have dreams sometimes, and sometimes those dreams are stopped by a number. You never know if you can reach it unless you ask. I have purchased horses for less than or close to half of advertised asking prices in many instances. If you aren't prepared to be low-balled, then make sure you raise that price in the advertisement, but also be prepared to receive less inquiries.
  6. You can't make money without spending some first. To get the most money out of your horse, find a trainer that specializes in the discipline that your horse performs in. Make sure they have the show records or credentials to back them up and the clientel. Call them and talk to them about your horse and be prepared to answer some questions and possibly hear things you don't want to hear. Be prepared to bring your horse in for an evaluation to see what the trainer thinks of your horse, what they think it's worth, what they think it'll be worth after X amount of time of training and sales prep and if those costs will make up for the final selling price of the horse. If you want high dollar, you have to spend high dollar.
  7. Don't be decietful, but don't be too honest either. Make sure you put in the ad the basics of the horse, but don't go into detail how "Buddy" LOVES to take a dump in the isle way every time you try to tack him up. Sometimes too much information will also turn away a buyer. But also leaving out very important information will cause potential buyers to tell other buyers to stay away - like leaving out that your horse is a perpetual stall kicker.


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