Horse shopping is quite an undertaking. Between knowing what you want, where to find it, and deciding on a budget, it is an exciting but rather big commitment. If you are selling your horse, please be honest about him or her. It's for the well being of the horse as well as for respect to the prospective buyer.
Honesty In Your Advertisement
Please be truthful in your advertisements. Don't exaggerate a horses height by a couple inches or downplay a horse's bad habits or vices.
Many buyers have a whole list of prospective horses they are planning on seeing, which can be extremely time-consuming as well as costly, especially between gas and paying a trainer to come with you if that is part of your horse shopping plan.
If you don't advertise your horse appropriately, you are not only wasting the prospective buyers time but your own time.
Advertise honestly and then spend your time with prospective buyers who actually might be a good fit, instead of ones who will just be frustrated that your horse wasn't what it is advertised to be.
It sometimes seems that if five people measured a horse they would get five different heights... Try your best to get a good height on your horse for your ad.
If someone is looking for a horse to compete with, having a horse being the appropriate size will be very important, so help by making sure you have an accurate height. Another thing I have found is helpful to also include the height of the rider in photos of the horse being ridden. This way, it puts things into perspective for those looking at the ad.
Training and Experience
Give an accurate account of your horse's training and experience. Remember, you are trying to find not just a match for your horse, but the right match. One that will be a long-term home for him hopefully.
Exaggerating how well a horse is trained could potentially get an inexperienced rider hurt. Not to mention, just be a waste of someone's time if it isn't appropriately trained for what they want to do.
Ask professionals their opinion of your horse when you are advertising so they can help you give the best description. Make sure you are honest about what he has done, if he has only begun to jump or trail ride, whatever the case may be...you should use words like "prospect" or "potentially good for". That way it is very clear to a potential buyer whether or not the horse has the skills that are appropriate for their ability level.
If your horse is 100% sound as far as you know, great, advertise him as such. Just don't be surprised if a potential buyer still gets a pre-purchase exam done.
If you know your horse can be sound with maintenance, explain that. Explain the problem, explain what type of maintenance is necessary, and about how much it costs to do. Then explain what your horse's limitations are if there are any.
Leading someone to believe your horse is sound and rideable is not doing justice to your horse. If someone gets him and can't ride him, he will probably be rehomed again, and who knows where he will end up. Don't you think it is better for him to find the right kind of home, whatever that may be? That way, where he goes can hopefully be a long-term home for him or, even better, a forever home!
Remember if you fib or leave something out about the horse's health and soundness, it will come out in a vet check, and then you have wasted someone's time and money. You wouldn't like it if you were put into that situation, so don't do it to someone else!
Don't Be Pushy
I cannot tell you how many times I have been to see a horse for sale and been told: "a serious buyer is coming to look tomorrow". Maybe it is true, but being pushy to buyers is a big-time turn-off! It is perfectly acceptable that a buyer would come to look at your horse, thank you, and then say they will get back to you. Buyers should be looking at a lot of horses to compare and get an idea of what they really want. Don't expect a yes or no answer on the first visit. Some buyers may want to come and ride the horse a second time before they make any decisions. Be respectful and flexible with the buyers you meet. Since you are the seller, provide a great customer service experience. Make the buyer feels like you are not pushing them into anything and that you are trustworthy!
Be careful when pricing your horse and don't let your love or attachment to it cloud your judgment. Even the money you've invested over the years shouldn't affect the price you set.
Price him like he was someone else's horse that you don't have attachment or investment in. Then your price will be more realistic and attract more appropriate buyers.
Keep in mind, most buyers usually assume that you priced your horse with a little wiggle room, in order to be able to take offers and still get what you want from the horse. If the price is not negotiable, make sure that is in the ad, so you don't waste someone's time. You wouldn't want someone to look at a horse that is a little out of their budget thinking they can make an offer.
The Golden Rule
The golden rule applies everywhere in life and fits right in with selling horses. Be honest, and don't do anything that you wouldn't want to be done to you if you were the buyer instead of the seller.
Horses get sold all the time for a variety of reasons. There is nothing wrong with selling your horse, whatever your reason might be. Being honest and respectful is not only the best way to quickly sell your horse – it is also the best way to find the right home for your horse! One that will hopefully last a very long time and make someone very happy!