Monday, December 6, 2010

So you have a horse for sale...

You have a horse to sell-- what next? I have created a "Horse for Sale Checklist", which we go through when one of our horses is offered for sale. Our philosophy is to give the potential clients as much information as possible so that if they do decide to contact us and see the horse, they are simply verifying what they already had learned, asking any further questions, and making personal contact.

The Ad
  • The Basic Information:
    • Sex
    • Year of birth (rather than age because sometimes ads become of date and it is hard to determine up to date age)
    • Height (or if young: "Should mature to _____h)
    • Discipline (Hunter, Jumper, Eventer, Dressage, All 'rounder etc.
    • Level: Beginner horse, Schoolmaster, 3'6" Hunter etc.
    • Tag Line: "Super Amateur Temperament"- What makes him stand out
    • Breed and Registration
    • Pedigree (if known) Sire x Dam x Damsire
    • Extras: Is it USEF Lifetime recorded? Any predicates: Keur, Prok, Premium?
    • Description: We try to avoid hard sell phrases that make promises. For example: "10+ mover" (you don't know what horses they've seen, in other words,  they may have just seen Lingh or Westporte meaning that your horse probably will fall short of your claim in comparison!) "Point and shoot"(you cannot be 100% certain how a horse will perform while being tried by an unfamiliar rider or in a situation unlike what it is accustomed to) Similarly, try avoid the use of Superlatives- "Easiest, best, most, prettiest, etc." It leaves a lot of room for  the potential client to be disappointed. 
    • Mention any Show experience or Performance worth mentioning. If the horse is young, has it been off the property to school?
    • If the horse has noteworthy lineage, mention something about the sire, dam and damsire (Genes may not be everything, but can certainly  increase predictability)
    • Good UP TO DATE Video and Photographs. Keep videos short and to the point- no need to show the horse warming up over fences, get to the essence of the jumping session-- i.e- if you say the horse is jumping 3'6", the video should show it  jumping 3'6". Movement/Flatting: walk, trot, canter,  each direction but keep it short. Photographs: Conformation, Performance (Free jumping, free moving, Jumping under saddle, Flatting--all this Depends on the age of the horse), head shot.

The Inquiry
  • You have a telephone message or email about this particular sale horse:
    • Never write anyone off: You never know what kind of client they might turn out to be.
    • Most importantly, email or call them back ASAP. If you cannot talk at length , at least reply and  tell them that you have received their call and will be in touch in x days. Always acknowledge receipt of their inquiry.
    • When you do touch base with them, let them ask questions and don't inundate them with what they have already learned from  reading your listing. They will probably want a few things verified and clarified. The ad is where you sell your horse--by  the time of inquiry, most potential clients have already decided that they are interested in seeing your horse and, barring any surprises from the conversation, will simply want to clarify and verify some things in the ad and check to see if the horse is a good match for them.
The Showing
  • So you've set a date to view the horse
    • Make sure the horse is clean  before arrival. I prefer to have my horses in a stall when the client arrives. However, you may wish to ask the client of they prefer to have the horse stalled or at liberty if that is where it spends much of its time.
    • If the horse is of riding age:
      •  Take the horse out on cross ties to groom (this will be a touch up because the horse will have already been groomed). Demonstrate picking out its  feet  and brushing.. Ask the client if they would like to help (some clients like to be hands on whereas others prefer to observe) This is the time that I personally like to use to get to know the client better and ask about their experience, what they plan on doing with the horse etc. After the horse is groomed, tack the horse up. Make sure that the tack is clean. I always ride the horses first to show them to the  client  they and then ask if they wish to try the horse themselves. If the horse is jumping, make sure that the fences have already been set to save time.
    • If the horse is not started:
      • Take the horse out and groom. I usually do not ask the client to help as too many people around a young horse may not best. Again, this is a time I like to use to get to know the client. I show the young horse leading at a walk from a side view, towards and away from the client. I stand them up to be inspected much like at a breed inspection.
    • I then take the horse into a medium sized paddock and show their free movement to the client.
    • If the dam is on the property, I will  show her  as well (conformation and free movement).
    • If you have other horses that the client might be interested in
    • Mention them and ask if the client would like to see them as well. Have the ones that you think may interest the client already in a stall to make things easier and more time-efficient should they want to see them.
  • At the completion of the appointment,: try not to leave things too vague. See if you can get a feel as to whether they liked the horse(s) shown or if none of them were a good fit. Be sure that both you and the client have the means readily to contact one another. Make a date to follow up with a phone call.
 You should feel that you have given them a complete picture of the horse. The client may consider that the horse is not the right fit and has no further interest; however, you have shown it to the best of your ability. If you have been pleasant, forthcoming, well-organized and professional, you may have a sale now, in the future, or to a friend of the potential client if not the client himself!

  Good luck and happy horse sales!"

Ana Bella Free Jumping
Ana Bella Headshot

Ana Bella Performance Shot

Ana Bella Conformation Shot

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